Many old video devices have VGA ports, and even brand new monitors and projectors still have built-in VGA ports.
This makes VGA the easiest way to connect video sources to these devices, but this doesn’t mean it’s the best way.
When you want to watch a show or play a game, you typically want to view the video in high resolution. After all, what’s the use in watching a video or looking at game graphics if you can’t see all the details in high definition?
This begs many questions about the video resolutions VGA can support, like: is VGA a good choice for what you want to do? What video resolutions can VGA support? Can VGA do 4K resolution?
We have found that VGA can’t do 4K resolution, but it can do 1080 pixels at 60 hertz. Its max resolution is 2048 by 1536 pixels at 85 hertz, which is equal to 2K resolution, but this is not a very reliable resolution and may strain your devices or result in artifacts. Thus, VGA is best for low resolutions.
- Can VGA Support a Resolution of 1080 Pixels?
- Can VGA Support a Resolution of 4K?
- Does VGA Have a Maximum Resolution?
- Is VGA as Good as HDMI Regarding Resolutions?
- Is VGA as Good as DVI Regarding Resolutions?
- Is VGA as Good as DisplayPort Regarding Resolutions?
- Which is the Best Video Port?
Can VGA Support a Resolution of 1080 Pixels?
The answer is: it depends!
If you have an old VGA port or cable, it might be the original version of the VGA standard.
The VGA standard is only capable of supporting a maximum resolution of 640 by 480 pixels.
If you have a new VGA port or cable, it will probably support a 1080 pixel resolution.
However, even a new VGA port or cable would have limits.
If you want to use VGA for a 1080 pixel resolution, its maximum refresh rate would be 60 hertz.
A 1080 pixel resolution at 60 hertz would be a decent video quality for most purposes, but pushing VGA to 60 hertz might be detrimental to your devices.
This is because using VGA for a 1080 pixel resolution at 60 hertz would require more video bandwidth.
Technically, VGA can allow for this, since analog video signals don’t have a bandwidth limit.
However, this would probably strain your devices, and work harder to provide the higher video bandwidth.
Can VGA Support a Resolution of 4K?
Unfortunately, the answer is no.
No matter how good or new your VGA port and cable are, VGA will still be limited by its hardware.
Currently, VGA hardware cannot support 4K resolution, or a resolution of 3840 by 2160 pixels.
Technically, VGA can support 2K resolution, but supporting true High Definition video would be a strain on your devices.
Does VGA Have a Maximum Resolution?
Again, the answer to this is that it depends.
Under ideal circumstances, VGA can support a maximum resolution of 2048 by 1536 pixels with a refresh rate of up to 85 hertz.
However, this isn’t always the case.
If the video signal source isn’t strong enough, or if the VGA cable doesn’t have good quality, then the maximum resolution could end up being much lower than 2048 by 1536 pixels.
Why Doesn’t VGA Always Reach its Maximum Resolution?
As mentioned above, the maximum resolution of VGA depends on two main factors.
The video signal source is typically the video card or integrated chip on your device, and not every manufacturer builds a video signal source that’s strong enough to get VGA to its maximum resolution.
If you want to know for sure, you can look at the specifications for what VGA resolutions are supported on your device’s video card or integrated graphics.
The second factor is the quality of your VGA cable. This can limit your maximum resolution because if the VGA cable is of poor quality, it won’t be able to relay a high-quality video signal.
There are also several other factors that may affect the resolution of a VGA connection.
If you are connecting to a device that only receives digital signals, your video signal source will have to convert the analog VGA signal to a digital one.
This diverts power from the signal relaying, which can lead to a decrease in video resolution.
If you are using a long VGA cable, this can also decrease video resolution since video signals increasingly degrade as they travel longer distances.
Finally, if you’re pushing VGA to its maximum resolution, it might encounter many minor issues that will lead to artifacts in your video stream.
What Should I Use VGA For?
In truth, you can use VGA for anything, as long as you don’t want or need extremely high resolutions.
But, because of its limitations, we advise only using VGA when you just need a quick, decent connection.
Ideally, you can use VGA for videos under the 1080 pixel resolution, or for monitors that won’t be used for high definition graphics.
Is VGA as Good as HDMI Regarding Resolutions?
The answer is a resounding no.
HDMI is the standard when it comes to digital video connections.
It’s capable of supporting both high resolutions and high refresh rates, such as 1080 pixels at 240 hertz or 4K resolution at a refresh rate of up to 30 hertz.
HDMI can technically be stretched to 4096 by 2160 pixels at a refresh rate of 24 hertz, but this is typically only used in digital theaters.
So, in terms of resolution alone, HDMI is already miles ahead of VGA.
HDMI also has several other advantages over VGA, including:
- Support for 3D video
- Audio signal transmission
- Resistance to video signal interference and degradation
- Data encryption in the form of HDCP
- Brighter visuals
Is VGA as Good as DVI Regarding Resolutions?
The answer to this depends on the type of DVI hardware you’re using.
There are two main types of DVI hardware: single-link and dual-link.
Single-link DVI hardware has a maximum resolution of 1920 by 1200 pixels, which is smaller than the maximum resolution of VGA.
Dual-link DVI hardware is capable of supporting a maximum resolution of 3840 by 2400 pixels at a refresh rate of 33 hertz, which is larger than what VGA is capable of.
However, this maximum resolution is limited by the quality of the video signal source and the DVI cable, similar to VGA.
Also like VGA, DVI can’t carry audio signals, making it better for computer monitors.
Is VGA as Good as DisplayPort Regarding Resolutions?
DisplayPort typically has a maximum resolution of 3840 by 2160 pixels at a refresh rate of 30 hertz, but some versions can go up to 7680 by 4320 pixels at 30 hertz.
It also has the advantage of being able to carry audio signals, similar to HDMI.
However, it’s important to note that DisplayPort is limited to computer monitors, so if you’re connecting to a TV, it won’t be of much use.
Which is the Best Video Port?
It all depends on what you want to do.
If you want to connect to a computer monitor, DisplayPort would be the best choice since it has high resolutions, it carries audio, and it’s mostly found in monitor displays.
If you want to watch a high resolution video, HDMI would be the best choice since it has high resolutions, it carries audio, it supports 3D, and it’s found in all types of video devices.
If you want to play a game, HDMI would be the best if you want to carry audio, while DVI would be the best if audio doesn’t need to be carried along with the video signal.
In general, you should always use digital video ports rather than analog video ports like VGA.
VGA is alright for quick or convenient usage, but it limits you to low resolutions that may become a hassle in the long run.
VGA can support a resolution of 1080 pixels, but only if it’s a new version of VGA and its refresh rate is at a maximum of 60 hertz.
VGA can’t support a resolution of 4K due to the limitations of its hardware, but it is capable of supporting 2K resolution.
VGA has a maximum resolution of 2048 by 1536 pixels with a maximum refresh rate of 85 hertz.
However, this maximum may be lowered by the strength of the video signal source and the quality of the VGA cable. The quality may also be affected by analog to digital conversion and signal degradation.
You should use VGA for quick or casual usage, not for high resolution video.
HDMI has a higher maximum resolution than VGA at 4096 by 2160 pixels at 24 hertz, and it’s capable of carrying audio.
Dual-link DVI has a higher maximum resolution than VGA at 3840 by 2400 pixels at 33 hertz, but this can be affected by the quality of the hardware. It can’t carry audio.
DisplayPort has a higher maximum resolution than VGA at 7680 by 4320 pixels at 30 hertz, and it’s capable of carrying audio.
In general, digital video ports are better than VGA, but HDMI is best for general usage.
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.