You’ve been shopping for a DisplayPort cable and don’t understand why there’s such a huge price variation among the ones you’ve seen.
Are the cables any different?
Can I buy a cheap brand and overlook the more expensive ones?
You’re in good hands because, below, we explain why there’s a disparity in the cost of DP cables.
DisplayPort cable prices depend on numerous factors. One has to do with the brand and whether it is high-end or popular among users.
Others are the materials used to make the cable, whether it is certified, and whether it has undergone any customizations to improve its performance.
Why Are Some DisplayPort Cables So Expensive?
There are four main explanations for why some DisplayPort cables are expensive: materials used, cable length, customization, and the manufacturer or seller setting the price high.
Let’s address each reason individually.
Cable makers have, at their disposal, materials of varying degrees of quality.
Across the manufacturing industry at large, it is standard to use a grading system to show material quality. Higher grades imply better quality.
A Grade 1 material would ordinarily be superior to a Grade 2 or 3 material, for example. As you’d expect, such material would be more expensive than the latter.
A manufacturer who uses high-grade materials to produce DP cables incurs more production costs than one who uses lower-grade materials. And so, they’re bound to sell their cables at a higher price.
Longer DisplayPort cables have a higher asking price than short ones.
It’s a principle that applies to many other products, not only cables and wires. Large-sized items typically cost more compared to smaller sizes of the same products.
In our case, the high price applies because the manufacturer uses more resources to make the cable. This includes production materials like insulators, solder, connectors, conductors, and the PVC used as an outer cable shell.
Also included are labor costs and time resources. All these translate to monetary expenses that the cable maker has to recoup when they sell the cable.
Add a percentage for their profit, and you can see how quickly the price can shoot up.
Some cable makers customize DP cables to make them suitable for different environments.
They may replace standard components like carriers and connectors with sturdier, longer-lasting ones that guarantee a longer cable lifespan.
They may gold-plate the connectors and say that it offers better shielding. Or they may use braided covering instead of the regular plain cable covering.
All these custom options drive the cable price up.
Lastly, the manufacturer can set the cable price far higher than the price of other DP cables.
They do this for any number of reasons and at their discretion. But one big factor that pushes manufacturers to go in this direction is brand perception.
If their brand is well-known, a trend-setter, and has a longstanding, positive track record, they’ll feel justified to price their cables higher than rival brands.
In contrast, newer cable brands are likely to keep their prices low to attract more customers.
Are Cheap DisplayPort Cables Good?
Cheap could imply low pricing or poor quality.
In the context of DP cables, you can choose a low-priced product. But you want to avoid a poor-quality one by all means.
Let’s explain this further.
Low-cost DisplayPort cables are not necessarily poorly made. If the DP cable has a low asking price, but meets all Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) standards and is certified, buy it.
Such a cable is as good as any high-cost DP cable. Its manufacturer may have found ways to keep production costs low, and in turn, pass the savings on to you, the consumer.
On the other hand, we have inferior quality DP cables. These do not meet VESA standards and, as you can guess, are not VESA-certified.
There’s every chance that such a cable will not work as expected. But even more disappointing, they may end up damaging your devices because they don’t have the correct configuration.
You’ll find inferior-quality cables in all price ranges. Some are as expensive as high-quality DP cables, if not more.
So, you cannot be sure that a given DP cable is substandard just by looking at its cost.
Does the Brand Matter for a DisplayPort Cable?
It doesn’t matter what brand of DP cable you choose. Choosing a certified DisplayPort cable is far more important than obsessing over the brand.
What you should be wary of are non-brand DisplayPort cables, because these rarely have VESA certification.
See the list of certified DP cables here.
You’ll notice some of the brands on this list are not well-known. We bet there are probably a few names in there you’ve never heard of before.
You may have concerns about buying an unfamiliar brand of cable, and understandably so. But if it meets all regulatory standards, there’s a high chance it is as good as any renowned brand.
That said, there are reputable brands that have been making cables for years. The main advantage in choosing an established, reputable brand is that you can be almost 100% sure you’re getting a quality product.
However, you shouldn’t feel like you’re limited to the big brands only. There are plenty of small brands that make reliable DP cables.
How to Choose a Good DisplayPort Cable
Below, we discuss what you should pay attention to when choosing a DisplayPort cable.
Excessive cable length can affect transmission quality. The longer the cable, the higher the likelihood of getting a poor signal.
With a certified DP cable, VESA says you can expect excellent signal quality up to 50 feet.
They add that you can get the same high signal quality over a longer distance. It’s just that the organization has not certified any distance greater than 50 feet.
You’ll have to test out your cables to see how far they can run without losing the signal. But, to be on the safe side, always choose the shortest DisplayPort cable for your setup.
And if your setup demands a long cable connection, consider using a signal booster or extender to prevent signal loss.
DisplayPort cables come in several specifications — versions, if you will. And they’re all similar, with matching capabilities, except for speed.
These are Reduced Bit Rate (RBR), variants of High Bit Rate (HBR), and Ultra High Bit Rate (UHBR).
Each DP version has a pre-set transmission speed, as determined by the transmission mode it supports.
DisplayPort versions 1.0–1.2 support two transmission modes: RBR and HBR.
DisplayPort versions 1.2–1.2a support RBR, HBR, and HBR2.
DisplayPort versions 1.3–1.4a support RBR, HBR, HBR2, and HBR3.
And DisplayPort version 2.0 supports all the above transmission modes plus UHBR 10, UHBR 13.5, and UHBR 20.
- RBR has a transmission speed of 1.62 Gbps per lane.
- HBR has a transmission speed of 2.70 Gbps per lane.
- HBR2 has a transmission speed of 5.40 Gbps per lane.
- HBR3 has a transmission speed of 8.10 Gbps per lane.
- UHBR 10 has a transmission speed of 10 Gbps per lane.
- UHBR 13.5 has a transmission speed of 13.5 Gbps per lane.
- And UHBR 20 has a transmission speed of 20 Gbps per lane.
Choose a DP cable that delivers the transmission speed you wish to achieve.
The connected devices use a DisplayPort mechanism called link training to determine the maximum transmission speed of the cable.
If the connection is not stable during signal transportation, the devices switch to a lower transmission mode. And, when it stabilizes, they once again switch to a higher transmission speed.
To attain speeds of 8.1 Gbps, for example, choose DisplayPort 1.3 or 1.4 cables.
If you choose DisplayPort 1.2, you’ll only get speeds of 5.40 Gbps. And your DP devices will switch across 1.62/2.70/5.40 Gbps, which are the speeds DisplayPort 1.2 supports, whenever the transmission is unstable.
The asking price of DisplayPort cables hinges on several factors.
Among these are materials, customizations made, cable length, and brand perception.
DP cables sold cheaply are good to use, so long as they are VESA certified. If, however, they are cheaply made and do not meet certification requirements, it’s not advisable to use them.
It does not matter what brand of DisplayPort cables you buy. What matters is that they meet the industry-set standards and come with the certification to prove it.
To get the most out of DP cables, consider the cable length and transmission speed when buying them.
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.