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Laptops are versatile and convenient options for many peoples’ daily computing needs, but for video and music production, high-end gaming, and more, only a desktop tower can provide the processing power necessary for demanding mediums. A dedicated monitor is a part of that package, but first-time users may be intimidated when it comes to their set-up. Thankfully it’s not as complicated as it seems- here’s all you need to know to find and set up the best monitor for your PC.
Tip: only a desktop tower can provide the processing power necessary for demanding mediums
The history of personal computing includes a long list of standardized and proprietary connection types, and even in 2021, there are a number of choices, though only one or two will really be relevant or useful to most.
HDMI is probably the most common high-definition connection type out there and is the standard for nearly all consumer flatscreen televisions, many of which come with multiple HDMI ports for the largest variety of connectivity options. HDMI can transmit both video and audio and cables are both easily found and inexpensive. However, not all desktop PCs come with HDMI ports, especially if they use an integrated graphics processor. This means if your monitor is HDMI-only, you’ll need an adapter (generally this will be a DVI-HDMI adapter, also inexpensive and easy to find).
Although, if you’d prefer to use only an HDMI connection for a high-def resolution, then you may want to look into learning how to use your TV as a computer monitor.
Tip: HDMI is probably the most common high definition connection type out there
Warning: not all desktop PCs come with HDMI ports
DVI is the standard video-only connection type for both Windows and Mac towers. It transmits high-definition video but, unlike HDMI, it does not transmit audio. Most modern computer monitors have a DVI port and many will come with a DVI cable for connection to your computer.
Warning: it does not transmit audio
Some flatscreen televisions don’t feature a DVI connection but all should feature an HDMI port- which means you’ll have to use a DVI-HDMI adapter if your computer only has DVI. There is no quality difference between HDMI and DVI, so apart from HDMI’s audio streaming ability, they’re functionally the same.
Warning: Some flatscreen televisions don’t feature a DVI connection
Other connection types include VGA- an older, analog, video-only format that many flatscreen televisions and some computer monitors still include. Generally not used except for when connecting analog equipment to digital equipment and definitely the last resort in a pinch, since image quality and resolution would be severely compromised.
Speaking of older, analog connections, you might be interested in learning how to recycle your old computer monitor, especially if you’re upgrading to a display with DVI or HDMI-only ports.
Tip: Generally not used except for when connecting analog equipment to digital equipment
DisplayPort, USB-C, and Thunderbolt are all types of connections more commonly used when connecting laptops to monitors, though they’re all viable for desktop computers if provided.
Micro HDMI cables: This format combines video and audio into an interface that is small enough to connect to tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices. They are 50% smaller than the standard HDMI cables.
For reference, Brightness is often tuned between 50-80% from the factory. Adjust to taste.
DVI ports do not transmit audio data.