Technology can be complex. We are here to simplify IT. That’s why we started the technology 101 course, to encourage the not so tech-savvy to become more comfortable with tech talk. Technology can be transformational for your business, but too many business professionals' experiences with technology would be more readily described by the word “terrible” than transformational. Understanding the fundamentals is very important, especially if you are in the market to buy a new computer, monitor, or any other type of smart device.
First up for discussion in our technology fundamentals will be Display Ports. The monitors and screens in your schools, offices, and homes all connect to some kind of display ports. Each accessible port has its own function that differs from the others.
There are three major components that enable visual data to be displayed onto a screen from your computer hardware.
1. Video Card with Display Ports 2. Cable/Connector 3. Monitor or Screen with Display Port
Inside each computer there is a circuit board that controls the output on the display screen called a video card. SeedSpark often gets questions about adding dual monitors to a PC, but the ability to do this is limited by the video card and the ports included on it. If your video card has multiple ports it should enable you to have two dual screens working at the same time, or have your laptop connect to a larger monitor for a larger picture. If not, you may end up needing to change the video card on your device. Some devices support this, but many micro form factor PC’s or super lite laptops do not support a change in video card.
On monitors ports are usually located on the side or the back panel. In our opinion, an ideal monitor is capable of connecting to an HDMI, DVI, and VGA port without having to use an adapter. If you are looking to purchase a new monitor, we would recommend that you search for one that has the capability to connect to all three ports, or have a technology professional at SeedSpark pick one for you.
Now that you know what to look for in a monitor, let’s dive deeper into understanding each type of port.
- HMDI Port:
HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface. Due to its amazing resolution output, it is the most commonly sold connector today. The picture resolution that is projected from this port is crystal clear,
that is why it’s called high definition. HDMI connecting cords for this interface are typically black and have gold colored ends. Compared to standard TVs and monitors, HDTVs have a wider screen, more pixels and a faster refresh rate which created the need for this special HDMI standard that transfers graphics to a screen digitally and uncompressed. There is actually an entire website dedicated to the HDMI standard of digital graphics transfer (http://www.hdmi.org/).
There are three other types of ports you may see on particular brands of computers that also carry similar quality to HDMI connections.
[DISPLAYPORTS] by Dell
A DisplayPort is typically used among high end architects and desiners, and isn’t as common of a port on a basic machine. It is however, better than a DVI port (that we’ll talk about next) because of the high resolution it displays on a desktop or laptop monitor. Pictured here is a display port to HDMI converter.
[THUNDERBOLT DISPLAY] by Apple
This port is a great product for graphic designers because the resolution is very clear, but it’s only found on Mac’s. This port does have other capabilities beyond just transfering display graphics, but since this blog is only covering display ports and interfaces, we'll leave that discussion for another day.
USB-C connectors are the future of connecting for power, display, and data transfer. This will eventually help technology manufacturing companies create thinner and lighter laptops and tablets. Apple is already implementing this connector on their newest laptop, and it is able to support Thunderbolt connection as well as adapt to connect to DisplayPort, HDMI, USB, and VGA port. This connector is slightly thicker than a micro USB connector. Unlike older USB standards it does not have an up or down orientation, so . you won’t have to flip the connector to plug it in like you would have to do with other ports.
The cable will have the same connector on both ends, therefore you won’t have to figure out which end to plug into the monitor or digital source. It’s twice as fast as the USB 3.0, and also 20 times as fast as the old USB 2.0 cable, that we still use today to connect to many devices.
The power it is able to produce will have the ability to charge full size laptops, such as the MacBook Pro. To have a more in depth understanding of the new USB-C, check out our other blog that lists all of the pros and cons.
- DVI Port:
DVI stands for Digital Visual Interface. Many people use this port because of its digital capabilities and low cost. It’s used to connect a video source to a display device (monitor), and is very reliable. The cord for this almost always has white ends to fit into the white ports on your computer and monitor. The receiving port will appear to have a grid of square holes with a smaller rectangle offset to the right side of the receiver.
- VGA Port:
VGA stands for Video Graphics Array. Due to being the oldest and most outdated port, it has received the name “Tube Tech” in our office. It doesn’t matter what type of monitor you use to connect it to, the resolution is not the greatest, and while many monitors still ship with a blue VGA cord in the box, our team recommendeds not using this cord. The connecting cord for this almost always has blue ends and is shaped like a trapezoid. It contains a grid of circular holes in the receiving port.
Depending on the type of work or job you do, it is useful to think about your need for single or dual monitors. If you anticipate needing dual monitors or upgrading to dual monitors in the future, consider a video card that can support multiple ports and investigate the types of ports included. Then, match those ports up with monitors that contain the same display port types so you can avoid daisy chains of adapters. If you have any questions concerning this topic, don’t be afraid to reach out to SeedSpark We are always here to help you with your tech questions!