Mar 6, 2019
A few years ago I made my first gaming pc from an old Optiplex 990 MT i5-2400 that my office discarded along with two old Dell (P2210) monitors.
  • I evicted the dust bunnies and gave it some fresh thermal compound.
  • Put in an 850 EVO 250GB SSD as a boot drive.
  • Used an old WD Black 1TB HDD for the main storage.
  • A coworker donated a spare PSU.
  • The same coworker donated their old EVGA GTX 770 (02G-P42774-KR). This required drive cage modification so it would fit but it was a free GPU.
  • The case only had single exhaust fan in the back so a 120mm fan was added to the front of the case.
  • Added an additional 8GB of ram for a total of 16GB DDR3-1333.
  • Installed a fresh copy of Windows 10 Pro.
It’s a great very low cost gaming pc and runs most games reasonably well. I really only paid for the SSD the rest came from donations from friends and coworkers. The computer is running great and has mostly been taken over by kids playing Fortnite.

I recently acquired another free pc and monitor from my office so I decided to do the same type of upgrading again but this time the pc would solely be for my gaming. This time it’s an Optiplex 9020 MT i7-4770.
  • 1TB 860 EVO (Black Friday purchased just in case…)
  • EVGA GTX 970 (04G-P4-1970-KR)
  • 16GB DDR3-1600
It’s only been done for about a week and so far this PC works very well. It’s very fast and can play all of my games at higher resolution and higher FPS. All at the same time running the cpu and gpu at much lower temperatures.

My reason for posting today is that I only have one office and one desk but now have two computers and three monitors. Right now I have them stacked on top of each other next to my desk and for the past week I’ve been moving the keyboard, mouse, speaker, wireless headset dongle and 3 monitor cables according to which computer was being used. Although it’s not a hard task by any means I thought there had to be a better way. My first thought was of some sort splitter system incorporating 3 DVI-D, speaker jack and USB splitters would be the easiest and cheapest method. I was thinking that as long as both computers were not on at the same time it would work fine. Online research indicated that my plans would not work.

That’s when I came across the KVM switch a product that I was not previously aware had existed. I am now faced with the task of trying to figure out the best (and reasonably priced) way to make KVM switching work for me. In all I’ve got two computers that each need connected to 3 DVI-D monitors, 1 keyboard, 1 mouse, one set headphone jack speakers and one wireless headset usb dongle. I thought I had found a one stop solution until I saw the price was well over $300 and that is well over what I had imagined my budget would be to solve this problem. That would actually cost more than what I put into both of the computers combined.

Does anyone have any helpful suggestions to solve my problem using KVM or other methods as well? Thank you in advance!


KVMs beyond the standard 2 or 4 PCs and one set of peripherals are going to be expensive. DVI is also an aging standard, so you would be buying into a product that is basically already obsolete.

There are software KVMs that let you control several computers over a network. Synergy is a popular product.

Probably not ideal for gaming though. So if the other computer is no longer used for gaming, then it could work fairly well.

Also just plain old fashioned remote desktop (RDP) and there are plenty of PCoIP based products (LogMeIn, etc). Those essentially allow for remote access to a computer. On the old Dell you can probably go into the BIOS, set it for keyboardless operation and boot it with no peripherals at all. Just a network connection for the remote access.