In Part 1, we discussed using multiple computers to use multiple Second Life avatars and viewers simultaneously. It has the advantage of having a much lower impact on computer performance than using a single computer, but also has two major disadvantages:
1. Expense: If you’re not using laptops, you could have the additional expenses of buying additional monitors and keyboards (and additional speakers if the audio will be different in each viewer).
2. Logistics: Even if you don’t have to buy additional monitors and keyboards, running Second Life on multiple computers is still a logistical nightmare. Most people don’t have room on their desks for three or four laptops or monitors and keyboards, and switching between them can be a hassle.
There’s a solution: a KVM switch. This device allows you to control several computers simultaneously with a single keyboard and monitor. Some KVM switches also allow you to use a single set of speakers. With the KVm switch, your hands never need leave your keyboard. With a few keystrokes, control switches to another computer. It can work really well.
This writer uses an IOGEAR Four Port USB KVM Switch (model GCS634U). There are other companies making similar products. I haven’t tested them, so I can’t recommend one over the other, but the IOGEAR has worked well for me. Be sure to read reviews carefully before deciding which one to buy.
If running multiple viewers simultaneously isn’t affecting the performance of your computer, then there’s no point in using a multiple computer setup. But if you’re running more than two viewers simultaneously or if you’re doing something that’s resource-intensive, such as making a machinima, then using multiple computers with a KVM switch may work better for you.
The other parts in this series are:
Part 1: Four ways of running multiple viewers and avatars simultaneously
Part 2: Videos and more details about running multiple viewers and avatars on a single computer
Part 4: Why on earth (ok, virtual Earth!) would someone want to run multiple viewers and avatars simultaneously?
You can get information about where to download alternate Second Life viewers at wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Alternate_viewers#Third-party_Viewers.