Does A KVM Switch Cause Input Lag?

By Rob Orr / Last updated: Nov 29, 2023


One would easily agree that input lag constitutes a significant pitfall amongst KVM users, whether for gaming or other tasks that might require high-speed input.

Every pro-gamer can relate to the effects of input lag on their gaming experience and general PC efficiency.

Does a KVM switch cause input lag?

At most, a tiny 1-3 ms lag is expected unless one is using a high refresh rate on their monitors. For instance, running a 120hz or higher refresh rate could increase input lag.   

When you have too many components plugged into your PC, the processor might have a hard time handling all the data, and this may slow down the PC’s response time and cause input lag. Using second-rate cables with low-standard KVM switches can also result in a noticeable difference in input lag. 

However, input lag should not be mistaken for response time.

Input lag (also known as input latency) refers to the delay between the source of input (keyboard, mouse, or controller) and the display of the image or frame on the monitor.

Also, input lag is measured in milliseconds and can be negligible or minute in amount, but it can make a huge difference to a gamer – because the speed with which the frames refresh improves competitiveness.

If you’re a pro gamer or tech enthusiast looking to run multiple computers with many peripherals on your workstation while minimizing space, then a KVM switch might come in handy.

KVM switches are designed to improve productivity, minimize space and save money by allowing users to operate multiple computers with one set of keyboard, mouse, and any other peripheral input device.

But are KVM switches reliable?

Do wireless keyboards/mice work with KVM switches?

Do KVM switches affect gaming performance? Especially when a small amount of input lag can cost you the match.

Does Nvidia’s G-sync work through KVM?

Do KVM switches work with consoles?

There’s a lot to cover.

Let’s dive in!

Real quick: before we get too far along here, if you want to get more great ideas for your gaming room or home office and connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best join my free private Facebook group, Battle Station Setup here.

Do KVM switches affect gaming?

How a KVM switch affects your gaming experience depends on the quality of the switch and the bandwidth of the connections between systems, and how they interact.

Technically, a cheap control will work as a regular switch, but when you switch between machines, the first machine may assume the keyboard, mouse, or controller has been unplugged, which might create some complications in your gaming experience.

Some cheap KVMs coupled with low bandwidth might mess up the resolutions. In general, the only possible latency can come from the specialized keyboard port that some KVMs have.

IP-based KVM solutions are not recommended for low-latency gaming applications like CS-GO and Valorant. Local KVM solutions or LAN-based IP implementations are always the way to go for a smooth gaming experience.

In summary, Emulated KMS switches take time to initialize, Semi-DDM ones switch the video instantly but might cause some lag in initializing the peripherals, and lastly, DDM KVM switches have no lag in switching machines.

Do Wireless Keyboards/Mice Work With KVM Switches?

A very few KVM switches on the market actually support wireless keyboard/mouse. KVM Switches with USB Hub and KVM Switches without USB Emulation can support controlling sources with a wireless keyboard and mouse.

Are KVM switches secure?

Many unsecured KVMs lack the comprehensive security features that financial services companies should require.

Is your KVM hiding these vulnerabilities? Not all KVMs are secure.

While it helps to eliminate the clutter by allowing the use of one set of input devices over multiple systems, unsecured KVMs can be at the risk of unwanted security vulnerabilities.

When looking to buy a KVM switch, one should consider buying a NIAP certified secure KVM that is designed to block any path for signals to travel from one system to another and create air-gap isolation.

A secured KVM switch is essential to preventing the security issues that could occur in KVMs.

Does G Sync work through KVM?

G-Sync will work through a KVM as long as the monitors support it; however, we recommend keeping the DisplayPort cable lengths short (under 10 feet) for best results.

Do KVM switches work with consoles?

KVM switches are installed mainly to switch between the connected network devices, but console servers can access the system consoles of network devices to monitor and control their functionalities.

Are KVM switches outdated?

No, KVM switches are not in any way obsolete.

However, software alternatives are currently available that can be used to run multiple computers with one peripheral setup in gaming rigs or workstations.

KVM Switches offer a trade-off with ease of use, and its wired connections help reduce latency within input devices. So, it comes down to what the user is comfortable with using within their systems.

Is it possible to connect two computers to one monitor?

Two computers can be connected to one monitor using different port interfaces.

Most monitors are built with multiple input ports at the back, enabling you to plug in both computers at the various available ports – usually HDMI and VGA.

Switching between computers can easily be done by toggling the monitor input via the control buttons or remote control to select the preferred computer to display.

A better alternative is the use of a KVM switch which offers simplicity and can be used to connect more devices.

Can two monitors connect to one CPU?

Two monitors can also be connected to one computer device using different cables and ports.

One monitor must be connected to the HDMI port, while the other is connected to the VGA port using the respective compatible cables. You can toggle the display on the computer to either extend the display across both monitors or duplicate displays on both monitors.

Are KVM switches worth it?

Productivity is the biggest advantage of using a KVM switch on a gaming rig or workstation. If you use more than one system, the KVM switch effectively boosts your productivity.

Using a single keyboard and mouse to control multiple systems will save you both time and money. And who doesn’t want that?

Why does KVM cost so much?

KVM Switches are often seen as expensive amongst users – why?

The KVM technology is a broad area that offers many options and technologies that come with a wide range in price. Functionality plays a huge role in KVMs pricing – the number of CPUs, monitors, peripherals & users supported, the operating systems, technology, and cabling supported will influence the price of a KVM switch.

Basically, before choosing the right KVM suited for your setup, one must determine how many devices are connected and how the devices will interact. There’s a wide variety of options available to accommodate your budget when getting a standard compatible KVM.

Best KVM Switches

USB 3.0 Switch Selector,ABLEWE KVM Switcher Adapter 4 Port USB Peripheral Switcher Box Hub for Mouse, Keyboard, Scanner, Printer, PCs with One-Button Switch and 2 Pack USB Cable

  • This 4 Port USB 3.0 Switcher allows one button toggle between 2 computers to share 4 USB 3.0 peripheral devices without constantly pull cables or set up complicated network sharing software.
  • Ideal for sharing devices such as printer, scanner, mouse, keyboard, card reader, flash drive and other USB devices between 2 computers.

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TESmart HDMI Matrix 4×4 Latest Updated 4k 30Hz Powered 4 in 4 Out HDMI Switch (4X4 A70-Seamless 2×2 Video Wall)

  • This Matrix supports 4 HDMI displays and 4 HDMI sources. You can use it as HDMI Splitter as well as HDMI Switch,becase each display can share the same input or select differient inputs.There is an LCD screen on the front that shows you the connection status in real time.
  • Resolution up to 3840×2160@30Hz (including 1040p 3D video) that offers high-performance video.This 4k HDMI Matrix supports PCM, Dolby AC3, and DSD audio formats.Common scenarios are: classrooms, auditoriums, department stores, commercial and residential AV systems, etc.

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Next Steps

Want to join others who are creating the most amazing home offices and get more tips, tricks and hacks on how to make your home office the best it can be?

Join my brand new free private Facebook group, Battle Station Setup to connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best!

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Rob Orr

Rob is a graduate of Florida State University and the founder and Senior Editor of HomeOfficeHacks.com, a website dedicated to helping people navigate the unique challenges of working from home. As a remote working veteran with over 10 years of experience, Rob has developed a deep understanding of the strategies and solutions that can help people thrive in this environment. He is a respected expert in the field, renowned for his clear, engaging, and informative content. An award-winning web designer, developer, and digital marketer, Rob is also the owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties. His dedication, resourcefulness, and creativity have earned him a reputation as a respected leader in the remote work and digital media communities, inspiring others through his work and passion for lifelong learning.

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