GCS124U - MiniView USB II - 4 Port USB KVM Switch (Hotkeys/OSD) - IOGEAR, Continued
I was impressed with the construction of the GCS124U unit when compared to others. The GCS124U has a metal casing that surrounds the unit, which makes the unit quite heavy. It was, by far, the most sturdy of the KVM units that we tested. Normally, the weight might cause concern with the unit standing on its end, but Iogear has done a great job with the design of the fastened stand, which does not allow the unit to tip over or move around.
The GCS124U has a big button on the front to enable the auto scan mode. The auto scan mode changes between systems. It can be aborted by pressing the auto scan button on the front of the unit or by pressing the space bar. As far as I can tell, a user is not able to alter the time between switches in the scanning mode.
The GCS124U unit features a lighted indicator which lets you know which system you are currently switched into. The front of the unit has four push buttons for the selection of each of the four systems. I found the size of the buttons to be a little small, but I did like the click-like sound to provide positive indication when the button had been pressed.
The lighted indicators combined with the on screen display (OSD) and keyboard switching of the GCS124U unit work to provide a very well rounded method of access to the unit. The OSD manager is very powerful, and allows the user to control access to each of the systems, as well as switch between them. It is possible to attach additional MiniView II KVMs and control them, all through the OSD manager. The OSD manager lets a user label each port name, which eliminates the problems of being stuck with Port 1, Port 2, etc... This is a very nice feature and can really cut down on the confusion factor. I found the OSD manager easy to get the hang of, and very powerful. It is a welcomed addition to the GCS124U KVM and is a "forgiveness factor" for the small selection buttons on the front of the GCS124U unit.
The GCS124U includes two premium four-foot cables and two preminum six- foot cables. Since this is a four port unit, other companies need to take a lesson from Iogear here and also provide cables of two different lengths. Hats off to Iogear for thinking in advance about the user's needs with this included feature.
The GCS124U features Iogear's patented USB sniffing technology. We found that this was a welcomed addition, and it worked very well in most situations, but when used in a gaming situation, similar to the CGS102U, we found that the mouse response was a little sluggish. I was able to use the mouse control panel to turn up the sensitivity which did seem to improve the responsiveness.
The GCS124U KVM was a great performer and did very well in our testing. The GCS124U is, naturally, more expensive than the other KVM units that we tested, but the four included premium grade cables do help make the cost more justifiable. The GCS124U has additional features not found in another KVM unit in this review. Iogear also does, in fact, offer KVM units with PS/2 ports rather than just the USB. I found the GCS124U construction and performance to be first rate. I believe that Iogear will continue to refine its products, which is going to give Belkin its first real competition in the KVM arena. The GCS124U KVM shows that Iogear is headed in the right direction with its KVM products.