Rant: DVI – Old, or Still Relevant?

This is one of a series of mini-rants by your faithful correspondent, John Morrison. These are part of a series focusing on issues in the SFF niche. All content is entirely opinion of John, not of SmallFormFactor.net, and should not be taken as fact.

Rumours of DVI’s death have been greatly exaggerated. While the analogue backwards compatibility portion of the DVI standard has pretty much been relegated to the low end cards (understandable given the low end cards are usually rebrands of older units), the chunky, old-school DVI plug still stubbornly remains on our GPUs and motherboards. Whyyyy?

Well, from my perspective, it’s simple. monitors are relatively expensive. Not everyone has the latest 1337 Gam3r 240Hz curved ultrawide LED screen, some of us have to get by with monitors as old as time itself. In fact, two of my monitors just turned 4 (LG 20″, 1600 x 900) , while my third (Dell 17″ 4:3, 1280 x 1024) is, wait for it, 11 years old. From a value for money perspective, a monitor upgrade, a lot of the time, comes a distant last to graphics cards, memory, storage, CPU, and even a better case. Bang for buck, a new monitor just doesn’t cut it, outside of creatives who need good colour reproduction.

But hey, adapters and dongles are the flavour of 2017, right? Well, yes, but the general consumer, not as savvy as ourselves, aren’t comfortable with sourcing an appropriate adapter for their needs. To most, DVI, DVI-A, DVI-D, Dual Link, HDMI, Displayport, VGA, active adapters, passive adapters, are all confusing acronyms and tech names. They just want something to be easy, to work first time. One cable, one solution. With a myriad of different display standards, this is difficult enough on it’s own.

So, should DVI die? I don’t think so. Not yet. Until people have moved to monitors with HDMI, at the very least, as standard, the mid range down needs to continue on with DVI. Until even base model monitors include something other than VGA, DVI, we can’t drop DVI as a common standard.

What is your view? Let us know in the forum.