First of all, what is DVI? DVI stands for Digital Video Interface and is an graphical input used to connect your monitor to your computer’s graphics card. It is one of many monitor connection types (VGA, HDMI, and DisplayPort) that is commonly offered in monitors and graphics cards. You can quickly tell a DVI connector from others due to the white color of the plug (seen right) and the screws used to secure them.
In total there are three different types of DVI inputs: DVI-D (digital only signal), DVI-I (integrated, both analog and digital signals), and DVI-A (analog only signal). In addition to that, there are two versions of DVI-D and DVI-I, a single-link version and a dual-link version. Altogether there are five different DVI variants and the differences between each are illustrated below. Both DVI-D and DVI-I are commonly in use, but use in DVI-A is incredibly rare.
So what technically sets a DVI-D and DVI-I connector apart? As previously mentioned, a DVI-D connection only has a digital signal whereas a DVI-I connection has both an analog and digital signal. This is true regardless of whether they are single or dual link. Digital signals are used for modern monitors like digital displays while analog signals are used for older technology like CRT monitors which are largely out of use nowadays. As you can see, DVI-D and DVI-I differ physically in the amount of pins they use. This determines how much bandwidth they run through their signals and what their type is.
|Max resolution||Bandwidth||Signal types|
|Single link DVI-D||1920 x 1200||3.96 Gbit/s||Digital|
|Single link DVI-I||1920 x 1200||3.96 Gbit/s||Digital and analog|
|Dual link DVI-D||2560 x 1600||7.92 Gbit/s||Digital|
|Dual link DVI-I||2560 x 1600||7.92 Gbit/s||Digital and analog|
What sets a single-link and dual-link connection apart? The amount of maximum bandwidth that it can utilize which dictates the max DVI resolution. A single-link DVI-D or DVI-I cable can carry 3.96 Gbit/s and, as a result, is limited to a 1920 x 1200 resolution on a 60Hz monitor. A dual-link enables you to use a higher bandwidth due to its physical construct and ups it to 7.92 Gbit/s, allowing you to use a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1600 at 60Hz. Both DVI-D and DVI-I are becoming more and more obsolete and should only be used in the event HDMI or DisplayPort is unavailable. This is because both HDMI and DisplayPort offer superior image quality and performance.