Common Display Cable Adapters

This is a quick guide to common display cable adapters that you might require when connecting any type of display monitor or screen to your computer.

We’ll cover the different possible types of monitor/display ports, what types of adapters you might need in different situations, and other items to consider before purchasing an adapter.

Types of Display Connection Ports

There are many different types of connection ports for displays. Ones that you’ll likely come across are listed below –

  • VGA
  • Mini-VGA
  • DVI-D
  • DVI-I
  • Mini DVI
  • Micro DVI
  • HDMI
  • Mini HDMI
  • Micro HDMI
  • Display Port (DP)

The following connection types all have the same form-factor (physical appearance) and cables/sockets can plug interchangeably:

  • Mini Display Port
  • USB -C
  • Thunderbolt

Some monitor connector types also have the ability to carry audio signals.

There are also older connector types that pretty much aren’t used on newer systems anymore, but you may still see these on specialty or legacy equipment (for example VGA).\

In general, connector types are getting smaller and more streamlined – this is particularly true for laptops, where being more compact/slim is a selling feature.

What Type of Display Cable to Choose

An adapter simply allows you to plug one type of cable/port into a different type.

For example, if your computer display output only has a ‘DVI’ port for a monitor, but your monitor itself accepts only ‘HDMI’ or ‘Display Port’, then you will need a cable to connect these ports together.

You will therefore need a ‘DVI to HDMI cable’, or a ‘DVI to Display Port cable’.


When Do You Need An Adapter?

Sometimes, you might already have one type of cable, but due to a monitor or computer upgrade, your requirements to connect your display monitor to your computer will change. This is typical if you have upgraded to a newer monitor or computer, and the connection ports on that new piece of hardware follow newer conventions (typically HDMI or Display Port connections will have replaced the older VGA or DVI ports).

You have two choices here:

  1. You may be able to re-use your existing cable, with an adapter that adapts the connection type at one end as required
  2. You may just want to purchase a new cable that has the correct connector types at each end

The adapter basically converts the connection type at one end of your cable or at the connection point as required. This can be via a simple physical connection adaption, or a signal format adaption, or both.

You may also want to use an adapter if you are sharing a cable between multiple devices that have different connection ports available. In this case you might need an adapter when connecting your cable to device 1, but when connecting your cable to device 2, you might not require an adapter.

Common Types of Display Adapters

Below are some common display adapters. Some products even feature multiple ports to make them more flexible.

You’ll need to pay attention to male and female ends to ensure you are adapting the correct connector (or cable) as required for your particular situation.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Other Things to Consider When Selecting  Cables or Adapters

Not all the different connector types are compatible or can be adapted.

In some cases you can get a loss of signal quality when using adapters. This is why some people prefer to purchase new cables with the correct connector types at each end rather than use adapters.

Always check the manufacturer’s advertised compatibility when purchasing an adapter.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


I accept the Privacy Policy