A "KVM switch" (KVM= keyboard, video/visual, mouse), lets you control multiple computers with a single monitor, mouse and keyboard. Some of the better ones even include a printer USB hub and audio jacks.
Home users usually only have a single computer. But many techs, videographers/photographers, and similar computer-saturated careers have at least 2-3 computers in their office. Many of them have a desktop and a laptop, sometimes several desktops.
This post is being made in reply to a phone call. I needed some time to track down the perfect KVM for him.
The person in question has a legacy ATI All In Wonder capture card that does great -- and he's quite happy with. However, the computer running the card is a bit old, and no longer runs the latest software as fast as it could. Even something as simple as Office 2007 or Firefox 3.5 can really suck up the CPU and RAM from an outdated computer.
The solution was to keep the old computer on the floor, under the desk, relegated PURELY to capturing video, and then adding a new computer on the desk. The new computer features the latest in whiz-bang speeds, including the PCI express card bus, which the ATI AIW card cannot use. However, rather than suffer through a desk with multi monitor and keyboards, a simple KVM will solve the trick.
This particular KVM model works well, as it has buttons on-box (no crazy monkey-claw keyboard commands required), passes audio, and works with USB keyboard and mouse. I use these myself, due to their high quality. The video has high bandwidth VGA, so the image quality is not degraded -- a common problem of KVMs on modern high-resolution LCDs.
Get the AirLink USB KVM with Audio @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.ht...reative=390957
Some people will refer to the KVM as a "switch box", but it does more than simply switch the signals -- it keeps the signal "alive" in each computer. Remember that computers know when a mouse and keyboard has been unplugged, often with undesirable consequences (system lockups, mostly).