Tangled or neatly coiled, wires surround our lives. Computers, laptops, and other electronic devices come with a range of cables and connectors: USB, data cables, video, and audio cables, etc.

The sheer number of options, along with their complex names, makes it difficult for the layperson to differentiate one from another. What is an HDMI cable? How can you tell the difference between USB type A and USB type C?

If you’re having trouble with computer connectors and cables, here’s a visual guide to help you out. Set up your device in minutes with this list of important computer cables and connectors.

Universal Serial Bus (USB)

One of the most commonly used types, USB cables are used to connect a range of external devices to a computer.

These include computer and electronic accessories like keyboards, mice, and printers, as well as other gadgets such as cell phones, cameras, and portable media players. Connect them to a USB port to charge them or transfer data to and from your computer or devices.

There are different types of USBs. The shape of the pin helps you tell one from another.

USB Type A

This is a standard connector with a rectangular shape. It’s at the end of every USB cable since it plugs into your computer.

USB Type B

A square-shaped connector, it’s used to connect large devices like printers and external hard drives.

USB Type C

Unlike the other types, this is a small, reversible connector that’s used to power devices or transfer data. It’s found in the power adapters for the new range of phones.

Mini and Micro USB

These types connect portable devices like phones and digital cameras.

A USB converter with type A and connector ports for other applications helps connect a non-USB cable to a computer.

Video Graphics Array (VGA)

One of the oldest types of computer cable connectors, VGA transmits analog video signals. A standard VGA cable has 15 pins and is used to connect computers to monitor screens.

For newer computer models that support digital signals, converter cables like VGA to DVI/HDMI are used.

Digital Visual Interface (DVI)

This cable signifies a move from analog to digital. A standard DVI connector has 29 pins. Several versions, like the DVI-A, DVI-D, DVI-I, and Mini-DVI, are available.

These older computer cables and connectors have been replaced or made compatible with modern ones like HDMI.

High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI)

Unlike its older counterparts, HDMI cable transmits both digital audio and video signals. It lets you display audio and video content from your laptop or computer on a TV, projector, etc. HDMI cables are 5 meters to 15 meters long.


Invented to replace VGA and DVI, DisplayPort is a digital audio and video cable. There are several versions of it, which can be connected to any device that supports DisplayPort.

They are 3 meters to 15 meters long. The smaller version, called Mini DisplayPort, is typically used with Apple products.

3.5mm Audio Cable

The standard headphone audio cable is still one of the most widely used. It comes in different sizes, but 3.5mm is popular for use with computers, phones, and other electronic devices.

Modern audio recording devices use large versions of these computer cables and connectors.

Digital Optical Audio Cable

Your DVD player or set-top box uses these fiber optic cables to transmit digital audio to your TV. Some modern laptops carry a mini variant of it that can be connected to a standard digital optical audio port.

Ethernet Cable

A popular cable, Ethernet delivers high-speed internet to your computer. Used with wired networks, it connects routers, modems, and computers to set up an internet connection.

It looks like a phone cable but is slightly larger. From 100BASE-TX to 1000BASE-T, Ethernet cables, or RJ45, you can find a variety of them at the best online marketplaces for sellers.

Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) and External SATA (eSATA)

These data cables are used to connect storage devices to the motherboard. SATA cables have two connectors with seven pins on each, which enables high-speed data transfers.

SATA was innovated to introduce eSATA cables, which enable you to connect external devices like hard drives to computers.

FireWire Cables

Also called IEEE 1394, this type of cable connects peripheral devices to your computer. It’s usually available in a six-pin configuration and helps connect computers to external hard drives, digital camcorders, etc., which require high-speed transfers. 


We hope this guide helps clear up the confusion over the most commonly used cables and connectors. If you’re looking to sell or buy computer cables and connectors, visit HellaBargain.