Usually, the "ports" on the computer are female but this one in specific appears to be a male port. I have never seen one and google images are also causing a confusion from seeing this:

enter image description here

If that's right then I guess the serial plug/connector should be female?

It would also help if the same is cleared up for parallel ports.

  • 1
    Ron's right. I would add that the port right next to it is an (S)VGA port. If you see a similar port with only 9 holes, but a female port, then that is likely a video port (pre-VGA, quite possibly using EGA or CGA), not a serial port. – TOOGAM Jan 18 '16 at 23:40
  • Possible duplicate of Is DB-25 port Serial or Parallel? – sawdust Jan 19 '16 at 0:07
  • 3
    @Moab: Really? I have seen those same purple and green ones on modern motherboards as well. – user12184 Jan 19 '16 at 1:00
  • 3
    @Moab: Like this one for example – user12184 Jan 19 '16 at 1:45
  • 1
    Pins = male. That's pretty much it. – Django Reinhardt Jan 19 '16 at 13:57

That is a male serial connector. The big one is a female parallel connector. It used to be common to have both 25-pin serial ports (true RS-232 ports) and 25-pin parallel ports (smaller than the original Centronics parallel ports). The parallel ports were female, and the serial ports were male. This prevented accidentally connecting a cable to the wrong port.

This, of course, was not always the case, but it was a very common way of doing things.

  • 6
    @user12184 -- "connector" and "port" don't necessarily have the meaning that you seem to ascribe. Connectors can be any gender. You may be thinking of (male) "plug" and (female) "socket". – sawdust Jan 18 '16 at 23:44
  • 2
    Answer is IBM PC specific (without mentioning its limitation). Gender of DB-25 for RS-232 more often depended on whether device was DTE or DCE. – sawdust Jan 18 '16 at 23:46
  • 2
    @sawdust, I said it was a common way, but it was certainly not limited to IBM. Many computer manufacturers adopted this. I did mention that it was not always the case. – Ron Maupin Jan 18 '16 at 23:49
  • 2
    @sawdust, yes, and...? I did write that it was smaller than the original Centronics connector. IBM may have originated it, but many manufacturers adopted it, and, as I wrote, it was common. It was only briefly IBM-specific before becoming widely adopted. There is nothing that defines any of this as a standard (other than requiring a 25-pin connector in the RS-232 standard). I gave a generic answer to try to explain what the OP saw in the picture. – Ron Maupin Jan 19 '16 at 0:08
  • 2
    @sawdust, yes, PC clone manufacturers among others. I had a project to replace a couple of large, older DG minicomputers with a much smaller, newer, mini-file cabinet sized DG minicomputer. I had to chop off and replace the 48 terminal cable connectors because the older minicomputers had 25-pin female connectors, but the newer minicomputer had 25-pin female connectors, just like the PCs of the time. I have seen various PBX systems which used 25- or 9- pin male serial connectors. All I wrote is that it was common; I didn't write that it was ubiquitous. – Ron Maupin Jan 19 '16 at 0:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.