This month we will discuss cables.  If you look behind your computer you see an array of cables of varying sizes and colors.  With so many types of cable available, it’s hard to tell one from another.  Here is an overview of the cables that everyone should know.


VGA (Video Graphic Array)

VGA Cable

VGA cables were created in the 1980’s when they became the standard cable used to connect a computer to a monitor.  More recently, VGAs have faded out of popularity due to the shift towards digital connections.  Still, if you look on any video card or display apparatus, there is a good chance you will see a VGA port.


DVI (Digital Visual Interface)

DVI Cable

The DVI connection became the successor to the VGA as technology moved away from analog towards digital.  Digital displays, like LCDs, proved to be higher quality, and soon became the market standard for homes.  DVI connectors come in three varieties:.

  • “DVI-A-“can transmit analog signals, allowing backwards compatibility with VGA useful for CRT monitors and LCDs of lower quality.
  • “DVI-D” can transmit the newer digital signals.
  • “DVI-I” is capable of both analog and digital.


HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface)

HDMI Cable

Hi-Definition broadcasts refined the standard of high-quality.  Unlike VGA and DVI, HDMI sends video and audio signals together.  The signals are digital so HDMI is only compatible with newer devices.  HDMI connectors come in four types:.


  • “Type A” is the most popular and is compatible with DVI-D connections.
  • “Type B” is larger than Type A and is compatible with dual-link DVI-D connectors.
  • “Type C” is most often used with portable devices like camcorders and digital cameras.
  • “Type D” looks similar to a micro USB cord.

USB (Universal Serial Bus)

USB Cable

The USB connection is quite possibly the most popular connection type used today.  Nearly every type of computer peripheral can be connected to a computer through a USB connecter.  The design has evolved over the years, which means there are multiple versions.


  • USB 1.0 transmits data at speeds up to 12Mbps (Megabits per second).
  • USB 2.0 can transmit data at speeds up to 480 Mbps and is compatible with older versions of USB. Currently the USB 2.0 is the most common type found in the market.
  • USB 3.0 can transmit data at speeds up to 4.8 Gigabits per second and is compatible with previous versions of USB.

Mini and micro USB connectors are most often used with smaller, portable devices like smartphones and digital cameras.



Firewire Cable


FireWire is similar to a USB.  It enables high speed data transfer for computer peripherals.  High bandwidth devices, like printers and scanners benefit from FireWire but is not as widespread as USB.


Ethernet Cables


Ethernet Cables




Ethernet cables are used to set up local area networks.  In most cases, they are used to connect routers to modems and computers.  If you ever tried to install or fix a home router, you have likely dealt with an Ethernet computer cable.  There are three varieties.


  • “Cat 5” cables are the most basic type and provide speeds of either 10 Mbps or 100Mbps.
  • “Cat 5e” which means Cat 5 Enhanced, allows for faster data transmission than its predecessor.
  • “Cat 6” is the latest and it offers the best performance of the three. It is capable of supporting 10 Gbps speeds.



I hope that you found this information helpful.  Please feel free to forward it to others.  If you would like to learn more about this topic or would like to request a topic, please contact me. If you missed any past newsletters or would like a printed copy, please visit my website at.


Until next time…Happy Computing!!!



About Michael DeFlorio
I have worked is various positions as a system administrator, support technician, as a help desk support, and as an IT consultant in a corporate environment. I currently run a small business where I provide computer services such as hardware configuration, installation, for residential and for medium and small businesses. You can contact me by email or visit my website at

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