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Is DisplayPort Better Than HDMI?

Is DisplayPort Better Than HDMI?

The debate has been going on for years regarding which is better: DisplayPort or HDMI. Over the years, they have released various versions, and each time they get better and better. What is the current version, and which one is better?

DisplayPort version 2 is better at providing a high resolution of 8k at 120Hz because its capacity of bandwidth (80Gbps) is almost double that of HDMI version 2.1 (48Gbps). Both have dynamic refresh rates, but HDMI can only output 8k at 60Hz unless used with DSC (Display Stream Compression).

Learn what different versions there are for HDMI and DisplayPort and understand which one you have on your TV, gaming console, graphics card, etc.; know what the capability of that version is and if you are using the correct cable version and if it matters. 

Is DisplayPort better than HDMI?

HDMI and DisplayPort cables

The question should not be which one is better but which one is needed. Depending on what you plan to do, i.e., watch movies, play games, video editing, photo editing, or you need an extra port available to connect up to another piece of hardware. Then you’ll need to decide which port to use.

If your monitor only has one connection type (either DisplayPort or HDMI), the decision is made easier. However, if it has both, the best thing to do is to know what each of them offers you in terms of various elements such as refresh rate, resolution, 8k support, multiple 4k monitors, and much more. 

By knowing these specific features that go with each port and their various versions, you will can decide which to use. 

What is the difference between DisplayPort and HDMI?

Close-up view of black displayport and hdmi cables

Before we dive into their differences, it is essential to note that these cables function at their core level to achieve the same goal: sending audio and video signals through a single cable.

Since their inception, there have been many versions of these cables. Each of the latest gets better and offers improved bandwidth, which will support higher resolutions, advanced compression, frame rates, network connectivity, and more. 

Currently, DisplayPort is sitting at version 2.0 while HDMI is sitting at version 2.1. It would be beneficial to understand which versions do what because depending on the cable you use and the type of connection port available; you may not have or be able to use the latest version. So let’s see what versions of each have what benefits.

Purple HDMI and Displayport cables

DisplayPort vs. HDMI cable versions features chart

  DisplayPort Version 1.0 – 1.1a DisplayPort Version 1.2-1.2a DisplayPort Version 1.3 DisplayPort Version 1.4 – 1.4a DisplayPort Version 2 HDIM Version 1.01 – 1.2a HDMI Version 1.3 -1.4b HDMI Version 2.0 – 2.0b HDMI Version 2.1
Max Transmission rate 10.8 Gbps 21.6 Gbps 32.4 Gbps 32.4 Gbps 80.0 Gbps 4.95 Gbps 10.2 Gbps 18.0 Gbps 48.0 Gbps
Max Data Rate 8.64 Gbps 17.28 Gbps 25.92 Gbps 25.92 Gbps 77.37 Gbps 3.96 Gbps 8.16 Gbps 14.4 Gbps 42.6 Gbps
Resolution / Refressh Rate 24bpp 1080p @ 144 Hz /

4K @ 30 Hz

1080p @ 240 Hz /

4K @ 75 Hz

/ 5K @ 30 Hz

1080p @ 360 Hz / 4K @ 120 Hz / 5K @ 60 Hz / 8K @ 30 Hz 8K @ 120 Hz w/ DSC 4K @ 240 Hz / 8K @ 85 Hz 1080p @ 60 Hz 1080p @ 144 Hz / 1440p @ 75 Hz /

4K @ 30 Hz / 4K 4:2:0 @ 60 Hz

1080p @ 240 Hz / 4K @ 60 Hz / 8K 4:2:0 @ 30 Hz 4K @ 144 Hz (240 Hz w/DSC) / 8K @ 60 Hz (120 Hz w/DSC)
One Full HD Monitor N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes
Multiple Full HD Monitors N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A No Yes Yes
One 4K Monitor N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A No Yes Yes
Multiple 4K Monitors N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A No No Yes
Connectivity To Tv N/A No No No No N/A Yes Yes Yes
Connectivity To Computer Screen N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A No No No
Internet Connection (Wired) N/A No No No No N/A Yes Yes Yes
8K Support N/A No No No Yes (120Hz) N/A No Yes (30 Hz) Yes (60Hz)
Dynamic Refresh Rate N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A No No Yes

Take note that we left out the first version of cables because, to date, they are almost two decades old, and you should not be considering them for any part of your electronic equipment at this point. 

DisplayPort vs. HDMI bandwidth

Red and Blue HDMI and Displayport cables

As we can see from the chart, DisplayPort exceeds the amount of bandwidth it can carry over its latest version to that of HDMI by almost double. Larger bandwidth allows for a larger resolution and refresh rate. 

Hence, the Display port can send more, giving you a better resolution. A cable will require a 39.19 Gbps capacity to reach a resolution of 3840X2160 with a color depth of 10 bits and a refresh rate of 144Hz, 

This means that the latest HDMI version 2.1 can just barely handle this resolution, while the DisplayPort is more than capable of running 8k at 60Hz.

Hence, if you want to run anything in 8k at 120Hz and not 30Hz or 60Hz, you will have to adopt a DisplayPort. However, DisplayPorts are rarely found on TVs or gaming consoles, so in that regard, you will, for the moment, if you run an HDMI cable to your TV, only be able to view the picture in 4k at 60Hz and 8k at 30Hz.

If you run a computer with a graphics card and a monitor that supports more than 4k with higher refresh rates, your best option is to use a DisplayPort.

DisplayPort vs. HDMI other features

Black HDMI and Displayport cables on a laptop

Most DisplayPort versions are able to run multiple HD and 4k monitors, while HDMI is limited to only having this option for their latest version (2.1). Therefore, if you are looking to run multiple displays of any kind and you have HDMI, you need to make sure that the connection type is version 2.1 and that you purchase high-end HDMI cables of the same version; otherwise, it will not work, and you will not understand why not. 

HDMI’s only feature over display ports is that it can also carry an internet connection over it. The max data rate for this wired connection is 100Mbps. This could be useful when you do not have an ethernet cable of a specific length, or the WiFi is not in range. 

Other than that, DisplayPort does beat HDMI in terms of picture quality. 

Conclusion

Red HDMI cable and Blue Displayport cable

We discovered that DisplayPort can carry more data because of its larger bandwidth. This means that it can produce a larger resolution (almost double that of HDMI). While DisplayPort version 2 can comfortably run 8k at 120Hz, HDMI version 2.1 is only able to run 8k at 60Hz.

8k at 60Hz is nothing to sneeze at because your typical movie will run and be filmed at those resolutions making it perfect for your TV. However, if you plan to play games on a computer with a monitor with a high resolution and refresh rate, then hands down, you will need a DisplayPort cable and connection.

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