Misc. Computer Parts
KVM = keyboard, video, mouse. Its a box that lets you control multiple computers with 1 keyboard, mouse, and monitor. I finally purchased 1 just recently. I was surprised to learn that they range in price from about $10 to hundreds of dollars. After doing some research, it seems like the difference between the models are
- video resolution supported
- special keyboard keys supported (i.e. windows key, my documents key, etc)
- support for the mouse wheel or side mouse buttons
- ability to turn on computer with KVM off and be able to later control the computer without problems
The KVM I ended up getting is the JustCom
104A. It has 4 ports that supports PS/2 keyboard and mouse. It also supports switching microphone and headphone sources although I don't use it. I have used several KVM's through work and I can safely say this is the best one I have ever used. All keyboard keys and mouse buttons are supported with no new drivers or hassle. The 4 included cables are of great quality. I am running 3 computers at 1280 x 1024 with no degradation of video signal. The unit switches between sources very quickly and has almost no lag after switching before you can use the the keyboard and mouse. This thing is a great $50 investment!!
Since I have been running the Web Server out of my apartment, I have become very particular about what I expect out of a router. My first router was the D-Link 604. The choice was a function of cost. I did not know much about routers at the time but as I started playing around with hosting my own content, I was pleasantly surprised to see that this router was able to do everything I needed.
Unfortunately, the 604 did eventually die after about 4 years of use. The next router was a Microsoft MN-700. This router is horrible, no question about it. I initially got it because it supported the G wireless standard, useful for my laptop. Once I tried to set up the MN-700 to forward incoming web traffic to my web server (persistent port forwarding), I learned how limited the router was. With the factory shipped firmware, the router would not forward any packets. It would say that it was setup to, but never would. It was only after I updated the firmware that this port forwarding starting working! That is pretty ridiculous if you ask me. On top of that, the router gets overwhelmed easily. About once a month the router will freeze up. Resetting it will not cure the problem. You have to restore it to the factory settings and reboot before it will work again. This is just not practical.
I decided that I needed to replace the MN-700. I decided on D-Link again because I really liked the 604, and they are usually less expensive. I did not want wireless support since I could always use the MN-700 as an access point if I wanted. I eventually settled on the D-Link DGL-4100. Its called the Gamers Lounge. This router can do it all. It supports gigabit connections (useful only for the Game Machine). Its list of features is incredibly extensive. It only took me about 10 minutes to get it all setup the way I wanted with all the port forwarding correctly set. The configuration interface is great and very easy to use.
The 4100 is supposed to handle large amounts of traffic, such as pier-2-pier file sharing traffic, very well. Only time will tell. It does have one more interesting feature. It has something called GameFuel. Supposedly the 4100 is able to inspect packets and determine if they are for a video game. If so, the packets go at the front of the queue thereby lowering overall latency for the game, although perhaps increasing latency to all other operations. I was skeptical to say the least but I turned on the feature and fired up World of Warcraft to see what would happen. My latency was about 17ms when my usual latency with the MN-700 router was about 30ms. This could be for any number of reasons. Once I have made a determination if GameFuel really works, I will post the results.