Watch Out For These Misleading Computer Cables

Misleading cables are nothing new, but new ones are popping up all the time. The folks at Gamers Nexus detail three cables that aren't really what they seem.

The three cables include:

  • HDMI to VGA Cables: these cables, on their own, will usually not do anything. You would need something to convert the signal from analogue to digital (or vice-versa), which the cable itself cannot do.
  • "Fake" Dual-Link DVI Cables: Dual-link DVI is real, but some cables may actually have dual-link headers without actually supporting the dual-link standard. Real dual-link cables will be thicker and a bit more expensive, so make sure you're buying the right thing.
  • SATA II and SATA III (6 GB/s) cables: With the exception of a clip that secures the cable, there is no difference between SATA II and SATA III cables. The only thing that matters is whether your hard drive and motherboard are both SATA III compatible — you can use an old SATA II cable between the two and still get SATA III speeds. The rest is just branding.

They go a little overboard with the rhetoric in the video, considering there are exceptions to some rules. The HDMI to VGA cable, for example, is usable if you have a converter box along with it, an active DisplayPort adaptor, or you have one of the few video cards that supports digital VGA. But the cable alone will do nothing for most folks.

So, this is less about "fake cables", as the video suggests, and more about lack of understanding on the part of most consumers. The only thing you "should never buy" on this list is a fake dual-link DVI cable — the other two are fine to buy as long as you know what they are and aren't capable of. Hit the link to read more at their Reddit thread.

PSA: Don't buy these. [Reddit]


    Could you use a HDMI to VGA cable (at each end) to convert an existing VGA cable run into an HDMI cable run?
    Just a thought on the future of my projector setup which is currently VGA... but when the bulb blows, I'll upgrade to an HDMI unit.

      Not really. You would need an adapter specifically designed for that, that is they have a converter unit in the adapter. VGA and HDMI are very different.
      Think of it as 2 people speaking different languages to each other over the phone, they can't understand each other. They need a 3rd person who speaks both languages and translates for them.

      Last edited 18/02/14 2:13 pm

        You misunderstand... I'm just thinking I can use the copper.
        Plug a "VGA->HDMI" adapter into each end of the VGA Cable to connect an HDMI source (ie Blu-Ray) to an HDMI projector...
        Thereby saving me having to crawl through the roof laying a 15m long HDMI cable.

        Having looked up the pinouts of each.. it appears there may not be enough wires in the VGA cable... Looks like there's only 6 active pins for VGA, wheras there appears to be at least 10 active pins for HDMI.

      Yeah used a 10 meter high quality vga cable to send HDMI signals to my TV via adapters.

    Must admit I fell into this trap buying a HDVI to VGA adapter from China. Wanted to hook up a Raspberry Pi to a VGA monitor. Just goes to show you should research these kinds of things rather than just what can be found on Ebay.

      raspberry pi's have rca. just get an RCA to VGA adapter...

        I know that was my next purchase after the hdmi/vga debacle.

    Does anyone know if you need an adapter for firewire <=> USB ?

      dunno if anything like that is available though. It'd need a converter chip built in

    I currently use an HDMI to VGA cable to connect my laptop (HDMI) to an older 19" monitor (VGA). I assume this process of conversion is handled by the video card?

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