If you’re anyone like me, you find yourself navigating between two computers quite often. In my case, my work laptop is a 13″ Macbook Pro and my entertainment machine is a beefy desktop gaming computer that runs with Windows. Obviously, it became extremely cumbersome to have to switch between the two platforms. From having to plug off the keyboard and mouse to the screen and the headset and plugging them into my USB C dock to my Macbook and vice versa, the process was completely unproductive and really annoying so I set myself on an adventure in order to remove as much friction as possible and make myself able to switch between the two platforms as seamless as I could make it to be.
Thankfully for you, I came across a variety of inexpensive hardware solutions that are now powering a dual display dual computers workstation where my speakers, headphones, mouse, keyboard and even USB ports can be switched from being recognized by one machine to the other in the click of two buttons. I invite you to follow this read if you want to learn more about the magic behind my now super sleek and productive home office.
In order to achieve this feat, you will need the following equipment:
- A 4 Ports USB Sharing Switch
- A 2-Way Audio Microphone Headset Speaker Mic Switcher Headphone Switch Hub
- A USB 3.0 HUB (optional)
- Extra cables for plugging your monitor(s) to both of your machines at the same time
- Zip Ties and Velcro Tape or Double Sided Tape (optional)
You’re probably wondering what all of these devices are for, so here’s a quick rundown:
USB Sharing Switch
The 4 ports USB Sharing Switch acts as a USB hub that can be connected to two machines at the same time. With the click of the button, you can choose to which machine the signal of the devices plugged to this hub will be transferred to.
So the goal here is to have this hub plugged to the two computers and to connect the keyboard, the mouse and our other USB Hub to it (optional) to it. This way, pressing the button in the middle of the device will allow you to switch the control of the computer from one to the other. It is really handy and supports USB 3.0 which is really good.
For my gamer friends, I have plugged the receiver of my Logitech G Pro Wireless to it and I did not feel any latency issue. I am playing Counter Strike competitively and I can’t notice any delay whether that comes from my keyboard or from my mouse with this setup. It is pretty incredible.
Overall, a very solid accessory and a must buy to complete this setup.
2 Way Audio Microphone
This strange looking gadget is what is going to allow us to only use one pair of speakers and one pair of headsets with microphone to be switched from one computer to the other.
This one is a bit more complicated but once it’s set, you will be able to deliver the sound from either of your machines either to your headset or to your speakers. Two buttons are conveniently located on the device allowing you to choose the source of the audio (Computer 1 or Computer 2) and the Output Source (Headset or Speakers).
This is also a must have accessory for our setup here. Overall, a very convenient gadget that really simplify the workflow of switching audio sources between two machines. The fact that it can also switch from speakers to headset and supports microphone input is just very convenient.
USB 3.0 Hub
This item is optional but I learned to love it. It has a very clean design and you can clamp it anywhere on your desk or on your monitor. I have mine clamped on my secondary monitor and it makes it very convenient to plug a USB key to any of my computers and do file transfers between the two machines.
For instance, I can insert the USB key in my hub, put a movie on it, switch computers by pressing the button of my USB Switch and it will instantly disconnect the USB key from the first machine and connect it to the second machine, allowing me to have access to the content of the USB key really quickly on the second computer. Really really convenient. That also allows me to hide the two other gadgets under my desk and only leave my USB hub visible, helping the really clean aesthetic I’m cultivating with my workstation.
Now that we have everything we need, I want to show you exactly how everything works and how everything is plugged in with each other.
Unfortunately, writing how to plug everything would start to be really confusing so I made a diagram of how things should look:
As you can imagine, this is a lot of cables to hide in order to keep a clean look. In order to solve this issue, I am using velcro zip ties and double sided tape everywhere I can so that cables are tied together and easy to hide under the desk.
Once you tied everything up, you can start enjoying your dual computer workstation and switch between your gaming rig to your work laptop by the press of two buttons. Then you just need to switch input sources on your monitor(s) and you are good to go.
I hope you found this article useful as I genuinely think the existence of the mentioned accessories are not well-known and can drastically improve productivity and the efficiency of this process.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments section down below and we will get back to you with more information.
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Have a nice time,