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Stuck with a VGA monitor (that you love) in the days of HDMI

Submitted by Druss on Fri, 2015-01-30 01:17

So, I have this old Samsung monitor that has served me very well. It's 21" in size and I don't really need anything larger. Only problem is that it is a VGA monitor and uses a VGA cable. My new PC however deems VGA to be of the same archaicity as Morse code and has therefore not deigned to support it. There then I was, stuck with a wonderful monitor that could not be used due to a compatibility issue. Rather wasteful.

Technology, usually however comes up with a solution for such things. There's inevitably an adapter, converter, or some other thingamabob that will bend, twist, or otherwise contort the problem into a workable solution. And there is. Seeing as to how most things (monitors, TVs, etc.) are HDMI nowadays, my PC provides an HDMI port for the monitor and there are numerous HDMI to VGA converters out in the market. I was warned that there would be some signal loss and what not. But I did not care as I would be able to keep my monitor. I immediately bought one for about 10 USD. Not a very smart decision as I've since come to find out.

Perhaps, I shouldn't say that it wasn't a smart decision. I should say that it was more of a decision made in haste. Apparently, these converters vary in quality as well as in construction. While the one that I purchased worked fine on an old laptop that I had (albeit imperfectly), my new system simply refused to detect my Samsung monitor when connected using the converter. I was told that this could have been because of peculiarities with the motherboard (an Intel) and that active (which I guess means powered, with its own circuitry and need I say it, expensive) converters would do the trick. I did not buy this and in any case, was after a simply solution.

I was, at this point, ready to throw in the towel, and sell my monitor for chump change and buying a new one. Then I saw that I could save a few bucks by simply buying a basic dedicated graphics card (my motherboard has onboard graphics support) for about 30–40 USD which came with a VGA output option. While I was considering this, I noticed that the card I was considering provided a VGA out, an HDMI out, as well as a DVI out. I then realised that my new PC also provided a DVI port. I knew nothing about this port besides something about camcorders and the like using them. (Incidentally, my PC also provides something known as a DisplayPort, but it appears to be the Betamax equivalent of the video-port world)

So, DVI ports … I found that I could get a DVI to VGA converter for about a buck which is almost the perfect price for anything. I bought one, plugged it in, attached my VGA cable, and Jesus immediately wept. In Joy. The signal was perfect, the resolution was perfect, the colours were perfect. All for a buck.

(A note of caution: converters are available to connect a VGA monitor to a DVI port as well as the reverse. Be sure to get the right one. There are converters for 5 bucks and more available. Don't bother and simply get the cheap one for a buck and under.)

So for those in the same position as me,

  1. First check if you have a DVI port available and get a converter for it.
  2. Else, consider spending a li'l extra on a graphics card with a VGA out. It might be only a li'l bit more expensive than an HDMI-VGA converter and is guaranteed to offer a better graphics solution than any onboard graphics.
  3. Get an HDMI-VGA converter or check to see if there are DisplayPort-VGA converters as a last resort. Expect to expend some time and lose some hair in the process of getting it to work.

Hope this helps! Good luck!