A Beginner’s Guide to the Ports You Need on Your Laptop

If you’ve decided to buy a brand-new laptop There are a few points to think about before hitting the purchase button. You’ll have to take a look at the CPU and GPU, RAM, and storage since all of these specs are essential in their way. However, there’s another aspect to think about.

I’m talking about ports that you can see, the holes on the sides that allow you to connect all of your fancy peripherals. You shouldn’t buy one that has an old-fashioned USB while what you require to have been Thunderbolt 3. These are the most important ports to be considered when purchasing the latest laptop.


The first thing you need to see on your laptop is HDMI. Because sometimes you’ll want more screen area than your notebook will allow. To upgrade to larger and better screens will require at least an HDMI port. It’s a shorthand for High-Definition Media Interface, HDMI allows your laptop to send uncompressed or compressed audio and visual information over the same cable. It’s that oddly-shaped, polygonal port you’ll find in the rear of TV games consoles, as well as cable boxes. HDMI is the most important port in a laptop and if you’re a big fan of VR, then you’ll require HDMI. Visit our article Laptops with HDMI to find the best laptops with HDMI Input to work with the Oculus Rift, HTC Vivi, and Windows Mixed Reality Headset.

USB Type-C

Since laptops have become smaller, not all laptops can be equipped with the same size port like USB Type A. Enter USB Type-C. This tiny, 0.3-millimeter x 0.1-inch port is now gracing the sides of laptops, and the bottoms of many of the popular smartphones.

As it is a USB 3.1 port Type-C has transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps and delivers the equivalent of 100 watts of power which is useful to power laptops. The port can also be bidirectional which allows a peripheral such as a Razer Power Bank to charge notebooks. While there are Type-A-to Type-C connectors, having a cord with Type-C at both ends will not require you to look to find which is the “right” end, since Type-C can be reversed.

Thunderbolt 3

From the first look, you could think that the Thunderbolt 3 port for a USB Type-C port. And technically, you’re right. Although each of the Thunderbolt 3 ports can function as USB Type-C devices, however, normal Type-C ports cannot be used to perform the functions of Thunderbolt 3. Type-C has transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps however Thunderbolt 3 can hit incredible speeds of over 40 Gbps provided the cable doesn’t exceed that 1.6 feet. If the cable is more than this, the speed decreases to 20 Gbps however it is an adequate speed.

Similar to the Type-C port, Thunderbolt 3 is reversible and bidirectional about power flow. But, unlike Type-C Thunderbolt 3 can daisy-chain, meaning you can connect various devices if they all come with this crucial port.

USB 3.1

There is no need to be confused with USB 3.0 or 2.0, the 3.1 USB is the most recent technology for the Type-A ports. It’s the large rectangle port that you plug the mouse USB headset or an external drive to. USB 3.1 was released in 2013 and provides impressive transfer speeds of up to 10 gigabits of data per second. To put it in perspective USB 3.0 and 2.0 provide speeds of five Gbps as well as 480Mbps respectively.

But wait a minute! It is the USB Implementers Forum an independent organization that advocates for the use of this technology and develop standards for compliance has and it was USB 3.0 is now called USB 3.1 Gen 1, whereas the version with 10 Gbps Gen 2 is Gen 2. So how can you distinguish the two ports from one another? You’ll be required to study the specifications, and where manufacturers will specify the speed. However, the USB 2.0 ports are usually grey, while USB 3.0 and up are blue.


Based on the laptop model, there could be the headphones jack as well as a microphone, S/PDIF, as well as audio-out. Most notebooks have condensed the jacks to a handy multi-tasker, known as the headset jack. Sometimes referred to as a hybrid headphone/microphone connector The basic 3.5mm audio jack performs triple duty, enabling tasks for both gadgets, in addition to a speaker-out feature that lets you attach an external speaker.


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