In the world of audio/video ports, two connectors reign supreme: DisplayPort and HDMI. While both are used to connect a PC to an external monitor or device, it is the finer details that make them suitable for very different purposes.
While DisplayPort is trusted by some techies, the question of which depends entirely on what you’re trying to achieve. Do you need to project PowerPoint on a TV screen? Alternatively, are you trying to set up a 4K monitor or dual monitor for the best RPG experience?
Whether you’re an advanced PC user or just want more flexibility in your home office setup, you need to understand the different uses for these two popular connector cables. It will make your computing experience more enjoyable. Take a look at the different pros and cons of DisplayPort vs HDMI with us to better understand their different capabilities.
- What does HDMI mean?
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Video monitors are analog products for personal computers. They take their input from video controllers that use digital-to-analog converters to convert screen content from digital video to analog signals.
There are analog interfaces like VGA and other variations depending on the screen resolution. Now, a digital video interface called DisplayPort is fast becoming the leading video standard for PCs, laptops, and other computers.
Also, all video and audio used to be analog. But with the advent of CDs and DVDs, the video went digital. In 2009, broadcast television went completely digital. While analog interfaces such as Composite Video, S-Video, and RGB were used to transfer video from one device to another, a fully digital interface was required.
Intel’s Digital Video Interface (DVI) met part of that need, but today, HDMI has become the de facto standard for consumer electronics.
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What are HDMI and DisplayPort?
Both HDMI and DisplayPort are new video transmission standards. While HDMI was first invented in 2002, DisplayPort came later in 2006. Both are digital standards.
While both standards serve the same purpose, that is, to stream high-definition video to your display device, there are some important differences.
The most obvious difference between HDMI and DisplayPort connectors is the size and shape of the connector. The standard HDMI Type A connector has 19 pins and is vertically symmetric. Less common are mini and micro HDMI connectors, being much smaller physically but using the same 19 pins.
The standard DisplayPort connector has 20 pins and is largely rectangular, with a notched corner to ensure correct orientation. It also includes small hooks that help hold connected cables in place, requiring the push of a button to remove.
It also comes in a miniature form, which has the same number of pins, but in a smaller form factor. Although it originally appeared prominently on Apple MacBooks and some monitors, Mini DisplayPort is much less common in 2020, with new device makers preferring USB-C.
There are four different versions of DisplayPort that can be found on monitors and graphics cards, each offering a slightly different combination of support for different resolutions and frame rates.
DisplayPort 1.2 has been in use since 2010 and provides 17.28 Gbps of bandwidth to handle 4K resolution video at 60 Hz, as well as any lower resolutions such as Full HD and Quad HD. These formats are available in various forms of DisplayPort, such as Mini DisplayPort and Thunderbolt connections, making it an especially useful format for laptop users.
DisplayPort 1.2, An updated version of the 1.2 specifications, DisplayPort 1.2, also added support for AMD FreeSync, which matches the screen refresh rate to the frame-by-frame output of an AMD graphics card, enabling smooth gameplay without interruption. Is. this is. of screen. Simply. Simply.
DisplayPort 1.3 offers even better resolution support to handle 4K 120Hz or 8K 30Hz resolution with 32.4Gbps bandwidth. Introduced in 2014, it was the first single cable option for 8K video other than Ethernet.
DisplayPort 1.4 was slightly improved, with support for 60Hz 8K and the introduction of HDR10 metadata for high dynamic range (HDR) content. If you have an HDR-capable monitor, but you’re still using the older DisplayPort standard, you’re missing out on the HDR game.
The 1.4 specification also adds audio transport, allowing voice sharing in addition to video, but supporting this feature usually requires downloading additional drivers and enabling the feature in Settings. this ability.
DisplayPort 2.0 is the latest version of DisplayPort and it really improves things with wider bandwidth and support for 10K and even 16K resolutions at 60Hz with varying levels of compression and color compatibility. More importantly, it enables multi-monitor support at higher resolutions and frame rates, handling dual 8K displays at 120Hz or up to three 4K displays at 144Hz.
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What does HDMI mean?
HDMI connections have come a long way since the launch of their first generation in 2002. Later versions improved support for higher resolutions and refresh rates, better color depth, and wider color gamuts. While these have been relatively incremental updates, HDMI’s overall maximum bitrate has only increased 3.5 times in its nearly 15 years of development.
The benefits of HDMI 2.1 are immense. What is HDMI 2.1? This is the new standard with a maximum bandwidth that has increased from 18 Gbps in the previous version 2.0 to 48 Gbps in just one generation. Its maximum data rate increased from 14.4 Gbps to 42.6 Gbps and it supports four channels of data, where each previous generation of HDMI supported only three. It is also DSC compliant for the first time.
In general, HDMI connectors are commonly found on living room devices, while DisplayPort’s are more common on desktops and laptops. This drives the DisplayPort vs HDMI gaming debate primarily focused on where you want to play. With a game console in your living room? HDMI is probably the best option. With Monitor on Desktop PC? DisplayPort will be more available and possibly capable.
DisplayPort vs. HDMI: Specifications and Resolutions
Not all DisplayPort and HDMI ports are created equal. The DisplayPort and HDMI standards are backward compatible, meaning you can connect a mid-2000s HDTV and it should still work with a newer RTX 20 series or RX 5000 series graphics card.
However, the connection between the display and the graphics card will end up using the best option supported by the sending and receiving ends of the connection. This could mean that the best 4K gaming monitors with 144Hz and HDR will work at 4K and 24Hz on older graphics cards!
Features: the difference between DisplayPort and HDMI
DisplayPort vs HDMI face-to-face, there are differences not only in bandwidth and connectors but also in features. One of the keys is ARC and EARC technologies. Enjoyed by HDMI standards since HDMI 1.4, it enables bi-directional processing of audio data, enables daisy-chaining of A / V equipment, sources, and displays, reducing waste of cables and connections. Bandwidth improves audio. Competitive standard like S / PDIF.
DisplayPort has been very successful as an adopted standard, outside of its main connector. This includes Thunderbolt and USB-C connections, allowing video transmission through optional cables and ports available at all Cable Matters stores.
The HDMI and DisplayPort standards support variable refresh rates, but where DisplayPort supports FreeSync from AMD and G-Sync from Nvidia, HDMI only supports the former.
It can also run a longer DisplayPort cable than its HDMI counterparts, with passive DisplayPort options maxing out at 5 meters before dimming. In comparison, the latest HDMI 2.1 cables will fight up to about three meters. Active options can extend this up to 10 meters for both standards using fiber optic transmission techniques.
What standard should you use?
Currently, there is almost no difference between HDMI and DisplayPort when it comes to image quality. But features like Audio Return Channel (ARC) over HDMI may tempt some users to use it.
HDMI is also fully capable of delivering a decent gaming experience. Users can split an HDMI signal across multiple displays, but it takes some work.
However, for immersive games at higher resolutions, it would be wise to choose DisplayPort 1.4. But if you plan to connect your PC to a TV, then HDMI 2.1 is your best friend.
If you are using television, HDMI is supposed to be your best friend. Otherwise, DisplayPort is the gold standard when it comes to pure gaming.
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DisplayPort and HDMI cables offer very similar performance, but each has its own advantages and disadvantages. HDMI is compatible with more devices, but DisplayPort, which was designed for computers, has some technical advantages. In general, if you want to connect your computer to the new monitor, use DisplayPort if that’s an option.
Otherwise, HDMI is almost as good a choice. If your monitor has a limited number of inputs, using DisplayPort will also free up your HDMI ports, which is great for connecting a game console or other device.