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Display Port (DP) cable vs HDMI

Display Port (DP) cable vs. HDMI

by Lisa Hayden
Display Port (DP) cable vs HDMI

Picture this: You’ve just purchased a new gaming console and used your previous connectors on display to connect to that external A/V device. Shortly after connecting, you notice a difference in refresh rate, resolution, and color quality. Before panic hits, know it’s likely a cable issue, not the console box.

DisplayPort is a digital video interface. It has been around longer than HDMI, and it’s commonly used for video transmission, but it can also be used with audio. DisplayPort and HDMI can transmit 4k video at 60 frames per second (FPS). The difference between them is in the bandwidth they use. DisplayPort uses a higher bandwidth than HDMI, which means it can transport more information than HDMI.

Related: Mini HDMI vs. Micro HDMI

Benchmark for a suitable gaming cable connector

  • Bandwidth
  • Resolution
  • Refresh rate
  • Compatibility
  • Physical connectivity

Is using DP better than HDMI?

Both connectors have pros and cons and are suitable depending on the need. Most devices like monitors and TVs are compatible with HDMI, while DP is ideal for multi-monitor setups and PC gaming.

Let’s look at the 3 primary differences in detail:

Physical connectivity

The display port is asymmetrically containing 20-pin connectors. The plugs include a mechanical latch system to secure the cables from accidentally disconnecting—you need to press the latch to unplug the cable. Display Port cables rarely exceed 15 feet, which may deteriorate the resolution and refresh rate.

On the flip side, HDMI connectors have a symmetrical shape holding 19-pin connectors. It lacks the latch mechanism but uses friction to stay plugged. Therefore, continuous use or jostling causes the HDMI cable to become loose over time. Fortunately, HDMI cables can deliver 4K resolutions at 60Hz with a 50+ foot cable length.

Variable refreshing rates (VRR)

VVR adjusts the refreshing rate to match the frame rates from your PC or game console. Therefore, you need a connector in sync with your PC or console box; otherwise, you’ll experience screen tearing frequently.

Most gaming monitors like AMD and NVIDIA display technologies are only supported in Display Ports. Unfortunately, HDMI is incompatible with most NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards and only supports Freesync.

Compatibility

Most home audio/video devices like smart TVs, game consoles, projectors, and other streaming devices come with HDMI ports. HDMI was initially built for HD TVs, but it’s currently supported by almost all displays, from small portable devices to vast 8k TVs.

DisplayPort, on the other hand, was primarily designed for monitors and PCs to replace DVI and VGA connectors. DisplayPort allows for daisy-chaining multiple monitors or projectors to achieve a higher resolution than would be possible. This is because each monitor requires only one cable to connect it with its source device—no other cables are required. For example, suppose you have an Xbox One X connected to two screens via a DisplayPort connection. In that case, two separate sources are connected twice over two different cables instead of just one source.

Is DisplayPort or HDMI better for gaming?

Related: HDMI 2.2 Vs. 2.1

If you’re looking to play games on your TV, the answer is that both DisplayPort and HDMI are suitable for gaming. However, in terms of gaming performance, DisplayPort is better than HDMI.

DisplayPort supports higher refresh rates, which are essential for fast-paced games. The DisplayPort standard also offers higher bandwidth and has a broader color gamut than HDMI. This means that DisplayPort can display more colors in the same amount of space or bandwidth, which makes for a more vivid experience when playing games with high-resolution graphics.

Additionally, DisplayPort is the more popular choice for gaming because it has lower latency than HDMI. This means that when you’re playing a game, you get less lag between what’s happening on the screen and what’s happening in your ears.

HDMI was designed to work with TVs and other devices with limited processing power, but it doesn’t always meet the needs of high-speed data transfers like DisplayPort does. For example, when playing games on a PC with a DisplayPort connection, you’ll get more detailed images and smoother animation because they’re being sent directly from the GPU rather than through an intermediary device like an HDMI cable first.

However, HDMI can also be used for gaming (especially with a receiver/amplifier), although it does tend to have a bit more latency than DisplayPort.

Related: Best Gaming Monitor: The Top 6 Displays in 2022

Can I use an HDMI cable in a DP port?

Yes, you can use an HDMI cable in a DP port.

DisplayPort is an interface that allows you to connect multiple monitors and will enable them to share data. It’s commonly used for high-end home theater PCs but can also use for computer monitors and televisions. HDMI is a type of video connector that is typically used for digital video signals.  

A DisplayPort cable can transfer video and audio signals in high-definition resolutions to provide the same quality as an HDMI cable. Because of this, you can use a DisplayPort cable to connect your computer or TV to a monitor with either an HDMI or DVI port.

The DisplayPort and HDMI standards are both used for high-definition video and audio. However, they differ in the size of the data channels that each signal can carry. The DisplayPort standard has four lanes of data information, while HDMI is limited to two lanes. The additional lane in the HDMI specification allows it to carry more information, allowing for higher quality video transmission than possible with a single data channel.

Because of this difference in capabilities, there are some cases where it’s impossible to use a DisplayPort cable in an HDMI port. The disparity will only occur if you use a monitor or projector that doesn’t support DP signals.

For example, the maximum resolution supported by DisplayPort is 4096×2160 at 30Hz with 8 bits per color channel and an audio bandwidth of 32-bit/192kHz. If you want to use your computer’s graphics card for gaming purposes (which requires more intense graphics), you will need to get a monitor with an HDMI port. The port needs to support higher resolutions like 4096×2160 at 60Hz with 12 bits per color channel and an audio bandwidth of 24-bit/192kHz.

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