Types of Computer Cables You Must Know About

If you look at computer hardware and accessories keenly and try to identify them, you will find yourself overwhelmed by product descriptions, features and their abbreviations. Sometimes the product descriptions are abbreviated and users are expected to research and understand things about them on their own. And it gets even tougher if you are asked to set up the system.

Types of Computer Cables

As there are plenty of computer cables available in the market today and a lot is written about them, it is difficult to find a common resource which brings forth the common differences between them. Here’s a small guide to all the computer cables and their features.

1. VGA- Video Graphics Array

VGA cables were designed in the 1980s and they were standard cables which were used to connect computer to the monitor. These cables have 15 pins that are arranged in 3 rows with 5 pins in each row. Each row corresponds to 3 types of colours including red, green and blue. As people started preferring digital connections over analog ones, its popularity died down over the time. However, if you look at any display accessory or video card, you might come across a VGA Port.

2. DVI- Digital Visual Interface

As technology moved from Analog to digital, people started preferring DVI connections. Also known as Digital Visual Interface, it is a successor to VGA technology. Here’s what DVI can do:

a. DVI-A is capable of transmitting analog signals, making it backward compatible with VGA
b. DVI-D can transmit the latest digital signals
c. DVI-I can work with both analog and digital technology

Sometimes, you might also need VGA to DVI and DVI to VGA cable converter.

3. HDMI- High Definition Multimedia Interface Cables

High-definition broadcasts have become the latest standard of superior quality. HDMI is different from VGA and DVI as it can send both video and audio signals at once. But as these signals are digital, HDMI cables are only compatible with new devices. There are four types of HDMI:

a. Type A – The connector of this cable has 19 pins on the male head. It is compatible to single link DVI-D connections
b. Type B – This connector is bigger than connector A and has 29 pins on the male head. Type B is compatible to dual link DVI-D connections
c. Type C – It is a connector with 19 pins and is mostly used with portable devices, digital cameras and camcorders
d. Type D – This one also has 19 pins and looks like a micro-USB cord

4. Ethernet Cables

When it comes to setting up local area networks, Ethernet cables are used. They are usually used for connecting routers to computers and modems. In case you have tried to set up a computer system at home, you might have come across Ethernet cables. There are 3 types of Ethernet cables:

a. CAT 5: These are the most basic type of cables and are used to provide speed of 10 or 100 Mbps
b. CAT 5e: It is an abbreviated form of ‘Category 5 Enhanced’ and enables one to transmit data at 1,000 Mbps. This makes it faster and better as compared to CAT 5 cables.
c. CAT 6: This one is the latest cable and provides with best performance as compared to other two.

5. USB (Universal Serial Bus) Cables

USBs are ubiquitous in today’s world. It is possible to connect all types of peripheral devices including mice, keyboards, headsets, flash drives, adapters etc to a computer through a USB port and accompanying USB cables. You can find several versions of USBs in the market. These include:

a. USB 1.0/1.1 – It can transmit data up to 12 Mbps speed
b. USB 2.0 – It is the most commonly found USB in the market and can transmit data at the speed of 480 Mbps. It is also compatible with old USB versions.
c. USB 3.0 – It can transmit data with the speed of 4.8 GB/S and is compatible with its previous versions.

Above mentioned are some of the majorly used computer cables. There are many other cables like SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment), IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) etc. You can read more about them and their features on the internet.

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Article Author Details


Jennifer Truong is the owner of SF Cable, a california based online retailer of all kind of cables, wires, cords and other related accessories for computers and other consumer electronics. SF Cable is well known in the market for providing high quality products at low prices by sourcing them directly from manufacturers. Jennifer has extensive experience in the cable industry and has been instrumental in the growth of SF Cable and in establishing it as one of the leading providers of cables online.