Computer Cables Information

Computer Cable imageComputer cables are used to connect monitors, keyboards, printers, hard drives, and other peripherals to computers.


The IEEE GlobalSpec SpecSearch database contains information about many different types of computer cables. Examples include:


Parallel ATA (PATA) cables are used to connect storage devices such as hard drives and CD-ROM drives to a computer's motherboard. These ribbon cables have two or three connectors, only one of which plugs into the motherboard. The remaining 40-pin or 44-pin connectors plug into the drives.



Serial ATA (SATA) cables are also designed to connect storage devices to motherboards. They provide higher data transfer speeds and have two 8-pin connectors, one on each end.



Extended SATA (eSATA) cables are used to connect external hard drives or optical drives. They provide transfer speeds that are approximately three times faster than FireWire 400 and USB 2.0.


USB cables use the universal serial bus (USB) protocol to connect standard PC peripherals such as mice and keyboards, as well as mass storage devices and digital cameras.  USB versions include USB 1.1, USB 2.0, and USB 3.0.


FireWire cables are used to connect PCs to digital camcorders, set-top boxes and other digital devices that use FireWire, an interface standard developed by Apple and adopted by the IEEE. FireWire supports hot swapping and allows the transmission of data, video and audio over a single cable at very high bit rates.


VGA cables are used to connect personal computers (PCs) to computer monitors. They have connectors that consist of 15 contacts arranged in three rows. Each row corresponds to a separate channel: red (R), green (G), and blue (B).


DVI cables are used to provide high-quality outputs to display devices such as LCD monitors, plasma TVs, and projectors. DVI is faster than VGA.

Engineering360 also allows industrial buyers to search for battery, monitor, and keyboard cables; patch cables and cords; plotter and printer cables; and keyboard, video, mouse (KVM) cables.


This video explains the basic types of computer cables and their typical use. 


Video credit: / CC BY-SA 4.0


Specifying the application for a computer cable can help buyers select appropriate products.

  • Audio / visual (A/V) cables may be used for connecting speakers or monitors.
  • Camera / imaging cables connect video cameras and other imaging equipment.
  • Extender cables are used to increase the length of another cable.
  • Networking cables connect hubs, routers and switches.  LAN / Ethernet cables represent a specific type of networking cable.



Types of Computer Cables


Image credit:

Point Grey Research





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