What is the difference between DVI-I and DVI-D?


DVI stands for Digital Video Interface developed by Digital Display Working Group as a replacement for VGA to serve the purpose of providing a digital interface where you can connect the source of your video like a computer, DVD to your display device, for example, a projector, Flat panel LCDs or to another monitor in order to obtain a magnified or additional display.

They are the connectors built within the graphic cards of your monitors, introduced mainly after the development of flat panel LCDs since a relay system was required to carry signals from the source to a screen. DVI is the most multifaceted connector and can be used with an HDMI, VGA, or even a Display Port by using an appropriate adapter for the conversion of the signal. DVI is clearly distinct from the VGA ports since DVI is white in color and the latter one is blue in color.  

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What is the difference between DVI-I and DVI-D?

There are three types of DVI; Analog, Digital, and Integrated. The difference between a DVI-I and DVI-D is that DVI-I stands for Digital Video Interface – Integrated and is responsible for transmitting both analog and digital video signals.

However, DVI-D stands for Digital Video Interface- Digital and is mainly involved in transmitting digital video signals only.

There is also a third type known as DVI-A which stands for Digital Video Interface- Analog, capable of transmitting analog signals only. This device has now become obsolete since the same purpose could be fulfilled by DVI-I but for the devices that contain a DVI-A, their signals can only be interpreted by Analog only VGA device.

DVI types

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Signal Type 

The DVI-I connector can transmit analog ( by using a DVI to VGA adapter) as well as digital video signals from the video card installed in your computer to your display monitor but the DVI-D connector can only send out digital signals which marks a major difference between DVI-D and DVI-I


The DVI-I connector installed in your NVIDIA graphic card or motherboard is able to connect to a DVI-D cable as well. They can easily connect with the LCD or monitors having a built-in DVI-D port. It has this unique ability to filter out digital from analog signals. It will only read the digital signals output and simply filter out the analog signals. In short, DVI-I is compatible with DVI-I cable and as well as DVI-D cable

Signal Quality 

 The DVI D connectors send out digital video signals from the graphic card of your computer to your flat panel LCD displays. DVI-I on the other hand is capable of sending digital signals from the motherboard of your computer to any digital display like LED backlit LCD monitor or analog video signals to much older CRT monitors via a DVI to VGA adapter. It is the most flexible of all and is installed in most of the video cards such as ATI Radeon 8500.

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DVI is available in three different types, DVI-I (Integrate), DVI-D (Digital), and DVI-A (Analog) differing in the type of signals they transmit and the layout of pins on these connectors. With the invention of more advanced audio and video interfaces like HDMI, VGA, and Display Ports, DVI-A has now slowly become obsolete and is hardly available. DVI-I and DVI-D are further differentiated into Single Link and Dual Link on the basis of their data transfer rates.

Single-link DVI can easily support a resolution of 2560 x 1600 at the refresh rate of 60 Hz or 1920 x 1080 at 144 Hz and provides a bandwidth of up to 1.65 Gbps while Dual Link DVI can support a screen resolution of 1920 x 1200 at 60 Hz refresh rate and can support a much higher bandwidth of 2 Gbps

How Can I Tell the Cables Apart?

DVI was one of the most hyped technologies developed by manufacturers in the early 2000s to enhance the display output of flat panel LCDs and video graphics cards. The advent of DVI was a leap in the forward direction to improve the digital production of computers as well as the visual output provided by HDTV, DVD, Movies, and television. However, they have now been superseded by HDMI and Display Port in the consumer market as well as amongst gamers.


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There are one or two of the three types of DVI connectors present on the source device or the video card, each DVI connector is significantly different from the other and varies in the number and the layout of the pins present. Based on the way the pins are designed on the connector you can distinguish them into 3 different types. Two variables must be taken into account while identifying the DVI connector

  • The flat pin on the side speaks for the connector to be digital or analog.
  • The set of pins on the other side denotes if the connector is digital (singly linked / Dual Linked), Integrated ( Single linked / Dual linked), or Analog.

DVI-D Cable: A single unitary flat pin on one side is significant if DVI-D.  Two separate 9-piece sets distributed in 6 rows signifies Single link DVI-D. 3 rows of 8 pins each making a total of 24 pins denote Dual-link DVI-D

DVI-I Cable: A flat pin with four surrounding pins is DVI-I. Single link DVI-I is denoted by two separate 9-piece sets distributed in a row of 6. 3 rows containing 8 pins in each row with a total of 24 pins denote a Dual-link DVI-I

DVI-A Cable: A flat pin with four surrounding pins is DVI-A. DVI-A is distinguished by the presence of separate 4 pins and 8 pins set arranged in 2 and 3 rows respectively.

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 When To Use Each Cable

While using a DVI to export your digital data to a video outlet, it is imperative to know which type of cable you are required to use. Using the wrong data cable may result in the corruption of your data or short-circuiting within the connectors. In order to determine which cable to use the first thing required is to determine the type of connector your cable is going to fit into and the signal type it is compatible with

DVI-D cable: If either or both of the giving and receiving connectors are DVI-D, then you should use a DVI-D cable

DVI-A cable: If either or both of the giving and receiving connectors are DVI-A, then using a DVI-A cable is recommended.

DVI-I Cable: If both of the giving and receiving connectors are DVI-I, then DVI-I should be used. However, any type of DVI can work with these connectors.

If one end is analog-compatible DVI (DVI-I or DVI-A) and the other end is VGA, then you will need a DVI to VGA Adapter to convert the signals from digital to analog form

If one end is analog and the other end is digital then a single cable will not be enough to provide the connection. A VGA to DVI or VGA to HDMI converter would be required to produce the desired results.

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Is DVI better than HDMI?

No, HDMI also known as High Definition Media Interface was developed in the early 2000s by companies like Hitachi, Panasonic and Phillips, etc to replace and hence, improve the quality of gaming and professional work for users who were previously using DVI. While HDMI provides similar benefits when working with digital or pictorial data but when it comes to data that involves sound like gaming and movies then HDMI comes out as a winner since DVI is unable to transfer the audio signals.

Aside from that, HDMI has a maximum data rate of 42.6 Gbit/sec with a very high refresh rate supporting a resolution of 4k at 144 Hz and 8k at 120 Hz as compared to DVI which maxes out at 144 Hz. These facts scream the advantages of HDMI over DVI, which is more advanced, modern, and futuristic as compared to DVI and can transmit Video as well as audio signals including Dolby HD and DTS HD.

Can VGA do 1080p?

Yes, VGA which is also known as Video Graphics array was developed in the late 90s to improve the video watching experience of people back in those times. Despite being replaced by DVI, followed by HDMI and then Display ports, VGA has come a long way and still holds its fort when it comes to supporting visual data and providing a secondary display to users who want to remain under a budget.

In the past, a standard VGA used to max out at a resolution of 640 x 480, but with the current competition being going on in the market, it has raised its resolution to 1920 x 1080p. Owing to the analog nature and subpar cable standards of VGA, any resolution beyond 1080 will give a pixelated and blurry display

Is DVI better than VGA?

No, If it ever comes to a war between DVI and VGA, then DVI will always be the victor. DVI was developed to replace VGA since it is more advanced, technology oriented, and offers more sharp and visually accurate displays.

Both of these are used to transmit video from a computer to any other secondary display but the visual output of DVI is far better and high quality than VGA. While DVI can transmit both analog and digital signal, VGA is only able to send out analog signals.

None of these connectors carry audio signals which gives both of these a setback when compared to HDMI and Display sports and limits their use for running movies, games and other audio requiring presentations

What is the most common DVI?

DVI-D that is used to transmit digital video signals only is the most common DVI to be used by the consumer market

Can DVI do 1080P?

Yes, DVI can play 1080p at a refresh rate of 60 Hz with the quality of output the same as that provided by HDMI and display port. However, at the refresh rate of 144 Hz, you’ll need a dual-link DVI to play high-definition competitive games at 1080P resolution since single-link DVI doesn’t support this resolution at 144 Hz

Is DVI limited to 60Hz?

No, While Single Link DVI maxes out at the resolution of 2560 X 1600 when the refresh rate is 30 Hz, a dual link DVI-D can support a resolution of 2560 x 1600 at a 60 Hz refresh rate. If the resolution is further lowered to 1920X1080 then the dual-link DVI D can escalate its level and support up to 144 Hz refresh rate

Is VGA analog or digital?

VGA is a device used to transmit an analog signal only in the Red, Green, and Blue output. It is used to display the signals produced by any digital device like a computer or a laptop and magnify the visual output. It can produce images and videos but with the exception of audio. Due to its limited utility and obsolete technology, VGA was soon replaced by DVI.

End Note

Connectors such as DVI, HDMI, and Display Port were specifically designed to revolutionize files and data transfer from one device to another, preferably the second device being a display monitor or a projector. DVI like HDMI can transfer high-quality data and videos from the computer to another screen but it also shares the property of its inability to transfer audio signals with the VGA connector.

With the gradual advancement in technology resulting in the development of more competitive and high-end games requiring high-resolution display and refresh rates, manufacturers around the world started to make adaptations to DVI and hence introduced its further types like DVI-D, DVI-I, and the most obsolete DVI-I with DVI-I being the most accommodating and DVI-D being the most commonly used DVI.

At standard resolutions and refresh rates, a DVI can easily eliminate the need to be replaced by HDMI by producing high-quality outputs, but with the progressing resolution and refresh rate the DVI starts to wear out and this is where other data transfer ports like HDMI and Display Ports come in handy.

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