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How Do I Choose the Best DVI Cable?

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  • Written By: Jeremy Laukkonen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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In order to choose the best digital video interface (DVI) cable, you will need to consider the components you are working with. There are three different DVI standards, each of which is designed for a particular situation. DVI-analog (DVI-A) is necessary when the components are analog, DVI-digital (DVD-D) is designed for situations where both components are digital, and DVI-integrated (DVI-I) cables can be used in either case. The other main factor to consider is if a cable is dual- or single-link, since a dual-link DVI cable can transmit a higher resolution image. You will also want to choose a DVI cable that is an appropriate length, as some devices cannot transmit a signal over cables that are longer than about 16 feet (5 meters).

The digital video interface (DVI) standard was designed to replace analog video graphics array (VGA) connectors. DVI connectors are typically found on computer video cards, monitors, and some high definition television (HDTV) sets. Unlike VGA, which was only designed for analog signals, the DVI standard provides for analog and digital formats. Both formats use the same plug design and pin positions, though they make use of different pin layouts.

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When trying to choose the best DVI cable, you will first need to decide whether to get a digital, analog or integrated version. This choice depends on the equipment you are using. In most cases, your equipment will all be digital, but it is important to verify this before purchasing a cable. If both the monitor and computer use digital connections, then you will want to select a DVI-D cable. These cables can provide better picture quality than analog cables, but DVI-A is still necessary in certain circumstances.

You will need to select an analog DVI cable if you have a VGA monitor, or a television that uses DVI-A. It is also important that your computer is capable of generating an analog signal, since the cable will not perform any sort of conversion for you. If you need to convert from digital to analog, you will need additional hardware. The third kind of DVI cable can be used with either analog or digital since it has the pins for both, but DVI-I does not perform any conversion either. A DVI-I cable can be used for either digital to digital or analog to analog connections, but will not convert between the two.

Another factor to consider when looking for the best DVI cable is length. The original DVI standards called for cables that were no more than 16 feet (about 5 meters) long, since it was difficult for a video card to reliably transmit a signal over longer distances. Some hardware is capable of dealing with longer cables, so you may want to determine what the proper length is for your specific equipment. If any artifacting occurs on your display, it means your cable is too long. To get rid of the artifacting, or unwanted digital effects, it will be necessary to either use a shorter cable or install a signal booster.

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