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Review IOGEAR 4×4 USB Sharing Switch Share 4 USB devices with 4 Computers


hey everybody it’s lon seidman we’re taking a look today at a usb switch box that i’ve been using for quite a while and i never got around to reviewing this is from io gear they’ve got a couple of different versions of this box at varying prices the one i’m using is their 4×4 unit which takes in four usb 3 devices on the front here and then lets you send those devices to four different computers now only one computer can use it at a time but i found this to be really useful in my secondary office upstairs because i use three different computers up there and it’s nice to be able to have a single keyboard and mouse available to me and then i use the monitor to actually switch video and the reason why i went with this versus one of those usbc kvm switches is that i’m using varying degrees of resolutions some of the devices i’m connecting don’t have usb-c or thunderbolt and i found it was pretty easy just to hit a button on here and then a button on my monitor and do the switching and i’m going to show you how this box has been working for me in this video with a couple of laptops and my mr fpga computer and we’re going to dive into this in just a second but i do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that i paid for this with my own funds all the

opinions you’re about to hear are my own no one is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see how this device does what it does so let’s take a closer look now at the hardware this is actually a pretty simple device as you saw at the outset here you’ve got your output cables here that go to your pc and then you plug in your usb devices here in the front this does come with most of the cables that you need to get started so all of the cables that output back to the pc are included you get four of those one for each device that you are connecting to the box and then what you’re going to do is plug in your usb devices into the ports on the front now these are usb 3 ports i’ve been using a keyboard a mouse and a webcam which is what we’re going to look at today but you could pretty much connect any usb device to it although i would be careful about using usb hard drives because when you do hit the button to switch to another computer it disconnects everything from the computer that it was on and connects them to a different one so if you were writing stuff out to a disk and then hit the button you’re going to have some problems with your drive there so i would stick to mostly input and output devices like webcams keyboards mice and that sort of thing and directly connect your storage now you’re going to notice here also that there is an another usb port right here and this is for providing power and i would suggest you use this now they don’t give you the cable or the power supply in the box this will with a keyboard and mouse work without the need for power and will get its

power from the computers it’s plugged into but you will have better luck with keyboards that maybe have a backlight or something with some usb power going into this and you can use just your standard micro usb cable and a standard usb charger to get that power in and i’ve been using this to get all my devices working properly on my computer and again i would suggest hooking that power up just to give yourself a little bit more of a power budget to work with now you switch between devices with the little switch button here you could stick this to something or just leave it out on the desk and every time you push it it will cycle between one of the inputs and you’ll see this working in a minute this plugs into the back of the box right here so what we’re going to do now is get a couple of computers hooked up to this and my little mr device we’re going to attach the keyboard and mouse in the webcam and we’ll see how the switching works on this and then we’ll play around with a few other things too all right i apologize for the mess of wires and equipment on my very small desk here but we’re going to make the best of the situation so what i’m going to do first here is plug in this keyboard and mouse into the front of the the switch here so we can get those going and we’ll plug the mouse in again into one of the usb ports it’s pretty simple to get this going and use it actually it’s very self-explanatory as you’ll see and i’ve also got a webcam here so a little bit less of a traditional device but i’ve been often switching between my desktop pc and my macbook for conference calls and it’s nice again just to have it all on the single unit here and getting that going so i’m just going to put the webcam on top of my monitor here for a second to get that out of the way now the other thing i’m going to do right now is bring in some usb

power to power this again this is optional but i think it’s something you should probably do if you have some extra usb power cables kicking around all right so now it is on and operating and what i’m also going to do now is start attaching these usb cables to the computers so i’m going to start off with the cable in the first position here so this is position one and i’m going to just plug this into the side of our windows machine here this is the little surface laptop go we reviewed a while back and just plug it into its usb port and right now the switch is in position one and you can see that it’s lit up in position one and so if i go to the windows screen here and just start typing on my keyboard you can see that it’s already recognized the keyboard here and we’re just typing away and we’re getting uh stuff on screen the mouse is working already and we’re pretty much good to go so the next step is i want to connect my mac which is also on the desk here to the second position so i’m going to grab its cable and cable management is not my thing so you might want to you know do better than i’m doing right now and of course the mac only has usbc ports so you could use an adapter i’ve got a little thunderbolt hub here that i’m going to attach it to so now we’ve got the mac connected but we’re still connected on the switch box to the windows machine so i’ll just type out this is windows and now if i hit the button here to go to position 2 and then i start typing and you can see how quickly all this stuff happens here the mouse is working just fine and if i want to go back to the windows machine i have to cycle through position

three and four and then i’ll go back to one and now back oops on windows and then i can hit the button again and go mac and that’s it so pretty quick and easy to get between these devices but you could see how dangerous it might be to have a storage device on this because you’re switching between these things and basically cutting off the other computer let’s take a look now at the webcam all right so we’re on my windows computer right now the camera on the top of the monitor is shooting me and we’re running this camera through the switch box and what i’m going to do now is go back to our 2-up view and i’m going to switch the usb switch box to the mac and when i do that we’ll see if the mac picks it up it probably will here in a second sometimes i have to go and coax it on the camera menu here but if i go over to cycle the camera we’ll go back to this one and then go back to camera two you can see now the webcam is working here so you can likely get this to work with webcams you may have to reset and hit the button again to pull the camera up but it’s a pretty seamless process going back and forth and for good measure we’ll go back here to the windows computer and i should see an icon here pop up and i can just do the switcheroo and there you go we can get all of that working so next i wanted to show you the workflow that i have right now when i’m using this upstairs so right now i’ve got my mac here connected we’re moving the mouse around we can type on the screen everything is good but i also have my mister here booted up and i have a whole playlist on the mister and what it does so definitely check it out but basically it’s a great way to run old computers and old game consoles in a very accurate way and what i do is i

switch the switch box over to the mister into position three here which i just did and then i go to my monitor and i just select the input that the mister is connected to which is hdmi two and there you go and i can just start typing away and do my basic coding or play around with the commodore 64 or all the other cores that it supports the mouse will work also in chords that support the mouse and it’s very quick and easy to just go back to this and say i gotta get some work done now go back to the mac in position 2 go to the display here and just select the display port input and then we can go back to doing all of our work on the mac so yeah it’s a two-step process for me where i’ve got to switch the switch box and then switch the monitor but it isn’t that bad and again there are switch boxes that will do the keyboard video and mouse but i found for the mix of things that i’m often switching this box seems to be the better solution for me all right one last thing to check out and that is what the maximum data throughput of this device is it’s basically a usb hub with a switch on it and of course this is the usb 3 version that should run faster than the usb 2 version of it now i know i said i don’t recommend attaching storage to it i stand by that recommendation but to test throughput i’m going to connect one of my fast usb solid state drives to position 4 here just to see what kind of speed we can get moving data back and forth on my mac screen here you can see that it is picking it up as a five gigabit per second usb 3 device so that’s a good indicator that we might get some good speed here and i’m just going to click start on our blackmagic disk speed test and i’m not getting the kind of speed i get

when i plug this in directly to my computer but it’s not bad we’re doing about 200 megabytes per second on writes and about two or three hundred here on reads which again is not the full potential of this drive but it’s certainly good enough i think for devices that might require a little bit more usb bandwidth but again i would not rely on this for that but if you are switching something between computers that does push a lot of bandwidth over the usb bus this will get you somewhere near what you might see typically with usb 3 speeds so just a quick look at this i o gear switch box something that i’ve been using quite a bit upstairs and i just never got around to telling you about and it’s a nice little part of my workflow up there and it’s really useful for me and i hope you found this interesting that’s going to do it for now until next time this is lon simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the london tv supporters including gold level supporters brian parker jim peter tom albrecht frank lewandowski mark bollinger and chris allegretta if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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