Saturday, 3 September 2011

Review: Mayflash Xbox 360/PC VGA Switch


The Mayflash Xbox 360 and PC VGA switch is a product designed for people who share a PC monitor between their PC and their Xbox 360.

It was something I was in desperate need for as my monitor only had one VGA connection and there was no way in hell i was going to be reaching over to unscrew and switch PC cables every time I wanted to use one or the other.

So I placed my order and received the product in the mail after some time...


The item came in a small box, nothing too flashy in terms of design and outer labelling. It comes with an AWFUL VGA cable that you need to replace with a quality one of your own as soon as possible. It would even help if you had the VGA cable ready before you even bought the switch. Throw the included cable away.

The switch is small and black, very discrete in size and feels solidly built. It has a slider switch on its top surface which you flick to one side for PC and the other for your Xbox 360. All input/output and switch labels are clearly printed on the kit.

One one side of the box you have 2 pairs of inputs. One is designated for the Xbox 360 and the other is labelled designated for your PC input. The Xbox 360 port includes a female VGA port alongside an RCA red/white stereo input. This is to complement the official Microsoft VGA Cable for the Xbox 360, which I highly recommend. Don't settle for 3rd party solutions; get the official Microsoft VGA cable. The second input is also a VGA port however, for the audio there is a 3.5mm audio jack port. All PCs have (or at least should have) a 3.5mm audio out. Use a Male/Male cable to connect your sound card on your PC to the box.

The output side of the box is also distinctly labelled and consists of only one VGA female port. It is accompanied with BOTH RCA red/white stereo out AND 3.5mm audio jack out. This is to provide flexibility in your speaker solutions.

What I have done is I have taken advantage of the dual audio out ports provided by connecting a pair of stereo gaming headphones, the Turtle Beach X11, as well as connecting the audio to a pair of external speakers for leisurely use. Its a fantastic inclusion by Mayflash that will allow users to make use of both audio solutions for both their PC as well as their Xbox 360.

So to summarise, this is what you will need:

- The actual Mayflash switch box
- Three (3) quality VGA cables: One (1) for your Xbox 360, Two (2) standard PC cables.
- At least One (1) 3.5mm Male-Male audio cable. A second if you are outputting in 3.5mm as well.

Setting it up is quite straightforward. The device comes with a diagram showing you what connect where; the device itself is clearly self labelled.

The most important thing though is to troubleshoot and prepare beforehand for any connection problem.

The ideal way to do this is to take each individual device, and make a direct connection to your monitor to test out their compatibility.

So connect your PC, make sure it runs at your desired resolution with your monitor.

Check that your Xbox 360 works at the desired resolution with your monitor.

Check your VGA cables are capable of carrying the signal through both your PC-Switch and Switch-Monitor.

If everything works, proceed to connect both of them and their appropriate audio connections to the device's inputs side.

Now, with the switch pushed to the PC connection, connect the 2nd PC VGA cable between the Mayflash device's output port and the monitor you will be using.

Finally, connect your audio connections on your output ports to their complimentary devices.

I initially had problems getting the display to work with my PC on 1080p through the switch. Without the switch, my PC would display at 1080p just fine. But through the switch, I believe the monitor was not being recognised by my PC's integrated Intel Graphics. This is a major connection hurdle wth Mayflash. It may not allow the monitor's EDID to pass through.

To remedy this, I ordered a dedicated graphics card for my PC which I was planning on doing anyway, the Sapphire HD 5570. After updating the Catalyst drivers, I tried forcing 1920x1080 resolution on my 1080p VGA monitor, and lo and behold the switch accepted it.

Finally, both my Xbox 360 and my PC were hooked up and working, at 1080p each. Below is a picture of how it should look like after all connections are made.



The quality was superb. I could see no degrading of picture quality through the switch. The sturdy yet light build holds up really well and teh switch slider feels solid. It takes deliberate effort to slide the switcher to and from.

The product is fantastic. It's all I could ask for in a cheap and effective video (and audio) 2 in 1 switch for both my 360 and PC. This allows me to game and work on the fly at an arms reach, no reaching for cables or anything.

There are many other switches out there that claim to serve as a universal switch. The Mayflash may not be universally compatible with devices such as the PS3 due to the VGA connection standard. However, if you are looking for a cheap and reliable connection solution for your PC monitor, look no further than this device. It's only downfall is that it comes with a useless VGA cable that must be discarded immediately.

Rating:


3 comments:

  1. Its a nice review....I use a monitor for my 360 as well. But I'm planning to buy a 42 inch LCD TV so I can use both my LCD monitors on my computer.

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  2. This VGA Switch Box is perfect for monitor with PC and Xbox 360, it has great features. I saw great reviews for this product on Amazon.

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