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Are you confused about all these different monitor cables? Well, don't feel bad, we all are... and that is because it is confusing! Why so many choices? What is the difference between all of them?

Computer monitor cables can be overwhelming, hopefully this blog will help you better understand the differences between all the types of computer cables.

There are four main computer cable types used for connecting monitors to PC's these days. Most monitors will have a range of different inputs available to use, and your PC or laptop will also use different outputs. With that said, it can be hard to decide which is the right one to use. Under most circumstances, you might be able to get away with using whatever cable you have, but if you have more specific needs, such as carrying audio, displaying a higher resolution or outputting a higher monitor screen refresh rate, you’ll need to be more selective with your choice.


VGA (Video Graphics Array)

The old blue dinosaur of cables; used many eons ago in the computer world! This cable carries only analog signals. The VGA standard was originally developed by IBM in 1987 and allowed for a display resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. But these days, VGA is not used in new technology, the problem is that it’s an analog connection, so as you push the resolution higher you get image degradation as the signal is converted from analog to digital. You wont find this connection on a newer monitor or PC, however you could still find this if you have an older monitor/PC. Unless you absolutely have to, use one of the other connections instead of VGA.


​DVI (Digital Visual Interface)

The DVI connection succeeded VGA in the 2000s as video technology moved from analog to digital. The main difference between VGA and DVI is in picture quality and the way the video signals travel. Unlike VGA, DVI can carry both analog and digital. DVI proved to be higher quality and eventually became the market standard for video devices (at the time.)

DVI has largely fallen out of use, having been replaced by more modern monitor cord types like HDMI and DisplayPort.

DVI Connections Come in Three Types:

  1. DVI-A: can transmit only analog signals, allowing it to be backwards compatible with VGA (useful for CRT monitors and older LCD monitors).

  2. DVI-D: can transmit newer digital signals.

  3. DVI-I: is capable of both analog and digital. In certain cases, you may need a VGA-to-DVI or DVI-to-VGA converter cable.


HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface)

High-definition broadcasts are now the standard for high-quality video. Unlike VGA and DVI, which only transmit video signals, HDMI sends both video and audio signals together. These signals are digital; thus, HDMI is only compatible with newer devices. You’ve probably come across it on your television, set-top boxes, tablets and laptops. The thing to look out for are the different HDMI connection sizes.

HDMI Connections Come in Five Types:

  1. Type A: is the most popular. This connector can be identified by its 19 pins on the male head. Type A is compatible with single-link DVI-D connections.

  2. Type B: is larger than Type A, coming in at 29 pins on the male head. Type B is compatible with dual-link DVI-D connections. You won’t see this type often, if ever.

  3. Type C: (Mini) is a 19-pin connector that’s most often used with portable devices, like camcorders and digital cameras.

  4. Type D: (Micro) also has 19 pins and looks similar to a Micro-USB cable. It’s mostly used for mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets.

  5. Type E: is much larger with a locking mechanism. It’s mainly used in automotive applications.



Like HDMI, DisplayPort is a media interface that transmits both video and audio signals together and was designed to replace VGA and DVI. These days, DisplayPort is mainly used to connect devices (e.g. a computer) to monitors, so you’ll only see it among other monitor cable types.

The main advantage of DisplayPort is the ability to output to multiple displays. You can do this by daisy-chaining compatible monitors over DisplayPort or by connecting a DisplayPort MST splitter to your single DisplayPort output on your PC or laptop. As such, DisplayPort is often a great choice for those looking to use multiple monitors.

There are multiple versions of DisplayPort, but all DisplayPort cables are compatible with all DisplayPort devices. The speed will be limited by the lowest version of DisplayPort supported between the device and cable.

Look for these DisplayPort cable certifications:

  • RBR (Reduced Bit Rate): Up to 810 MB/s.

  • HBR (High Bit Rate): Up to 1,350 MB/s.

  • HBR2 (High Bit Rate 2): Up to 2,700 MB/s.

  • HBR3 (High Bit Rate 3): Up to 4,050 MB/s.

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