Identifying Computer Display Connectors

December 29, 2017 by
Identifying Computer Display Connectors
Lighthouse IT Solutions, Matthew Almendinger

There are several types of ports that computers and monitor both use and share information, or simply display it. The main job of these computer display connectors is to transfer data and information. We are not going to get into too much detail as there have been many connectors that are not relevant anymore, but it is important in a general business setting to know the difference between the major port types in case a replacement cable is needed for your monitor.

And if you are hungry for more knowledge, we created a step-by-step guide on how to create your own network.

These major types of display connectors are:

  • USB (Universal Serial Bus)
  • VGA (Video Graphics Array)
  • DVI (Digital Visual Interface)
  • HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface)
  • DisplayPort
  • Ethernet Port

Starting off with one that most everyone has heard of; the Universal Serial Bus has been around since 1996. It has gone through four major releases, each of which have increased the maximum transfer rate and some added features. (USB-1, USB-2, USB-3, and USB Type-C) It can be identified by a rectangular shape and usually black or blue tab inside. Recent releases (10 years or so) can transfer most forms of data and is even capable of transferring power. In fact, major companies like Apple have creating laptops with only a single port on them. The port they chose was the Type-C, probably for its versatility.

The next port is VGA. This port is the oldest video port on this list being introduced in 1987. The main reason why this port is kept around, is due to older devices like TVs and projectors still using the VGA port. It specializes in color video transfer but cannot transfer audio. VGA looks like a blue trapezoid with three offset rows of five holes. This port also has screw holes to secure the connection from coming loose.

Digital Visual Interface, introduced in 1999, was a step up from VGA but was to keep compatibility with it. DVI also has solid adapters to convert it to HDMI and DisplayPort. This makes it a practical choice to put on any computer or monitor to cheaply future proof them, though it cannot carry audio. DVI is one of the largest ports with three rows of eight holes plus a cross section with four holes in the corners. (It should be noted that the DVI-D variant only has the line on the right and the DVI-I variant has the line plus the four holes.) It also is one of the few that have screws to secure their connection.

HDMI currently is the most used video connector. Being announced in 2003 and went through several different versions to increase transfer rate and quality. It is commonly found as the primary connector for TV's and game consoles. The main drawback of an HDMI cable is that when the cable length is over about 6ft, the signal begins to weaken. This passive cable must have an adapter to make it active in order for the strength to boost again. Its appearance is a trapezoidal frame with a row tab of connectors running down the length of it.

DisplayPort is the latest in video transfer technology. Not only is it able to carry video, but it can also carry audio, and other forms of data. DisplayPort was designed in 2006 and entered production in 2008. It has already had multiple version releases, each improving upon color display and mitigating data loss. It can display very high definition video and can even daisy-chain other monitors to it, connecting many monitors to a single computer port. There is also a variant of called Mini-DisplayPort that has most of the same functionalities, but in a smaller size. The normal design is that of a long thin rectangle with a corner missing in the top left and a tab that looks like half an ā€œIā€ in the middle, while the mini is a more rectangular, compressed version. It has a locking system in the housing that secures the cable from coming loose while it is plugged in.

Switching over to a different type of connector, Ethernet is the connector responsible for making a wired connection to a network. After its introduction in 1980 and being standardized in 1983 it has undergone many advancements for increasing speed. The outline of the Ethernet port looks like either a wide phone jack, or three rectangles stacked on top of each other with a light to either top corner.

Understanding display ports is not the only thing everyone in a business should know.

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