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Interface and Cabling
The monitor is connected to the video card through a cable that attaches to a connector on its back. There are a few different connectors used for monitors:
Warning: Make sure not to use
an older digital monitor with a modern (analog) video card, or you risk damaging the
monitor. See here for more on the difference.
Some older monitors require a sync signal from the PC in order to know what mode to put themselves into when they are turned on. When using this sort of monitor, you should turn the PC itself on several seconds before powering up the monitor. This will ensure that the monitor sees a video signal when it is turned on so it will work properly.
One distinguishing feature that many people don't pay much attention to is whether the monitor uses an integrated or a separate data cable. Monitors that use separate data cables have a female data port on the back of the monitor, much like the port on the video card, and use a male-to-male cable to attach the two. Monitors using an integrated data cable have the cable coming from the back of the monitor directly with a single male plug for the video card. Both designs work the same, but if the cable is ever damaged, the monitor with the integrated cable will have to go to the repair shop, while the one with the separate cable can be fixed with a $10 replacement.
Next: Monitor Case