Computer Cables & Connectors

What kinds of printer cables are there?What types of audio cables are there?What are the different types of video cables?What wires are used for power?

Computer Cables and Connectors

Computer wires are everywhere in our life. We see them hanging from monitors, USB units, external DVD drives, eSATA hard drives, and more. Most of these units communicate via USB. Some, such as monitors, need high-bandwidth digital cables to be able to function properly.

There are multiple types of these wires, with USB being the most common type. Usually, a USB will have a flat connector on one end and a square connector on the other end. FireWire, parallel, and serial are other formats that are utilized.

There are three main types of audio wiring that are normally used: Optical Fiber (TOSLINK), Firewire, and Auxiliary 3.5mm. The first two are digital, and they produce high-quality audio. They support every surround system format such as 7.1 AUX. A 3.5mm is analog and needs additional connections to work with a 5.1 surround sound system.

When it comes to video, there is quite a bit of variety:

  • Apple Display Connectors - These combine video, USB, and power into one unit.
  • Coaxial - Also known as Coax, this type has a black coat around it, and a copper point sticks out. Many PC TV tuner cards use the coaxial format.
  • DisplayPort and Mini-DisplayPort - These cables can display resolutions up to 8K. The Mini-DisplayPort has a smaller connection on one end.
  • DVI - Single-Link DVI-I connect your video card and monitor. The resolution can go up to 192x12. There is also Dual-Link DVI, with a maximum resolution of 256×16.
  • HDBaseT - This is a high-definition cable that supports up to 4K resolution.
  • HDMI - This is a digital format that supports a maximum resolution of 1K with the high-speed version. Look for cords marked "High-speed", "1.3", or "1.4" to receive the best results.
  • S-Video - This is an old format that only supports up to 48i.
  • Thunderbolt - Another digital format that supports up to 4K resolution. This is normally seen on Macintoshes.
  • VGA - An analog connection, VGA is an old standard that supports up to a 18p resolution. However, there are instances where it can go higher.

A power cord is used with both stationary computers and laptops. They run on AC current. The printers power supply will usually have two parts. One part is a box with a cord on one side that plugs into the back of your device. The other is a separate cord with a three-pronged female connection on one side. One end plugs into a male outlet located on one side of the supply, and the other connects to the wall outlet.