Types of VGA connectors

Written by leroy walker
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Types of VGA connectors
A standard VGA connector port; typical of many that are commonly found on computers. (vga image by MATTHIEU FABISIAK from Fotolia.com)

VGA is an acronym for Video Graphics Array and it is a analogue connector that allow for computers and display monitors to communicate with each other so that display output from the computer can be shown on the monitor. The major types of VGA connectors are VGA standard, SVGA, and mini-VGA. Currently, VGA and its derivatives are managed by a group called VESA, Video Electronics Standards Association, which works to standardise video protocols and devices. While VGA connectors are still supported, more modern technologies such as DVI and HDMI are preferred as they offer greater data transfer and other advantages.

Standard VGA

Standard VGA connectors come in a variety of different sizes and possess a different number of pins; 15-pin connectors are commonplace while the compatible 9-pin variety is used as well. The standard VGA connector is a trapezoid shape. Although other technologies like DVI and HDMI exist, many newer models will support VGA as it continues to be the standard for both monitors and PCs. The technology behind VGA was developed in 1987 by IBM. Originally the maximum display resolution was 640x480 pixels and VGA could only support 256 colours. VGA was originally developed as a replacement technology for the digital video transfer methods that came before. While digital video has its advantages, an analogue transfer such as VGA actually provides a higher amount of output than digital forms. Over the years since, many derivations of the original technology have been made, among them SVGA, and mini-VGA. These other types of VGA connectors provide better resolution and other benefits over standard VGA.

SVGA or Super Video Graphics Array

SVGA, Super Video Graphics Array, is an improved design based on the original VGA standard. SVGA has the ability to support up to 16 million different colours and resolution that is greater than 640X480. This is especially useful today as many screen sizes now support 800X600, 1024X768 or greater resolutions. Computers today are equipped with powerful video cards that can handle SVGA. Older computers, however, may not have the processing power to handle the 16 million colours and large resolution that SVGA provides.


This type of VGA connector was developed in response to a specific hardware requirement. Laptops are, by design, required to be portable. This often leads to non-standard hardware being used in order for that to happen. To conserve hardware size and weight, the mini-VGA connector was created. Mini-VGA aims to provide the same output as a SVGA connection but in a smaller package. The family of Apple computers, such as eMac, iMac, iBooks and MacBooks, come with a mini-VGA port and an adaptor is required to connect to a standard VGA or SVGA port.

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