If you’re a big PC gamer, you’ve probably encountered a DisplayPort cable or two in your day. They look similar to HDMI cables and do a great job sending audio and video from one device to another.
But do DisplayPorts ever go bad? Or do they age like fine wine? The technology for them has been around since 2006, so you might be dealing with a port that’s older than some teenagers.
Here’s what you need to know about DisplayPorts and if yours is still in tip-top shape.
What is DisplayPort?
DisplayPort is much like an HDMI port. It’s usually used on high-quality PC graphic cards, and some laptops and monitors. Most notably, DisplayPorts are able to transmit higher resolutions and refresh rates.
The technology used in DisplayPorts is what USB-C and Thunderbolts are based off of. This means that newer laptops can connect to DisplayPort devices with ease, provided they have the appropriate adapter.
Can DisplayPort Cables Go Bad?Technology gets old, even the best technology is bound to need to be replaced to refurbished at one point or another. Not all DisplayPort cables are created equally, and they don’t all age equally either.
Using an old DisplayPort cable on a shiny, brand new gamer PC or video game console is a waste. You won’t get the same level of quality and it will make your experience significantly worse.
DisplayPort connectors contain several pins, much like an HDMI or VGA cable does. Each pin plays an important role in the functionality of the device, so if one gets damaged, the whole port becomes obsolete.
These ports do not go ‘bad’ like milk or unrefrigerated leftovers do, but they can be the victims of wear and tear and old age.
How Long Do DisplayPort Cables Last?
How long your DisplayPort cable lasts depends on the quality of it. If you picked up a cheap DisplayPort cable from your local corner shop, chances are it’s only going to last a few months. However, if you’ve done your research and invested a little money, you could end up with a DisplayPort cable that lasts several years.
A boot failure is an unfortunate but possible side effect of a bad DisplayPort cable. Badly wired cables are likely to cause a boot failure. To avoid this, unplug the DisplayPort cable from the monitor before turning on your device.
How to Tell if a DisplayPort Cable is Broken?
There are a few telltale signs that your DisplayPort cable isn’t working as it should. Remember, a DisplayPort cable should work similarly to an HDMI cable, so if it’s not transmitting audio and video well, it’s probably broken.
Here are a few things to look out for:
Is the display not playing smoothly? Are images flashing up on the screen instead of playing seamlessly like a video should? That’s a clear sign the connection between the two devices has been disrupted. Flickering images or videos is another symptom of this.
This could be dangerous around anyone with photosensitive epilepsy, so if you’re using a DisplayPort cable that’s flashing, proceed with caution.
Low Refresh Rate
A refresh rate is how many times the device refreshes the image per second. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother the video quality. An old or badly made cable can lower your refresh rate and make it difficult to get it back up.
The refresh rate may not sound like a big problem, but trust us, it can quickly become very annoying.
Are you having trouble establishing a connection between your cable and the port? That might be a sign you need to replace your DisplayPort cable! Link failures are annoying but common occurrences with older technology.
There are clips that attach the connector to the port, but there have been instances where users were unable to remove the clip afterwards.
You Have a Long Cable
Longer cables tend not to last as long as shorter cables. The most important function a cable has is to maintain a connection between two devices. The longer the wiring is, the higher chance of an interruption between the two connectors.
If you’re concerned about purchasing a cable that lasts, you’re better off going with a shorter cable. Anything around three feet (one meter) should do. Naturally, if you require a longer cable for your media set up, you will simply have to purchase the highest quality DisplayPort cable possible and hope for the best.
How Do You Test a DisplayPort Cable?
The best way to test a DisplayPort cable is to plug it in and see what happens! You might want to make sure all the devices are turned on before plugging the cable in, especially if it’s older. This will ensure that any potential bad wiring won’t cause a boot failure.
If your cable is already plugged in and you want to test it. Unplug it and start the test from there.
Once everything is plugged in and turned on, look for the telltale signs we mentioned above. How does the video look? How does the audio sound? Is the screen glitching and moving slightly slow?
Remember, DisplayPort is supposed to be higher quality than HDMI, so you should not compromise on the quality of your sound or video when using the technology.
You can also have a look at the pins on the DisplayPort cable. Are they all intact? This is a good indicator of whether your DisplayPort cable is going to work well or not.
To Wrap Things Up
DisplayPort cables can be a wonderful addition to your media setup. If you purchase a high-quality cable, it can last several years. The key is to take good care of them and stop using them the minute they show signs of compromising your connection.
Keep an eye out for flickering images, a low refresh rate, and link failures. Remember that a longer cable is more likely to fail or become damaged, so buy the shortest cable you can for your media setup.
What has your experience with DisplayPort cables been like? How old is your oldest cable? We’d love to know in the comments below!
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.