DVI Vs. VGA: Which One Is Better And Which Should You Use?


Which cable should you use: DVI or VGA? When you want to hook your computer up to a different display – an external monitor or television, perhaps – then you need to know that you have the right cables. Part of that involves knowing what kind of ports you are dealing with.

Depending on the age of your computer, those ports can run the gamut. They might include USB, DisplayPort, DHMI, DVI, or VGA. The latter two were quite common at one point, so it helps to know what the differences between them are and how they stack up.

What is DVI?


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Digital Visual Interface is a type of cable that connects between your device (laptop, PC, etc.) and some sort of external display. There is a litany of converters out there, like DVI to DVI cables, but that’s another guide for another time.

DVI uses pins to transmit data from the video card into the display. That transmission of data does not require a signal of any kind so long as the cable is connected securely. This way, higher resolutions and refresh rates can be supported.

What is VGA?


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Video Graphics Array, or VGA, is one of the most old-school tech hookups. In this day and age, you might have a hard time finding a VGA setup because most modern devices don’t use them. You can find them on older computers and even some older televisions, though they are becoming tougher and tougher to find.

VGA was most common during the 1990s, used to connect to computer monitors, laptops, video cards, and TV sets. Each of the pins in a VGA cable has a distinct function in the transferring of data from the device to the display.


If you do have a device that offers VGA, then a VGA converter is probably a good idea. This way, you can hook up older devices to more modern displays. You might have a few other display ports available but you can never quite tell how those older devices will work with newer displays.

VGA to HDMI: One of the most common converters you will see is VGA to HDMI. This converts the VGA signal from your device to the HDMI port on your display. If your device has a VGA port on the video card but you want to use an HDMI monitor, you need this converter.

DVI to VGA: Another common converter type, which has a DVI male and VGA female connection. The DVI end goes into your video card while the VGA end goes into your external display. You could go VGA to DVI, but they are harder to find. Then again, they are probably more applicable to today’s displays.

DVI vs. VGA: What’s the difference?


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Because VGA ports are being phased out, it is safer to go with DVI cables. Just check your device and displays to find out what kind of ports you are dealing with. On older projectors and monitors, you may still find a VGA port. Because many of today’s devices use a digital interface, you may run into trouble if you use VGA cables.

The biggest difference between the two is their ability to display graphics. VGA is able to provide a maximum resolution of 640 x 480 with a refresh rate of about 60 Hz. DVI, on the other hand, is able to support that same 60 Hz but does so at a pixel rate of 1920 x 1200 pixels for single-link and 2560 x 1600 pixels for dual-link. Simply put, modern connectors are better for meeting the standards of improved graphics cards and the potential they offer to provide clearer pictures.

What do you make of this feature? Which one will you use: DVI or VGA?