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HDMI or VGA or DVI: Which Is Better For Gaming?

HDMI or VGA or DVI: Which Is Better For Gaming?

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When it comes to gaming, having the right connection between your graphics card and monitor can make a significant difference in your experience. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the four most common gaming connections – HDMI, VGA, DVI, and DisplayPort – and their impact on gaming performance.

Before diving into the specifics of each connection type, it’s essential to understand the factors that influence gaming performance. 

Two critical elements are frames per second (FPS) and refresh rate (measured in Hz). These metrics are primarily determined by your computer’s hardware, such as the GPU and monitor.

A higher refresh rate is generally preferred for smoother gameplay, while FPS is determined by the processing power of your computer. 

The connections between your graphics card and monitor are responsible for transmitting this data, affecting the final image quality on your screen.

Which Is The Best for Gaming?

Xbox controller is playing Stardew Valley on Sony TV

When selecting the best gaming connection for your setup, it’s critical to consider your monitor and graphics card’s capabilities. Mismatched components can result in screen tearing, where the computer’s frame rate output doesn’t match the monitor’s frame rate.

For classic gaming on older monitors, VGA may be sufficient. However, DVI offers advantages over VGA, such as higher resolutions and refresh rates. If your monitor supports both VGA and DVI, opting for DVI can provide better performance.

For gaming in 2K or 4K with high refresh rates, HDMI or DisplayPort are the recommended options. While HDMI is typically sufficient for most PC gaming setups, DisplayPort may offer superior performance for high-resolution gaming with fast refresh rates.

By understanding the capabilities of HDMI, VGA, DVI, and DisplayPort, you can make an informed decision and optimize your gaming experience.


VGA cable on a wooden table

VGA, or Video Graphics Array, has been a standard gaming connection for many years. It’s an analog signal that uses specific cables, ports, and connectors to link video devices like monitors to graphics cards.

Originally, VGA supported a maximum resolution of 640 x 480 with a 60Hz refresh rate. However, modern VGA can now scale up to 1080p resolution, although the refresh rate remains at 60Hz.

VGA is still a viable choice for gaming, especially if you have an older monitor that only has a VGA port. 

Classic games with low FPS and a 60Hz refresh rate, such as Warcraft, Quake, or Doom, will run smoothly with VGA. 

However, newer games that require higher frame rates, like Genshin Impact, League of Legends, or Final Fantasy, may not provide the best experience with VGA.

As technology advances, VGA is gradually being replaced by newer interfaces like HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort.


HDMI cable on a wooden table

HDMI is a common connection found in most modern gaming monitors, computers, and TVs. There are three primary versions of HDMI cables for gaming:

  • HDMI 1.4
  • HDMI 2.0
  • HDMI 2.1

The refresh rate and resolution capabilities of your display depend on the HDMI cable version you use. 

For example, if you use a 4K monitor with a powerful graphics card like the 3080Ti, the type of HDMI you use will determine the refresh rate you can achieve.

HDMI 1.4 supports 4K resolution but is limited to a 24Hz refresh rate. With HDMI 2.0, you can enjoy a 60Hz refresh rate at 4K resolution. 

HDMI 2.1 offers an even more impressive performance, with a 144Hz refresh rate at 4K resolution and support for resolutions up to 10K at 120Hz.

It’s essential to use the correct HDMI cable version to achieve your desired refresh rate and resolution.

The table below will give you more detail. 

Version Resolution Refresh Rate
HDMI 1.4 4K (4096 x 2160 pixel) 24Hz
HDMI 2.0 4K (4096 x 2160 pixel) 60Hz
HDMI 2.1 4K (4096 x 2160 pixel) 144Hz 
10K (10240 × 4320 pixels) 120Hz



DVI cable on a wooden table

DVI is a popular connection type among PC users, with three primary variants:

  • DVI-A
    Diagram of DIV-A port
  • DVI-D (Dual Link and Single Link)
    Diagram of DIV-D dual link
    Diagram of DIV-D single link
  • DVI-I (Dual Link and Single Link)
    Diagram of DIV-I dual link
    Diagram of DIV-I single link

Graphics cards commonly feature DVI-D and DVI-I ports. 

The DVI-D single link supports a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1600 at 30Hz, but you can achieve a 60Hz refresh rate by lowering the resolution to 1920 x 1080 or less.

 A dual-link DVI-D connection can support a 144Hz refresh rate at 1080p.

For 4K gaming with a higher refresh rate of 120Hz or 144Hz, you will need to use HDMI 2.1 or DisplayPort instead of DVI.


DisplayPort on the table with blue back light

DisplayPort is another popular gaming connection, with multiple versions offering different performance capabilities:

Version Resolution Refresh Rate
DisplayPort 1.2 4K (3840 x 2190 pixels) 60 Hz
DisplayPort 1.3 4K (3840 x 2190 pixels) 120 Hz
8K (7680 × 4320 pixels) 30 Hz
DisplayPort 1.4 4K (3840 x 2190 pixels) 120 Hz
8K (7680 × 4320 pixels) 60 Hz
DisplayPort 2.0 4K (3840 x 2190 pixels) 144 Hz
8K (7680 × 4320 pixels) 120 Hz
10K (10240 × 4320 pixels) 30 Hz
16K (15360 × 8640 pixels) 30 Hz

DisplayPort also supports G-Sync and FreeSync technologies, enhancing gaming performance by reducing screen tearing and input lag. 

For high-quality 4K and 8K gaming with high refresh rates, DisplayPort is an excellent choice.

In conclusion, the ideal gaming connection depends on your specific hardware and performance requirements.

How was content created? This piece is created collaboratively, with tech editors generating ideas, conducting testing, and proofreading meticulously, while AI assists in fine-tuning.

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