Should I buy a DVI cable?

I recently replaced my dying CRT with a nice LCD monitor. The only hitch was that the monitor didn’t come with it’s own DVI cable. My video card has both DVI and SVGA outputs and the monitor supports both inputs as well.

Am I missing out on anything by just using the old SVGA cable? Is there a performance advantage to justify investing in a DVI cable?

There is a small performance advantage to the DVI cable, but nothing that I have notice except for CAD Work.


For standard computer use, I wouldn’t bother.

I definitely noticed an improvement in image quality when I switched. This was on a 21" 1600x1200 monitor, with the same video card.

Besided image quality, another benefit of DVI is that you don’t have to bother calibrating the image size, position and alignment.

Image quality is noticably better with DVI.

The correct answer is actually, “It depends.” Under ideal conditions, with a good quality, well shielded, short VGA cable and excellent digital-analog analog-digital convertors, an lcd monitor using a VGA cable will be virtually indistinguishable from an identical monitor using a DVI cable. I certainly can’t tell the difference on my own system when I switch cables.

However, if any part of the system is less than ideal, whether that be a cable not shielded well enough, poor signal conversion electronics, or even just a longish monitor cable, then DVI will be noticeably better.

I notice a significant difference in quality between DVI and VGA. I often have to work on people’s systems, and my monitor (Dell 2005FPW) has both VGA and DVI inputs on it, allowing me to hook both up simultaneously and switch between them without the need for a KVM. In doing so I invariably notice a considerable difference in quality. The DVI image is crisp and stable, while the VGA connection usually has a bit of interference and the picture quality is slightly on the soft side. I use a fairly good quality VGA cable, so the chance of EMI is minimal.

For average use (web surfing, word processing, etc.) it probably isn’t enough to make a massive difference, but the difference is there just the same.

Besides, you can pick up DVI cables pretty cheap, especially on eBay, so to me the expense is worth the improvement.