Advanced Micro Devices and Intel have agreed to drop from their processor platforms by 2015 analog display outputs used extensively in PC monitors.
Other vendors joining the chipmakers in sounding the death knell for video graphics array (VGA) and low voltage differential signaling technology (LVDS) include Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung Electronics. The group is tossing the analog outputs in favor of digital interfaces used for PC monitors, projectors, and embedded flat panels found in laptops. The most commonly used interfaces are DisplayPort and high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI).
AMD and Intel dropping the analog outputs will lead to the end of the technologies' lifecycle in PCs. Without support within the chips that power personal computers, there's no way manufacturers would be able to offer support on their own.
Computer makers have given their blessing to the transition, according to supporters. That's because digital interfaces are on a growth path, while analog use is waning. The reason is the many advantages of DisplayPort and HDMI, including less power consumption and higher monitor resolutions. The technology also makes it possible to build slimmer laptops, and HDMI is becoming a major standard for connecting PCs to a high-definition TV.
"By moving to these new interfaces, Intel is able to focus investment on new innovations to enhance the PC experience rather than having to solve challenges of supporting legacy analog interfaces on our latest silicon process technology and products," says Eric Mentzer, VP of operations for Intel's Visual and Parallel Computing Group.
AMD and Intel announced Wednesday that they would phase out LVDS support by 2013 and VGA by 2015. While the move will eliminate the technologies from new products, the high number of products already in use with the analog interfaces will like keep them alive for some time beyond 2015.