Tom's Hardware KVM Obstacle Course
Test 1 - In Test 1, both computers were plugged into the KVM. Both computers were turned on and booted at the same time. The KVM was left in the "System 1" position. Once both computers were booted and waiting at the login prompt, we pressed the button on the KVM switch and logged into "System 2." While waiting for System 2 to finish running the login script, we switched to System 1 and logged into it as well. Once the login process started on System 1, we switched back to System 2. We then checked to make sure that both the keyboard and mouse worked on System 2. After checking the keyboard and mouse on System 2, we then switched back to System 1 and checked the kyboard and mouse on System 1. In order to pass the test, the keyboard and mouse were not permitted to lock up between the switches of the two Systems, and had to allow login. This test was done in the PS/2 mode. KVM units which supported USB only were excluded from this test, and were noted as "N/A" in the test results.
Test 2 - In Test 2, we looked at different monitor resolutions between the test systems. We set the resolution of Test System 1 to 1280x1024x16 bit, and we left System 2 at the default resolution of 1024x768x32 bit. What was considered a "pass" for this test was the KVM's ability to switch between the two test systems while the screen was properly displayed on the monitor. Of course, the ability of the monitor to handle the change in resolution was tested, but the ability of the KVM to pass the correct signal was what we focused on.
Test 3 - In Test 3, we analyzed the KVM's ability to pass higher resolution signals. Because of the resolution limitation of the Mitsubishi 900u that we used in this KVM test, we only pushed the resolution of each KVM unit to the maximum of the monitor, which is 1600x1200 @ 75 HZ. In this test, we used the Asus V-7700 GeForce2 GTS and set the resolution to 1600x1200 @ 75 HZ. We then switched to System 2 and then back to System 1. If everything was displayed correctly, we considered this a "pass" of this test.
Test 4 - Test 4, which has also become known as "USB Test 1," basically repeats the steps in Test 1, but instead of using a PS/2 keyboard and mouse, we used the Microsoft Natural Keyboard and Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer in the USB mode. We connected USB port on the KVM to the computer. We then connected the Microsoft USB keyboard and mouse to KVM. We switched back and forth between the two systems and logged in. After getting logged in to the network, we tested both the keyboard and the mouse to make sure that they functioned correctly. If the keyboard and mouse functioned correctly, we considered this a "pass" for this test. KVMs that did not support USB are noted with N/A.
Test 5 - Test 5 pushes the limit of testing what we dubbed "USB Device Sharing", or "USB Test 2." USB Test 2 focused on whether each KVM unit would allow device sharing between systems. We used the 3Com USB HomeConnect Camera and an Iomega USB Zip 250 as the test subjects. We plugged the HomeConnect Camera into System 2 and the Zip 250 into System 1. We loaded the current Iomega drivers on both System 1 and System 2, and loaded the current OfficeConnect Drivers on Systems 1 and 2, as well. After the drivers were loaded on both systems, we prepared both systems for a reboot. After the reboot, we then attempted to access both devices from both systems. If we were able to access and use both devices from either system, we considered the test of this criteria for the KVM a "pass."
Test 6 - In this test, we looked for possbile PS/2 mouse compatibility issues with the extra buttons and the scroll button on the mouse. On System 2, we used the already installed Microsoft IntelliPoint Software and drivers for Windows 98SE Version 4.01. We used Microsoft's built-in test program in the Control Panel feature to see if the scroll button and all of the mouse buttons worked. If the scroll button and all of the buttons on the mouse functioned correctly, we considered this test a "pass." KVM units that have no PS/2 support were indicated by N/A.
Test 7 - In this test, we repeated what we did in Test 6, but instead looked for possbile USB mouse compatibility issues with the extra buttons and scroll button on the mouse. On System 2, we used the already installed Microsoft IntelliPoint Software and drivers for Windows 98SE Version 4.01. We used Microsoft's built-in test program in the Control Panel feature to see if the scroll button and all of the mouse buttons work. If the scroll button and all of the buttons on the mouse function correctly, we consider this test a "pass." KVM units that have no USB support were indicated by N/A.