Intel, AMD to phase out VGA by 2015

Death to VGA! No, not Spike’s painfully lame Video Game Awards (although those could also use the axe) but the analog video connector that’s been a staple of PCs for decades. Intel aims to accelerate the adoption of DisplayPort and HDMI video interfaces, and in the process, it’s looking to cut the cord not only on VGA ports, but also the digital LVDS interface that connects most laptops to their displays. The chip giant’s products will cease supporting LVDS in 2013, and VGA support will be phased out two years after that.

Lest you think Intel is alone in its bid to rid PCs of their old-school D-sub connectors, it’s being joined by Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, LG, and even AMD. The world’s #2 CPU maker intends to follow a schedule similar to Intel’s, eliminating LVDS support in 2013 and phasing out VGA by 2015.

Old standards tend die out slowly on the PC—just look at how long we’ve kept around PCI slots and PS/2 ports—so it’s no surprise that VGA will remain on life support for a few more years. I can’t wait to see it go away for good, though. Over the years, I’ve encountered numerous graphics cards and IGP-equipped motherboards with lousy VGA output quality. With CRTs fading further into obscurity and even budget LCDs increasingly sporting HDMI ports, there seems to be little need to hang onto the old analog standard.

LVDS at least has a digital interface on its side, but as Intel points out, DisplayPort is a much better and more power-efficient design. I suspect it’s being phased out first because the interface is an internal one that laptop users never or connect to other devices. Dropping LVDS support from notebook parts will hardly inconvenience end users, who are unlikely to notice the difference.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 9 years ago

    It could be good or bad. Some people still use CRT monitors but then again surely those would look ancient by 2015 and they’ll probably want an LCD which would’ve dropped further in price by then. But also consider that most of today’s laptops still have a VGA port to connect to things like projectors. Anyone still using one of these laptops by 2015 may find it annoying that projectors being sold then wouldn’t have a VGA port, but this will probably affect only those folks unwilling/unable to ditch their old laptops.

    This situation is akin to the demise of serial ports, parallel ports, floppy disks, game ports, ISA, CRT (almost) and the usual things that change frequently, such as RAM slots and CPU sockets. We all have to move on someday.

    • runithard
    • 9 years ago

    Only junk hardware and junk users run VGA anyway.

      • PeterD
      • 9 years ago

      Pure VGA? Or SVGA and all those variations?

    • Bensam123
    • 9 years ago

    It’s not like it’s the end… you can easily use and find VGA-DVI adapters, I have a drawer full of them. I don’t know why this hasn’t been done yet.

      • ronch
      • 9 years ago

      Holy crap! What the heck are you doing with a drawer full of those VGA-DVI adapters??!! 🙂

      • bcronce
      • 9 years ago

      Those adapters work because they still put out an analog VGA signal on the DVI ports. If they remove the circuity to even display a VGA signal, your adapters will be worthless on new video cards.

    • Rikki-Tikki-Tavi
    • 9 years ago

    I haven’t seen anyone point out the biggest advantage of this for the DIY crowd:
    If laptop monitors use DP, not LVDS, then just one visit to the junk yard will give you a plethora of bezel-less panels to make an Eyefinity setup. That will be awesome.

    • Meadows
    • 9 years ago

    And to date I still can’t find a DVI-A or DVI-I cable anywhere to connect to my 22″ IBM CRT. I’ll still keep using it to its very last breath.

    • internetsandman
    • 9 years ago

    I for one find it kinda sad that it’s gonna take that long to fade out a technology in an age where we are constantly looking towards what’s new. It surprises me that it’s even survived to be sitting next to DP and HDMI an the backs of motherboards and graphics cards

      • geekl33tgamer
      • 9 years ago

      Don’t most people use DVI on their monitors???

    • A_Pickle
    • 9 years ago

    Hey, Intel, you could make severe headway in this goal by equipping netbooks with competent graphics right now…

    …but something tells me you won’t do this.

    • clone
    • 9 years ago

    surprised this topic came up today, while building 2 computers with integrated video, one AMD and one Intel I was surprised to see that the Intel only had a VGA connection.

    they are sub $600 boxes and the really low end one was an Intel.

    while building the Intel dual core setup, 2gb’s of ram, Gigabyte G31 mobo 500gb seagate, it wasn’t until assembled that I noticed that unlike the 760g AMD mobo’s I budget build with and the 880g I was building this time the Intel G31 didn’t have DVI or HDMI.

    most of my bare bones builds are AMD and I just hadn’t thought to look with DVI being so common … but apparently I’ll have to look deeper into the specs when considering Intel for budget.

    • paulWTAMU
    • 9 years ago

    All right. I’ll bring the beer, and we’ll host a giant dance on the graves of obsolete standards.

    • jdaven
    • 9 years ago

    Now we need PS/2, parallel, serial, PCI, IDE and floppy to completely die.

      • khands
      • 9 years ago

      I don’t think I’ve seen a parallel or serial port device in at least 5 years, they could definitely afford getting the axe. PS/2 is completely superfluous now IMO, as is IDE. Can you even buy new floppies anymore? I thought I heard that Sony had shut the last plant of theirs down (and they owned like 98% of the market last year) last summer.

        • mnecaise
        • 9 years ago

        I see a lot of serial devices in the instrumentation field. USB is a non-starter for communications to a host 100’s of feet away and ethernet carries a lot of baggage that increases the complexity and cost of a transmitter. I’ve got two usb-serial converters hanging off my “legacy free” workstation right now.

          • UberGerbil
          • 9 years ago

          Yeah, in the embedded world serial is still vital — you can write a driver in a few hundred bytes (or just talk to the port directly), which isn’t viable with USB. And that’s a big market for ITX boards (though I don’t know that Bobcat is going to be a good fit there).

          And I personally want a PS/2 keyboard port, but it’s not important for something destined for the HTPC market.

        • internetsandman
        • 9 years ago

        take a look at some of MSI’s lower end AM3 mATX boards. they all have serial ports

          • Next9
          • 9 years ago

          Almost every board have serial port. Manufacturers usually include RS232 internal header. Low end models have “enough room” at backplate so they sometimes utilize the free space for that port externally.

        • Next9
        • 9 years ago

        RS232 (serial port) has no reasonable alternative. I doubt it will disappear in near future.

      • bthylafh
      • 9 years ago

      You will have to pry my 1988 Model M from my cold, dead fingers.

        • CheetoPet
        • 9 years ago

        clicky +1. They do make active usb -> ps2 adapters that work with the Model M tho.

      • jalex3
      • 9 years ago

      ps2 is still good… have you never needed to use it for bois on a pesky mobo? if not you must not build systems all day. it takes up almost no space and does not look bad.

        • jdaven
        • 9 years ago

        I am a scientist and a hobby system builder so I do know that serial and other legacy ports are needed for certain types of equipment and/or troubleshooting purposes.

        That being said, I see more and more system interfaces being integrated into less chips with the eventual goal of having only one chip (GPU, CPU, NB, SB, etc.) in the entire system for computations and I/O. If this happens, its highly unlikely that Intel or AMD would build an SoC on something like a 15 nm process in the future with the necessary transistors to access a PS/2 port.

        System integrators, scientists, engineers and stubborn PC enthusiasts will lose these ports sooner than later IMHO and should get use to new interfaces earlier rather than be forced into obsolesce.

          • bthylafh
          • 9 years ago

          There’ll still be some sort of market for 3rd-party cards with PS/2, etc. ports. One can buy PCI cards now with parallel and serial ports.

          Dell had to start putting serial ports back on their Latitude line, presumably because of network techs and the like complaining about not being able to talk to their Cisco kit.

          • ludi
          • 9 years ago

          /[

            • mnecaise
            • 9 years ago

            I second that.

            We sell our customers USB-Serial converters where appropriate; or, recommend one of several dataloggers.

            In the plant we’ve been using a lot of network connected serial servers. We’ve learned to be more flexible since 2007 when we decided to move our test software to VMs running on servers in the datacenter rather than on dedicated boxes on the plant floor.

      • yuhong
      • 9 years ago

      Sandy Bridge’s chipsets don’t have a built-in PCI bridge anymore (motherboards that has these slots have to use a separate chip).

      • jensend
      • 9 years ago

      Parallel ports are awful, PCI Express is hugely better than PCI, IDE should go too, and even if you wanted to transfer 1 MB at superslow data rates you can’t find quality floppies any more. But PS/2 and serial ports do their jobs simply and quite well, and anything you could replace either with is a lot more complicated to develop for. Sure, most consumers can/will just use mass-produced USB stuff instead but that’s a lot of overhead and extra complication for special-purpose or homebrew hardware.

    • Krogoth
    • 9 years ago

    Nothing of value was lost……..

    • tejas84
    • 9 years ago

    Good riddance to VGA!

      • PeterD
      • 9 years ago

      It’s not because they sell it, you have to buy it.

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    One of the few product segments that’ll have to, er, ‘adapt’ is display projectors – many of them are still VGA-only. Let’s hope that the entire projector industry move to 1920×1080 projectors with DisplayPort + HDMI as their ‘entry’ level ASAP.

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      Yes — this was the point I was going to make. But even if they stopped selling projectors with VGA inputs today, there would be thousands sitting in the A/V inventories of hotels and conference centers, and they’ll be there for years and years since (even though they’re fully depreciated) the turnover there is very low. So if you’re a travelling professional who gives presentations regularly, you’ll have to make sure your next couple of laptops (at least) have analog outs… or remember to pack the converter/adapter if it doesn’t (good luck).

        • dpaus
        • 9 years ago

        Very true, but then, most travelling professionals I know take their own projector with them (it’s a known quantity, etc).

          • UberGerbil
          • 9 years ago

          Yeah, when I was doing that slog I always had the projector shipped to the hotel ahead of me. But sometimes you don’t have that option (or feces happens, and you end up somewhere without it — and the perversity of the universe being what it is, that’s when you’ll have forgotten to pack the adapter too… Magic 8-Ball says: late night / early morning taxi trip to Staples / Office Depot in your future.)

            • dpaus
            • 9 years ago

            Ah, but even a 2,000 lumen 1280×800 projector is smaller and lighter than the 14″ road-warrior laptop – and both of them fit into the under-the-seat-in-front-of-you case very comfortably.

            Don’t leave home without it!

            • UberGerbil
            • 9 years ago

            I used to have no checked luggage: one folding garment bag in the overhead bin and one laptop bag under the seat in front of me. Didn’t really have room for the projector (especially with it packed to withstand travel abuse) and there were a bunch of hand-out materials that were getting printed and/or shipped also. But that was all coordinated by someone else, so getting them to ship the projector was easier anyway.

            • dpaus
            • 9 years ago

            l[<"that...was all coordinated by someone else"<]l Luxury!! You had it easy, lad. Why, we had to make all our hand-out materials ourselves from whatever old cardboard we could find lying about, walk to the clients site the whole night before the presentation, carrying the entire demo system on our backs, and balancing coffee and donuts for the last mile or two as well, and then give the entire presentation in three-part harmony - with Latin subtitles for the legal team - in period costume, and synchronized to the overhead foils. And if we didn't get a purchase order, our boss would kill us all and cut our bodies into a hundred pieces. But you tell the young sales bucks of today that and they won't believe you!

            • bthylafh
            • 9 years ago

            We used to DREAM of having subtitles!

            • ludi
            • 9 years ago

            Actually, I think the average business suit qualifies as a “period costume”.

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 9 years ago

      Why stop at such a low res? lets see 4 mega pixel projectors please.

        • UberGerbil
        • 9 years ago

        You can get them, but they cost more than a car. Pushing that many pixels with enough light to see them clearly is not trivial.

          • dpaus
          • 9 years ago

          Funny you should mention this – I just got back from a very enjoyable evening with Douglas Trumball (/[<2001, Blade Runner, Brainstorm, Close Encounters<]/, etc.), and he mentioned that TI has started shipping 4K DLP chips for movie theatre projectors. Now /[

    • BiffStroganoffsky
    • 9 years ago

    *sigh*…It’s time to start making space on the display shelf for the 21″ Hitachi CRT, next to the reel-to-reel and Apple green screen.

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      I have a 15″ LCD display around here with nothing but a VGA-input (it’s 1024×768, and probably cost more in its day than your typical 24″ 1080 display does now)

        • dpaus
        • 9 years ago

        Keep it – it’s perfect for smartphone ‘app’ GUI testing 🙂 Seriously, we just rounded up our last batch of CRTs and small LCDs for that purpose (I just bought the staff 28″ 1920×1200 LCDs for Christmas)

        • BiffStroganoffsky
        • 9 years ago

        I had two KDS monitors of that ilk and included them with bread box systems I built for people. Few people had the desktop space for the 21″ CRTs.

    • bdwilcox
    • 9 years ago

    Considering that DisplayPort has dedicated converters for VGA, I don’t see this as a big deal.

      • bcronce
      • 9 years ago

      DisplayPort has a few dedicated pins that carry a VGA signal. All the adapter does is rearrange those pins into a VGA port. If they remove the VGA signal, your adapters will be useless.

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    There are adapters, the world moves ong{<.<}g

      • srg86
      • 9 years ago

      Indeed, as long as I can get adaptors to be able to connect my old PCs with VGA connections to modern monitors, this isn’t a problem for me.

      • HiggsBoson
      • 9 years ago

      Yeah, they may phase out VGA over D-Sub but nobody said anything about getting rid of even DVI-I.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 9 years ago

        If they do away with RAMDACs then they will. I imagine by 2015 we’ll be done with composite, component, and s-video cables, too. Death to analog video signals!

    • thermistor
    • 9 years ago

    Looked at the LVDS Wikipedia page…can’t tell how it relates to existing VGA displays, or if it is a complementary technology for even more-obsolete display types?

    As long as HDMI is available, my guess is that the sale of HDMI-to-DVI cables will allow users to use DVI-equipped displays. VGA only displays I’m guessing are getting pretty rare already.

      • bthylafh
      • 9 years ago

      It’s used to transmit digital display signals from a laptop’s video chip to the screen. Nothing to do with VGA at all; it’s just an old standard that’s been replaced by DisplayPort and hence will be removed in the near future.

      • FuturePastNow
      • 9 years ago

      LVDS is what laptops use internally.

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      LVDS uses a wide wire path and isn’t especially power-efficient; one of the design goals of DisplayPort was to replace that for use inside laptops, cutting costs and power consumption (and then you can add an external DP port for essentially just the cost of the connector). If you could throw DVI/HDMI in the trash alongside VGA you could eliminate the Silicon Image chip (or the royalties) also, but we’re not at that point (yet).

    • Jigar
    • 9 years ago

    I don’t know if this is good or bad. I hate HDMI for the DRM scheme.

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