posted 12/16/2008 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
Switching between computers is pretty quick though with a delay only about a second going from one computer to the next. What’s great about the device is that it remembers the resolution of each setup so you don’t have to go fiddling around with it. When you switch you hear a beep, which is muteable, letting you know you’re going on to a different computer.

I did run into some compatibility issues though. For starters, I first used a Microsoft SideWinder X5 mouse along with a Microsoft X6 keyboard plugged into the back of the switch. The keyboard worked fine but for some reason the mouse would only move left and right. For the life of me I couldn’t get it to move up or down either by re-plugging it in the back or resetting the switch. When I moved the connection from the back to the front though, the mouse worked fine. I tried a Logitech G9 mouse in the rear port and had no problems. So, there might be some hardware compatibility issues with the rear USB console ports as I found one issue with one of my gaming products.

My Windows mobile phone has the ability to act as a flash drive when plugged into a USB port. Plugging my phone into the front of the GCS1784 seemed to work at first as my phone asked if I wanted to initiate ActiveSync or emulate a drive. Choosing the drive option, I waited for a removable storage option to appear in the My Computer area. Nothing happened and it seemed to have installed the drivers correctly as well. When I plugged the phone straight into the computer with the same port, everything worked fine however.

The two certainly aren’t show stoppers but it does go on to show that not everything might be compatible. The nice thing though about the unit is that it does support a firmware upgrade so hopefully IOGEAR will be releasing updates for the problems that they or their consumers find.

If you are going to be using the switch as part of a setup where it’s connected to a large screen TV, you can be assured that watching any DRM HD video will be possible as the company has assured me that product is HDCP compliant. Just grab a DVI to HDMI connector and you should be good to go. With the ability to transmit up to 7.1 surround sound from any of the satellite computers, you’ll also be enjoying the audio quality without sacrificing lost speakers with the GCS1784.


Seeing a 4 port DVI 7.1 surround sound USB switch, I can see some gamers benefitting from this product. If you’re one of those that play a multiple amount of accounts on an MMORPG like World of Warcraft or Everquest, you can hook up multple computers to the switch and be able to go from one computer to another with just a single control setup and retain the resolution and sound that’s essential to a great gaming experience. The GCS1784 can suppor the high resolutions of some high end LCD monitors so you won’t be limited in that area. When I was switching between my various setups, the picture quality remained great and I couldn’t tell from an eyeball test any difference going through the switch or going straight into the computer. Colors and clarity did not seem to suffer when using the GCS1784.

The one thing I didn’t like, and it’s a small issue, is that the power connecter for the GCS1784 is a large box shape on the end. For those with powerstrips, it can take up some room. I would’ve liked to have seen a normal sized plug but again it’s a small issue.

Another thing I would have like to have seen is some connectors for optical S/PDIF that’s available on some sound cards. I have all my computers plugged into my Logitech speakers this way eliminating th need for five connections and it would help clean up the setup.

For the most part, the GCS1784 KVM switch from IOGEAR worked out very well in connecting my various computers with high-end video and sound cards and delivering control over all of them. The compatibility issues are a little concern as I’m sure not everyone has access to the various hardware items I do if something should not work correctly. The one thing that will set this product back though is its hefty price of $799. Yes, you read that right. It’s definitely not one that’s going to be affordable by many though. What you do get is a high quality KVM with all the cables you’ll ever need and support for high resolutions and up to 7..1 surround sound.

It has all the connections you need to keep various gaming computers connected to one setup. The major issue will be the high price so that's going to be hard to swallow for a lot of folks.

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