I have Acer V193HQV monitor which has a 15-pin VGA male input as shown in the image below:

Acer

I just bought a Zotac Geforce GTX 1050 card. It has the following output ports:

GTX

I've heard about VGA to DVI/HDMI converters but have also seen people complain that most adapters don't work. I've very little knowledge about this VGA/HDMI/DIV modes.

Would it be better to go for VGA to DVI adapter or VGA to HDMI one?

Update

I borrowed a converter from my office to try it out. It worked. Not sure if it's an active adapter or a passive one. Is it possible to tell just by looking at it? HDMI adapter

  • I would say the DVI to VGA; it will be cheaper. If you are willing to spend a few extra bucks then you can find DVI to VGA cables online; these should be cheaper than HDMI or DisplayPort to VGA adapters. amazon.com/HDE-DVI-DVI-I-male-Cable/dp/B002IWP87S – MonkeyZeus Feb 3 '17 at 13:43
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    @MonkeyZeus That's a nice thought, but OP is not going to be able to plug that cable into their GPU. The port on the GPU is clearly DVI-D (look at the flat slot on the right of the port in the OP's image, and note the lack of 4 more openings surrounding it). That cable you linked to is DVI-I, which requires those 4 pins, which are used to carry analog data. – 8bittree Feb 3 '17 at 15:10
  • @8bittree Yep. You're right. This whole fiasco has made me more knowledgeable. I read a lot about it today and know the difference between each modes now. – asprin Feb 3 '17 at 16:21
  • @8bittree hmm, I didn't look at that cable close enough. That cable in specific will not work with that GPU for sure. Unfortunately full DVI-D to VGA cables do not seem to exist and only adapters are available. Looks like DVI-D to VGA adapters are just as expensive as the HDMI and DisplayPort counterparts. So in this case I change my suggestion and you should go get an adapter for the DisplayPort because it will have actual latches on the male end and will be less likely to just slip out of the slot due to movement, vibration, or whatever. – MonkeyZeus Feb 3 '17 at 17:05
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    NVIDIA video cards used to ship with a DVI-VGA adapter, but I haven't seen either an adapter or a monitor with only a VGA port in many years. Your monitor is probably long overdue for replacement. – Michael Hampton Feb 3 '17 at 20:31
up vote 7 down vote accepted

As per the Wiki article on DVI:

A passive DVI-to-VGA adapter. This adapter will not work with a DVI-D output. It requires a DVI-I or DVI-A output to get the analog signal to a VGA input (even if the adapter looks like a DVI-D). A more expensive active adapter (or converter) is required to connect DVI-D to VGA.

As such you would need an active adapter in either case and it shouldn't really matter whenever you get an active DVI to VGA or active HDMI to VGA adapter. They're both available in a variety of qualities.

An advantage of using DisplayPort to VGA could possibly a simpler adapter as there supposedly is some form of backwards compatibility available. At one point I read that there was actual electrical compatibility as the adapter indicates to the card that a VGA display is attached but I'm not able to remember where I read it. Hence I might be remembering it wrong or it might simply be false.

  • As such you would need an active adapter in either case - When you say "either case", you mean DVI-VGA and HDMI-VGA? In other words, passive HDMI to VGA won't work either? How about passive DP to VGA? – asprin Feb 3 '17 at 9:50
  • Yes, there are no passive adapters for VGA-DVI that would work in your case and VGA-HDMI would require an active adapter as well as it's electrically incompatible. If I do remember correctly about DP there should be passive adapters available that work. But as I said, I might be wrong on that one. – Seth Feb 3 '17 at 9:59
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    I've never seen a truely passive adaptor for DP to VGA so far. – Journeyman Geek Feb 3 '17 at 10:02
  • @chx Hmm, the emphasis on incompatibility with Eyefinity and Surround bring back memories of similar incompatibilities when using passive DP to DVI/HDMI converters back when Eyefinity first came out. As I recall, the problem was related to DP having an external clock shared by all DP ports, but the older standards all having internal clocks. Given that DisplayPort has no analog pins, I suspect the use of "Passive" in that product is in reference to the DVI and HDMI outputs. – 8bittree Feb 3 '17 at 15:24
  • You are right, deleted my comment. Wikipedia makes it clear DisplayPort needs an active adapter for VGA (and DL-DVI). – chx Feb 3 '17 at 15:53

Any VGA only monitor in this day and age is seriously obsolete - most older monitors would be at least DVI capable. Your video card reflects that and has no ports that can be "passively" converted into VGA.

Looking at your ports, that's a purely DVI-D port. It won't work. More accurately, the adaptor won't fit, and the analogue pins don't exist.

If you must stick with that monitor, you certainly will need a DP or HDMI to VGA adaptor.

  • I understand that. I'm in the process of upgrading my system on a part-by-part basis. So if I understood this correctly, VGA to DVI is not a possibility with my current monitor and the only option I have is to use the DP or HDMI port. In that case, which one would you prefer - HDMI or DP? – asprin Feb 3 '17 at 7:46
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    I have a DP -> VGA adaptor I've not used at all, that came with a laptop. I'd kinda get a HDMI one if I got one new cause the new laptop's HDMI (and I have a DP one lying around). I'd just get whichever's cheaper, and has good reviews. DP and HDMI are actually pretty similar so there would be little difference IMO – Journeyman Geek Feb 3 '17 at 7:49
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    "Any VGA only monitor in this day and age is seriously obsolete" On the other hand, there's no point in spending money on something you don't need. My monitor is some ten years old, and VGA, and working perfectly. Why would I shell out a few hundred quid, and send working electronics to landfill, just to be "not obsolete"? Under those conditions, I think there's a fair rationale for buying a £5 adaptor, a rationale that goes far beyond scare phrases like "if you must". – Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 3 '17 at 12:07
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    @Snowman: They're about $7-15 on Amazon. – R.. Feb 3 '17 at 17:16
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    Actually, VGA is the de facto standard for many projectors. Most laptops used in a professional environment thus have a VGA connection. Also, for server computers, you typically have only VGA for the console. My 2013 HP MicroServer has only one port which is VGA. So, VGA still has quite many uses. Consider also this: in the analog world, there is only one standard (VGA) but the digital world has two (DVI/HDMI, DP). – juhist Feb 3 '17 at 18:11

If you look at the Wikipedia article for DVI, especially the pinout, you'll see that DVI also can carry analog signals (the variant called "DVI-A"). That's why DVI to VGA adapters work: They take the the analog signals from the DVI-A pins, and route them to the corresponding VGA pins.

So if your graphics card doesn't support analog pins on the DVI connector (which it doesn't, it's a double link DVI port according to the specs, and in your picture it's missing the analog pins if you compare with the pinout on Wikipedia), then there's no way to convert it to VGA directly with a cable adapter.

There are other, more expensive adapters which are basically a small graphics cards which read the DVI/HDMI signal, and then produces a completely different VGA signal from that.

So use on of those, buy a different graphics card or use your old graphics card in addition to the new one, or buy a new monitor.

DVI and HDMI are basically the same digital signal. The main differences are that DVI has the optional analog pins, and HDMI provides for a copy-protection scheme (HDCP) that's necessary for some consumer electronics, but not an issue between computer and monitor. HDMI to DVI cable converters work fine both directions.

  • Buying a new graphics card is not a viable option since I just bought one yesterday. It's my mistake. I should have researched more. Buying a new monitor is a possibility but it's planned at a later stage. So that means I should go for DP to VGA or HDMI to VGA adapter, right? – asprin Feb 3 '17 at 7:54
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    Personally, I wouldn't recommend buying a more expensive active DVI/HDMI to VGA converter. It's a crutch and a stop-gap measure, unless you absolutely have some device with VGA you have to use, like a beamer. In your place, I'd either try to exchange the graphics card with some other card that does have analog outputs (VGA or DVI-A), and where I live, exchanging electronics directly after buying them is not a problem. Or I'd keep the VGA monitor for old gear and buy the new monitor. – dirkt Feb 3 '17 at 8:36
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    DVI supports HDCP. I would also add that DVI does not carry audio signals, which is another difference with HDMI. – user76225 Feb 3 '17 at 16:17
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    @dirkt: Active converters are very cheap (as low as $7 or so, vs $200+ for a decent monitor) and handy to have around for use with projectors, etc. – R.. Feb 3 '17 at 17:17
  • @R.. that monitor is 19" 1366x768, it will cost a lot less than $200 to replace it. But still more than $7. – Mark Ransom Feb 3 '17 at 22:06

I've heard about VGA to DVI/HDMI converters but have also seen people complain that most adapters don't work.

I can't speak for "most" adapters, but the one I'm coming to you through right now works perfectly. :)

It's a "Belkin Pro Series DVI Adapter DVI Analogue Male - VGA Female", bought in 2009.

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    The picture of his graphics card shows, that he only has a DVI-D output, passive adapters like yours need a DVI-I or DVI-A port. Back in 2009 VGA monitors were more common, so graphics cards usually came with DVI-I ports. – linac Feb 3 '17 at 13:14
  • @linac: Per the selected quote, I'm answering that claim specifically. – Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 3 '17 at 13:47
  • Honestly, if you bought a Belkin brand, you probably paid way too much for it. Any old brand will work just fine. I've never seen a DVI-I to VGA adapter that didn't work. – Cody Gray Feb 3 '17 at 17:27
  • @CodyGray: Meh c'mon it was £5.27. Not even two pints. Though I confess to shopping by brand a little there! – Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 3 '17 at 17:32
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    @CodyGray: I looked it up in my eBuyer order history. Only took a couple of minutes. Without that, I wouldn't have even been able to tell you that it was 2009 ;) – Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 3 '17 at 17:40

I've certainly used DP and HDMI to VGA adapters in the past and they've always worked.

Your other option if you really need to stick with the monitor, but cost may be a factor, is to get some kind of video distibution/splitter box - go into it with either DP or HDMI and then come out of it to VGA - you can often get these with multiple outputs for multi display set ups - OR again if its costly, maybe better to get a better monitor or even cheap tv and go in with HDMI...?

some options from a very quick search... http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/like/111975760053?lpid=107&chn=ps

http://www.cablechick.com.au/cables/multi-av-converter-hdmi-to-vga-component-audio-extraction.html?

AP

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