Adding or changing a monitor is not as simple as it used to be…
Change is not only inevitable, it is constant.
Computing hardware technologies evolve so it is important to know the changes in new devices and how they connect with your computer. Monitors have been in transition over the past few years, with Flat LCD screens, larger displays, higher resolutions, sharper pictures and more.
An often overlooked change has been how the connections on the monitors have evolved and how that change may affect your ability to use those newer monitors on your computer. You will need to ensure that your computer’s built-in connectors are compatible with the monitor’s built-in connectors and understand whether you will require additional hardware to make the connections work. This becomes even more important when you expand to a dual monitor set up. Monitors, which can come with a variety of connectors, need to be compatible with your computer.
Here is a breakdown of the common connectors you may find on your new monitors.
The VGA (Video Graphics Array) Connection – (Introduced in 1987)
The oldest of the connectors being used today and likely the first to be phased out completely in the next few years.
A Video Graphics Array (VGA) connector is a three-row 15-pin DE-15 connector. The 15-pin VGA connector is found on many video cards, computer monitors, and high definition television sets. On laptop computers or other small devices, a mini-VGA port is sometimes used in place of the full-sized VGA connector.
The DVI (Digital Visual Interface) Connection -(Introduced in 1999)
It was the first major monitor connector in more than a decade after VGA was introduced
The digital interface is used to connect a video source, such as a video display controller to a display device, such as a computer monitor. It was developed with the intention of creating an industry standard for the transfer of digital video content.
The interface is designed to transmit uncompressed digital video and can be configured to support multiple modes such as DVI-A (analog only), DVI-D (digital only) or DVI-I (digital and analog). Featuring support for analog connections, the DVI specification is compatible with the VGA interface. This compatibility, along with other advantages, led to its widespread acceptance over competing digital display standards Plug and Display (P&D) and Digital Flat Panel (DFP). Although DVI is predominantly associated with computers, it is sometimes used in other consumer electronics such as television sets, video game consoles, and DVD players.
The HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) Connection – (Introduced in 2002)
HDMI is a proprietary audio/video interface for transferring uncompressed video data and compressed or uncompressed digital audio data from an HDMI-compliant source device, such as a display controller, to a compatible computer monitor, video projector, digital television, or digital audio device. HDMI is a digital replacement for analog video standards.
The Display Port Connection – (Introduced in 2008)
DisplayPort is a digital display interface developed by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA). The interface is primarily used to connect a video source to a display device such as a computer monitor, though it can also be used to carry audio, USB, and other forms of data.
VESA designed it to replace VGA, DVI, and FPD-Link. DisplayPort is backwards compatible with VGA, DVI and HDMI through the use of passive and active adapters.
What are your options if your computer is not currently compatible?
Option 1: Get a Different Monitor
Not all monitors are created equally and you will find that they don’t all come with the same connectors. In fact, as manufacturers move to reduce production costs and bring in lower price points for products, old technology like the VGA connection and the DVI connection are being phased out on both computers and monitors. Be sure that the monitor has the same connectors you need to connect to on your computer. Future proof your purchase by getting the latest standards.
Option 2: Get a Different Computer
The type of computer you use will have an impact on the type of monitor connections you will have access to as well. A full tower computer has more room for manufacturers to add more built-in connections, but when you are looking at Micro Desktop Computers or Laptops, your choices will become more limited due to the space restrictions, and newer computer systems will likely only have a one Display Port and/or one HDMI connection built-in. These compact micro-computers do not have the option to add video cards, so you may be stuck with what you select when purchasing.
Option 3: Purchase Gender Changer Adapters
By far, the most cost effective option is to pick up an adapter that will allow you to change your computer connection or your monitor connection at one end of the cable to a compatible connection with your existing computer or monitor. These adapters can range in cost from $20 to $80 depending on the type of connections needed. The cost could double or triple, depending on how many monitors you want to connect to your computer and how many connections need to be converted. Typically an adapter for the newer Display port to HDMI will be less than a Display Port to older VGA connection. Keep in mind that HDMI cables are also used to transfer digital audio along with Video in the same cable, where the other connections are strictly for video only, so if you do convert HDMI to another standard you may need to disable the Audio output to the HDMI cable so that you do not lose your computer’s sound.
Option 4: Video Card Upgrades
If you have a computer that allows for add-on video cards, then you may be able to purchase a card that will provide you with more connections and the ability to support multiple monitors at the same time, if your computer’s built-in graphics do not allow for it. The cost of video card upgrades can range anywhere from $50 to $1,000 depending on capability.
*** Credit goes to wikipedia.org for Reference material.
Paul Comtois is a Client Support Specialist at Triella, a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Paul can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.
© 2016 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.