What Is VGA (Video Graphics Array)


Video Graphics Array or VGA It is a 15-pin video connector that is mainly used to transfer graphics or media from a display source such as a monitor, TV, projector, etc. VGA was created in 1987 based on the IBM-based D-subminiature connection type.

VGA was a very popular type of connection between the early 1900s and late 2010s. As an old technology VGA uses analog signals making it less capable than newer digital protocols like HDMI, DVI etc. VGA is a general term even the real name is Video Graphics Array, it can also be called as Video Graphics Adaptor Because of its connectivity capabilities to graphics cards.

Cases of use of VGA

VGA is a very popular technology and type of connection that is used in different cases and regions to transmit or send graphics or media from the display device to the display. The following are some sample use cases regarding VGA.

  • VGA is mainly used to connect a PC or PC to a monitor.
  • Laptops and ultrabooks use VGA to share media with the monitor or external projectors.
  • SmartTV, Kodi, Chromecast can display graphics on TV or projector via VGA connection.
  • Various streaming devices can be used to display graphics on a TV or projector to the public.

VGA connection components

VGA connections are made up of simple components. VGA consists of two connectors to connect the source and destination. There is a VGA cable between these two VGA connectors.

VGA connection components

VGA connector

A VGA connector is the most important part of VGA. It contains 15 pins to connect cables with the source device. These pins are used to transmit analog signals. VGA connectors can also be called as VGA male. Female VGA type contains holes located in the source and destination device like laptop, computer, streaming devices, monitor, TV, projector. As we can see below, a typical VGA contains two screws on either side of the connector head located on both sides of the ping. These screws are used to attach and nail the VGA connector to the source device source to protect it.

VGA connector

VGA connector forms

The most widely used and default VGA connector for most source and destination devices is the male DE-15 connector shown below. But for small factor devices, VGA provides a smaller and less attached VGA connector called as DE-9 Which contains only 9 pins. BNC is another type of VGA connector that is not practical or popular to use.

VGA connector DE-15

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VGA connector DE-15

VGA connector DE-9

Male VGA male connector or plug DE-9

VGA BNC connector

VGA BNC connector

VGA resolutions

As an analog technology VGA supports not too high resolutions. But in some cases, this resolution may be sufficient for use. In fact, up to HD, 2K or 4K resolutions, VGA was very popular and managed to transmit different resolutions, but with the advancement of graphics resolutions, VGA is not enough. VGA technology delivers resolutions of up to 2040x1536px @ 85 Hz refresh rate. But its resolution may be less depending on the VGA cable and the connectors with the cable length.

When VGA was first released, the most popular resolution was 640x540px which is called VGA.

Super Video Graphics Array or SVGAThe resolution is an extended version of VGA and can be used for 800 × 600 pixels.

Extended Graphics Array or XGA Supported by most laptops created in 1990. XGA provides 1024×768 pixel resolution.

Super Extended Graphics Array or SXGA Supports 1280 × 1024 resolution.

Ultra Extended Graphics Array or UXGA Supports 1600 × 1200 resolution.

Wide Extended Graphics Array or WXGA Supports a resolution of up to 2040 × 1536 at a refresh rate of 85 Hz.

VGA Pinout

VGA contains 15 pins used to transmit a signal from source to destination. The more analog signals are used, the more cables or pins are needed to send data. Below we will detail the pins and their functions.

VGA Pinout
Pin 1 red Red video
Pin 2 green Green video
Pin 3 blue Blue video
Pin 4 ID2 / RES Save since E-DDC, previously monitor ID. Beat 2
Pin 5 GND Land (HSync)
Pin 6 RED_RTN Red back
Pin 7 GREEN_RTN Green back
Pin 8 BLUE_RTN Blue back
Pin 9 KEY / PWR +5 V DC (EDID EEPROM chip operator on some monitors), formerly key
Pin 10 GND Land (VSync, DDC)
Pin 11 ID0 / RES Save since E-DDC, previously monitor ID. Bit 0
Pin 12 ID1 / SDA I²C data since DDC2, previously a monitor ID. Bit 1
Pin 13 HSync Horizontal synchronization
Pin 14 VSync Vertical Sync
Pin 15 ID3 / SCL I²C clock since DDC2, formerly a monitor ID. Beat 3
VGA Pinout

VGA extender

VGA can carry signals around 20 meters which means that after 20 meters it is not possible to carry signals properly and without errors and problems. In order to carry signals more than 20 meters, VGA Extender Can be used that will simply increase the signal strength. VGA extenders also called VGA accelerators and multiple VGA extenders can be used for a single VGA connection in a serial connection topology.

Alternatives VGA HDMI, DVI

As old technologies, there are many alternatives to VGA. But some of them are very popular in the place where they are replaced for the VGA. HDMI and DVI are the most popular alternatives to VGA. HDMI is more common than VGA and DVI. Let’s compare VGA with HDMI.

  • HDMI uses digital signals while VGA uses analog signals.
  • Both HDMI and VGA are compatible with each other using converters.
  • HDMI can transmit audio signals in various formats but VGA cannot transmit audio signals.
  • HDMI delivers much higher resolutions with better color depth than VGA.