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Introduction to Computer Ports

A port, as in hardware terms, suggests a connecting point. In computers, a port is the connection point with any other hardware, which can be any external device. In other words, it connects a computer with its peripheral devices so that the expected and maximum functionality can be achieved from the computers. Most common peripheral devices include speakers, mouse, keyboards, display units or monitors, and external drives like HDD and pen drives. Thus these computer ports act as an attachment point between the computer and the cable from the peripheral device, allowing data to flow to the end.

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Different Types of Ports in a Computer

A computer is mainly referred to as a communication port for the obvious reason of facilitating communication between the computer and the devices. Compatible hardware can be attached to this port, typically on the computer’s motherboard.

A computer port briefly comes under one of the two classes based on the protocol used for communication. They are serial port and parallel port

1. Serial Port

The serial port acts as an interface where the data can be communicated in a serial manner which is one bit over time and a single communication link.

2. Parallel Port

A parallel port facilitates communication between the computer and its peripheral devices in a parallel manner. The data is transferred in the fashion of in and out in a parallel manner. A most common example of a parallel port is a printer port.

Let us look at some of the most used ports of a computer:

1. PS/2

IBM first developed this connector, mostly used to connect a mouse and keyboard. IBM has introduced it to its ist personal system/2 series of computers. They have color coding to indicate purple for the keyboard and green for the mouse. There will be 6 pins in this connector. Even though the connector looks the same, the devices will not be recognized if we interchange the keyboard and mouse connection. These ports had no restrictions on the key rollover.

2. Serial Port

In technical terms, the serial port that satisfies RS-232 standards is considered the common serial port, while PS/2 and USB ports are also widely used for various purposes. There are two types of serial ports: DE 9 and DB 25, with the number indicating the number of pins supported. Modern computers have replaced serial and parallel ports with USB ports, commonly found in old computers. The data in most serial ports travel at 115 kilobits per second.

3. Centronics Port

This 36-pin parallel port will connect peripheral devices such as printers or scanners with parallel communication type. These ports were legacy but were quite popular in old times. Approximately 150 kilobits per second is the speed at which data travels.

4. Universal Serial Bus Port

This USB port can serve multiple purposes:

Transfer Data

Poer supply to charge external compatible device

interface for the peripheral

These ports are not device-dependent, like there is no standard reservation for devices to be connected. Any compatible device can be connected to this port.

There are three types of USB ports: Type A, Type B, and Micro USB.

Type A is a 4-pin connector, and different versions are currently available. USB 3.0 is one of the common standards which supports speeds up to 400 MBPS. USB 2.0 is also one of the pretty popular versions.

5. Display Port

A display port, DP, is an interface for digital audio and video devices. It connects to TV, Monitor, and projector. In the modern world, VGA ports, HDMI, DVI, etc., come under-display ports.

6. VGA port

This port, commonly found in many computers, supports video content devices and TVs. It has 15 pins in three rows and is a D sub-connector. For older CRT monitors VGA port was the connection point.

7. Digital Video Interface DVI

DVI is a high-speed digital interface between display devices like motors and controller devices like CPU. DVI aims to transmit lossless video signals to the displaying device.

8. HDMI Port

HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface and can transmit high bandwidth and high-quality audio and video streams to the connecting devices. The peripheral devices depending on this port are high-definition tv, Blue Ray player, etc.

Apart from these, there are many other ports, such as an Ethernet port to provide internet connectivity, a Modem port to connect the telephone network, Game Port that will help connect Joy Sticks, and Sockets to connect the microphone and other audio speakers.

Importance of Ports on the Computer

A physical computer port refers to the communication interface through which we can connect several peripheral devices, which are very much part of digital communications. These ports differ in their physical size, shape, pins, several wires involved, etc. We have seen different ports available for a motherboard above in this article and the purpose of each port. Depending on the purpose of the computer and the number and type of ports that its motherboard can handle, the maximum efficiency can be handled.


Thus a computer port is an interface with which we communicate with different peripheral devices. This article explains some of the most used ports in briefs. Sometimes, these ports are called slots, such as Pendrive slots, SD card slots, etc.

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This is a guide to Computer Ports. Here we discuss the introduction and different types of ports in a Computer, respectively. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –

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