Video / Graphics Cards

Graphics connection interfaces: VGA, DVI, DisplayPort and HDMI

To use a motherboard’s or a processor’s integrated graphics chip requires the motherboard to provide the graphics ports that matches the monitor or monitors graphics ports, which are now VGA (analog), and digital DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort input ports. Inexpensive adapters make it possible to use one standard with another, such as a VGA port on a laptop with a DVI-I (analog and digital) or DVI-D (digital only) port on the monitor.

Note that a VGA D-Sub connection only provides video, not sound. Sound is provided by a connection to speakers or a PC monitor with built-in speakers from a sound card or onboard sound chip on the PC’s motherboard. A DVI connection can only provide sound if the DVI cable is connected to a DVI-to-HDMI converter that is connected to an HDMI cable that is connected to an HDMI port on the monitor. An HDMI-to-HDMI connection provides video and sound via an HDMI cable between a graphics card or onboard motherboard chip and a monitor. Note that the cheap HDMI cables work just as well as the expensive ones. Amazon is a good vendor of good, cheap HDMI cables of varying lengths. To connect a PC to a monitor with HDMI ports on the graphics card and monitor needs to be at least a metre in length, depending, of course, on how far away the monitor is from the graphics card.


Single-link and dual-link DVI : Wikipedia –

A single-link DVI cable can handle screen resolutions up to 1920X1200 pixels, but a dual-link cable is required for screen resolutions above that up to 2560×1600 pixels, which makes DVI the most complicated graphics standard by far. DVI can be converted to HDMI or DisplayPort (the DisplayPort graphics standard was designed to replace the analog VGA and digital DVI standards).

DisplayPort –

HDMI – – provides up-to-date information on this interface.

HDMI is an cabled interface used to transmit video and audio from a source device – DVD player/drive – desktop/laptop computer – tablet – smartphone – game console – to a display monitor or TV. Or from a TV to another device, such as an audio system.

The Wikipedia page an HDMI give up-to-date information on the interface, such as HDMI Alternate Mode for USB Type-C.

Note that cheap HDMI extension cables are available if there is a long distance between the source device and a TV/monitor or vice versa. “HDMI Ethernet Channel – Adds high-speed networking to an HDMI link, allowing users to take full advantage of their IP-enabled devices without a separate Ethernet cable. Audio Return Channel – Allows an HDMI-connected TV with a built-in tuner to send audio data “upstream” to a surround audio system, eliminating the need for a separate audio cable.” Search for HDMI Extension Cables on Amazon to find out what is available.

The image below of an AMD Radeon HD 6950 graphics card shows, from left to right, its two mini DisplayPorts and one HDMI port and its two DVI-I ports that allow it to be connected to either a VGA or a DVI monitor using the correct converter cable.

AMD Radeon HD 6950 graphics card connection ports - left to right- 2 Dual-Link DVI-I, 1 HDMI & 2x Mini-DisplayPort

AMD Radeon HD 6950 graphics card connection ports – left to right- 2 Dual-Link DVI-I, 1 HDMI & 2x Mini-DisplayPort

Note well that both of the graphics cards shown below (Radeon HD 6950 & 6990) use a single PCI Express x16 slot on the motherboard, but take up the space of two slots, so you have to make sure that the PC’s motherboard has a PCI-E x16 slot and enough slots for your other adapter cards, because you won’t be able to use the slot next to the slot that the graphics card is installed in.

AMD Radeon HD 6950 showing its two DisplayPorts, one analog VGA port and two DVI-I ports

AMD Radeon HD 6950 showing, left to right, its two digital DisplayPorts, one HDMI and two digital DVI-I ports

The highest-end (in March 2011) and very expensive AMD Radeon HD 6990 graphics card shown below only has four DisplayPorts and a single DVI-I port, but DisplayPort-to-DVI adapters are supplied for the DisplayPorts.

AMD Radeon HD 6990 showing is four DisplayPorts and single DVI-I port

AMD Radeon HD 6990 showing is four DisplayPorts and single DVI-I port

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