We all have tons of computer (and AV) cables that we’ve collected over the years, many of which are obsolete, but we keep around anyway.
With each new generation of peripherals comes a new cable, and that means our cable box gets bigger.
CNET recently posted an article about which cables you should keep and which to toss, but it’s somewhat difficult to read across 17 pages.
Here are their conclusions put a bit more succinctly.
Mini-USB: Keep. Some hard drives, battery chargers and cameras still use this.
Micro-USB: Keep. This is still used with a lot of devices so worth keeping around.
Apple 30 pin: Toss. Unless you have an old iPhone or iPad, you have no use for this.
USB3 Micro B: Keep. This is still used with the new USB C connectors that many new phones and computers are using.
Thunderbolt or Mini-DisplayPort: Keep. USB C is coming on strong, but Thunderbolt will be around for some time yet.
DisplayPort: Keep. This is still pretty popular, although HDMI is gradually taking over.
DVI: Toss. This format is pretty much dead. DVI suffers from no 4k resolution and lack of audio.
VGA: Toss. VGA’s dead as a doornail too unless you’re still using a monitor that needs it (it’s time to upgrade then).
USB A to B: Keep. It’s still found on printers and audio interfaces.
3.5mm audio: Keep. Always good to have around, although you might not need it.
RCA/Composite: Toss. Get rid of those RCA cables used for composite video. That technology died 10 years ago.
S-Video: Toss. Another video technology that’s been replaced.
Coaxial Cable: Keep. You might need this for wordclock distribution or as an extension on your cable box.
SATA: Keep. SATA drives are still around, so make sure you keep the cables.
Ethernet: Keep. Although everything is going wireless, it’s worth hanging on to a least a couple of these if you have devices that can use them, especially for a solid Skype connection.
3 Prong Power Cables: Keep. If you’re like me you have a big box with extras, but you never seem to have one when you need it.
2 Prong Power Cables: Keep. These are usually pretty specialized to a device, so make sure you keep them until you toss the device it goes to.
It’s the beginning of the year, so now is a great time to sort through those cables.
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Bobby Owsinski is an author, producer, music industry veteran and technical consultant who has written numerous books covering all aspects of audio recording. For more information be sure to check out his website, and go here for more info and to acquire a copy of The Recording Engineer’s Handbook.