Cybex – Switchview review

several PCs, one monitor, keyboard and mouse
Photo of Cybex – Switchview
£106 + VAT for 2-port version, £156 + VAT for 4-port version

There have been devices like this around for donkeys’ years. The Cybex Switchview is a keyboard, monitor and mouse switch that allows you to control either two or four PCs (depending on which model you choose) without needing two or four of everything. All you do is plug your PCs into the back of the Switchview using the cables supplied, then plug in a single keyboard, monitor and mouse.

Controlling the four PCs is then simplicity itself. Simply press the button on the front of the Switchview unit to cycle through the connected machines (handily displayed on the front panel using LEDs) until you find the one you want. You can then use that machine just as though it were a stand-alone PC, while the others continue to chug away in the background. Alternatively, you can switch machines by hitting the control key twice and entering a number.

This is more than just a dumb switch, though. It has support for scroll-wheel mice, and also features built-in PS/2 to serial mouse translation, meaning that you can control a machine that normally has a serial mouse using your PS/2 mouse. And there’s more. The Switchview can be configured to scan through the PCs connected to it at regular intervals, so you can keep an eye on what each one is doing.

To ice the cake, the Switchview takes its power from the keyboard ports, so there’s no need for an external power supply. Unless, that is, you decide to daisy-chain several Switchviews together, to control even more PCs…

Company: Cybex

Contact: 0800 783 2506


Verdict
There's obviously a home for this device in the server rooms of medium to large companies, particularly as the Switchview gadgets can be daisy-chained together. But it has other, less grand uses too. For example, we've got loads of games that only run on an old 486 - a Pentium is just too fast for them. Now we don't need to waste a monitor, keyboard and mouse; we can just switch over from our stonking great work PC to that old machine when we fancy a game of Pacman, Alone in the Dark or Battlechess. Nerds? Too right. Although we've had to reconfigure the game controls, as pressing the Ctrl key twice puts the Switchview into 'control' mode. D'oh!