What is the difference between DVI-I and DVI-D?

January 12, 2017
What is the difference between DVI-I and DVI-D?
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difference between DVI-I and DVI-D

Digital Visual Interface (DVI) is a video display interface and standard developed by the Digital Display Working Group (DDWG). The digital interface is used to connect video sources such as video display controllers to a display device such as computer monitors, TVs and projectors. The interface was developed with the aim of creating an industry standard for easy transferring of digital video content in the year 1999. Before we go ahead, briefly understanding the technology would be worthwhile.

The interface is designed to transmit uncompressed digital video and can be configured to support multiple modes such as DVI-D (digital only), DVI-A (analogue only), or DVI-I (digital and analogue). Featuring support for analogue connections, the DVI specification is compatible with the VGA interface. This compatibility and other advantages led to its mass acceptance over competing digital display standards at the time. Although DVI is predominantly associated with computers, it is regularly used in other many consumer electronics such as television sets, DVD players and projectors.

Most current graphics cards and devices feature a Digital Video Interface (DVI) connector for connecting a digital flat panel LCD/LED monitor or projectors. A DVI connector is characteristically coloured white compared to a VGA connector which is coloured blue. The number of pins and layout of the pins on the DVI connector varies depending on the type of DVI connector required by the devices. is found on the graphics card. There are currently two prominent types of DVI connectors in most consumer and professional electronics, DVI-I and DVI-D.


A DVI-D connector on a graphics card sends out a digital signal only. On the other hand, a DVI-I connector carries both an analogue and digital signal and can send out digital signals (for digital displays) as well as analogue signals (for older displays using a DVI to VGA adaptor). DVI-I connectors are fully compatible with flat panel LCD monitors which usually have DVI-D cables. The DVI-D cable will only read the digital signal from the DVI-I connector on the graphics card and ignore the analogue signal.

Below are some quick Q&A’s to help you understand the differences between DVI-I and DVI-D.

Q. What is DVI?
A. DVI stands for Digital Visual Interface. DVI cables are used to connect a video signal from computers LCD monitors, HDTV displays, LED TVs, projectors, and cable boxes.

Q. What are the different types of DVI connectors?
A. DVI-Digital (DVI-D), DVI-Analog (DVI-A), DVI-Integrated (DVI-I)

Q. What is the difference between DVI-D, DVI-A, and DVI-I?
A. DVI-D cables carry a digital video signal. DVI-A cables carry a high-quality analogue signal. DVI-A is NOT compatible with DVI-D. DVI-I cables have the flexibility to carry either DVI-D or DVI-A signals.

Q. What does "single link" or "dual link" mean?
A. DVI-D and DVI-I connectors come in single link and dual link formats. Dual link DVI connectors have more pins and allows for a higher resolution and faster refresh rates. Single link can easily display up to 1920x1080 @ 60Hz and dual link can display up to 3840x2400 @ 41Hz.

Q. Is there one DVI connector that any cable can plug into?
A. Yes. Since DVI-I can support any DVI format, a DVI-I female connector will support any DVI male cable.

Q. Can I connect DVI-D compatible monitors to VGA devices?
A. No. DVI-D is 100% digital and is not compatible with VGA. VGA is only compatible with DVI-A or DVI-I devices.

Q. What if I have a cable but need to a different plug to fit my device?
A. You may be able to use a DVI adapter. Even with an adapter, you cannot convert DVI-A or VGA to DVI-D. It is not possible to do with a cable or adapter.

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