In the same way that we can find many different types of USB or even HDMI connector, DVI video connectors also have different types and with marked differences, including their physical arrangement. In this article we are going to tell you what are the types of DVI connectors that exist, what are their differences and, of course, what should you use depending on the situation and circumstances.
There are a total of three main types of DVI connector that you can find (there are some others, deprecated, with few differences), and you will notice at a glance just looking at the connector pins, because they are physically different. In the same way that they are physically different, they also have quite important technical differences, regarding their maximum allowed data rate, resolution and refresh rate for the monitor.
DVI connector types, what are their differences?
The three types of DVI connectors that we can find are DVI-A (analog), DVI-D (digital) and DVI-I (integrated; analog and digital). The DVI-I and DVI-D connectors have two different data rates, known as Single-Link and Dual-Link, and each type of link has a maximum allowed data rate that ensures that data is not corrupted when transferred from the graphics card to the monitor.
Single-Link and Dual-Link
DVI uses Transition Minimized Differential Signaling ( TMDS ) to transmit data over a pair of twisted cables.
A DVI Single-Link connector consists of four TMDS links: three of the four correspond to RGB (red, green, blue) video signals, while the fourth is a clock control channel. Single-Link connectors operate at up to 165 MHz and offer up to 1.65 Gbps of bandwidth, supporting resolutions up to 1920 x 1200 at 60 Hz .
Dual-Link connections double the number of RGB TDMS pairs, excluding the clock pair and using parallel connections (i.e. it has 7 links), allowing you to increase your bandwidth to 2 Gbps, supporting resolutions up to 2560 x 1600 pixels at 60 Hz . Dual-Link connectors are fully compatible with Single-Link, but not vice versa.
DVI-A, DVI-D and DVI-I
DVI-A connectors are analog, do not support Dual-Link, and have 17 (actually, 12 + 5) pins. These connectors use a signal identical to VGA and are therefore VGA (D-Sub) compatible if an adapter is used. Because almost everything is digital nowadays, these types of connectors are already in disuse, although it must be said that DVI-A cables are compatible with DVI-I but not with DVI-D.
For their part, DVI-D connectors are only capable of transmitting digital video signal. Single-Link connectors have 19 pins (18 + 1) and Dual Link connectors have 25 pins (24 + 1). DVI-D cables will work with DVI-D and DVI-I connectors, and using an adapter they are also compatible with HDMI and even DisplayPort but only the video signal (that is, we would lose the audio signal).
Finally, DVI-I connectors are the most used since they accept both analog and digital signals interchangeably. The Single-Link have 23 pins (18 + 5) and the Dual-Link have a total of 29 pins (24 + 5). This type of connector does not convert the analog signal to digital and vice versa, but simply supports both (but not at the same time, mind you).
DVI is the only video standard that provides digital and analog transmission options on the same connector. It should also be noted that initially the USB signal was not incorporated into the connector, but it was resolved with the VESA M1-DA connectors (DVI DL + USB), although they have never been used in too many devices.