I am looking to buy a new video card to power two identical monitors. The monitors came with both DVI and VGA cables, so I am able to use either.

My current video card has two DVI ports on the back, so I have both monitors connected via DVI at present. I have noticed that many modern video cards have a DVI/VGA/HDMI port trio and that cards with two DVI ports seem somewhat more scarce. Essentially, I have more options available to me for purchasing cards with a DVI/VGA/HDMI trio than with a DVI/DVI duo.

My question is, are there any sound reasons to go to the extra effort of finding a card with two DVI ports versus simply running one of my monitors through a DVI and one through a VGA on a DVI/VGA/HDMI card? Quality differences? Any variety of image asymmetry? Configuration difficulties (I dual boot Windows and Ubuntu)? Anything else?


DVI and HDMI are digital output, VGA is analog. Digital output will be superior to analog for clarity and color matching.

  • I'd add that in nearly all dual dvi ported cards, one is a DVI-I - which does VGA as well with a passive adaptor. A lot of high end cards also have DP, which is roughly analogous to HDMI, and have multiples of those. – Journeyman Geek Sep 2 '12 at 4:04
  • display port is a bit of a pain due to needing adapters to get to most devices. dell switched from dp to hdmi on their latest releases due to so many tv's etc having a hdmi port but no dp. – Kendrick Sep 2 '12 at 4:18
  • @Keltari related question - what if I were to use a HDMI-to-DVI adapter on the HDMI port of a DVI/VGA/HDMI trio card? Would this give me comparable quality on both screens, or would the HDMI-adapted monitor now have different characteristics (for better or worse) than the pure DVI monitor? – Bryce Thomas Sep 2 '12 at 4:21
  • Thats the beauty of digital signals, converting them will cause no loss of quality – Keltari Sep 2 '12 at 4:39

It comes down to what displays you have and or plan to use. if you have a very nice crt that does high refresh rates well for gaming you would want to keep the vga port so that you could use it.

If you have dual/tripple input lcd screens you would want to go with digital due to picture quality. If I put the display tuning wizard on both screens when it goes to the color test partern you can very visibally see about 10 vertical "lines" about 1/2" wide on the analog lcd due to noise being picked up on the wires. the cable is 5' or less to my case.

Once I rack this system I plan to put them both on dvi due to 15' cables being needed.


You can buy a cheap (for maybe about $5) female HDMI to male DVI adapter or male HDMI to male DVI cable, so you'd not need to use analog VGA with DVI/HDMI/VGA card. HDMI can also output sound, which can be useful sometimes (for example to connect PC to big TV, or to a monitor with speakers).

So DVI/VGA/HDMI is better for you.

  • Yes, go for 2x DVI-I ports and you can use them both with a VGA adapter, giving you all freedom. – DanMan Sep 2 '12 at 10:30

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