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Old 08-13-2019, 11:13 AM
aceplace57 is offline
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Why Do Laptops still include a VGA port instead of DVI-D?


I bought a Dell Latitude laptop for my mom last winter. Her tower PC died and I wanted something smaller & much lighter. I want to connect the laptop to her 20 inch flat screen monitor. We'll also use a USB keyboard and mouse. The laptop is just replacing the bulky tower.

It's amazing laptops still use VGA. I dug a 20 year old VGA flat screen out of storage to test the laptop port. It works.

Mom's monitor is DVI-D or DVI-I and about six years old. I'm trying to find a adapter to connect it to the laptop.

Bought one of these. It didn't work. Monitor never came on.

StarTech.com (DVIVGAFMBK) DVI-I to VGA Cable Adapter - Black - F / M - DVI I to VGA Adapter for Your VGA Monitor or Display https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004I6IYIW..._abUuDbBWQW1X3

I'm going to buy one of these next and try. It's an active adapter and requires USB power.

UGREEN VGA to DVI-D 24+1 Male to Female Adapter Cable Supports 1080P Full HD with 1.5ft USB Power Cord for Computer, PC, Laptop, HDTV, Projector, DVD Graphics Card and More VGA DVI Enabled Devices https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XYNDYJW..._6dUuDbG2JGDVB

Why do Laptops still use obsolete VGA ports instead of DVI-I or DVI-D?

Do they even sell VGA monitors anymore?

Last edited by aceplace57; 08-13-2019 at 11:17 AM.
  #2  
Old 08-13-2019, 11:14 AM
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Does the laptop have HDMI?
  #3  
Old 08-13-2019, 11:18 AM
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Unfortunately not. The only graphics port is VGA.

Unless HDMI can be accessed through USB? I'd have to check the Specs from the Dell service tag. Find out more about the graphics chip in the laptop.

Last edited by aceplace57; 08-13-2019 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:29 AM
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I know almost nothing about HDMI except it comes on the new TV's.

DirectTv used HDMI to connect my mom's flat panel tv. I think it's 36 inch? Maybe 40.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:30 AM
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Lots of companies out there who have old, expensive, but still working projectors which VGA is the only PC input.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Why do Laptops still use obsolete VGA ports instead of DVI-I or DVI-D?
They're both obsolete, but VGA is like the 3.5mm aux plug of video ports, it's backwards compatible with just about everything so business laptops often have it to work in old conference rooms.

Are you sure there's no displayport or mini-displayport on the laptop? What's the model number? I'd be really surprised if VGA was the only output.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:41 AM
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If I remember correctly, the Dell Latitude series is designed & marketed as business laptops. Many business users still need VGA regularly because many businesses & institutions are slow to upgrade their conference rooms, and still have projectors with only VGA input.

By the way, DVI is pretty much obsolete, replaced by HDMI and DisplayPort. A modern laptop should have one of those, or USB-C/Thunderbolt-3 which can output HDMI and DisplayPort through an adapter. Are you sure this Dell Latitude doesn't have any of these? Which model is it exactly?

Last edited by scr4; 08-13-2019 at 11:42 AM.
  #8  
Old 08-13-2019, 11:41 AM
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Latitude 3580

https://www.dell.com/support/article...-guide?lang=en

That's a visual guide. I see the HDMI port. I had mistaken it for another USB port.

So all I need is a HDMI to DVI adapter to connect a standard flat screen digital monitor?

I can ignore the obsolete VGA port?

This adapter should work?
HDMI to DVI Adapter, CableCreation [2-Pack] Bi-Directional HDMI Male to DVI Female Converter, 1080P DVI to HDMI Conveter, 3D, 0.15M Black https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FM521W2..._.IUuDbR6ZWPBP

Last edited by aceplace57; 08-13-2019 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:42 AM
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Are you sure there's no displayport or mini-displayport on the laptop? What's the model number? I'd be really surprised if VGA was the only output.
I suspect OP's either got an older model or he doesn't know what he's looking at. On Dell's Latitude product page, every machine I see on there has HDMI. Some of them have VGA, but they all have HDMI.

https://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop...titude-laptops
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
So all I need is a HDMI to DVI adapter to connect a standard flat screen digital monitor?
Check if your monitor has an HDMI port. You want to avoid video adapters whenever possible.
  #11  
Old 08-13-2019, 11:47 AM
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never mind

Last edited by naita; 08-13-2019 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:48 AM
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I'll check my mom's monitor next time I'm at her house.

IIRC it was purchased around 2010 or 11. Her previous flat screen monitor had burned out.

Last edited by aceplace57; 08-13-2019 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:53 AM
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I really, really appreciate your help. Thank you.

My HDMI experience is extremely sparse.

I'm used to graphics cards with DVI ports. I've upgraded a lot of pc's with single port to dual port DVI's. Our staff at work all use dual monitors.

Staff doesn't use laptops at their desk. We have the mini towers.

Last edited by aceplace57; 08-13-2019 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:57 AM
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Actually I'm not sure if there are HDMI to DVI adapters? I think I've only seen DVI to HDMI adapters (i.e. DVI output on a computer to HDMI input of the monitor).

Anyway, always keep in mind that an adapter usually only works in one direction. That's why the DVI-VGA adapter didn't work, because those only convert DVI to VGA, not the other direction.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:59 AM
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Don't lump Apple in with your assumptions of prejudice. Apple laptops are diligently equal-opportunity in the absense of all ports except USB-C. Oh, I always forget - there's still a 3.5mm headphone port for some reason.
  #16  
Old 08-13-2019, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
I know almost nothing about HDMI except it comes on the new TV's.

DirectTv used HDMI to connect my mom's flat panel tv. I think it's 36 inch? Maybe 40.
HDMI is electrically compatible with DVI and DVI devices can be connected to an HDMI port with a simple adapter. HDMI came about because the TV vendors didn't like the existing DVI specification for a variety of reasons. DVI only carries video, so the TV connection would still require extra audio cables. DVI didn't carry enhanced color space information that the TV vendors were using, or control functions for consumer electronics. And finally, they didn't like the bulky DVI connector with the screw connections (which people don't screw in half the time anyway) for consumer electronics. It was a design goal that HDMI be backwards compatible for DVI connections via a simple passive adapter.

With thin laptops coming into style, they started sprouting HDMI or display port connectors because of the size of the DVI connector. The newer display port intended for computer connections is also compatible with DVI via a passive adapter.
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Last edited by yabob; 08-13-2019 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
This adapter should work?
HDMI to DVI Adapter, CableCreation [2-Pack] Bi-Directional HDMI Male to DVI Female Converter, 1080P DVI to HDMI Conveter, 3D, 0.15M Black https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FM521W2..._.IUuDbR6ZWPBP
Never mind my above post, this adapter does say bi-directional so it should work.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:04 PM
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Ok. I'll use HDMI if my mom's monitor has that port. Otherwise I'll get the adapter.

I got too reliant on adapters after the VGA flat screen monitors became obsolete. Dell included a adapter (in the box) so newer PC's could still use the legacy VGA monitors that companies were still using.

I haven't kept up with graphics in several years. I don't do as much hardware support at work anymore.

Last edited by aceplace57; 08-13-2019 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:06 PM
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Basically hdmi to dvi in either direction is generally rock solid. They make cables that are also adapters. Internally no converting is being done, same signal wires just different connectors on the ends.

So this will generally be completely reliable and is your best option. Crossover cables are about 4 bucks. Gosh I had one in 2007.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:10 PM
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These work fun for what you need.

AmazonBasics DVI to HDMI Cable https://www.amazon.com/dp/B014I8UQJY..._36UuDbVHQZ9B0
  #21  
Old 08-13-2019, 12:12 PM
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That cable connects directly to the monitor and laptop.

I see it replaces the OEM DVI cable that came with the monitor.

Sweet.
  #22  
Old 08-13-2019, 12:14 PM
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Don't lump Apple in with your assumptions of prejudice. Apple laptops are diligently equal-opportunity in the absense of all ports except USB-C.
Which is fine because USB-C can output both HDMI and DisplayPort signals.
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:15 PM
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HDMI and DVI use similar signaling (TMDS,) HDMI just encodes audio data as well which a DVI monitor will simply ignore.
  #24  
Old 08-13-2019, 01:17 PM
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Which is fine because USB-C can output both HDMI and DisplayPort signals.
And Thunderbolt.
  #25  
Old 08-13-2019, 03:00 PM
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And Thunderbolt.
Not necessarily. According to this, Thunderbolt 3 devices won't work when plugged into USB-C:

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/usb-type...nect-them-all/

OP: I'd be very surprised if a 2011-era monitor didn't have HDMI.
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:42 PM
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I use HDMI-DVI adapters. Interestingly, the ones I have work in either direction.

DVI is dead tech as far as people like laptop makers go. Really dead. There were like 5+ different types of plugs/connections. HDMI just has the two sizes.
  #27  
Old 08-13-2019, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
Not necessarily. According to this, Thunderbolt 3 devices won't work when plugged into USB-C:

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/usb-type...nect-them-all/

OP: I'd be very surprised if a 2011-era monitor didn't have HDMI.
Apple's USB-C does.
  #28  
Old 08-13-2019, 05:31 PM
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Not necessarily. According to this, Thunderbolt 3 devices won't work when plugged into USB-C:
<snip>
You’re right: all USB-C ports are not Thunderbolt 3 ports. However, if I read the specs correctly, all Thunderbolt 3 ports are USB-C ports. TB3 uses the USB-C physical connector, yes. I’m also fairly sure that the TB3 spec requires that all TB3 controllers handle “plain” USB devices over the same connector.

So, broadly speaking, Thunderbolt3 is a superset that includes USB (as well as a number of other protocols like DP). So maybe Beowulf meant to say not that all USB-C ports handle TB3—they don’t—but that all TB3 ports work as USB-C ports too.

One problem with the assertion that “Apple USB-C ports also do TB3” is that although most Apple ports speak both, Apple sells a number items that use a USB-C connector without any Thunderbolt capability. The MacBook has a single port for power, USB and connecting to an external monitor—but it doesn’t speak Thunderbolt at all.

The situation is a mess. While we’re down to one physical connector for TB, USB, displays and power, it’s easy to plug a Thunderbolt device into a Thunderbolt port with a USB-C-only cable.

In that case, the device might not work at all, or it might fall back to USB if the device manufacturer bothered to implement USB signaling alongside the (much faster) TB3.

Last edited by EdelweissPirate; 08-13-2019 at 05:33 PM. Reason: Redundant words are repetitive. And redundant.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:07 PM
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I'm nearly positive that there are no Macs with VGA connectors anymore, so I'm not sure what you're looking to add with that, beowulff.

EdelweissPirate, yeah, the USB-C thing is a real mess. If connector fits, it should work, but I tried charging my phone from a Nintendo Switch USB-C connector and the charging indicator kept going on and off so I unplugged it. Some can do audio and some can't, apparently. Some work with Thunderbolt and some don't. It's really much worse than USB 3.0 in that way -- except for speed and being able to plug things in either way, at least you knew what you were going to get with USB 3.0.

USB-C really reminds me of that XKCD about standards.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:26 PM
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OP, don't forget you'll probably have to configure the PC to send signal out the HDMI port and potentially config the monitor to use HDMI as the input.
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:31 AM
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Bought one of these. It didn't work. Monitor never came on.
I see that you've found the other socket.

FWIW, there are two common reasons: 1) The monitor doesn't accept VGA signals on the DVI interface. Only digital signals. 2) The monitor is too smart to switch automatically correctly to analog VGA. Unless you plug a digital signal into it. Then it switches to analog input....

Last edited by Melbourne; 08-14-2019 at 07:32 AM.
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