VGA cables bridge the analog video interface between the input and output. The input device is either your motherboard or GPU that produces analog video, and your output is your monitor. So how far can you run a VGA cable?
A VGA cable can run 100 feet or more. The recommended length for an 800×600 resolution is 100 feet, 1280×1024 and 1024×768 is 50-90 feet, and finally 25 feet for a high resolution of 1920×1080. The shorter the cable, the better the visual quality. A VGA booster can improve the quality of a longer VGA cable.
How Long Can I Run A VGA Cable?
A VGA cable transmits the VGA analog video input from the GPU or motherboard device to the output, such as a computer monitor.
VGA is a simple technology that can potentially travel up to 100 feet on a cable made of copper wire. Although these VGA cables can travel long distances, there can be a loss in quality depending on the cable distance.
The recommended distance for different resolutions are as follows:
- A VGA cable of about 30 feet or less is recommended for a video resolution 1920×1080 or more.
- A VGA cable of about 50-90 feet is recommended for a video resolution up to 1280×1024 and 1024×768.
- A VGA cable of 100 feet is recommended for a video resolution up to about 800×660 resolution.
From what I said above, the shorter the cable, the better video quality it outputs. If you exceed these lengths and recommended video resolutions, unfortunately, you will come across visual artifacts without VGA boosters. Most commonly, this visual artifact is Ghosting.
Ghosting is an unfortunate visual artifact that makes it look like the transmitted video is placed on top of the same transmitted video in awkward positions on the output monitor.
To avoid visual artifacts, such as Ghosting as described above, stick to the recommended cable lengths for the resolution you desire. If you have to run long cable lengths and want to achieve an excellent resolution quality, consider investing in VGA boosters.
How Do I Run A Long-Distance VGA Cable?
If you want to run a long-distance VGA cable over the realistic cable distance of 30 feet, you will need to use VGA boosters. Also, it would be beneficial to find out whether the VGA cables are made out of insulation and coaxial wire.
Although there is no clear standard of what makes a VGA cable the best quality for specific resolutions, I recommend one made of certain materials.
The quality transferred from the input, such as the GPU, to the output, the computer monitor can be vastly superior if your VGA cables are insulated and made out of coaxial wires.
VGA boosters will make the most significant difference in improving the quality output by long-distance VGA cables. VGA boosters are typically bulky devices that often use an ethernet cable.
I recommend VGA Over Cat boosters as it is inexpensive and easy to set up.
These VGA Over Cat boosters use either a Cat5 ethernet cable or a Cat6 ethernet cable. A Cat6 ethernet cable is recommended for long-distance VGA cables as they can provide much more power to the VGA booster than the Cat5 cable for long-distance cables.
Typically, on average, these VGA Over Cat boosters can allow a long-distance VGA cable of 300 feet to output an adequate resolution quality of 640×480. You can use a shorter long-distance VGA Over Cat cable of about 75 meters to display an ideal resolution of up to 1024×768.
Again, it is a matter of choosing between video quality or cable length. Even with these VGA Over Cat boosters, the shorter the distance of the long-distance VGA cable, the better the video quality will be.
Can I Extend A VGA Cable?
You can also extend your VGA cable with a VGA booster, also known as a VGA extender.
As described above, it is a bulky device typically powered by a Cat5 or Cat6 ethernet cable.
Now that we are on the subject of extending the VGA cable, which is very similar and often the same as running a long-distance VGA cable, it is time to talk about the transmitter and receiver.
The transmitter of a VGA extender is a bulky device where you plug in the VGA cable connected to your input, such as your GPU. This device uses either a Cat5 or Cat6 ethernet cable. Cat6 cables are often used for VGA cables running longer distances.
The receiver of a VGA extender is also a bulky device where the VGA cable connects to the output, such as your computer monitor that will display the video signal received from the output device. This device is powered by a Cat5 or Cat6 ethernet cable as well.
As VGA extenders and boosters are the same devices, what is said above about the shorter the distance, the better quality rings true here as well.
The shorter the distance of the VGA cable, the better the quality will be of the video resolution.
If you want a crisp video resolution of 1920×1080, a VGA cable with a distance of 30 feet or less is recommended. As you go longer distances, the quality received from the VGA input, most often your GPU outputs at a much lower video resolution on your monitor.
A 100 feet cable can display about a max 800×600 resolution, which is nowhere near as good as a resolution of 1920×1080. If you want to run long-distance VGA cables, ensure that the cables you buy are insulated and made out of coaxial wire.
A VGA extender, also known as a VGA booster, is a bulky device that increases the signal strength of a long-distance VGA cable and can also be used to extend VGA cables through the transmitter and receiver.
In all cases, as mentioned above, the shorter the VGA cables run, the better the quality of the video resolution you receive will be.
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.