Type of Connectors Used in a Laptop

Connectors are found in most electronic devices; laptops come packed with a variety of these components. A better understanding of the connector ports present in a laptop can help increase efficiency and ease of use.

USB Connectors

Connecting a portable USB drive or an external hard disk via a USB port is not a big deal anymore. Anyone with a laptop will be familiar with USB ports; however, they might not be aware of different variants in the market like USB 1.0, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. These are classified on the basis of speed performance and efficiency.

While USB 1.0 is the slowest, USB 3.0 can give you the highest data transfer speed. USB 1.0 and 2.0 are pretty much similar and easy to identify. They have a rectangular metal interface with four connection pins made of brass. USB 3.0 is a newer version and offers very high speed; although they are similar in shape, they have nine connection pins. USB 1.0 and 2.0 can be swapped in place of the other, while USB 3.0 can only be used in devices specified for this connector type.

USB 2.0 offers a transfer rate of about 480 Mbps, whereas USB 3.0 offers a transfer rate of about 4,800 Mbps which is equal to about 5 GB. This super-fast transfer speed of USB 3.0 can be especially useful when backing up or transferring large amounts of data, such as an external hard drive.


The great granddad of video outputs, VGA (video graphics array) dates all the way back to 1987 but is still commonplace on many monitors and projectors today. However, because the 15-pin connector is rather chunky, you won’t find too many current-gen laptops or desktops that have VGA-out. It is an analog connection, which could lead to signal degradation over longer cables, and it outputs at only up to 1920 x 1200, so it’s the least desirable port. Adapters Needed: You can’t convert VGA to any other display standard (DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI), but you can plug any other connector into a VGA monitor with an inexpensive wire or adapter.

Audio Connector

Audio connectors are another common find in laptops. Previously, laptops featured a phono plug that offered mono sound. This got upgraded to dual phonos providing stereo sounds. These days,a single stereo jack with a microphone input is being used. These connectors are used for transmitting in and out audio signals and are easily identified with their small circular design.

HDMI Connectors

Latest laptop models come with the HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) connector, which helps to connect to a modern High Definition TV for video transmissions. HDMI connectors have largely replaced VGA output used in older laptops for transmitting video signals to larger monitors or televisions. These HDMI connectors have two rows, one with nine pins and the other holding ten-pins, which count to a total of nineteen connections. On the other hand, the VGA connectors had three rows with five pin holes in each row in a rectangular shape with curved ends. The HDMI connectors offer improved video quality with more contact interfaces.

Network Connectors

Apart from these connectors,RJ45 connector is present for network connection. It comes with a square design and eight brass pins. The cable is held to the connector though a catch. These are generally used to connect the router box or the network cable directly to the laptop. Old laptops had a smaller version of this connector, which had just four pins. This was used to get an internet connection through a landline telephone.

Understand the purpose and the method of connection, to ensure long-term efficiency of your gadget. Apart from this, many high-end connectors like PCI Express (PCIe), Board-to-Board, M.2, SAS, SATA, and DDR4 memory module sockets are used inside the laptop box, and are not visible to the consumer.

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