All desktops and laptops have various ports, which have various functions. Sometimes you’ll run across a port that you’re unfamiliar with. Here is a quick run-down of the most common ports on desktops and laptops.
Video ports are what allow computers to connect to monitors.
Most desktops have at least one on-board video port. An on-board video port means it is a port directly on the motherboard. A graphics card can be installed to give the desktop more video ports.
Some laptops also have an on-board video port. Most laptops cannot hold an additional graphics card to give more ports, so when deciding on what laptop to buy, make sure to ask yourself if you’re going to need additional monitors. Some laptops also have docking stations, also known as port replicators.These devices typically have more ports than the laptop itself (of all types), and will allow for the laptop to show on multiple monitors.
USB ports are used for most accessories such as keyboards and mice. USB ports can be used to charge electronics, or for USB thumb drives/flash drives (which allow you to store data on them). Most desktops and laptops will have 2 to 4 of them built in. If you need more USB ports, you can use a USB hub.
USB Thumb Drives
Ethernet ports allow devices to be hard-wired into a network, usually for internet access. All desktops usually have Ethernet ports. Laptops that are designed to be slim and lightweight may not have an Ethernet port available. However, there are Ethernet to USB dongles, which pretty much turn your USB port into an Ethernet port. Most laptops have built-in wireless capabilities, so the lack of an Ethernet port isn’t always the end of the world.
Audio ports allow you to listen to sound through speakers or headphones, as well as plug in a microphone. Desktops usually have more audio ports available, for more complex audio systems and surround sound. Laptops normally have one or two audio ports, usually one for headphones and one for a microphone.