Computer devices connect together using a variety of different types of cables. Monitors, screens, TVs and projectors usually connect to your computer using VGA, DVI or HDMI. Peripherals such as printers, scanners, as well as mass storage devices such as external hard drives and flash drives connect to your computer using USB.
On the back of your computer, you’ll see something similar to the following. Here you can see the commonly used ports to connect devices to your PC.
USB 2 transfers data at about 480 ‘mega bits per second’. Now, no one uses mega bits and the term is a bit misleading. The actual data transfer rate is about 60 Megabytes per second.
USB 3 transfers data at about an impressive sounding 5 ‘giga bits per second’. However, translate that into every day terms, the actual data transfer rate is about 640 Megabytes per second. This makes them ideal for external hard drives and other high speed devices. Note the blue colour coding on the end of the plug.
USB C has a smaller reversible connector and transfers data at about 10 Gbps or roughly 1.25 Gigabytes per second.
Used to connect to networks, routers, modems and so on. Can transfer data at 100Mbps on some cables and 1Gbps – 10Gbps on high speed cables.
VGA is an old school connector and can handle resolutions up to 2048×1536 but is an analog signal. This connector carries no audio.
A digital interface for connecting to computer monitors and projectors.
DVI comes in different types. DVI-I supports both digital and analog signals and can be dual or single link. DVI-I supports resolutions of up to 1920×1200 single link, or 2560×1600 dual link.
DVI-D only carries digital signals and can be dual or single link. DVI-D supports resolutions of up to 1920×1200 single link, or 2560×1600 dual link.
DVI-Analog (DVI-A) is a analog only format and supports resolutions of up to 1920×1200.
An interface for connecting to TVs, monitors, projectors, set top boxes, dvd/bluray players, media streaming devices and so forth. This interface carries both digital audio and video on a single cable. Here below, are the standard, mini and micro hdmi plugs.
Quarter Inch Audio (6.35mm)
These are generally used on a wide range of professional audio equipment. 6.35 mm (1⁄4 in) plugs are common on audio recorders, musical instruments such as guitars and amps. Can be mono or stereo.
Eighth Inch Audio (3.5mm)
The eighth inch or 3.5mm plug is commonly used to connect speakers or headphones to a computer, laptop, tablet or MP3 player and carries analogue audio signals.