Monitor cables hdmi: A Complete Guide to Monitor Cable Types

A Complete Guide to Monitor Cable Types

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The monitor cable types used to connect displays to desktop and laptop PCs have changed dramatically over the years. There have been improvements in bandwidth and reductions in latency, and hosts of new features introduced. Where older cables could only transmit low-resolution analog video, more modern cables can transmit digital video and audio. Some can even handle power as well, while others let you do advanced daisy-chaining of multiple monitors on a single string of cables.

Whether you’re looking to buy a new display with a particular connector, or want to identify ones on an older screen, here’s a complete guide to monitor cable types and what they can do.

What Are The Different Monitor Cable Types?

The most common monitor cable types you’ll come across are:

HDMI – A mainstream audio and video transmission cable that’s been predominantly used on consumer TVs and monitors, games consoles, DVD and Blu-Ray players for well over a decade. In some rare cases it’s available in mini form.

Browse HDMI Cables

DisplayPort – Another audio and video transmission cable that is more commonly found on desktop monitors. DisplayPort cables have traditionally offered greater bandwidth than HDMI, though that’s not always the case. You’ll also find the Mini DisplayPort cable type, which is a miniature version of the full-size port commonly found on laptops.

Browse DisplayPort Cables

DVI – A video only cable type that is typically found on older monitors, desktop graphics cards, and laptops. Commonly found in DVI-D and DVI-I formats, it was also available as Mini-DVI and Micro-DVI for a time.

Browse DVI Cables

VGA – An older analog standard of video-only cable that gained prominence in the early ‘90s. Since superseded by DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort, it’s only typically found on older monitors.

Browse VGA Cables

USB-C – The most versatile monitor cable type, USB-C can transmit audio, video, and data simultaneously, thanks to its support of the DisplayPort Alt Mode protocol. USB-C monitors can, in some cases, also transmit power to connected laptops, while portable USB-C monitors can be powered entirely by a single USB-C from the host device.

Browse USB-C Cables

Thunderbolt – A proprietary monitor cable type that was until recently restricted to Intel-based systems, different versions of Thunderbolt used different connectors. Thunderbolt 1 and 2 used Mini DisplayPort, where Thunderbolt 3 and 4 use USB-C. It can support audio, video, and data, and has some of the highest bandwidth of any monitor cable type.

Browse Thunderbolt Cables

Component – These red, green, and blue connectors are sometimes included on monitors to offer an analog video connection type that’s more capable than VGA. It can be useful for connecting older DVD players, or cable set top boxes.

Composite – An older, lower resolution alternative to Component (though it can carry audio as well as video) this monitor cable type comes with red, white, and yellow connectors, and is largely used in older games consoles, VCRs, and set top boxes.

Other monitor cable types you may see included on some displays, include the legacy optical audio connector, or traditional USB-A ports to use the monitor as a USB hub.

What Monitor Cable Do I Need?

Depending on your choice of monitor cable types, you’ll need to buy a monitor cable as well. Cable Matters carries a large selection of cables in nearly every format mentioned so far. For newer standards like Thunderbolt, HDMI, and DisplayPort, it’s best to opt for the newest and most capable cables for maximum future-proofing.


Cable Matters DisplayPort 1.4 Cable


Cable Matters HDMI 2.1 Cable

Cable Matters Thunderbolt 4 Cable

Cable Matters DVI Cable

Cable Matters VGA Cable

Why Cable Type Matters For A Monitor

There are a number of factors that go into choosing the best monitor cable type to connect to your display with. You’ll be limited by the physical port options on your display and your source device, whether it’s a games console, desktop PC, a laptop, or something else entirely. There are also bandwidth limitations to consider, which can affect the maximum resolution and refresh rate that your monitor can run at, and additional features like HDMI’s ARC and eARC can be another factor to consider.

Although all of the previously listed monitor cable types can deliver video to compatible monitors, they all have vastly different capabilities, so it’s important to pick the right one for what you want to watch or play and what you’re watching or playing it on.

Best Monitor Cable Type for Productivity and Gaming

Best Gaming Monitor Cable Type

For gaming the best monitor cable type is the one that is compatible with both your monitor and gaming system (be it a console, laptop, or desktop PC) and offers you the greatest possible bandwidth. This is especially true if you’re targeting high frame rates (100+ frames per second) and ultra high resolutions, like 4K.

For new generation games consoles like the Xbox Series S/X and PlayStation 5, you want to use an HDMI 2.1 cable connected to an HDMI 2.1 gaming monitor or TV. This gives you all the bandwidth you need, and opens up the option of use eARC for reduced cabling in surround sound speaker setups. For desktop and laptop gamers, HDMI 2.1 is still a great choice, giving you all the bandwidth you need for 4K gaming at up to 144Hz (or even 240hz using Display Stream Compression).

That said, only the latest-generation graphics cards have HDMI 2.1 support, so you are more likely to be better off using a DisplayPort cable, as it offers enough bandwidth to handle up to 4K resolution at up to 120Hz and can be found on a much wider range of graphics cards.

If you’re trying to game on a much older PC and you’re given a choice between VGA and DVI, opt for the latter, as it can transmit a digital signal and offers greater resolution support.

Best Productivity Monitor Cable Type

Work doesn’t have quite the same demands as gaming, so you can get away with a broader choice of monitor cable types. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some benefit to using higher-end modern cables that support higher refresh rates and resolutions. Working at 1440p or 4K can mean more screen space and better-quality visuals and video, so using a recent generation HDMI or DisplayPort cable can be a good idea.

Alternatively, for a leaner desk environment with fewer overall cables and plenty of bandwidth, USB-C and Thunderbolt cables may be the best option. You will be more restricted in your choice of monitor, but these cables can be great for cutting back on desk clutter, especially if you’re connecting a modern laptop to an external display, where video output options are limited.

Modern vs. Old Monitor Cable Types

Older monitor cable types like VGA only transmit analog instead of digital signals, requiring conversion before and after transmission. They’re also limited in the resolution and refresh rates they support. That goes for older digital cable types too, like DVI and Component, which are limited to 1080p (1,920 x 1,080) at most. Most are limited to transmitting just the video signal too, needing an additional cable to handle audio.

In comparison, modern connectors like HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort can go far beyond that, transmitting both audio and video over a single connection. They also support high frame rates at 4K, or lower frame rates at even up to 16K resolution when using Display Stream Compression. They can also handle modern imaging standards like HDR, and modern audio features like Dolby Atmos.

USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 and 4 don’t have quite the same bandwidth as the newest HDMI and DisplayPort standards, but they are incredibly versatile, with their ability to handle audio, video, and high-speed data transmission, and in some cases transmit power to connected portable devices too – all through one cable. They can even do it simultaneously, making them far more capable than any of the old monitor cable types still found on some legacy devices.

Staples® Official Online Store

School supplies, made easy

The success of your students starts with the right supplies. Whether you’re a parent or caregiver with one or more kids in school, or a teacher responsible for an entire classroom, Staples is a one-stop shop for all the school supplies you need. From writing supplies and paper to school tech and furniture, we have everything on your back-to-school list.

Shop by grade

Staples makes it easy to get exactly what your students need by organizing all the essentials by grade. Shop for preschool supplies like learning toys and rest mats, or elementary school supplies for everything your kids need from kindergarten through 5th grade. Our selection of middle school supplies includes more advanced items like planners and scientific calculators, and you can find everything you need for high school in our high school supplies section. Getting ready for college? From dorm essentials to laptops, get everything you need from our selection of college supplies.

All the essentials for school

Whether you want to shop by subject or are looking for furniture and supplies for learning at home, we’ve got the right selection. Browse classroom essentials including cleaning supplies, storage, classroom décor, snacks, and teacher supplies. For everything from school art supplies to calculators, binders, school backpacks, lunch boxes and more, we’ve got what your students need to succeed.

Take a seat

Whether you’re working from home or outfitting a space for gaming, your comfort is dependent on finding the best chair. At Staples, we provide a broad range of office chairs and seating, so you can find the right fit for you. Select from multifunctional task chairs, computer & desk chairs, drafting stools and more. If you will be using your new chair for multiple hours a day, make sure to get an ergonomic office chair to prevent unnecessary strain.

Comfort, all day long

Office furniture that is the proper size and height makes a big difference. When shopping for chairs, the height of the seat should be adjustable so that the user’s feet can sit flat on the floor with their knees at right angles. Likewise, the accompanying office desk should be at a height where the users’ elbows can sit comfortably at right angles at their sides while typing or writing. Browse our selection to find the combination that’s right for you. If size if a concern, check out our big & tall chairs which can support up to 500lbs.

Game on

If you’re a gamer, you know that a single gaming session can last all day or night. For the best and most comfortable gaming setup, Staples has gaming chairs in colors and styles for everyone. Make sure to match your new chair to an ergonomic gaming desk, the perfect complement for the high-tech gaming computer and accessories you’ve invested in.

Show seasonal allergies who’s boss

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, now is when they are at their worst. Stock up on allergy season’s most important products to keep your home, classroom, and office allergen-free. Start with an air purifier to strip the air of allergens like pollen and pet dander and replace existing air filters for improved air quality. Frequently dust, wipe down hard surfaces, and vacuum carpets and furniture to help eliminate pollen tracked in from outside and dander left behind by pets. When leaving the house, check the pollen count and bring a face mask to help filter the air you breath outside.

No matter what you do, it’s unlikely that the symptoms of seasonal allergies can be avoided entirely. Make sure to have over-the-counter cold and allergy medications on hand to battle symptoms, and stock up on facial tissues so you’ll always have one available when you need them.

Spring (Cleaning) is in the air

Spring cleaning and decluttering is a tradition meant to refresh our spaces for the year ahead. Staples has everything you need to clear out the clutter, store and organize your belongings, and all the right cleaning supplies.

Clear out the clutter

Start by preparing a checklist and make sure you have all the necessary supplies. Use storage bins and a label maker to make sorting and organizing easier. Prepare extra boxes for donations and trash bags for the things you no longer need. Look for decorative boxes & baskets that will compliment your home’s décor and use them to organize. You can also use closet organizers and storage drawers anywhere they are needed.

Start with the basics

An all-purpose cleaner, cleaning brush and microfiber cloths will clean most surfaces. Use a duster to remove unwanted dirt and furniture polish to revitalize wood surfaces. Upgrade your broom, dustpan, wet mop, and vacuum to make cleaning any type of flooring a breeze.

The nitty gritty

Spring cleaning doesn’t stop there. There’s so much you can do to reset your home:

  • Improve air quality and eliminate pollen and pet dander with a new air purifier and an air freshener with a scent you love.
  • On a sunny day, take the opportunity to clean your windows – you’ll need glass cleaner, a bucket, a squeegee, and paper towels.
  • Have a step stool or ladder on hand to access hard-to-reach places like the tops of cabinets and overhead lighting.
  • Replace broken light bulbs and check the batteries in your smoke detectors.
  • Use drain cleaner to clear up sink and bathtub drains.

Up your printing game with a Supertank Printer

Looking for a printer with more print capacity that’s better for the environment and your wallet? Shop Staples selection of Supertank Printers for all the benefits of an inkjet printer with the convenience and savings of replacement ink bottles that last longer and cost less per page than standard inkjet printer cartridges.

Find a Supertank printer from your favorite top printer brand including:

  • HP Smart Tank & Neverstop Printers
  • Brother INKVestment Tank Printers
  • Canon MegaTank Printers
  • Epson EcoTank Printers

And don’t forget to browse Staples Ink and Toner Finder to find the right replacement ink for your new printer. No matter what printer you have, enter the brand, cartridge or printer model into the easy-to-use Ink and Toner Finder, and browse for compatible ink.

Rest assured it arrives safely & securely

Whether you are sending business documents or customer products, shipping and mailroom supplies from Staples make the process seamless.

Keep packing supplies ready for easy shipping. Padded envelopes and bubble mailers are perfect for shipping small, non-fragile items. Pack larger items in shipping boxes that are slightly larger than the item, and use packing peanuts, bubble roll, or other packing materials to keep objects from moving in the box during transport. Choose the right packing tape to ensure your packages will stay sealed. Staples carries clear acrylic packing tape for everyday shipping and reinforced or water activated tape for packages that require a heavier duty seal.

Manage the day-to-day office correspondence smoothly with a wide selection of business envelopes, inter-office envelopes, and catalog envelopes in the mailroom. Have finger pads and envelope moisteners on hand for speedy document collation and a quick seal. Choose security envelopes for confidential office correspondence and inter-office communications. If your office or organization sends out large mailings, consider a paper folding machine and self-sealing envelopes to increase efficiency.

Connecting the monitor to a device such as a computer

Supported products:

HUAWEI MateView GT(34”)

Supported products:

  • Certain components and cables are not included with the device and must be purchased separately.
  • Standard cables vary by monitor model.

Open the protective cover at the bottom of the back of the monitor to expose the ports. The monitor can be connected to a device such as a computer, depending on the type of cable.

  • Below the ports is a monitor nameplate that provides information such as the unit’s serial number.
  • After connecting the cables, it is recommended to replace the protective cover to keep dust out of the ports.
  • You can adjust the angle and height of the monitor as needed.

DP or HDMI cable connection

  1. Connect one end of the DP or HDMI cable to the DP or HDMI port on the monitor and the other end to the DP or HDMI port on the computer.

    If you want to use the microphone of the ZQE-CAA monitor, you also need a USB-C to USB-A cable to connect the monitor to your computer.

  2. Connect other cables, such as monitor and computer power cables, and then turn on the monitor and computer. If the monitor screen turns on, it means that you have connected everything correctly.

USB-C to USB-C cable connection

  • This connection only applies to ZQE-CAA monitors.
  • We recommend using the USB-C to USB-C cable that came with the monitor. If you use a non-standard cable, some functions may not be available.
  • The USB-C port of the external device must support display, data transfer, and charging.
  • This connection supports charging connected devices such as laptops or phones.

Computer connection

  1. Connect one end of the USB-C to USB-C cable to the monitor’s USB-C port and the other end to the computer’s USB-C port.

    In this case, the monitor microphone can be used.

  2. Connect other cables, such as monitor and computer power cables, and then turn on the monitor and computer. If the monitor screen turns on, it means that you have connected everything correctly.

Connect to phone or tablet

  1. Connect one end of the USB-C to USB-C cable to the monitor’s USB-C port and the other end to the phone’s or tablet’s USB-C port.
  2. Connect the monitor to a power source and press the function button to turn on the monitor. The phone or tablet screen will be projected onto the monitor. When you perform operations on a phone or tablet, the screen content will be displayed synchronously on the monitor.

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How best to connect the monitor (this may come in handy)

In this article, we will analyze five ways to connect a monitor, what are their disadvantages and advantages.





USB Type-C





USB Type-C



VGA – obsolete th analog format, which is still found even on expensive monitor models. On video cards, on the contrary, it is practically not used, with the exception of the cheapest options, which are only suitable for office work. Modern game models have completely switched to other standards.

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VGA connection can be used if there is no alternative. As a rule, the most inexpensive monitors have only one input – VGA. To connect a modern video card without an analog output to it, you will need a special adapter .

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Since this is an analog interface, the resolution of the signal depends on the length, presence of shielding and the overall quality of the cable. In most cases, you should expect 1920×1080 or 1600×1200 resolution at 60Hz or higher. AT sales cables may be referred to as VGA or SVGA.


DVI is a more advanced interface. It can be analog (DVI-A), digital (DVI-D) or combined (DVI-I). The cheap DVI to VGA adapters will only work if the DVI output supports an analog signal. Otherwise, you need a adapter with a converter, which is more expensive.

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In terms of picture quality, it surpasses VGA and allows you to work at higher resolutions. The Dual Link cable supports signal output at 2560×1600 resolution at 60Hz.

DVI is still found even on modern gaming graphics cards like the RTX 2060. This is handy if you need to display the image on an old monitor without HDMI or DisplayPort.


HDMI is present on almost any modern TV and on most monitors. Also, modern gaming video cards most often have at least one HDMI port. Today it is one of the most common ways to transmit video and audio signals.

HDMI is compatible with DVI (except analog) so cheap adapters can be used. To output HDMI to VGA, you will need an adapter with a signal converter.

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The transmitted signal parameters depend on the interface version. The most common revisions are 1.4 and 2.0, but recently the 2.1 standard is gaining popularity, which we talked about in a separate article . The choice of version depends on what resolution and refresh rate you need.

  • 1.4 – 1080p@120Hz, 1440p@60Hz, 4K@30Hz;
  • 2.0 – 1440p@120Hz, 4K@60Hz;
  • 2.1 – 4K@120Hz, 8K@60Hz.

Monitors with a resolution of 1440p and a refresh rate of 120 Hz and above are quite popular. Therefore, HDMI version 1.4 may not be enough for gaming computers. In addition, when connecting monitors and TVs with a high refresh rate via HDMI, you need to be careful. Through HDMI, the maximum frequency when using adaptive sync may be lower than the maximum frequency of the monitor. For example, you won’t be able to use FreeSync at 144Hz. Things are even more complicated with G-Sync support. Over HDMI adaptive sync NVIDIA works only on displays with HDMI 2.1 version.

HDMI cables do not have a version (although sometimes they are still indicated by ), instead the designations are used:

  • high speed – for version 1. 4;
  • premium – for version 2.0;
  • ultra high speed – for version 2.1.

HDMI versions are backward compatible, but bandwidth will be limited to the lowest revision. Be sure to check the interface versions on the source and destination. So, not all video cards have an HDMI 2.1 connector. For example, NVIDIA’s 20-series graphics cards are only equipped with versions 2.0. That is, you will not be able to receive a 4K @ 120Hz signal, even if the display supports it.

Since the signal is digital, the image does not depend on the quality of the cable. If the cheap and expensive models work and deliver the same advertised throughput, then the price difference doesn’t matter. However, there are other nuances: with a length of more than 10 meters, you need to use a signal amplifier or a cable with fiber optics. Such cables are directional, that is, one end of the cable must be inserted strictly into the source, and the other into the receiver.

In general, HDMI is a universal interface that can be found in almost any electronics, from inexpensive digital set-top boxes to game consoles and premium equipment.


DisplayPort is a modern video interface most commonly used on graphics cards and monitors. In terms of performance, DisplayPort is superior to HDMI, so it is better to connect gaming monitors through it. This is the most hassle-free and versatile solution that will provide the best resolution at high screen refresh rates. DisplayPort has several revisions, which, like HDMI, determine the parameters of the transmitted signal:

  • 1.2 – 1440p@120Hz, 4K@60Hz;
  • 1.3 / 1.4 – 4K@120Hz, 5K@60Hz;
  • 2.0 – 5K@120Hz, 10K@60Hz;

Be aware that the length of DisplayPort cables loses to HDMI. While optical HDMI cables can reach 100 meters and are easy to find on sale for a reasonable price, DisplayPort is most often limited to 10 meters. Although on Aliexpress you can still find cable with a length of 333 meters for insane 226,000 rubles, including discounts. There are no product reviews.

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USB Type-C

USB Type-C connection is mainly used in laptops and other mobile devices. If your device supports Type-C video, you can connect a compatible monitor. Interestingly, Type-C is even installed on some desktop video cards.

When using USB Type-C, it is important to understand that the presence of the appropriate connector does not guarantee that video can be output through it. A connector is the physical format of a connector and, accordingly, a cable for it. This is also true of the D-SUB connector, which is used not only for VGA video output, but also for data transmission using the RS-232 standard. You can read more about this in article 9.0030 “Why do I need an RS-232 connector” .

As a general rule, if there is a lightning (Thunderbolt 3) or DP icon next to the Type-C connector, video output is possible. This connection provides quite competitive signal quality. DisplayPort supports video output up to 8K@60Hz.