Port and Cable Information

When you are presenting in front of a class or just want to watch Netflix on the big screen, keeping track of all the different cords and ports can be hard. Thankfully, with this guide you will be able to keep all of the cords organized, and you will be presenting, sharing, and mirroring to your heart’s content! 

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VGA (Video Graphics Array)

This is a common video cable. VGA ports are found on around 90% of non-Mac computers. When alone, the VGA does not carry audio. However, there are models of Video Graphics Array that come with a small audio jack attached to the side of the cord. In this way, one can have both audio and video in a "single" cord. 

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DVI (Digital Visual Interface)

DVI is similar to the VGA cord in that it only transports visuals across machines. Yet again, similar to the VGA, Digital Visual Interface cords will sometimes be accompanied by a small audio cord attached to the side. However, if your DVI cable does not have that audio cord, you will need an aux cord of some kind if you want to transport audio. 

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HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface)

For all intents and purposes, the HDMI cable is an upgrade to both the VGA and the DVI cables. While Video Graphics Array and Digital Visual Interface cables need an aux cord either separately or attached in order to transport audio, HDMI cables don't need any extra cables. This cord successfully transports audio and visuals across machines. However, there are times when VGA cables are preferable to HDMI cords in cases when audio is not needed such as document cameras. 

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Firewire

Rounding out the last of our Audio/Visual cables is the Firewire cord. Similar to the HDMI cord, the Firewire cord transports both audio and visuals. However, this cable is more rare for connections between computers, videos games or TVs. Firewire is primarily used for cameras to move videos and photos from the camera itself to the computer. Occasionally, Firewire can even be used to connect a device to the internet!

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Ethernet

While this cord is often confused with a phone cable, with the latter becoming more rare, if you are looking at something that looks like this, more likely than not it is an Ethernet cord, not a phone cord. The Ethernet cord provides a wired internet connection, typically this connection will be stronger than a connection over just Wi-Fi. 

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USB (Universal Serial Bus)

This cord is possible one of the most recognizable in everyday life. This kind of connection is used in Flash Drives (also called USB Drives) and connecting to everything from phones to keyboards and mice. The USB is the most universal of the cables here today, and can be found on both PCs and Mac computers. 

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Mini and Micro USB

While not as recognizable as their "cousin" Mini and Micro USB cords have many uses. In their earlier days, these forms of USB cables were unique to Windows products, but recently Apple has been expanding, now offering phone chargers with Micro USB connections instead of the typical normal USB.  These cords can be used for a variety of uses including connecting cameras, Android devices and more!

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Apple Dongle

While in recent times the word "Dongle" refers to the Apple converter between a Phone charger and an audio cord, there are many other types of dongles which convert certain products to be compatible with Apple devices. Apple dongles seem to be available in each kind of cable. The one pictured on the left converts from VGA to Thunderbolt, details for which can be seen below.

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Thunderbolt

Most of the cables reviewed above are common, or entirely unique to PC machines. The Thunderbolt cable primarily is only available for Mac computers, like the Apple Dongle shown above. The Thunderbolt cord is frequently used for exporting video from Macs. 

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Apple 30-Pin

Apple 30-Pin cords are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Being upgraded to the next item on our list, the Lightning cord, Apple 30-pins are now only used for older machines such as older iPads like generations one, two, and three. The list of applicable devices is long, but with every increasing technology, the amount of iPod touches, iPhone 4s and iPod Nanos is quickly shrinking. 

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Lightning

Replacing the Apple 30-Pin, the Lightning cord is common for newer Apple devices such as iPhones, iPads, and Apple Pens. This cord can be used to charge these devices, or to connecting them to a sound system in a car or a computer!