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Definition: VGA

(Video Graphics Array) VGA is an analog interface between a PC and monitor that was widely used prior to DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort. VGA was introduced on the IBM PS/2 in 1987, replacing the previous digital CGA and EGA interfaces, which had lower resolution and fewer colors. New LCD monitors may include a VGA port for legacy PCs, and PCs may have a VGA port for legacy monitors. See DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort.

Lots of Variants
VGA debuted with 640x480 pixels and 16 or 256 colors. This is still the mode PCs boot into, and it is also used in Safe Mode with the display driver disabled (in case the driver is the problem).

In a short time, non-IBM vendors boosted resolution and colors, calling them "Super VGA" (see SVGA). IBM later introduced XGA (1024x768), and over the years, more resolutions were added that were fractions or multiples of the total number of pixels in VGA and XGA resolutions. See IBM PS/2, screen resolution and XGA.

VGA on a Laptop
The VGA port (middle) was commonly found on Windows PCs, and the same socket was used with all the VGA variations. This laptop has the modern DisplayPort interface (left), but VGA is provided for legacy monitors.

Three Legacy Ports
Using D-sub sockets, VGA, serial and game ports were commonly found on the back of PCs for more than a decade. 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.