Regardless of the type of work you do or where you do your job, there’s a pretty big chance that you look at a computer or monitor display for a sizable chunk of your day.
And to make those monitors work, there are several port options available for various functions and specific use cases.
This includes HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C, DVI, and of course, VGA. But given how old the latter is, do all monitors still have VGA ports?
The answer is no, there are plenty of monitors these days that no longer support VGA.
However, the majority still do, as it helps ensure compatibility with legacy graphic cards and older computers that many people still use.
Furthermore, VGA is almost free to provide and only needs a few inexpensive components to work well.
To make further sense of VGA ports still being supported in modern monitors, this article will go over the technology behind VGA, backward compatibility, legacy technology, and everything else in-between.
Is VGA Considered Legacy Technology?
Video Graphics Array, often abbreviated as VGA, was first released by the company IBM during the late 1980s, where it was used for monitors and TVs that were still CRT-based.
As an analog interface, VGA carries informational data via a 15-pin D-sub connector, which works by stopping any sudden power surge that might otherwise ruin picture quality.
Because of this, VGA is capable of reaching resolutions as clear as 1080p or High Definition.
In turn, VGA stood amongst other technologies and cemented itself as the gold standard for many years. Thanks to VGA, monitors reached a 60 Hz refresh rate and a maximum resolution of 640 x 480.
Unfortunately, the technology that made VGA successful at transmitting high-clarity pictures is limited, as it can’t transmit audio signals simultaneously. This means that for audio, a separate connection is required.
This limitation, however, was soon solved by the DisplayPort and, not long after, by HDMI.
Unlike VGA, both the DisplayPort and HDMI used a digital signal, making them significantly more powerful and more advanced than the former.
That said, VGA ports aren’t wholly abandoned by manufacturers, even until today.
Thus, VGA ports are considered legacy technology.
Do All Monitors Have VGA Ports?
As we mentioned beforehand, not all monitors these days have VGA ports.
For many years, VGA was the standard. Still, its capabilities are just about obsolete at this point, and its limitations make it incapable of reaching the standards that newer technology has set.
That said, there are plenty of monitors in the market that still sport VGA ports, among other interfaces.
And if you’re wondering whether the monitor would work without a VGA port, then you’ll be pleased to know that they work just fine.
Again, the VGA port has evolved from the gold standard to simply an option for anyone that prefers it. As such, any modern monitor should work if you ultimately decide to ignore the port and use another input altogether.
And if you still wish to use the VGA port, you are always free to do so.
Why Do Modern Monitors Still Have VGA Ports?
If you think about how much more modern and capable the HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort are, it’s easy to start wondering why plenty of monitors still offer VGA support.
After all, the maximum limit of VGA is the base standard for the interfaces mentioned above, and it’s certainly nowhere near as efficient or convenient to use.
Well, the reason behind this is backwards compatibility.
For the uninitiated, backwards compatibility means that any newer (or modern) equipment version can handle older interfaces or previous software versions.
For example, many processors and operating systems are backwards compatible to let existing applications and software work just as well in the new version as they did in the last.
Backwards compatibility can also be observed in video game consoles, like the PS5 being able to play PS4 discs, or the newer Xbox Series X being capable of playing original Xbox games.
By enabling backwards compatibility, we make sure that older technology is preserved and isn’t lost.
For modern monitors, being able to support VGA means that anyone using older GPUs can still enjoy newer products without having to upgrade all of their equipment completely.
Technology evolves so fast that, while VGA has long been replaced, it hasn’t been that long in actual years. This means that there are likely still millions of people using legacy GPUs that haven’t upgraded or don’t want to upgrade.
Furthermore, the target market for monitors with VGA ports are people who don’t necessarily have high-end gaming rigs or the newest GPUs.
Finally, the technology utilized in VGA is embedded in chipsets, so making monitors compatible with VGA ports is likely very inexpensive to do. So it makes sense that they are usually added as an option.
Should You Still Use a Monitor With a VGA Port?
It depends on you.
If you still wish to use your monitor’s VGA port, then it should work just fine. You can also ignore your monitor’s VGA support and go for HDMI instead.
And if you wish to have the flexibility of having multiple ports, one of which is VGA, it should be easy to do. You can even use an adapter or converter to connect to a VGA port with an HDMI or DVI cable.
One great example is the ViewSonic VX2252MH Gaming Monitor , which still provides VGA support despite offering more modern features.
Note, however, that if you’re looking for a monitor with a higher refresh rate and more color-accurate resolution, you will need to upgrade to an HDMI, DVI, or DisplayPort cable.
While it may seem strange for monitors to offer VGA support still today, it makes sense from a manufacturer’s perspective. Especially considering that millions are perfectly comfortable using legacy technology.
If anything, it also highlights how vital backwards compatibility is, while also showcasing how much we have progressed in something as mundane as cables in just a few short decades.