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E39Man

Mini display hub?

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Hi all,

Is there such a thing as a Mini Display Hub?

 

My new work have sent me a PC, Mac & 1 screen, currently I switch between the two by manually un/plugging the screen cable. 
 

I’ve tried to searching but not found anything suitable. Ideally I’m looking for something Like a hdmi switch - 2 inputs and 1 output with a button to switch between the machines. 
 

Does something like that exist?

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Which Mac and what connections do the PC & Mac have?

 

I've an M1 MBA and I have that connected to my LG 4K screen via HDMI and the Apple HDMI dongle; but I've also got a USB C hub that's got HDMI and USB A and C connectivity and that could be used to connect to a 2nd monitor

What inputs does the monitor have; just HDMI, or is it an old one with RGA or does it have DP also?

 

You could go for this if the monitor has HDMI: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Splitter-ABLEWE-Aluminum-Bidirectional-Blu-Ray-Player-Black/dp/B07SR1S2JL/ref=sr_1_3?crid=30YH19SOUWPGC&dchild=1&keywords=hdmi+splitter+2+in+1+out&qid=1627401740&sprefix=HDMI+splitter%2Caps%2C225&sr=8-3

Edited by d_a_n1979

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The monitor is an Apple display monitor with 3x USB ports but it also has built in Mini Display, magnetic power, and USB cable to connect to the Mac (it’s like 1 cable with 3 ends)

 

The thing is due to lack of space I want to return the monitor and use my ancient but reliable 11 year old iMac as a monitor. 
 

That iMac has Mini Display Port, USBs

 

The work computers both have MDP and USBs

 

Im thinking getting 2x MDP-hdmi cables, a hdmi hub, and see if that all works?!

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I guess what you're talking about is a KVM switch (Keyboard, Video, Mouse). They're a bit old-school now but they used to be common, in commercial use rather than homes, a few years ago. They will basically let you share a keyboard, monitor and mouse between multiple computers, using a physical button on the KVM to cycle between them (and some will also support a keyboard shortcut to change input too). Your only issue will then be getting adaptors for the different video outputs on your machines, because your KVM will likely only support one type (probably HDMI).

 

If you think your iMac is ancient, you'll be disappointed to learn the monitor they sent you is potentially even older (the 24" version came out in 2008 and the 27" came out in 2010). I'm amazed a company is happy to support equipment that old for general use.

 

As for using your iMac as a monitor, this is technically possible for certain models of iMac, running High Sierra or earlier:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204592

 

But, I don't know if it will work with a non-Mac PC connected to it, I don't know if you can connect more than one external computer (probably not, as you have no way to switch between them) and I don't know how reliable it is. The suspiciously long "if target display mode doesn't work" section at the end of that page makes me think it's not the most reliable feature in the world.

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The monitor is a 27” Cinema Display maybe from 2013, it’s a decent monitor but don’t have space for 3 screens (including my 2)

 

Looks like I’ll be able to connect my iMac to both machines but not in the way I’d hoped. 
 

the KVM switch is interesting but I honestly don’t mind not using 2 extra sets of keyboard and mouse.

 

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On 29/07/2021 at 13:56, E39Man said:

The monitor is a 27” Cinema Display maybe from 2013, it’s a decent monitor but don’t have space for 3 screens (including my 2)

 

Looks like I’ll be able to connect my iMac to both machines but not in the way I’d hoped. 

 

 

the KVM switch is interesting but I honestly don’t mind not using 2 extra sets of keyboard and mouse.

That monitor was discontinued in Dec 2013. It's decent enough though, and I wouldn't complain about being given one (plus, I still have a magsafe MacBook Air, so I would actually be able to use the connector to power it). I'm just surprised their IT dept is willing to support 8+ year old hardware. Yes, companies support much older stuff where it's doing something proprietary and would be difficult to replace, but not consumer grade monitors sent out to new starters.

 

You don't have to connect a keyboard and mouse to the KVM - you can use it just as a video switcher. Personally, I think I'd buy a KVM over a basic HDMI switch. It gives you the flexibility to also switch a single keyboard/mouse later, even if you don't want to now.

Edited by Spandex

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12 hours ago, Spandex said:

That monitor was discontinued in Dec 2013. It's decent enough though, and I wouldn't complain about being given one (plus, I still have a magsafe MacBook Air, so I would actually be able to use the connector to power it). I'm just surprised their IT dept is willing to support 8+ year old hardware. Yes, companies support much older stuff where it's doing something proprietary and would be difficult to replace, but not consumer grade monitors sent out to new starters.

 

You don't have to connect a keyboard and mouse to the KVM - you can use it just as a video switcher. Personally, I think I'd buy a KVM over a basic HDMI switch. It gives you the flexibility to also switch a single keyboard/mouse later, even if you don't want to now.


I bought the above hdmi switch and a couple of  hdmi to Mini Display cables and it didn’t work with my iMac  :(

 

However a standard Mini Display cable did work, it just means I’ll have to manually plug/unplug the cables when needed. 
 

This means I can return the work monitor and use my own iMac as the monitor so it’s some success. 
 

Im curious about the kvm set up now and will look for a modest kit to try out

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If you’re set on going into the iMac, I wouldn’t be that surprised if the kvm didn’t work either. I don’t have any specific reason why it wouldn’t, other than that the Apple target display mode sounds like it’s a bit picky in general, so it may be that having anything between it and the source is going to cause problems.

 

I guess a long as you can return the kvm if it doesn’t work, it might be worth a try.

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