PC World & John Lewis

I will frequently send folks to PC World; it being relatively nearby and having a large selection of computers to choose from. I also would recommend John Lewis for their extra warranty and quality of sales. On the occasions that I sell computer hardware, it might be because people have an aversion to these places.

Anyway, recently a customer required a new PC but did not need a new screen, they had a perfectly good 22” monitor about two years old. On swithering this way and that on the PC of their choice and having been assured all connectivity issues will be OK, they got the machine home to find that it only had two HDMI sockets on the back and nothing that would connect to their relatively recent monitor.

This brings me to describe the various connections and to ask you not to fall into the same trap that I confess, has happened to me before when ordering online.

Modern monitors, around the £100 price range should have two or three connectivity options. The dated but beloved analogue VGA connection with the 15 pin lead with the blue head. The DVI socket, this digital connection usually has a white connector. Hopefully for about £100 you will also get an HDMI socket, this is the same connection as most TVs and it can carry sound and video. Another more recent connection is called Display Port. This faster connection is currently more high end than most budget monitors but will become more popular.

The trouble is that, infuriatingly, monitors will have a random selection of the ports mentioned above, and computers often will take a punt at one type, making the odds of connectivity harmony quite reduced.

Margins are squeezed to a minimum in this kind of computer technology, to the point that by forsaking a 20 pence VGA connection manufacturers can eek a profit and consumers can be driven to rage. It’s like Ryanair.

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