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Types of Computer Cables (Different Connectors Explained)

It can be pretty overwhelming walking into a computer shop nowadays. Fancy lights, intel cores, GPU's, overclocking, what on earth does it all mean.

Worst of all, though, is the sheer amount of different cables that you need. You only ran in to get a power cable, now the staff are telling you the differences between copper and gold plated cables, and you probably wish you had never come.

In this article, we are going to go through the most common computer cables, explain what they do and how to use them. That way, when you run into any computer problems or you need to replace a cable of your own, you know exactly what you need.

What is a Computer Cable?
(Different Types Explained)

You might think that desktop computers are becoming obsolete, but they are still very popular today. Computers are made up of several different smart components and parts. These are amazing pieces of technology. Unfortunately, they need power to run and a way to transfer data.

This is where the computer cable comes in.

A computer cable is simply a wire with a specific computer function. It could be a power cable or a visual cable, for example. There are lots of different types of cables and wires in computer manufacturing.


What are the Different Types of Computer Cables?

While there are thousands upon thousands of different cables and brands, the most common ones fall into the following categories:

Display Port
Types of Computer Cables - Visual

Visual cables are the cables that allow your computer to project an image onto a screen. You Have:

VGA

VGA or Video Graphics Array cables are used to connect a computer to a monitor. They are an older form of cables usually only found on older machines and monitors.

  • How does it connect? 
    A VGA cable is perfect for computer connection. To begin with, connect the first end of the cable to the device you want to use it in. Next, connect the other end to the VGA port on the computer. If the VGA has screws to secure, do these up reasonably tight.
DVI

DVI or Digital Visual Interface cables work similarly to a VGA cable, and they are just faster and more efficient. They are still found today, albeit not as often as their big brother, the HDMI.

  • How does it connect? 
    DVI cables connect in a very similar way to a VGA, except they usually don't have securing screws.
HDMI

This brings us onto HDMI, a cable you most probably have heard of before. HDMI cables allow for the transfer of data fast enough to supply a High Definition monitor or TV, and they also carry sound through the wiring. This means you no longer need a separate cable for sound.

  • How does it connect? 
    The HDMI connects by aligning the shape at the end of the cable with HDMI in the slot on the device you want to use. Then reverse the process and connect to the other device.
Display Port

The newest competitor and by far the smartest is the display port connection. This is the connection you will want to use if you plan to watch things in 4K or to get the highest resolution possible from your rig. It has better versatility, bandwidth, and ease of access than all other visual cables.

  • How does it connect? 
    The display port cable works in the same way as the HDMI. Simply plug it into both devices that you want to use and put the monitor onto Display Port mode.
Ethernet Cable
Types of Computer Cables - Internet

There is really only one type of cable when it comes to the internet.

Ethernet

Ethernet cables allow you to plug your laptop or computer directly into your router. This means that you will have a much more sturdy connection, and you will be able to make use of the full speed of your internet without interference.

Ethernet cables are great for connecting streaming boxes, computers, and smart televisions to a strong connection perfect for streaming shows.

  • How does it connect? 
    Connecting an Ethernet is simple. First, go to your router and look at the back. There should be a few places to plug in cables. The ethernet port is usually in yellow and will usually have the words Ethernet next to them. Pull the pin on the end of the cable as you insert it until you hear a click. Next, run the cable to the device you want to give internet to and plug it into the relevant ethernet port there.
USB Cable
Types of Computer Cables - Data Cables

For the transference of data, these cables allow you to send pictures and files from one place to another.

USB Cable

The most common cable from the last decade is the USB cable. This cable allows you to connect things like your phone and camera to your computer so you can transfer data between them.

  • How does it connect? 
    USB cables are plugged into any USB slot. They do have an orientation, though, so you will need to flip it if it doesn't fit properly.
Thunderbolt Cable

The Thunderbolt cable is a cable designed to be used with the newer Thunderbolt USB port. Thunderbolt is capable of transferring files nearly 50x faster than an average USB. Great for when you want to transfer and store photos. These will become much more widespread in the next few years, eventually phasing out the old USB system.

  • How does it connect? 
    Unlike the USB, Thunderbolt Cables can be placed in any orientation into any relevant Thunderbolt port. You can also connect to USB-C ports, although you will only be able to send data one way.
PS/2 Cables

PS/2 cables are actually cables that include two specific functions. They are commonly referred to as the mouse and keyboard port. This cable has 6 special pins that make them more accurate. This makes PS/2 cables absolutely necessary for those that use graphic design monitors and gaming equipment.

  • How does it connect? 
    PS/2 cables connect to peripherals like your keyboard or your mouse. On older computers, there will be 2 specific ports that you can plug both parts of this cable into. When using a PS/2 cable, you must keep a close eye on any changes in color. There are two colored cables inside, and each color has its own job to do and knows how best to connect with the peripheral device. Purple means the keyboard, green means mouse.
Power Cable
Types of Computer Cables - Power Cable

The final type of cable is the power cable, which is often lovingly referred to as the kettle plug due to the similarities in the connectors. Your power lead plugs into your computer and then into the outlet. This is what gives the juice to all of your computers; without this plug in your computer won't start.

  • How does it connect? 
    Connecting your power cable is easy, simply find the location on your computer for the power plug and plug it in. Next, plug the other side of the cable into the wall.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

What are the different types of computer connectors?

The different types are Visual, Data and Power.

What are computer cable connectors?

Computer cable connectors are parts used to extend a computer cable to allow it to reach further away.

What types of coaxial cable used in computer networking.

There are two types of high-frequency transmission cables used during networking,

  • 75 OHm, which is the most commonly used one to connect signals between things like DVDs or VCRs.
  • 50 OHM, which is mainly used for computer ethernet architecture. They are used in police scanners and radios.
What type of computer network does not need cables?

A wireless computer network, like your typical WIFI, does not need cables to function. Instead, they use wireless signals to communicate with the other devices in the network.


Conclusion

Technology can be confusing, but it gets easier. Hopefully, this article has filled in some of the gaps of knowledge to buying accessories for your laptops. Next time you are standing in an electronics shop, you will probably know more than the salesman!!