A computer port is one of the interfaces of a point of connections between the peripheral devices and computers. In the following, we will learn about the different types of ports on your PC.
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface):
HDMI has established itself in recent years as the video port, capable of transmitting fully digital audio and video streams while allowing the management of DRM (Digital Rights Management). That is used for the broadcasting of high-definition streams (Blu-Ray or HD DVD).
Today, laptops equipped with an HDMI port support at least the HDM1 1.4 standard. The latter notably allows connection to UHD / 4K screens or televisions at 30 Hz maximum. To enjoy Very High Definition at 60 Hz, you will need a laptop PC equipped with a minimum HDMI 2.0 port. The still very rare HMDI 2.1 brings support for 4K at 120 Hz (and 8K).
Mini-DisplayPort / DisplayPort:
Alternative to HDMI, the mini-DisplayPort tends to disappear in favor of USB-C. Ditto for the DisplayPort, the larger size and therefore even rarer. These ports are sometimes offered on gaming laptops. They are the guarantee of being able to connect an external 4K / UHD screen with a refresh rate of 60 images per second.
The ethernet adapter is also commonly referred to as a “network port”. It allows computers to be linked together to exchange data but also to have remote access to a computer. It is also used to access the Internet via your modem or your “box”. It offers the advantage of offering better speeds while being more stable.
The Ethernet port is mainly found on gaming laptops today. It is still possible to use a USB to RJ-45 adapter if necessary.
Headphone / Microphone 3.5mm jack port:
As its name suggests, this port allows you to connect a headset and/or a microphone. Sometimes separate, the sound output and the microphone input today tend to be grouped on a single port
Card reader (micro) SD:
Ideal for emptying the memory card of your camera, GoPro, or smartphone, the SD card reader is starting to become rarer on new laptops. Some models sometimes include a micro-SD reader.
Whatever the format, the integrated readers are certainly practical but their speeds are limited to the UHS-I standard, in practice around 90 MB / s. The Microsoft Surface Book 2 and the Gigabyte Aero 15 are the only ones to have a UHS-II SD reader capable of up to 300MB / s with compatible cards.
It is not strictly speaking a port but it can often be confused with USB-C or even mini-DisplayPort. The clip is used to attach a steel cable which will itself be attached to a fixed point thus providing security against theft.
VGA (Video Graphics Array):
This is an analog interface for connecting a monitor to a graphics card. Commonly used, this 15-pin D-sub connector was gradually replaced by DVI and then HMDI today. No recent laptop is equipped with it. You should therefore opt for an adapter if you cannot do without this video port.
DVI (Digital Visual Interface):
As for the VGA, this connection also makes it possible to connect a graphics card and a monitor but this time through a digital interface. The DVI has gradually imposed itself with the arrival of LCD screens by allowing a completely digital connection. Thus, avoiding analog / digital conversions causing loss of quality. It is now replaced by HDMI and has therefore also disappeared from laptops since 2014.
USB-C Adapter and Hub:
As we mentioned, some laptops only offer USB-C ports as a connection. For many, this is a barrier to purchasing since the traditional USB-A and HDMI ports are then absent.
USB-C to USB-A adapter what disorientation more than one. However, and even if this type of situation may appear to be a disadvantage at first glance, in practice, it is not insurmountable by accepting to adapt their habits.
So, to occasionally connect a device with a “classic” USB port, just buy a small USB-C to USB-A adapter that will remain permanently at the bottom of your bag for the always have on hand. For HDMI, there are also HDMI to USB-C adapters or more simply HDMI to USB-C cables.
If you need more connectivity, the solution is to opt for a “USB-C hub” (sometimes provided during purchase).
You can also opt for more complete models with more ports and/or more “sophisticated” with, for example, a USB-C port compatible with Power Delivery. That is capable of supporting the mains supply. You can also enjoy a 4K / UHD compatible HDMI port.
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