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Are VGA and RGB the Same?


Whenever you’re using any display technology, one of the most important factors that determines the quality you see is the cable you use. 

Be it an RGB (Red, Green, Blue), VGA (Video Graphics Array), or an HDMI cable, each of these cables has distinct qualities, use cases, and components. 

In this article, we’re going to discuss two of the most popular display cables you may come across in the market: RGB and VGA. 

To understand whether these cables are of any use to you or not, we’ll first need to understand what these two technologies entail, and then compare the two. 

So, are VGA and RGB the same?

Let’s find out. 

What Is VGA?

Cable Matters VGA to VGA Cable with Ferrites (SVGA Cable) 10 Feet
Click this image for more information

Video Graphics Array, or VGA, cables were created in 1987 by IBM. 

With time, it became one of the most prominent standards for video interference, since it could provide resolutions of 720 x 400 in text mode. 

VGA cables transmit analog signals to transfer data. This is also why the picture quality one may expect from a VGA cable can be of low quality, which translates to a low screen resolution. 

How low, one may ask?

At a 640 x 800 screen resolution, you’ll only be able to see 16 colors. You’ll have to reduce the resolution to 320 x 200 to see 256 colors. 

While it may sound like a significant sacrifice when we’re fully capable of seeing millions of colors, VGA cables were considered top-of-the-line at one point. 

Structurally, VGA cables have 15 pins in one block divided into three rows (with 5 pins in each row).

It’s also worth mentioning that VGA technology is borderline obsolete nowadays. 

People prefer using HDMI cables or the newer versions of VGA cables called SVGA cables (even though people still call them VGA cables).

What Is RGB?

RGB cables

RGB, on the other hand, is a color setting used to represent different colors shown on a computer screen. Gamers nowadays also prefer buying keyboards, mice, and any other technological device with RGB colors. 

Why?

It’s because the RGB colors can combine to form any color you can imagine (depending on the intensity they are mixed in). 

The highest intensity produces the color white, while the lowest intensity produces black. When an RGB system produces color for a display, it uses decimal values ranging from 0 to 255 to represent the intensity of every color. 

Since every color can have 256 different values, you can see 16.7 million different colors. 

Here’s why:

Red (256) x Green (256) x Blue (256) = 16,777,216

It’s also worth noting that the RGB values are represented in the hexadecimal order. 

Here’s what that means: 

  • First and second digit = Red
  • Third and fourth = Green
  • Fifth and sixth = Blue

Even though several alternatives have been introduced into the market, the RGB method of showing colors still prevails in almost every form of application. 

It’s also worth noting that several monitors use an RGB cable (which performs the same function we’ve described above) —  a cable with three color-coded heads in the RGB color. 

Side by Side Comparisons: Breaking It Down

Two Blue VGA cables and RGB cables

1. Use Cases

VGA

VGA cables can be used with several devices, including monitors, laptops, televisions, video cards, and many others. They are used to connect two devices so that analog signals can be sent. 

For example, these two devices could be:

  • A laptop and a computer
  • A computer and a monitor
  • A television and a computer

RGB

The RGB color mode is used to display colors for essentially all digital communication channels. Be it a website, a television show, or a video that you’re watching on YouTube. 

Some of the most popular uses of RGB are:

  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Visual content
  • Social media
  • Branding
  • Profile pictures
  • Photographs for applications
  • Logos
  • Icons
  • Buttons

Blue VGA cables and RGB cables

2. Types

VGA

There are several kinds of VGA cables. Some of the most popular ones you’ll find are: 

  • DB15
  • HD15
  • HDB-15
  • Mini 015
  • Mini-Sub D15
  • Mini D15
  • VGA adapter
  • KVM
  • BNC to VGA breakout
  • VGA Splitter
  • DB13W3 Cables

Some of these cables have unique connections. 

For instance, some have ferrite beads, some don’t, and some are assembled.

RGB

RGB cables, on the other hand, don’t have a lot of variety. 

The only variations that you will see will be in terms of cable length. For instance:

  • 6 ft RGB cable
  • 12 ft RGB cable
  • 25 ft RGB cable

Black VGA cables and RGB cables

3. Affordability

VGA vs. RGB

Both VGA and RGB cables have more or less the same prices. 

While you may see a hefty price variation if you compared a standard VGA cable to a 25 ft RGB cable, that wouldn’t be a baseline comparison. 

Two VGA cables and RGB cables

  • Comparison Table

Factor of ComparisonRGBVGA
NameRed Green BlueVideo Graphics Array
Basic UsageWhile it is also a cable, it’s generally known as a color model that is capable of displaying 16.7 million colorsVGA cables are a video standard.
SignalRGB, which is hexadecimal. Values can range between 0 and 255 for each colorVGA cables send an analog signal
CableA cable with three color-coded (RGB) heads. Each head goes into a different portA single block with 15 pins. 5 pins are arranged in one row.
Use CasesThe RGB color format is used in almost every digital communication channel and some gaming devices.

The RGB cable is used with monitors and TVs.

Though it had several uses, now it is usually used to connect a projector to a monitor.
TypesNot many. They usually vary by length.Several, some of them are: DB15

  • HD15
  • HDB-15
  • Mini 015
AffordabilityPractically the same as a VGA cablePractically the same as an RGB cable

Wrapping Up

Two Black Blue VGA cables and RGB cables

Even though both RGB and VGA cables are used in almost similar settings, it’s clear that one of them has managed to stand firm against the tests of time — the other fading away due to fierce innovation. 

While VGA cables have now been replaced by other options that provide more colors and a higher resolution, the RGB world has been rejuvenated by it because of more creative applications. 

But does RGB have a fate similar to VGA? 

Only time can tell!


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