New computer, same monitor?
July 19, 2021 4:13 PM   Subscribe

My old Windows 7 machine finally bit the dust and I just bought a new computer, but the existing monitor works fine. But of course, nothing's ever that easy.

The new machine is a Dell 3080. It has an HDMI port, a Displayport, and a VGA port. The monitor I have is a Compaq 2022, it has a DVI input and a VGA input.

So to connect these I guess I'll need either:

A VGA cable, OR

A way to go from HDMI/Displayport to DVI (adapter?) OR

Buy a new monitor.

I read that VGA doesn't look as good as the other options, any suggestions?
posted by Marky to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: HDMI and DVI are electrically identical, you can buy a cable that's HDMI on one end and DVI on the other. That's a digital signal and will look the best compared to VGA (which is analog).
posted by GuyZero at 4:21 PM on July 19, 2021 [11 favorites]

Best answer: The vga cable and the DVI HDMI adapter cost about 6 bucks each. Pretty low buy in*. Give one a try. If you're disappointed with that experience, the answer is probably going to be upgrade your monitor.

*Even better, borrow one. If you work in an office, ask the IT person if they have a vga cable you can borrow overnight. Chances are good they'll laugh, pull a box out from under their desk, and beg you to take at least 5.
posted by phunniemee at 4:22 PM on July 19, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I bought a monitor relatively recently and it came with a bunch of different cables thanks to all the different ways of connecting to computers. Before buying anything check if anyone you know has bought a monitor recently as they may have an extra HDMI to DVI cable/adapter as a result.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:24 PM on July 19, 2021

Best answer: You can get a display port to dvi cable for $11 from Amazon basics.

I'd do that.

Then start looking at 24,27-32" monitors, they are much more usable than a 20". And prices have gone way down.
posted by TheAdamist at 4:29 PM on July 19, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: As GuyZero says you want an HDMI to DVI cable. They’re entirely passive (no electronics) and will basically always work. An example is this, which Amazon tells me I’ve bought at least one of.
posted by doomsey at 5:13 PM on July 19, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I would go digital (DVI-HDMI), but honestly since they seem to breed like rabbits I wouldn't be surprised if your local goodwill has a VGA cable. It's unlikely to sell much under 6 bucks but at least someone comparatively worthwhile is getting your money.

Similarly if you have a friend who can't throw things away (*cough*) then they might have all their old cables in a box because someone might need one.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 1:44 AM on July 20, 2021

Best answer: Others have mentioned already that an $8 HDMI to DVI cable is all you need, and I'll add my agreement to the chorus.

I did want to emphasize that although a VGA cable will work, and VGA cables are plentiful, please avoid the temptation to use one. VGA is analog, and although it looks OK for low-resolution displays, most modern displays are going to look absolutely terrible over VGA.
posted by vitout at 8:56 AM on July 20, 2021

Best answer: I'm using a pair of DVI monitors with a laptop that has two DisplayPort outputs in its docking station, using converter cables. The laptop came with one so I could test whether it worked, which it did.
posted by Stoneshop at 10:24 AM on July 20, 2021

Best answer: This doesn’t really impact the original poster, but for those reading this question later, I want to add that the reason I recommend HDMI-DVI rather than DisplayPort-DVI is that there are two types of Displayport adapters: passive adapters and active adapters. Passive adapters require support in the computer to work properly, and not all Displayports implement the HDMI/DVI output required for the passive adapters to work. Active adapters will work in any port but are more expensive and can be difficult to find.

So in general, I would recommend preferring HDMI-DVI over Displayport-DVI if that is an option, and if you happen to need a Displayport to DVI cable for some other reason get one with active conversion (such as this) unless you have documentation stating explicitly that passive adapters are supported.
posted by doomsey at 8:48 AM on July 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone, I went back to the same store I bought the computer from, and saw the clerk. Of course he said "Why didn't you get the cable when you were here before?"

I let him live.

Now I'm trying to move my old info into the new machine. I'm this will go... well.
posted by Marky at 12:31 PM on July 21, 2021

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