Comparing DVI-I and DVI-D | Important Differences

DVI is one of the most common interfaces in the medium-price segment for connecting a computer and monitor. You can find it on budget and inexpensive video cards, as well as on office and home displays with a resolution up to F

    HD inclusive and refresh rate up to 60 Hz.

    DVI itself – one of the first digital video transmission standards. Of course, even before that, people tried to somehow get rid of analog connections, which have an extremely low bandwidth. But it was DVI that got the most widespread use.

    And this protocol itself exists in three variants – DVI-A, DVI-D and DVI-I. They differ in the number of pins involved in the signal transmission. Let’s find out what the main differences and similarities are between DVI-I and DVI-D, and also what the

  • The nk differs from the Dual
  • nk.
    DVI-I and DVI-D

    How DVI works

    Despite the fact that DVI is in principle a digital interface, which is reflected even in the name, which stands for “Digital Visual Interface”, in its development, its creators decided to achieve compatibility with older monitors. And for this purpose, the bus added support for analog data transfer.

    The analog data transfer pins are on the right side of the 24-pin bus of the digital part of the package. Those with a “long” ground and four extra connectors on top and bottom of it. This bus conveys information in analog form about the location of red, blue, and green pixels (RGB model).

    24 pins main bus is needed for digital data transfer. And depending on the type of DVI, it may physically consist of a different number of connectors.

    For example, DVI-I SL and DVI-D SL involve the connection of 18 pins. And DL – all 24. In the analog protocol DVI-A are involved mainly “ground” contacts – 12 connectors from the main bus.

    After you connect your monitor, the motherboard determines which standard is compatible with that screen. Then the clock frequency, resolution and other parameters are adjusted. What is very important, the DVI interface bandwidth depends on the cable length. One and the same monitor which is connected with 2m or 10m wires will have different resolution and refresh rate.

    Also it’s worth to mention that there are two ways of connecting monitors via DVI connector – Single

  • nk and Dual
  • nk.

    The thing is that the connector is equipped with duplicate pins. So, it has two red pairs, two blue pairs, two green pairs. Each pair is essentially a plus and a minus.

    If the monitor only receives data from one pair, it is called Single

  • nk (SL). If two, then it’s Dual
  • nk (DL).

    DL mode allows you to double the bus bandwidth. And it is necessary to achieve two goals – either to double the maximum supported resolution, or also to double the refresh rate.

    The fact that the DVI protocol in SL mode works with monitors of rather low resolution. Maximum supported is 1920×1080 pixels (F

      HD). In SL mode, you can increase it many times – for example, up to 2560×1600 pixels.

      DVI-D interface

      DVI-D (Digital Visual Interface – Digital) is a purely digital video data interface. It is commonly used in modern monitors and graphics cards because of its low cost and ease of manufacturing. Also, developers do not need to achieve compatibility with older technologies.

      DVI-D can work in two modes – Single

    • nk and Dual
    • nk. In the first case, the maximum clock frequency is 85 Hz on small screens (up to and including SXGA), in the second – 120 Hz on screens up to WUXGA, including F
        l HD.

        DVI-I Interface

        DVI-I (Digital Visual Interface – Integrated) is a digital to analog video interface. It adapts itself depending on the conditions of use and can switch from digital to analog transmission.

        DVI-I standard in DL version is most often used by mid-priced video cards. Thanks to it they can transfer HD-video or stream with excellent framerate to any connected monitor or projector.

        Because the analog and digital pins are on opposite sides of the connector, they have no effect on each other. And the resolution and clock frequency are the same as in DVI-D.

        Differences and similarities between DVI-I and DVI-D

        So, DVI-D is digital interface only, and DVI-I supports both digital and analog signal. In fact, DVI-D is part of DVI-I.

        Let’s compare the two and decide which is better.




        Transmitted signal type

        Only “digital”

        Both “digital” and “analog”

        Maximum resolution in SL

        1920×1080 pixels

        1920×1080 pixels

        Maximum resolution on DL

        2048×1536 pixels

        2048×1536 pixels

        Maximum frame rate in SL

        60 Hz

        60 Hz

        Maximum frame rate in DL

        120 Hz

        120 Hz

        It is clear that the only difference between these two interfaces is the presence of pins for analog signal transmission.

        Development of standards

        However, in modern video cards (manufactured after about 2013) this connector is practically not found. This is due to quite a few disadvantages. Among them:

        1. Increased sensitivity to external electromagnetic fields, which can be a source of noise and interference;

        2. Significant signal loss at high cable length (from 2 meters);

        3. Poor compatibility with non-standard format screens (such as 32:9);

        4. Failure (even on DL) to work at 4K resolution.

        Because of all these disadvantages it began to be gradually abandoned. Especially in 2013, HDMI 2 was introduced.0, which brought support for an impressively high resolution. And then DisplayPort came out, which has even more bandwidth and therefore in iteration 1.4 even supports 8K monitors – and can work over a USB Type-C connector, which is surprising.

        New video standards are more scalable and productive than DVI. And that’s why it began to be abandoned. At the time of this writing (April 2019), these connectors are extremely rare, and DVI-I is only found in “museum” video cards.

        So when you’re building a new computer, don’t go for cheap and obligatory DVI connector. At the moment there are many more efficient standards.

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