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DisplayPort 1.2 vs HDMI 2.0: What’s the Difference, Is One Better?

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DisplayPort 1.2 vs HDMI 2.0: What’s the Difference, Is One Better?

When it comes to transmitting audio and video signals from your computer to a display device, DisplayPort and HDMI are two popular choices. DisplayPort 1.2 offers the highest transmission rate of 21.6 Gbps with a data rate of 17.28 Gbps. This enables 4K resolution at 75 Hz and 5K resolution at 30 Hz.

In comparison, HDMI 2.0 has a maximum transmission rate of 18.0 Gbps with a data rate of 14.4 Gbps which supports 4K resolution at 60 Hz, as well as 8K resolution at 30 Hz. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. So, which one best suits your needs depends on individual requirements.

DisplayPort 1.2 vs HDMI 2.0: Side-by-Side Comparison

SpecificationDisplayPort 1.2HDMI 2.0
Max Transmission Rate21.6 Gbps18.0 Gbps
Max Data Rate17.28 Gbps14.4 Gbps
Resolution/Refresh Rate Support (24 bpp)1080p @ 240 Hz1080p @ 240 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate SupportYesYes
Best Use CaseComputer gaming and workstation with three or more displaysConsole gaming and connecting a laptop to either a projector or large TV
DisplayPort 1.2 vs. 1.4
The DisplayPort replaced the Video Graphics Array (VGA) and the Digital Visual Interface (DVI).

DisplayPort 1.2 vs HDMI 2.0: What’s the Difference?

If you’re trying to decide between DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0 for your display needs, it’s essential that you comprehend the distinctions between these two technologies. By understanding the features and capabilities of each, you can decide which is most suitable for your specific use case. The following section will compare and contrast key differences between DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0.

Max Data Rate and Resolution/Refresh Rate Support

DisplayPort 1.2 can transmit data at a maximum rate of 17.28 Gbps, while HDMI 2.0 only offers 14.4 Gbps. This difference means DisplayPort 1.2 is capable of supporting higher resolutions and refresh rates than HDMI 2.0. For instance, 4K resolution at 75 Hz or 5K resolution at 30 Hz compared to only 4K at 60 Hz for HDMI 2.0. However, it should be noted that if using one single 4K 60 Hz monitor, the difference will not be apparent.

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GPU manufacturers have had a major role in shaping these standards’ resolution and refresh rate capabilities. For example, AMD’s HD 6000 series GPUs and NVIDIA’s Kepler GPUs can handle 1080p at 240 Hz on DisplayPort 1.2, while AMD’s HD 5000 series and Kepler GPUs support 1440p at 75 Hz on HDMI 1.3-1.4b.

Multi-Display Support

DisplayPort supports Multi-Stream Transport (MST) technology, which enables you to connect multiple displays using a single DisplayPort connection. MST creates virtual connections over an individual physical cable and divides bandwidth among them. You can therefore connect up to four displays using DisplayPort 1.2 simultaneously at different resolutions and refresh rates.

HDMI does not support MST, meaning you can only connect one display per HDMI port. To connect multiple displays using HDMI, you’ll either need an HDMI splitter or use multiple ports. Unfortunately, using an HDMI splitter duplicates the signal across all displays — meaning all will have the same resolution and refresh rate.

Close-up view of HDMI cables on a white background
HDMI cables are more commonly supported by devices than DisplayPort.

Compatibility

HDMI is a more commonly adopted standard than DisplayPort, meaning that it’s more likely to be supported by devices. Most TVs only feature HDMI ports and do not support DisplayPort. Similarly, most laptops and graphics cards come with HDMI ports, while high-end gaming monitors typically feature DisplayPort connections.

Apple monitors are unique in that they only feature DisplayPort ports and no HDMI connections. Fortunately, DisplayPort to HDMI adapters are easily available so you can connect an HDMI device to a DisplayPort monitor or vice versa. However, keep in mind that when using an adapter the output will only be limited by the lowest specification of both connected devices.

Gaming-wise, both DisplayPort and HDMI support Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) technology which synchronizes the display’s refresh rate with that of your graphics card to reduce screen tearing. However, NVIDIA G-SYNC requires HDMI 2.1 compatibility. So, if you own an NVIDIA G-SYNC compatible graphics card, then HDMI 2.1 is required to take advantage of this advanced feature.

Audio and Video Quality

DisplayPort 1.2 offers more bandwidth than HDMI 2.0 when it comes to audio and video quality. It supports 4K resolution at 60Hz with 10-bit color depth and a maximum resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels. Furthermore, DisplayPort 1.2 can handle uncompressed audio up to 8 channels at 24-bit 192kHz – equivalent to a 7.1 surround sound setup.

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On the other hand, HDMI 2.0 supports 4K resolution at 60Hz with 8-bit color depth and a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. It also handles uncompressed audio up to 8 channels at 24-bit 192kHz – equivalent to a 7.1 surround sound setup.

Although its color depth is lower than DisplayPort’s, HDMI 2.0 boasts High Dynamic Range (HDR), improving color accuracy and contrast ratio. DisplayPort 1.2 offers superior audio and video quality compared to HDMI 2.0 thanks to its higher color depth, higher resolution support, and ability to handle uncompressed audio with more channels.

Cable Length

Another important distinction between DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0 is their cable length restrictions. HDMI 2.0 only permits a maximum cable length of 10 meters (32 feet), which may be too far for some setups. Beyond 10 meters, signals may degrade, leading to visual artifacts, image distortion, or loss of signal altogether. This restriction makes connecting devices far apart difficult.

DisplayPort 1.2 can support cable lengths up to 15 meters (50 feet) without any signal loss or degradation. Beyond 15 meters, however, a DisplayPort repeater or amplifier may be necessary in order to boost the signal strength. DisplayPort’s longer cable length makes it ideal for setups where devices are far apart, such as conference rooms, lecture halls, or classrooms.

Hot Plug Detection

Hot plug detection is the ability of a connector to detect when a cable is connected or disconnected and adjust its signal accordingly. DisplayPort 1.2 supports hot plug detection, meaning it can detect when cables are connected or disconnected and adjust their signal accordingly. This feature comes in handy when frequently connecting and disconnecting devices, like when using your laptop with an external monitor.

HDMI 2.0 also supports hot plug detection, though it has its limitations. Although HDMI can detect when a cable is connected or disconnected, it may not always adjust the signal accordingly, resulting in blank screens or distorted images. This issue becomes particularly prominent when using longer HDMI cables, which may lead to signal degradation and even loss of signal altogether.

DisplayPort 1.2 has the edge over HDMI 2.0 when it comes to hot plug detection. This is because it can detect cable connections and disconnections and adjust the signal accordingly, making it more reliable for frequent usage.

DisplayPort 1.2 vs HDMI 2.0: 7 Must-Know Facts

  1. DisplayPort 1.2 has a maximum transmission rate of 21.6 Gbps, while HDMI 2.0 offers 18.0 Gbps.
  2. With DisplayPort 1.2, you can get up to 17.28 Mbps data rate and 1080p resolution at 240 Hz with its maximum data rate.
  3. HDMI 2.0 supports up to 14.4 Mbps at 1080p resolution with its maximum transmission rate.
  4. DisplayPort 1.2 supports 4K at 75 Hz, while HDMI 2.0 offers the same resolution at 60 Hz.
  5. DisplayPort 2.0 offers 4K at 240 Hz and 8K at 85 Hz; on the other hand, HDMI 2.1 offers 4K resolution at 144 Hz (240 with DSC) and 8K at 30 Hz (120 with DSC).
  6. DisplayPort supports Multi-Stream Transport (MST) for multiple screens and daisy chaining, while HDMI only permits connection to one display.
  7. Although HDMI is more widely supported, higher-end monitors typically support both technologies.

DisplayPort 1.2 vs HDMI 2.0: Which One Is Better?

Your specific needs must be considered when choosing between DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0. Both options should work similarly for single 4K 60Hz monitors.

Multi-display support is enhanced with DisplayPort’s MST feature, which permits daisy chaining up to four screens simultaneously. However, results may vary depending on your setup; HDMI remains the go-to choice for TVs and budget monitors.

Gamers will be pleased to know that both DisplayPort and HDMI support Variable Refresh Rate, which helps prevent screen tearing. Unfortunately, NVIDIA G-SYNC requires HDMI 2.1 for compatibility.

When connecting devices with different output ports, adapters are available; however, keep in mind that the lowest output specs of the connected devices will determine their output quality.

HDMI has the advantage of wider compatibility and is more common, but DisplayPort offers a superior option in certain use cases, such as connecting multiple displays or Apple monitors. Before making your decision between DisplayPort 1.2 or HDMI 2.0, consider your needs and the hardware you have available.

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Why Isn’t There a Single Standard for Connecting Peripherals to Computers?

DVI vs VGA
Most people have a jumble of computer peripheral connectors due, in part, to the lack of an industry standard.

Unless you’re a tech guru, you may be frustrated by the lack of a single standard for connecting all your peripherals to your computer. This can be attributed to a combination of historical factors, market competition, and evolving technology. Over the years, companies and organizations developed their own proprietary connectors and interfaces to meet specific needs and gain a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, this resulted in a fragmented landscape where different devices require different cables and connectors, leading to inconvenience, headaches, and compatibility issues for users.

Another issue is that technology evolves rapidly and new devices are constantly emerging. This dynamic environment often necessitates the creation of new connectors and interfaces with different data transfer speeds, power requirements, etc.

Efforts have been made to establish universal standards such as USB, HDMI, and Thunderbolt, but there is no incentive for manufacturers to adhere to these standards or to make their products backwards compatible.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How many screens can DisplayPort connect to?

DisplayPort supports Multi-Stream Transport (MST) for multiple displays and daisy chaining. It can connect up to four displays simultaneously, though bandwidth is shared among them.

Which is more widely supported: HDMI or DisplayPort?

HDMI is more commonly utilized when connecting sources to televisions. On the other hand, higher-end monitors often support both standards.

What is Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)?

VRR is a feature available on both HDMI and DisplayPort that enables the display to adjust its refresh rate according to the frame rate of its source device, helping prevent screen tearing.

Are there adapters available to convert HDMI to DisplayPort or vice versa?

Yes, there are adapters for both scenarios. Unfortunately, you will be limited by the output specs of connected devices when using a standard dongle adapter; additionally, using one may prevent daisy-chaining support.

Which standard is optimal for console gaming?

HDMI 2.0+ is always the preferred choice since it is the sole output source on most devices.

Which standard is optimal for computer gaming?

DisplayPort is usually the better option when supported, though HDMI 2.0+ suffice most gaming needs.

Which standard best connects a laptop to a projector or TV?

HDMI is usually your best bet when presenting from a laptop since most projectors and large TVs support it.

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