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I guess I could imagine that there was a time when accidentally disconnecting the monitor would have been catastrophic, though I don't see that being the case today.

Is it just a legacy holdover that they are still secured with screws?

Also, why is it that the video connection is really the only one that is still secured this way? It seems like the power cable would be a better candidate to be secured with screws. That really could be catastrophic.

In the end, the reason this question occurred to me is that I've never had a video cable come out when not screwed in, so why the significant security?

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closed as not constructive by Nifle, Breakthrough, Dave M, 8088, BBlake Dec 13 '12 at 17:56

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Serial uses screws. Parallel uses screws on one side and clips on the other. external SCSI uses clips. All from the same time area. So I do not think it is specific to monitors. Oh, on many servers power is locked in place, just no on el-cheapo consumer computers. Which might be the same reason why this is lacking on modern display port plugs. –  Hennes Dec 13 '12 at 14:01
    
@Hennes, You're right of course. I remember the various SCSI clips and screws well. I'd forgotten. Perhaps the nature of the D-sub connector lent itself to extra security. –  JoshP Dec 13 '12 at 14:06
    
When I was a surveyor, we were told to never never never screw in the screws on the connector cables. Accidentally knocking out a cable might be bad and result in lost data, but accidentally pulling the whole instrument over because a snared cable wouldn't come out was very bad. –  KennyPeanuts Dec 13 '12 at 15:47

4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Also, why is it that the video connection is the only one that is secured this way? It seems like the power cable would be a better candidate to be secured with screws. That really could be catastrophic.

A power cable has to carry a significantly higher amount of current than a video connector, so the conductors in your power cable are indeed proportionally thicker. Because of this, and due to the fact that we use metal for conductors, the physical strength of a standard power cable will be significantly higher than that of a video cable connector. Furthermore, it's much easier to damage the tiny pins on a VGA/DVI connector, whereas I'm sure most people would agree it's much harder to bend/twist a power connector (save for stepping on the thing).

Indeed, this is also the reason why many of these connectors still 'screw' into things. Of course it's not a huge deal if the cable falls out of the computer, which is also why you don't have to use the screws if you don't want to. However, it's usually safer to use them to prevent accidental disconnection (saves you the headache of checking behind your computer every time your monitor blanks out), and indeed, a typical VGA/DVI connector lacks the physical holding pressure a standard USB connector does.


TL,DR: This is just an effect of the design, nothing more, nothing less. These cables weren't designed for quick/fast insertion and removal, since it's unlikely to be used quite as much as, for example, a USB port.

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"easier to damage the tiny pins"-- This seems, as likely as anything, the reason to keep the screws nowadays. –  JoshP Dec 13 '12 at 14:08
    
+1 for mentioning the simple fact that heavier cables are less likely to stay in place properly, aside from the delicate pins. –  pleinolijf Dec 13 '12 at 14:35

Yes, this is a legacy hold over for same reason your RJ-45 jacks still use clips, and your headphone jacks are still circular. VGA and HDMI DVI style connections need the extra support given the thick jacketing of the wire causing the connection to become loose. However, technology is advancing with other ways to connect video without screws..

HDMI

enter image description here

Dell Display Port

enter image description here

Apple's Thunderbolt

enter image description here

As a side note, there's probably about a dozen differen ways to connect video without the screws, but usually don't involve computers...

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I don't thing the RJ-45 comparison holds here. An RF-45 with a broken clip is nearly useless. Almost any bit of movement will break that connection. Also, I've never seen an HDMI cable with screws (or maybe I just misunderstood your reference there in your answer). –  JoshP Dec 13 '12 at 14:22
    
The point of the RJ-45 example is that if the little clip breaks off, most of the time the wire will not stay in it's designated place, thus the need for "extra reinforcement" needed to keep it in the hole kinda like VGA and HDMI. –  hydroparadise Dec 13 '12 at 14:28
    
In your first paragraph I think you've confused HDMI and DVI. The latter is a large old style screw in plug; the former is secured the same way as USB/DP/TB as shown in your pictures. –  Dan Neely Dec 13 '12 at 17:54
    
@DanNeely Yep, sure did and corrected my answer. –  hydroparadise Dec 13 '12 at 18:15

The reason a power cable won't be secured is that, if it were to be ripped apart when tripped over, the wires could be exposed causing potential shock, fires, short circuits, and all that. The power going through dvi/vga is very low.

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You are already seeing a change with HDMI ports. Once VGA and DVI ports are deprecated, graphic ports will have no screws. Most ports have screws or clips. Only since USB there seem to be a "screwless" trend for ports.

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Don't forget PS/2 and ADB :) –  JoshP Dec 13 '12 at 14:46

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