There are quite a few connections available on the front and back of a computer and on both sides of a laptop. Consider, for example, HDMI, DVI, VGA, DisplayPort, USB, Ethernet, eSata, and s/pdif. Is it already dizzy? We explain to you in detail which PC connections fulfill which function and how you connect everything correctly.
Tip 01: HDMI
Each desktop has an (integrated) video card that converts the graphical calculations into an image signal. Via a cable, this video card then sends the images to a monitor. The most used output for this is now HDMI, recognizable by two cut-off corners on the side. An advantage of this digital output is that it can transmit videos in a high resolution. On a suitable monitor, you can enjoy full-HD quality (1920 x 1080 pixels) or even an even higher resolution, provided the video card supports it. The connection is fast because it does not matter which side of the cable you prick into the monitor or computer. In addition to images, an HDMI cable can also transport an audio signal, particularly useful for monitors with built-in loudspeakers.
Tip 01 From left to right you can see the ports VGA, HDMI, and DVI.
There are different versions of HDMI. The higher the standard, the more functions the digital connection contains. For example, the first version only supported video transfer in full HD, while HDMI 1.4 can also transmit an ultra-HD signal (3840 x 2160 pixels). Nowadays HDMI 2.1 is the latest HDMI version. With this, it is even possible to pass videos in a maximum resolution of 7680 x 4320 pixels to a suitable monitor. This development is, however, particularly interesting for future televisions with a (huge) large screen diagonal. In general, average computer users can easily handle a lower HDMI standard.
HDMI 2.1 has a very high bandwidth and can, therefore, transmit towering resolutions for that reason.
Tip 02: Displayport
There are more digital connections that can transmit images in high resolution. Display port, in particular, is increasingly being seen on video cards for PCs and monitors. This connection looks like an HDMI connector visually; with the difference that only one cut-off corner is visible on the side. Furthermore, DisplayPort also supports high resolutions, with the version used playing a decisive role. Many devices support display port 1.2, which allows ultra-HD quality is achievable at a high refresh rate. In addition to a video signal, you can also use a DisplayPort cable to transmit sound. If the monitor has built-in speakers, you do not have to connect an extra cable in that case. Displayport is also suitable for connecting multiple monitors via a single connection. This function is called ‘daisy chaining’. Remember that not all monitors support this function.
Tip 02 The ports for DisplayPort and HDMI look very similar in appearance.
Displayport 1.2 supports ultra HD with a high refresh rate
Tip 03: DVI-D
For the transmission of a video signal from a computer to a monitor, the previously discussed connections HDMI and DisplayPort are preferred. Not everyone uses new hardware, so in this article, we also highlight ‘dated’ connections. There are different types of DVI standards, with DVI-d (dual-link), in particular, occurring very regularly. If you buy a new computer and/or monitor, the chances are that a DVI-D connector is present. You usually recognize this digital connection by the white colored connector with space for 24 pins plus a reclining pin. Make sure you use a DVI cable (dual-link) with the right pins. Connecting is simple because you prick the cable in the connector. If necessary, use both screw connections on the side to secure the cable. In contrast to HDMI and DisplayPort, DVI-d does not support transport of an audio signal. Furthermore, the maximum resolution in most cases is 2560 x 1600 pixels.
Tip 03 A DVI-d cable (dual-link) has a total of 25 pins, one of which is a recessed pin.
Tip 04: Vga
The last video connection that still occurs regularly in 2017 is VGA (also known as D-sub). Use this analog connection only if it really cannot be done differently. The video quality is significantly lower compared to HDMI, DisplayPort and also DVI-D. Especially on large screens, the difference with the previously discussed digital video connections is clearly visible. This video connection is, in fact, unsuitable for high resolutions. Moreover, VGA cannot handle audio transmission. Those who are forced to put a VGA connection between the computer and monitor, use the blue-colored connector with space for fifteen pins. Once the cable has been correctly attached, tighten everything by tightening both screw connections. The confirmation method of VGA is similar to that of DVI-d.
Tip 04 Many recent video cards still have the blue colored VGA connection.
It often happens that the available video connections on the computer and monitor do not match. For example, only an HDMI connection is available at the back of the PC, while the monitor only supports DVI-D. Especially when you connect two screens to the video card, you quickly encounter this problem. Fortunately, there are all kinds of adapter plugs with which you solve this problem. For example, there are adapters from HDMI to DVD-d and from DisplayPort to HDMI. In addition, all kinds of adapter cables are also available. For example, you can connect a DisplayPort connection directly to a monitor with HDMI, DVI-d or even VGA.
If necessary, use a handy adapter to connect different video connections.
Tip 05: Monitor on laptop
Even the smallest laptops usually have an extra video output on the side. This is usually (micro-) HDMI, but that may as well be (mini) DisplayPort, VGA or USB-c (see tip 7). You use these connections to connect an extra monitor to your laptop. In fact, you expand the desktop so that you have more space. This works a lot better because you no longer need to minimize dialog boxes to the taskbar. After connecting an external monitor, the operating system of your laptop usually recognizes the screen automatically. If necessary, go to Start / Settings / System / Display and choose the option for multiple displaysExtend these displays. This way you have a huge desktop. You can also choose to duplicate the displays. This is useful, for example, when a beamer is connected to the laptop instead of a monitor. The beamer shows exactly the same images as the screen of your laptop. Handy when you give a presentation or want to show a slideshow!
Tip 05 In the settings, indicate whether you want to expand or duplicate the displays.
Tip 06: USB ports
Every computer user is familiar with the use of USB ports. On the computer, you use this flat connector to connect all kinds of peripherals to the system, such as a keyboard, mouse, printer, USB stick, external drive, digital camera, smartphone, and tablet. Advantageously, a USB connection transports data in two directions. For example, you can copy data from an external hard disk to the PC and vice versa. Furthermore, a suitable USB port also provides the power supply for mobile devices. That way you do not have to connect an external 2.5-inch disk to the mains. Furthermore, you can charge your smartphones and tablets via USB. It is important that you correctly insert the USB plug into the USB port. Pay close attention to the top and bottom and do not press through at any resistance.
In addition to various USB connections, there are also various USB standards. The higher the version number, how fast the data transfer is possible. An ‘old-fashioned’ usb1.1 port supports a maximum speed of 12 Mbit / s, whereas USB 2.0 is theoretically good for 480 Mbit / s. The latest standard is USB 3.1. It is confusing that there are two variants of this, namely USB 3.1 gen1 and USB 3.1 gen2. Although the difference in naming is limited, this does not apply to the data rate. USB 3.1 gen1 is suitable for a theoretical data transfer of 5 Gbit / s, while USB 3.1 gen2 doubles the data rate to 10 Gbit / s.
A USB 3.0 port (or higher) can be recognized by a blue-colored connector on most systems.
Tip 07: USB-c
Since a few years, there is also a new variant of the traditional USB connection, namely USB-c. Compared to regular USB-a-ports, this modern connection is much more versatile. Apart from the transfer of data and power via the usual USB standards (see the ‘USB standards’ framework) USB-c also supports all sorts of other protocols. For example, you can use USB-c for video connections via HDMI, DVI, VGA, DisplayPort, and Thunderbolt. The latter standard can be found on MacBooks. In addition to the output of a razor-sharp video signal, MacBook users can also charge mobile devices and transfer data.
Advantageously, more and more equipment is provided with USB-c, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, monitors, power banks and external drives. Since it is possible to transport power, data, and video simultaneously via a single cable, it is expected that fewer cables will be required in the future. It is unfortunately not yet that because not all potential functions are automatically present on devices with a USB-c connection. For example, some products cannot be charged by a computer via USB-C, while data transfer is possible. Fortunately, compatibility is getting better. Unlike a traditional USB port, USB-c has no top or bottom. The incorrect connection is therefore impossible thanks to the reversible plug! Use a recent computer with USB-c, but is not your other peripheral equipment suitable for that? In that case, a USB-c-to-USB-a-adapter plug offers a solution.
Tip 07 Despite the small connector of the USB cable, this connection supports several protocols.
In addition to the transfer of data and power, USB-c is also suitable for video connections
Tip 08: Ethernet port
All desktops and by far most laptops have an Ethernet port. Here you plug a network cable so that the device connects to the internet. You push the so-called rj45 connector of the cable into the gate until it clicks into place. You can see whether there is currently traffic on the status LEDs. If you want to detach the cable again, push the plastic clip down carefully and then pull the plug out of the connector. Each Ethernet port supports maximum speed. Older devices usually have a network adapter with a data rate of up to 100 Mbit / s. If your PC or desktop is slightly newer, chances are that the Ethernet port supports a speed of 1 Gbit / s. Finally, there are also network cards that can tolerate a speed of 10 Gbit / s. A speed of 1 Gbit / s is very common in 2017,
Tip 08 The Ethernet connection has a square shape with a notch above or underneath for the rj45 clip.
Wireless or fixed?
Do you have the choice between a wireless or fixed internet connections As far as stability is concerned, a wired connection is always preferred? The radio waves of a Wi-Fi connection are in fact sensitive to interference, for example, because of neighboring networks or devices that broadcast on the same frequency. Furthermore, the bandwidth of a wireless network signal is limited. Especially if you stream movies in high resolution or play heavy network games, that can cause problems.
By far most routers have multiple ethernet ports and also transmit a WiFi signal.
Tip 09: Keyboard and mouse
If you use an older mouse and keyboard, you can connect these operating devices to the so-called ps / 2 connections on the back of the PC. These are two round inputs, where the green connector is intended for the mouse and the purple connector for the keyboard. A lot of connection Note that the pins match the holes. Instead of two separate connections, only a combined PS / 2 connections are available on many PCs. In that case, you need a special adapter cable so that you can also connect both control devices. Keyboards and mice with a ps / 2 connections are hardly available yet, although they still exist in some (web) stores. Usually, the connection now takes place via USB.
Tip 10: Sound output
Many monitors have integrated speakers, but the audio quality is not ideal due to the small sound box. For better sound, connect external speakers to the PC. For this, you call on the (mostly) green colored 3.5mm sound output. It is important that you use specific PC speakers. This usually concerns active loudspeakers with an integrated amplifier, in which a suitable connection cable with 3.5 mm plug is supplied. Surround sets often require multiple 3.5mm sound inputs, for example for the center speaker and rear surround speakers. Some computer loudspeakers can alternatively be connected to the PC via an optical S/pdif connection (also known as a Toslink), although these are rather rare. S/pdif is usually used as an alternative to connecting the computer as a source to an amplifier or receiver. That way you can play mp3 files directly on a stereo system. An optical S/pdif output is square on one side and usually contains a black dust cover. An alternative way to transmit the sound to an amplifier or receiver is via a coaxial S/pdif output. It is round and usually orange in color.
Tip 10 Most PC speakers are connected to the PC via the green 3.5 mm audio output.
For connecting speakers use the colored 3.5mm sound output
Tip 11: eSata
Some laptops and computers have an eSata connection. The function of this is simple, namely connecting an internal disk externally. Handy when you have a hard disk somewhere you want to read the data from. That way it is not necessary to build in the hard disk. Furthermore, you enjoy a faster throughput than is normally possible with an external USB drive. Incidentally, an eSata data cable is required for this connection. Manufacturers usually combine an eSata connection with a regular USB port.
Tip 11 Often an eSata connection is also compatible with a USB plug.
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