DVI-D vs DVI-I: What’s The Difference?

First of all, what is DVI?

DVI stands for Digital Video Interface and is an graphical input used to connect your computer’s graphics card to your monitor.

It is one of the many connector cables (among VGA, HDMI, and DisplayPort) that’s used.

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.

DVI cable
What a DVI cable looks like

How Many Types of DVI Connectors Are There?

Comparison of single link and dual link versions of DVI-D and DVI-I and of DVI-A.
Comparison of single link and dual link versions of DVI-D and DVI-I and of DVI-A.

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.

DVI-D vs DVI-I

So what technically sets a DVI-D and DVI-I connector apart?

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.

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.

 Max resolutionBandwidthSignal types
Single link DVI-D1920 x 12003.96 Gbit/sDigital
Single link DVI-I1920 x 12003.96 Gbit/sDigital and analog
Dual link DVI-D2560 x 16007.92 Gbit/sDigital
Dual link DVI-I2560 x 16007.92 Gbit/sDigital and analog

What is Dual Link DVI?

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.

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Simon Purcell
About Simon Purcell
Pop culture fanatic. Coffee lover. Internetaholic. Music advocate. Gamer.

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