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Definition: VGA

(1) (Video Graphics Array) For compatibility with earlier monitors and data projectors, laptop computers often include a VGA port, which was widely used on PCs (see definition #2 below).

VGA on a Laptop
A VGA socket (middle) is commonly found on Windows-based laptops and entry-level PCs. Macs use only DisplayPort (left) and Mini DisplayPort sockets (see DisplayPort).

(2) (Video Graphics Array) An analog interface between a computer and monitor that was widely used prior to the DVI standard. Older CRTs used VGA, and flat LCD panels typically have both analog VGA and digital DVI. However, newer PCs may have only DVI or DisplayPort outputs. See flat panel display, DVI and DisplayPort.

VGA Is Base Level
VGA officially refers to only 640x480 pixels with 16 or 256 colors. This base resolution is used to boot the PC and also troubleshoot the computer in Safe Mode with the display driver disabled (in case the driver is the cause of the problem).

VGA History
VGA was introduced on IBM's PS/2 line in 1987 and quickly replaced the earlier digital CGA and EGA interfaces, which had lower resolution and fewer colors. In a short time, non-IBM vendors boosted resolution and colors, calling them "Super VGA." IBM later introduced XGA with a 1024x768 resolution, and over the years, numerous resolutions were added that were fractions or multiples of the total number of pixels in VGA and XGA resolutions. See screen resolution and XGA.

The VGA Port (Socket)
Using D-sub sockets, VGA, serial and game ports were found on the back of early PCs. See D-sub connectors.

Screen Resolutions
Modern PC graphics cards support a variety of SD and HD resolutions. This illustration compares the viewing area for several of them.