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Can a Bad DisplayPort Cable Cause Artifacting?


Aargh, the dreaded artifacts. Seeing them a lot lately? And you can’t figure out what’s causing these annoying, weeny glitches.?

We understand your frustration with artifacts because we’ve dealt with them multiple times in the past. But we eventually learned what causes them. More importantly, we now know how to eliminate them.

And we are certain the information below will help you reclaim your viewing and gaming power from the artifacting monster.

Can a bad DisplayPort cable cause artifacting?

Yes, a bad DisplayPort cable may be causing the artifacting on your screen. And that usually happens when you use a poor-quality cable. 

A poorly-configured DisplayPort cable can cause errors in data packets or corrupt audio or video data, leading to artifacts. These will show up as flickering, blurring, judders, or screen distortion. 

a screen with distortion

To prevent this, always use high-quality, certified DisplayPort cables for all your DisplayPort connections. 

It’s hard to tell which cable is of high quality and which one is substandard by looking at the physical appearance of any two cables.

But one way in which you can know is by looking for the DisplayPort Certified label. Genuine cables must meet all the DisplayPort standards as set out by the Video Electronics Standards Association. 

[VESA Certified] Cable Matters 6 ft DisplayPort Cable 1.4
Click image for more info
Make sure you’re buying your cables from a reputable brand or dealer who only deals in certified DisplayPort cables. The official DisplayPort website has a list of certified cables and their respective manufacturers. You’ll find this list helpful when looking for quality cables and where to buy them.

A question we get asked a lot is, can the quality of the DP cable deteriorate over time, hence causing artifacting?

Here’s the thing:

High-quality DisplayPort cables are reliable and remain usable for years, possibly decades. 

They may eventually stop working, but that does not happen gradually such that the cable causes flickering or jerkiness on the screen when you’re playing videos.

Instead, the cables are more likely to malfunction at once such that they do not transmit any signal when you connect them. Or they send the signal some of the time then lose it at some point.

However, the quality of video they transmit does not change throughout their lifetime. 

Similarly, you wouldn’t get artifacts just because you’re using an older DisplayPort cable.

Can other cables cause artifacts?

A non-certified cable can cause artifacts. This happens because the cable may not be configured or made to the exact specifications spelled out by the relevant cable standards body.

And so, it might only support some system configurations, not all. 

Now, when you attempt to transport video and audio data through such a cable, you’re giving it a load that it can’t successfully carry. What follows are telltale indications that something is wrong with the connection. 

These could range from input lag to screen blinking and artifacting. In the worst cases, it may damage your GPU or entire PC.

a damaged PC with a first-aid kit

What causes minor artifacts?

The minor artifacts you’re getting on your screen may be due to several factors, most notably a problem with the GPU, the monitor, or drivers.

Failing monitor

If your monitor is failing, you’re likely to experience artifacting. The easiest way to tell is by switching to a different monitor. 

Does the issue go away when you connect a different monitor? If yes, then your old monitor was the problem.

If artifacting persists even after you use a different monitor, check the hardware. It may be the cause.

a man checking the computer hardware components

Overclocking

a gauge with needle pointing to maximum number 3.1GHz

Have you overclocked your GPU? An increasing number of artifacts is a sign that you’re pushing your graphics card beyond what it can handle.

Once it reaches this level, it never gets better. 

The artifacting increases to a point where you can no longer play games in a meaningful way. And, in the end, the high voltage required to keep the video card running damages the card. 

The only way out is by resetting the clock rate to a lower speed or changing it back to the default clock speed.

Other video card issues (not related to overclocking)

When your graphics card begins to degrade, it might cause artifacting. You may start noticing constant stuttering on the screen, video tears, and other screen glitches.

glitching screens

Confirm the health of your graphics card by going to Device Manager on your PC. Under Adapters, click Graphics Card, then Device Status. 

  • If it says the device is working as it should, you’re in luck because the video card is not the problem. But you still have to test the rest of the computer hardware for possible flaws.
  • If you receive a notification that something is wrong, follow the recommended solution paths to restore the graphics card to a healthy, functional state.

This next inspection involves opening the PC and assessing the video card. 

Does the card seem to have any physical damage? If there’s none, dust it off (and likewise remove any dust buildup from the graphics card slot) and return it to its position.

cleaning the computer video card from dust with a brush

By doing so, you:

  1. Confirm the video card doesn’t have dents and other signs of physical damage. Physical damage ultimately leads to complete malfunction. But before it reaches that severe level, the damage may manifest as minor screen glitches and artifacts.
  2. Remove dust that may be causing overheating, which in turn causes artifacting.
  3. Reset the graphics card properly in its slot. If the card becomes loose, you could experience mishaps of all kinds, and eventually, the computer may not detect the card at all.

If your diagnosis points to a defective video card, replace it with a new one.

Driver issues

If installed drivers clash with other software components at work on the computer, you may see artifacting. You’ll usually notice the glitch after updating your drivers. 

It may also be because you’re using a newer version of a game, for example. One that might not be compatible with older drivers installed on the computer.

Fortunately, you can:

  1. Uninstall the latest drivers and restore the previous ones. Use this option if you notice artifacts after a driver upgrade.
  2. Update your drivers to get the latest driver releases.

Conclusion

While it may not be obvious at first, a faulty or an  improperly configured DisplayPort cable can cause artifacting. DisplayPort cables must meet design specifications, failure to which the cable will not support some system configurations. In some cases, this can show up as artifacting.

And it’s not a challenge that is limited to DisplayPort cables only. It can happen with any other cable type, including HDMI.

You can avoid cable-related artifacting by using certified cables rather than non-certified, off-brand ones. Aside from misconfigured cables, artifacts can occur due to hardware and software glitches affecting the monitor, GPU, or drivers.


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