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Intel Customer Support Technician
Under Contract to Intel Corporation
The processor is outputting only digital data. This is in Display Port (DP) format. In order to support the HDMI connector, an LSPcon IC, which converts from DP to HDMI, is included on the NUC's board. The XXX-to-VGA adapters/cables actually contain a IC that performs the conversion from DP digital format to VGA analog format.
To be blunt, most of the adapters out there are absolute crap. Many (most?) do not contain protection against shorts and surges and they can (permanently) fail literally at the drop of a hat. While your concerns are not completely unfounded, understand that the DP streams output by the processor are completely independent of each other; if problems are happening with one, it doesn't mean that problems are or will occur with the other. Bottom line, the fact that you are seeing a problem with the mDP connector doesn't mean that there is a problem with the HDMI connector. In fact, it doesn't necessarily even mean that there is a problem with the mDP connector; it may simply be a failure in the adapter/cable that you are using and another may work just fine. I am also more inclined to believe that the HDMI-to-VGA adapter that you tried is crap as well and you should probably try another one.
Hope this helps,
Thank you N. Scott Pearson
May I take a moment to process your information?
You say that the Intel GPU natively outputs in DP format and requires an IC to convert from DP to HDMI if that port is used. That is good to know. I also acknowledge that the digital to analog adapters are sub standard and I think I recall one of his first failing. However he was lucky enough that the next lasted him a number of years.
I just find it strange that both the DP to analog and HDMI to analog adapters are not outputting that I thought it might have been something else. I must also consider that both adapters are faulty. It think under the circumstances I will tell the customer to forgo adapters and go full digital from now on.
In general, I think going full digital is good advice. I expect monitors with VGA support to start disappearing - which also means the cost of having VGA support is going to go up in the interim.
In the meantime, many monitors that supported VGA inputs also supported DVI. Is that an option here? I have used all sorts of (m)DP-to-DVI dongles and adapters and I have never had any of them fail (alas, not so those that (also) supported VGA). In most cases, where I am (or was) using older monitors that also supported VGA, they supported DVI-D (or DVI-I) - and this means that all you require is a passive dongle and thus there's less components in them that can fail. It was a rarity to find only DVI-A, which, like VGA, required an active adapter.