Let’s say you wish to connect your 1990s to 2000s PC to a computer monitor or a projector. Aside from the HDMI standard set by HDTVs in the mid-2000s to 2010s, it’s more than likely that you’ll instead use a Video Graphics Array (VGA) display standard to connect your desktop tower or laptop notebook PC to a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) flatscreen or cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitor. Even when it comes to digital video projectors, this remains the case. It’s such a prominent and long-standing standard that continues to be used to this day.
Even modern laptops with HDMI ports also include a VGA port for older projectors and monitors. By the way, if you’re wondering what the best VGA cable for projector use is, we definitely recommend the Cable Matters VGA to VGA Cable or Cable Matters VGA Cable. It’s perfect for all those non-HD or HDMI projectors with extra ports for A/V and VGA.
See more: Learn How to Connect to a Projector
What Is VGA?
The VGA or Video Graphics Array graphics standard is used for connections of video display controllers such as monitors and the like that was introduced back in 1987 by the IBM PS/2 line of PCs. It followed previous standards known as CGA and EGA introduced in earlier IBM PC lines. Because it was widely adopted by the computer hardware industry instead of being an exclusive propriety standard for IBM, the term has eventually come to mean the analog computer display standard, the 640 x 480 characteristic of VGA hardware, or the 15-pin D-shaped VGA connector.
- VGA and Its Widespread Adaptation: VGA is the last IBM graphics standard the same way component video became the last analog connection standard. It became widespread due to PC clone manufacturers conforming to it as far as connecting a PC or laptop to monitors or projectors. VGA became the standard for such connections because it served as the lowest common denominator that nearly all post-1990s PC graphics hardware depended on and implemented for widespread use. The follow-up to VGA was IBM’s Extended Graphics Array (XGA), but this was superseded by something else.
- Super VGA versus XGA by IBM: Instead of XGA inheriting the mantle of VGA, PC clone makers, and manufacturers made their own sequel or update of the 1988 standard in the form of SVGA or Super VGA. Instead of being a singular extension to VGA, SVGA refers to slightly differing extensions and upgrades by PC clone makers, with SVGA serving as the collective or umbrella term for all of them. XGA didn’t get adapted as widely as its VGA predecessor. At any rate, even in the last 2010s and beyond, VGA ports are still available in even the newest PCs.
- The Standard Graphics Mode of VGA: Historically, VGA offered monochrome or 16-color 640 x 480-pixel resolution. It can also offer 320 x 200 in 256 colors or Mode 13h, 320 x 200 in 4 to 16 colors, or 640 x 350/640 x 200 in monochrome or 16 colors when in EGA compatibility mode. The 16-color and 256-color modes offer palettes that you can redefine using an 18-bit or 262,144-color RGB table. VGA can do HD too, but it can get flawed depending on cable length and quality. The flaws of the analog standard become more noticeable when you switch to digital inputs like DisplayPort (DP), Digital Visual Interface (DVI), and High-Definition Media Interface (HDMI).
- VGA and HD Video: Did you know that VGA can be used for high-definition video the same way its analog A/V version known as component video (YPbPr) could replicate HD through the 1080i resolution? VGA used to be limited to 480p resolution, but later versions had a high enough transmission bandwidth to transmit resolutions of up to 1080p and higher, perhaps even 4K. Just keep in mind that due to cable length and quality, there will be picture quality degradation from VGA. The clarity of the artifacting depends on the display and your eyesight. At a quick glance, the difference in HD quality between HDMI and VGA is indecipherable.
What Cable Matters VGA Cable Brings to The Table
The Cable Matters VGA to VGA Cable with Ferrites (SVGA Cable) product is a 6-foot long cable for VGA and SVGA usage. We chose this cable as the best VGA cable for projector use for two reasons—it’s cheap and it’s reliable. It’s not as cheap as in low-grade. It’s the highest quality VGA-to-VGA cable we could find of its price point in 2020 that could deal with some high-definition realities of the current year. It gives more expensive cables a run for their money as well.
- A High-Performance VGA Cable: Any computer and monitor equipped with the Video Graphic Array 15-pin port will work excellently with the Cable Matters VGA to VGA Cable. Remember, it’s a VGA to VGA cable and not an adapter or converter such as a VGA to HDMI cable or vice-versa. All the same, it’s a high-performance cable that works with any D-sub 15, HDB-15, HD-15, DE-15, or RGB port for video projection, gaming, video editing, and video display purposes. Most editors don’t use HDMI to transfer data because HDMI throttles pirates with its High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP).
- VGA Remains Versatile and Multifunctional: Because it’s an older standard from the PC clone era of computing, many consumers underestimate the capacity of VGA and SVGA as well as the VGA connection your PC has to your HDMI monitor with a VGA port. However, VGA is still in use and cables like the Cable Matters VGA to VGA Cable are still being bought because of the standard’s many features. With VGA, it’s easier to extend or mirror your desktop with support for all common VGA resolutions including 1080p compared to the headache that is trying to bypass HDCP protections to allow desktop extension with your HDMI connection. Every wire is individually insulated and has foil shielding as well. The cable comes complete with anti-noise ferrite core and hand-tightened screws too.
- Supports Multiple Resolutions: The Cable Matters VGA Cable supports multiple resolutions ranging from 1920 x 1200 (WUXGA projectors), 1080p (Full HD HDTV), 1600 x 1200 (UXGA projectors), 1024 x 768 (XGA projectors), and 800 x 600 (SVGA). It works cleanly and clearly with no signal loss or attenuation from both high resolution LED and LCD monitors as well as any CRT monitors you have lying around with a VGA output that you can connect the Cable Matters cable to. Yes, it can even do 1080p Full HD like you’d expect from HDMI or component video since it’s a business projector grade kind of cable. Arguably, the WUXGA resolution is even bigger than standard 1080p yet VGA can support that and Full HD with no problem.
- Durability and Longevity Assured: Are you worried about accidentally breaking or twisting the cable off by rolling it under your office chair or computer table wheels? Maybe you’re instead concerned about bending one of its pins as you blindly plug one end of the VGA cable to the 15-pin D-port from behind your desktop PC tower. Don’t fret. The Cable Matters VGA to VGA Cable is engineered with grip treads to make unplugging and plugging in easy as well as molded strain relief connectors to ensure durability. It even has screws you can hand-tighten to secure the connections without any accidental unplugs. It could be made back in 1988 and it’d still last the whole 32 years VGA has been around with how durable its construction is.
- Firm and Solid Construction Across The Board: Superior RGB cable performance is assured by the Cable Matters VGA Cable thanks to its combination of bare copper conductors and gold-plated connectors. More to the point, this combo of metals provides the cable with superior RGB cable performance at a price point that makes sense. Additionally, it had additional foil and braid shielding with integrated dual ferrite cores on the VGA male-to-male PC cable connector. This ensures that crosstalk is minimized, signal noise is suppressed, and radio frequency interference (RFI) and electromagnetic interference (EMI) is kept at bay since those have always been the bane of analog transmission standards.
- Vintage Computing: The most obvious application for the Cable Matters VGA to VGA Cable is vintage computing since VGA is almost like a relic of computing past. Sure, it was pretty ubiquitous in the 1990s and even 2000s, but surely with the dawn of HD and HDMI, it should go the way of the dinosaurs? Not exactly, as you’d see later. Nevertheless, we initially tested Cable Matters’ cable with our 12-year-old computer from back in 2008 and our LCD monitor from 2012. When we plugged them using this 6-foot cable, it worked like a charm. We have no complaints regarding ghost images, signal loss, or anything else. As far as standard VGA computing displays are concerned, this is the most cost-effective solution available and you get the cables brand new instead of used with corroded/rusted pins.
- Video Editing and VGA: As a video editor, it’s your task to gather video sources and edit them around for use in blogs, vlogs, YouTube/Facebook/Instagram uploads, business presentations, comedy skits, online movie reviews, videogame streams, Instagram stories, and much more. You can’t do this reliably on HDMI connections, especially when you’re using footage that you don’t own or are from a 3rd party. Thanks to HDMI’s HDCP copyright defense protocols and encryptions, it’s hard to use and transfer footage from existing programs and movies, even when they’re for fair use purposes. A VGA cable has no such handshake-based protections so video editing is much easier to do through even the aged display standard.
- Gaming and VGA: HDMI gaming might be the future of console gaming but VGA gaming remains the staple of PC gaming. Sure, more and more HDMI computer monitors are being built to meet the demands of 1080p HD or even 4K gaming, but many gamers who only need 1080p or are gaming with vintage systems will still go for the ubiquitous and reliable VGA standard. Therefore, it makes sense that there’s still a ready supply of VGA cables for VGA ports on many a monitor, even modern LCD or LED ones. In fact, it’s not unusual for HD gaming monitors to have both HDMI and VGA ports available when push comes to shove since VGA is still serviceable for Full HD (and has less latency or lag issues compared to HDMI to boot).
- Can VGA Support HD? What’s impressive about IBM’s analog display connection VGA standard is that it’s possible for it to support HD or 1080p digital resolution signals. The PC clone standard has 1080p displays comparable to an HDMI connection and most people won’t be able to tell any noticeable difference. This might not be true for all monitors and all cables. The quality of their VGA port or D-to-A converters will be put to the test. Upon close inspection, 1080p on VGA has a softer look, particularly if you have poor quality or longer VGA cable. A good quality cable like Cable Matters produced the best HD results relative to its cost. It works almost as impressively as the 1080i HD that component video cables are capable of.
- VGA versus HDMI: This is unfair content. Of course, even something as impressive as Cable Matters VGA to VGA Cable can’t compare to the full capabilities of something like KabelDirek 4K HDMI Cable. HDMI is capable of 4K or a resolution that’s millions of pixels bigger than what VGA can offer, which can barely handle Full HD 1080p, and its default 640 x 480-pixel resolution looks like a postage stamp compared to the largeness of uncompressed 4K video. Nevertheless, in terms of PC gaming, video editing, and non-HD or vintage computing applications, VGA is the alternative PC display port and standard to go to, where even the ubiquitous HDMI (whose main claim to fame is HDTV connectivity) dare not traverse. Which is superior depends on the context.
- Video Projection and The VGA Standard: The Cable Matters VGA Cable is specifically dependent on working with digital projectors. How does this old analog standard from 1988 still in use with projectors in light of the 2010s being the HD era of TV and gaming? It’s simple. VGA has always been the go-to A/V and computer display controller standard for business projectors since the late 1980s to the 1990s. Not coincidentally, it’s because VGA and SVGA became the de facto standard for connections due to PC clones making it so. If you wanted to connect projectors to PCs, you used a dependable VGA cable. Even 21st Century projectors might have a VGA port lying around along with the standard USB and HDMI ports.
- Most Business Projectors Have VGA Ports: VGA hasn’t completely disappeared or has become as obsolete as the similarly multi-pin SCART or other A/V connection standards. Why? It’s for PC. HDMI is more of an HD monitor and HDTV standard and even computer monitors in the late 2010s or in 2020 make use of VGA plugs as an alternative port. Its decade-long reign as display connector supreme for PC clones, from VGA to SVGA and even XGA, has been adopted thusly by a multitude of business projectors. Before projectors became a household display alternative to TV sets, they were mostly used by businesses for presentations and colleges for lectures. This legacy enabled VGA to survive in ways that its predecessors CGA and EGA couldn’t.
- The Ultimate Link for PC and Projector or Monitor Connections: The Cable Matters Gold-Plated VGA Cable is the ultimate link for PC to monitor or PC to projector. If it’s CRT or HDTV, you probably need a VGA to RCA/composite or VGA to HDMI converter to make that work. HDMI hasn’t taken over PC to display links just yet because VGA can still (somewhat) do 1080p HD, newer monitors with HDMI ports also feature VGA ports, and the PC clone standard is set to outlast even the 3.5 floppy disk drive as a computer peripheral connection staple from the 1980s, USB and HDMI be damned. It doesn’t hurt that it works excellently with projectors due to its heavy 28 AWG bare copper conductors working in tandem with its gold-plated connectors to ensure HD Era cable performance.
IBM’s VGA standard that was developed back in 1988 is still in use in 2020 or 32 years later. Isn’t it amazing? It’s not unusual for certain laptops or desktops to still have a VGA option that allows you to connect a CRT monitor to your media source, but with the caveat that you’ll need to fiddle with the resolution to get a proper one on a 4:3 aspect ratio screen. You either have to relegate yourself with letterboxing, squashing, stretching, or cropping part of the display. There are VGA LED and LCD screens available as well. VGA is amazingly alive and well in the era of USB and HDMI.
You can get HD widescreen monitors and play HD movies on it through your laptop without needing an HDMI cable, although as a result, the image comes off softer or lower quality depending on your VGA cable quality. On that note, Cable Matters is the cable that matters when it comes to quality VGA cables that can even transmit HD signals to VGA ports reliably.