Cable Key to Quality Connection
Last week we looked at both dedicated and integrated video cards and their respective good and bad points. To sum up the article – for around 90% of desktop PC users, an integrated (no extra cost) video card is actually way more beneficial than a dedicated (extra cost) card. This week it naturally follows that we should look at the connection types between your desktop PC and your monitor (loosely called the display cable).
For years now the VGA (blue thumbscrew) connection has been the standard with a typical cable length around 6 foot (1.8 meters). This connection type is still popular and available today, although there are now far better connections. This ‘old school’ VGA connection is also referred to as an analogue connection and basically it is somewhat limited on the quality of information that it can carry.
On the other hand the DVI (white thumbscrew) connection is newer and is referred to as a digital connection. With a typical length similar to the VGA connection it still only carries a video signal (no sound) however it will produce a far crisper and more true to life display on modern LCD screens than is possible with VGA. If you are still using the blue VGA connector but both your screen and your PC have this white coloured DVI connector then you should be swapping over to it.
More recently we have also seen HDMI and Display Port connections released to the IT industry. Both of these are digital connection types however they can also carry the sound signal at the same time as video. If you are connecting a laptop or PC to a large TV screen then either of these are the way to go – although the HDMI connection is far more wide spread.
If you are using the same screen resolution and refresh rate then ANY of these ‘digital’ connections will produce exactly the same crisp result and the choice will be determined principally by what connections are available to you. Although in the case of HDMI there are heaps of longer cables readily available which are popular, especially if connecting to a TV.
Before rushing out to replace a VGA cable check what connections you have at both the screen and PC ends and if you are not sure then take a photo of each end to show to the place of purchase. Be wary when purchasing HDMI cables as many retailers are charging like wounded bulls for ‘premium’ cables that give zero extra benefit in most situations. In the case of digital connections, it either works or it doesn’t – there is no in between.
Another tip when buying a new screen or changing over cables is to make sure that you only use one connection type to each screen, connecting 2 display cables from the same PC to the same screen will cause all sorts of problems. Many modern computers will have all three connectors (VGA, DVI & HDMI) or some combination of these such as 2 DVI & one HDMI. The idea here is that you can connect a single PC to more than one screen.
We are selling and setting up two screens for many of our business customers as it does both reduce stress and make you more productive when spending a day at work behind the desk. At home there is little to be gained by having more than one screen but in a work situation research has shown that dual screens give an average productivity gain of 20%.
Next week we will look at screen resolutions and refresh rates and their influence on picture quality.
Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.
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