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Can a Monitor be connected to 2 computers at the same time

orlando1974

New Member
Member
Hi, I have an extra monitor which I mostly use with my desktop thru its DVI connector. However I would like to use it also as an extra monitor for my laptop which sits on my piano. In this case I would use the extra monitor's only open port, which is VGA (which I would connect to my laptop using a VGA to Mini Display Port adapter).

Before I go out and buy the proper cable, I'd like to know, is it possible to keep that extra monitor connected at all times to 2 different machines? What happens if both computers are running at the same time? Which will it display? Does it favor DVI over VGA?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 8 64-bit

CountryBumkin

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Power User
Does your monitor have a menu/button allow you to switch inputs?
Such as "Input 1 = DVI/HDMI" and "Input = 2 VGA", or such.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    HTPC: Custom built
    CPU
    intel i5-2400
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte GA-Z68MX-DS2H
    Memory
    16GB Corsair DDR3-1600
    Graphics Card(s)
    on-board HD3000
    Sound Card
    On-board
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung 32" LED
    Hard Drives
    eight HGTS Deskstar NAS, 3TB
    seven WD Red NAS, 3TB
    one Seagate ES.2, 1TB
    one 64GB SSD
    PSU
    Corsair 750W
    Case
    Li-Lian case with SuperMicro hotswap backplane
    Cooling
    Case 4 6" fans, stock CPU cooler
    Other Info
    Two 3-Ware (LSI) model 9650SE-8LPML RAID cards.

orlando1974

New Member
Member
I have a Menu item called "Auto Source". When I go in, I can select "Auto" or "Manual".
It was set to Auto so I tried Manual and nothing happened. I wonder if its because it knows that nothing else is plugged in.
In the meantime, I read about something called a KVM switch. I dont know if that would be necessary in my case (?)
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 8 64-bit

cradom

Member
Member
Put it on manual. You should be able to select which input to use from a menu.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    windows 8.1 64bit
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavillion 500-223
    Memory
    8 gig
    Monitor(s) Displays
    SAmsung SyncMaster 2033
    Screen Resolution
    1600x900
    Mouse
    Logitech G500S
    Browser
    Firefox

CountryBumkin

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Power User
A "KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) switch" is used so two computers share the same keyboard/mouse and monitor. There is a button on the KVM you press to switch between computers. The monitor only needs to use one input.

However if your computers (desktop and laptop) have different video outputs, it might get complicated - because you would then be switching between a VGA and HDMI/DVI output from the computer to a (either VGA or HDMI/DVI) input a the monitor. There may be KVM switches that provide multiple video inputs/outputs. I'm not sure.

I should have thought of this - as I use one myself (however both my computers have the same video output (HDMI)). :)
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    HTPC: Custom built
    CPU
    intel i5-2400
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte GA-Z68MX-DS2H
    Memory
    16GB Corsair DDR3-1600
    Graphics Card(s)
    on-board HD3000
    Sound Card
    On-board
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung 32" LED
    Hard Drives
    eight HGTS Deskstar NAS, 3TB
    seven WD Red NAS, 3TB
    one Seagate ES.2, 1TB
    one 64GB SSD
    PSU
    Corsair 750W
    Case
    Li-Lian case with SuperMicro hotswap backplane
    Cooling
    Case 4 6" fans, stock CPU cooler
    Other Info
    Two 3-Ware (LSI) model 9650SE-8LPML RAID cards.

orlando1974

New Member
Member
However if your computers (desktop and laptop) have different video outputs, it might get complicated - because you would then be switching between a VGA and HDMI/DVI output from the computer to a (either VGA or HDMI/DVI) input a the monitor. There may be KVM switches that provide multiple video inputs/outputs. I'm not sure.

I should have thought of this - as I use one myself (however both my computers have the same video output (HDMI)). :)

I cant believe I had not heard of KVM until today! Well to tell you the truth Im a bit weary of using the VGA output on that monitor..isnt that Analog? Wont be as crisp as the DVI will it? I guess in an ideal world there would exist a DVI splitter (like a Y adapter where I could have 2 incoming DVI signals into the monitor. One would go DVI to the desktop and the other would convert to HDMI or MiniDisplay at the laptop.
That seems like it would be simpler.... but not sure what would happen if both machines were on at the same time!

So practically and realistically speaking, I guess I have 2 options:

1. Get a VGA (aka RGB) cable that will convert to the MiniDisplay (or HDMI) format at my laptop.
2. Get a KVM switch that would connect to the monitor via DVI and would have 2 different connectors for my computers (1 DVI and 1 VGA). Set to AUTO, the monitor may be able to figure out which is switched on...i dont know cause Ive never used one.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 8 64-bit

CountryBumkin

Gv me thumbs-up if I help
Power User
With the KVM switch you don't need to do anything with your monitor - as far as the monitor is concerned it will not know how many computers are connected - it will just display whatever is passed-through the switch.
The easiest KVM setup would be if you can convert the laptop output to DVI/HDMI to match your computer's video output. There are a bunch of converters here vga to hdmi - Newegg.com for under $10.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    HTPC: Custom built
    CPU
    intel i5-2400
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte GA-Z68MX-DS2H
    Memory
    16GB Corsair DDR3-1600
    Graphics Card(s)
    on-board HD3000
    Sound Card
    On-board
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung 32" LED
    Hard Drives
    eight HGTS Deskstar NAS, 3TB
    seven WD Red NAS, 3TB
    one Seagate ES.2, 1TB
    one 64GB SSD
    PSU
    Corsair 750W
    Case
    Li-Lian case with SuperMicro hotswap backplane
    Cooling
    Case 4 6" fans, stock CPU cooler
    Other Info
    Two 3-Ware (LSI) model 9650SE-8LPML RAID cards.

Berton

Member
Power User
I use a 4-port KVM switch with 4 computers, one Keyboard, one Video and one Mouse. It uses USB Keyboard and Mouse, upgraded a couple of years ago from PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse. The Video is still VGA but there are adapters for VGA to DVI one can use if having only the DVI port on the monitor. One can use the green USB to PS/2 for the mouse but the keyboard has to come with the purple adapter for the same, doesn't seem to work with the after-market adapter.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    WinXP, WinVista, Win7, Win8.1, Win10, Linux Mint 20
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    2 Customs and 12 OEM/Brands
    CPU
    AMD and Intel

Kodi

Geriatric Member
VIP Member
Power User
You could use a Monitor only switch like THIS ONE
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro 64bit
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Home Custom Build
    CPU
    Intel i7-4770K
    Motherboard
    Asus Z87 Sabertooth
    Memory
    16 Gig DDR3-2400
    Graphics Card(s)
    Gigabyte GT740
    Sound Card
    Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Benq 27" - Benq 22" - Dell 23"
    Screen Resolution
    1680x1050
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 840 pro 128g SSD
    1xWestern Digital Caviar Green 1TB
    2xWestern Digital Caviar Green 2TB
    PSU
    Seasonic 760 watt platinum
    Case
    HAF-X
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-C12P CPU Cooler
    Keyboard
    Logitech illuminated keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech Performance MX
    Internet Speed
    Cable
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Avast Internet Security

CountryBumkin

Gv me thumbs-up if I help
Power User
You could use a Monitor only switch like THIS ONE

I don't think that one you linked to will work for OP because OP says one computer has VGA out and the other is HDMI/DVI out. The switch you linked to only works if both computers have DVI. Unless I missed something in the description.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    HTPC: Custom built
    CPU
    intel i5-2400
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte GA-Z68MX-DS2H
    Memory
    16GB Corsair DDR3-1600
    Graphics Card(s)
    on-board HD3000
    Sound Card
    On-board
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung 32" LED
    Hard Drives
    eight HGTS Deskstar NAS, 3TB
    seven WD Red NAS, 3TB
    one Seagate ES.2, 1TB
    one 64GB SSD
    PSU
    Corsair 750W
    Case
    Li-Lian case with SuperMicro hotswap backplane
    Cooling
    Case 4 6" fans, stock CPU cooler
    Other Info
    Two 3-Ware (LSI) model 9650SE-8LPML RAID cards.

Kodi

Geriatric Member
VIP Member
Power User
you can get a coverter to change DVI to AVG or HDMI.
Cheaper option than KVM switch
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro 64bit
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Home Custom Build
    CPU
    Intel i7-4770K
    Motherboard
    Asus Z87 Sabertooth
    Memory
    16 Gig DDR3-2400
    Graphics Card(s)
    Gigabyte GT740
    Sound Card
    Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Benq 27" - Benq 22" - Dell 23"
    Screen Resolution
    1680x1050
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 840 pro 128g SSD
    1xWestern Digital Caviar Green 1TB
    2xWestern Digital Caviar Green 2TB
    PSU
    Seasonic 760 watt platinum
    Case
    HAF-X
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-C12P CPU Cooler
    Keyboard
    Logitech illuminated keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech Performance MX
    Internet Speed
    Cable
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Avast Internet Security

orlando1974

New Member
Member
You could use a Monitor only switch like THIS ONE

I don't think that one you linked to will work for OP because OP says one computer has VGA out and the other is HDMI/DVI out. The switch you linked to only works if both computers have DVI. Unless I missed something in the description.

Actually, maybe i did not explain myself properly. My monitor has 2 ports: 1 VGA. 1 DVI. I have 2 computers I would like to share it with. Ideally I would like to use the DVI as I believe it would give me a better signal. Or would it? Is there proof of that?

So I could plug this device to the monitor.
Plug desktop PC as DVI to DVI.
Plug laptop as HDMI or MiniDisplay to DVI adapter connected to this box.

Its a bit pricy but, would this work?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 8 64-bit

orlando1974

New Member
Member
Maybe I should ask, will the VGA signal be less crisp than the DVI?
Im sending a laptop thats 1920x1080 to a monitor thats 1680 x 1050.
Just using its VGA port would be more simple but if the signal will be less crips, then maybe its worth the expense of getting a monitor switch where I can connect 2 DVI computers even if one includes an HDMI to DVI adapter in its routed signal...
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 8 64-bit

orlando1974

New Member
Member
Approaching This from Another Angle

Hey Guys,

I think I have found another way to approach this.
I noticed from my research that there are a ton of HDMI splitters out there and they are way less expensive than KVM switches or DVI splitters (which are hard to find and very expensive).

So rather than approach this in terms of VGA or DVI, I'm now considering getting a self-powered HDMI splitter box (cause I dont want to have to plug in another AC power cord). The laptop will connect to it directly in HDMI format. And the desktop PC will connect to it thru a DVI-to-HDMI adapter. The splitter will then send these signals thru a short HDMI cable that I will combine to a HDMI-to-DVI adapter on the receiving monitor.

Does anyone see any reason why this would not work? Its a couple of things to buy but it's a bit cheaper, doesnt require a power source, and its more future-proof than investing in a DVI splitter.

HDE 3-Port 1080p HDMI Switch Switcher Splitter Hub for HDTV - Supports 3D: Amazon.ca: Electronics

*NOTE: My only concern is that some of these are self-powered (like this one) while others require an external power source. I dont know why....
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 8 64-bit

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