DisplayPort vs HDMI: Which Is Better For Gaming?

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HDMI Vs Displayport

If you have been in the computer market for some time, then it is safe to say that you have asked yourself whether you should be going for an HDMI cable or a DisplayPort.

I have seen the question pop up now and then, and while it rests for a while, it does manage to come back up again, and people start questioning again.

If you are wondering about how DisplayPort vs HDMI ends, you are at the right place because you and I are here to start exploring all the various ways these cables work, and the purpose here is to decide which standard is better and which one is not.

The article does dive into some technicalities, which means that you should at least prepare yourself to get to know about a few terms, but overall, you should not have any problems that could come your way in terms of the deciding part.


DisplayPort Vs HDMI: Explained!


It is safe to say that the comparisons are never-ending for a lot of people, and this can be confusing for a lot of us; and therefore, I am here to change things a bit because the idea here is to help everyone buy the best cable there is.

This will ensure that there are no complications that are coming your way when you buy the cable.


What Is HDMI Technology?


The part of this article is to uncover these technologies, as the readers must be fully aware of what they are getting themselves into. We are going to start with HDMI as it is one of the more common ones.

For those wondering, HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface, and it has been most commonly used in HD signal and can be used to transfer high definition audio as well as video over a single cable, which was a pretty revolutionary feature when it was first announced.

Image of six HDMI cables

HDMI is commonly used in both commercial AV sectors as it happens to be the most used cable when you are looking at connecting home devices such as TVs, DVD players, BluRay players, and game consoles.

HDMI has become commonplace thanks to the fact that almost all modern devices ship with An HDMI port. However, the same pattern is being observed over on the side of computers and laptops as they are all equipped with modern HDMI ports.

Most of the time, you are looking at cheap HDMI cables and can easily transmit data with ease.

However, if you are looking at a modern standard of HDMI cable, then you might have to spend a little extra to get your hands on the cable. I am always going to assure you that you are buying the right one.

At the time of writing, HDMI is perhaps one of the most widely used cable standards and for all the right reasons.

This is the cable that eliminated the need for having a separate cable for audio as an HDMI cable is capable of delivering both audio and video signals over the same cable.


Types Of HDMI Connectors


Much like some of the other connectors in the market, HDMI connectors also used to be available in some different connector configurations, and while most of them have been obsolete, these still pop up now and then for some reason.

There are a total of 5 connector types for HDMI, and they do have different purposes. They are represented with a Type, and we are going to look at everything these connectors can offer.

  • Type A: This is the standard HDMI connector that is available in almost every device.
  • Type B: Also known as Dual-Link HDMI connector; this used to be common but not currently used in any mainstream device.
  • Type-C: This is a mini HDMI connector that was used in smaller devices.
  • Type-D: Another smaller HDMI connector that has become less and less common over the past couple of years.
  • Type E: This is an automotive connection system, and as the name suggests, this was developed mainly for in-vehicle use to connect displays or other devices over HDMI.

These are all the HDMI connectors that I can name and how they are different. The HDMI Type A is the most common and widely used connector.


What Is DisplayPort Technology?


The next up, we have access to DisplayPort, this has been rivaling HDMI for as long as one can remember, and for those who do not know this bit, DisplayPort was developed by Video Electronics Standard Association which is more commonly known as VESA.

VESA created this as a high-performance replacement for other display modes such as VGA and DVI, and it manages to take advantage of packetized data transmission that is similar to the technology that can be found in the USB and Ethernet connectors.

Image of a DisplayPort cable

The interface itself is extensible and can support a higher resolution with a good amount of connector pins. Just like HDMI, DisplayPort can also transmit video and audio data either individually or simultaneously.

However, the one thing that not a lot of people are aware of is that DisplayPort is not a standard that was meant to replace HDMI as it was developed to complement it.

DisplayPort does offer a variety of advantages over the older standards. For instance, it is one of the open and royalty-free standards. This means that implementing this standard is not going to be costly.

It offers one of the highest data transfer standards. You can stream multiple video streams over a single connection. It is even adaptable over long-distance transmission over fiber optic cables.

Needless to say, DisplayPort has become a lot more famous, and with each new standard, it keeps becoming better and better.

Again, it is important to know that VESA never really developed this standard to replace HDMI. So, while the market might tell you otherwise, that is not the case here, to begin with.


Types Of DisplayPort Connectors


Another thing about the DisplayPort cable that you should be aware of is that, like HDMI cables, this also does bring several types. However, you are looking at a much smaller variation in terms of different connector types.

For starters, you have the standard DisplayPort cable that is available on almost all modern devices. This also has the same connectors on both sides, so you can connect without any issues. However, the connectors are not reversible, so it is important to know that.

Image of mini and full size DisplayPort cable

On the other side, you have access to Mini DisplayPort, and as the name suggests, this is a slightly smaller version of DisplayPort cable, and what is important to know that it still is used widely and is better for smaller devices where it is difficult to fit in the full-sized DisplayPort.

You should be able to get both DisplayPort cables with ease, and it is not going to be difficult for anyone in the first place. Just be sure that you are getting a good cable, and you should be good to go.


DisplayPort vs HDMI: Refresh Rate & Gaming


Now let’s come to the real showdown where I am going to compare the various aspects of HDMI and DisplayPort in terms of the overall performance in gaming.

But you must understand is that these cables are not rivals. They were made as a complement to each other, and they are still the same. But if you are looking to use them on their own, things are a bit different.

Starting with the HDMI standard, you have to know that over the past couple of years, HDMI used to fall behind in terms of technical prowess and offers.

However, HDMI 2.1 changed everything as it offered 48 Gbps of bandwidth, which was higher than the latest DisplayPort standard at that time.

HDMI 2.1 was capable of delivering 4K at 144 Hz, or 240 Hz with DSC. More importantly, it was also able to deliver 8K at 30 Hz and 120 Hz with DSC. It also had partial VRR on Nvidia’s Turing GPUs. HDMI 2.1 displays started flooding the market in no time.

One of the most common examples is the LG C9 OLED TV, a display I have attached to my PC for the longest time, it offers 4K at 120 Hz, and it is one of the best gaming and media experiences that you can get. I cannot think about going back to other panel types.

As for the DisplayPort, the latest standard that is widely available right now is the 1.4 or 1.4a. It offers 32.4 Gbps transmission and offers various resolution/frame rate support, and almost the same as what you can find on the HDMI 2.1.

However, VESA formally announced the DisplayPort 2.0, which could provide up to 80 Gbps bandwidth and will enable 4K at 240 Hz and 8K at 85 Hz. However, support for DisplayPort 2.0 is going to be available in the future GPUs and displays.

There you have it, if you are looking for which one you should choose, you would be more than happy with either DisplayPort 1.4 or HDMI 2.1 in terms of performance in games.


DisplayPort vs HDMI: The Features & Specifications


Now, I am coming to the features and specifications of both ports, and honestly, you would be surprised to know that there are not a lot of features that are different.

Simply because both cables can work in the place of one and the other, and therefore, having features that differentiate them makes no sense.

Still, if you are interested in knowing about the specifications of both types, let’s explore that. First, the table below explores the differences that you can find across various DisplayPort specifications.

DisplayPort
Version
Max
Transmission
Rate
Max Data RateResolution/Refresh Rate
Support
GPU Debut
1.0-1.1a10.8 Gbps8.64 Gbps1080p 144Hz.
4k 30Hz.
AMD HD 3000/Nvidia GeForce 9
1.2-1.2a21 Gbps17.28 Gbps1080p 240Hz.
4K 75Hz.
5K 30Hz.
AMD HD 6000/Nvidia GK100
1.332.4 Gbps25.92 Gbps1080p 360Hz.
4K 120Hz.
5K 60Hz.
8K 30Hz.
AMD RX 400/Nvidia GM100
1.4-1.4a32.4 Gbps25.92 Gbps8K 120Hz (w/DSC)AMD RX 400/Nvidia GM200
2.080.0 Gbps77.37 Gbps4K 240Hz.
8K 85Hz
Future GPUs

Now that you have looked at the table for DisplayPort specs, let’s start looking at HDMI as well.

HDMI VersionMax
Transmission Rate
Max Data RateResolution/Refresh Rate SupportGPU Debut
1.0-1.2a4.95 Gbps3.96 Gbps1080p 60Hz.AMD HD 2000/Nvidia GeForce 9
1.3-1.4b10.2 Gbps8.16 Gbps1080p 144Hz.
1440p 75Hz.
4K 30Hz.
4K 4:2:0 60Hz.
AMD HD 5000/Nvidia GK100
2.0-2.0b18.0 Gbps14.4 Gbps1080p 240Hz.
4K 60Hz.
8K 4:2:0 30Hz.
AMD RX 400/Nvidia GM200
2.148.0 Gbps42.6 Gbps4K 144 Hz (240Hz w/DSC).
8K 30 Hz (120Hz w/DSC).
Nvidia Turing

There you have it; both HDMI and DisplayPort specs have been mentioned clearly for you.


Capabilities And Applications


The next one is something that I get asked a lot. People want to talk about the capabilities and applications of HDMI and DisplayPort. I would, sure.

But what you are getting here is the fact that you are looking at various factors and you are under the impression that these cables are rivals.

This is not true at all; VESA created DisplayPort so it can complement HDMI whenever it is needed, which goes to show that there was no comparison in the first place.

Close up Image of HDMI and DisplayPort

As far as the application and capabilities of both HDMI and DisplayPort are concerned, it is important to understand that they share the DNA, and the best part is that you can substitute the cables for each other.

However, the more important thing that you should be able to understand here is that you are looking at the fact that these cables do have various versions, and if you do want to substitute, be sure that you are meeting those requirements.

Moving onto the applications, you can use both the DisplayPort and HDMI cables in almost every application where there is a port for these cables.

These can be used to transmit data such as audio and video, and the best part is that the data can be transmitted in some of the highest qualities, so you are not buying into something that is not going to be enough.

Both the cable types have proven to be very effective in almost all the situations that you put them in, and they make up for great investments. Owning a device that does not support either or both of them in 2022 would be a pointless thing to do.


DisplayPort vs HDMI: Resolution And Bandwidth


If you are wondering about the resolution and bandwidth that you are going to get with each cable type, the answer is really simple.

Both cables are capable of delivering higher bandwidth for those who want it. But if you are still interested in knowing, I have two tables that are going to help you.

For those wondering, I have already showcased these tables before, and they have information on the resolution supported along with the bandwidth on these cables. Just for your convenience, I am sharing them again, so you do not have to be confused.

Starting with the DisplayPort table, let’s have a look.

DisplayPort
Version
Max
Transmission
Rate
Max Data RateResolution/Refresh Rate
Support
1.0-1.1a10.8 Gbps8.64 Gbps1080p 144Hz.
4k 30Hz.
1.2-1.2a21 Gbps17.28 Gbps1080p 240Hz.
4K 75Hz.
5K 30Hz.
1.332.4 Gbps25.92 Gbps1080p 360Hz.
4K 120Hz.
5K 60Hz.
8K 30Hz.
1.4-1.4a32.4 Gbps25.92 Gbps8K 120Hz (w/DSC)
2.080.0 Gbps77.37 Gbps4K 240Hz.
8K 85Hz

Historically, if you look at it, DisplayPort has gone through more renditions, and there have been larger jumps in bandwidth as well.

However, this connection is still something that has been missing from the TVs, primarily as HDMI is more prevalent here due to being the standard for a longer time.

HDMI VersionMax
Transmission Rate
Max Data RateResolution/Refresh Rate Support
1.0-1.2a4.95 Gbps3.96 Gbps1080p 60Hz.
1.3-1.4b10.2 Gbps8.16 Gbps1080p 144Hz.
1440p 75Hz.
4K 30Hz.
4K 4:2:0 60Hz.
2.0-2.0b18.0 Gbps14.4 Gbps1080p 240Hz.
4K 60Hz.
8K 4:2:0 30Hz.
2.148.0 Gbps42.6 Gbps4K 144 Hz (240Hz w/DSC).
8K 30 Hz (120Hz w/DSC).

This should give you a good enough idea as far as the difference between both connector types is concerned.


Which Display Interface Is Best Right Now?


If you are still here and you are trying to read about the display interface, that is best right now. Well, at the time of writing, HDMI 2.1 is the best one out there.

The newer generation consoles support it as well as the new RTX 3000 series. However, it is expensive to implement in a way that the devices that do bring this interface are expensive, and sometimes, are suffering from shortage issues as well.

Overall, HDMI 2.1 managed to be a game-changer, and this allowed a new generation of displays to usher into the modern world.

If your device is capable of delivering HDMI 2.1, I would not suggest that you wait for anything else and start using it as you will not be let down. The performance is excellent, as are the features.


HDR Support On HDMI And DisplayPort


This is an important thing that a lot of people are still having a hard time figuring out. HDR is a game-changer in terms of media consumption and makes everything look a lot better.

However, the support for HDR is limited to certain DisplayPort standards or HDMI standards.

For starters, DisplayPort 1.2 or 1.3 do not support HDR video due to the lack of bandwidth. You will need at least DisplayPort 1.4 to get things working.

However, HDR is a bit lenient, and it can use HDMI 2.0 and 2.1. As for DisplayPort, you need to have 1.4 standards to get things working.

Any version aside from this and HDR will not work due to the lack of bandwidth. Therefore, make sure that your device and the cable you are using to connect both add up, or else you are going to run into issues as far as the support or compatibility is concerned. This is important, and you should not overlook this.


Multiple Displays On HDMI And DisplayPort


Even though I have always been an advocate of having just a single, large display instead of multiple smaller ones.

There are cases in favor of having multiple displays, and you cannot say anything against them. People who want to have multiple windows open with different views would prefer having multiple displays.

Take Twitch streamers or coders, for instance; they can benefit from the larger screens as well. Therefore, the case is there.

As far as the support is concerned, both HDMI and DisplayPort are fully compatible with multiple displays. It all comes down to the version of these connectors and, more importantly, how many ports do you have.

image of a person sitting in front of two displays

Modern graphic cards come with multiple DisplayPorts and HDMI ports, and this allows you to connect up to 4 displays and more in many cases, as well.

You just have to be sure that the bandwidth is being divided properly so no display runs into any strange issue that will require you to remove them again.

Overall, the point here is that if you are looking to connect multiple displays, you can easily manage that with both the HDMI and DisplayPort cable.

I would advise you, however, to check with your display manufacturers as well as your GPU support to see how far the support goes because you do not want to go with something that is not fully supported as it can cause some severe compatibility issues in the way.


Audio Features & Cable Length


The last thing that I am focusing on is looking at the audio features as well as the cable length for both HDMI and DisplayPort, now it is important to understand that both these cables are a lot similar to each other in terms of functionality, and even manage to overlap one and the other in many aspects. Therefore, confusing them is normal.

Starting with HDMI, despite what many people would say, the signal does get affected over longer rangers, and most HDMI cable makers suggest that you should not go above 20 feet in terms of the length of the cable, or you will run into issues with the bandwidth and signal delivery.

20 feet, in general, is a lot of cables, and there are very rare occasions where you are going to need such a long cable.

Additionally, it also depends on the use case. If you are okay with losing some signal and getting better overall portability, then going for a longer cable is not a problem.

DisplayPort runs into the same issues, and manufacturers suggest that you avoid using ridiculously long cables for transmitting data because at the end of the day, it is only going to make things difficult, and we do not want that. It is better to keep the cable a respective length without going too long.

As for the audio features, both cables fully support HD audio and that too, without any issues that might come in the way. Now, the audio signal can be carried alongside the video signal or individually, based on the usage that you have.


My Final Conclusion:

There is no denying that both the HDMI and DisplayPort cables have been around for as long as one can remember and while people often confuse these cables for each other. They are more of the same and are only getting better as time goes on.

If you are looking to clear out any confusion between these cables, this article is in the place that will help you have a proper understanding.


Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – Is DisplayPort better than HDMI for 144Hz?

This is a common question that a lot of people have been asking, and no, if you are looking to do 144Hz regardless of the resolution, it can be achieved on any modern HDMI or DisplayPort version without any issues that could come in the way.

The reason why HDMI is more popular than DisplayPort is that it has become a lot more popular despite not being a royalty-free option.

HDMI is being used in TVs, consoles, and other AV devices far more than DisplayPort, and even modern TVs support HDMI 2.1.

#3 – What is the difference between DisplayPort and HDMI?

Aside from the fact that they are different in terms of the connectors they use, both HDMI and DisplayPort serve more or less the same purpose.

It is also important to note that they were never really made for competing with each other, but the opposite.

#4 – Is DisplayPort better than HDMI?

While some standards have the edge, but overall, HDMI and DisplayPort have always gone head to head in terms of performance, with every standard being better than the past offering. This is super common and has been in practice for as long as I can remember, so you should always keep this in mind.

#5 – Is DisplayPort better than HDMI for 4K?

Again, the answer is the same because DisplayPort was never supposed to compete with HDMI. As a matter of fact, at the time of writing, if you have HDMI 2.1, it automatically becomes better than DisplayPort, thanks to a higher refresh rate on 4K.

#6 – Is DisplayPort or HDMI better for gaming?

No, both DisplayPort and HDMI are the leading options when you are talking about gaming, both have their advantages, but that does not mean that you are getting a port that is better than the other.

The current leading standard is HDMI 2.1 and will be until DisplayPort 2.0 becomes a norm in modern displays and GPUs.

#7 – Does DisplayPort increase FPS?

No, regardless of the cable you are using, you are not going to see an increase in frame rate. However, you might see an increase in the refresh rate if you have been using an older version of the DisplayPort or HDMI, but that does not mean that there will be a direct increase in the frame rate as well.

#8 – Can DisplayPort run 240Hz?

Yes, DisplayPort is capable of running 240Hz, with the DisplayPort 2.0 being capable of running 240Hz at an impressive 4K resolution, and while this feature has not been implemented so far but this is entirely possible once both the components supporting the modern version and the monitors are available.

#9 – Does Mini DisplayPort support 240Hz?

Not a lot of people are aware of the fact that Mini DisplayPort is similar to the standard DisplayPort in every way, with the only difference here being the fact that the Mini DisplayPort has a smaller connector. Everything else is the same in terms of specifications and technical capabilities.

#10 – Can DisplayPort do 4K 120?

Yes, currently, DisplayPort 1.4 can push 4K at 120Hz with ease, and you will not have any issues with the entirety of the cable, either. Just be sure that your display supports it, and you will be good to go.

#11 – What does HDMI stand for?

HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface.

#12 – Is it OK to bend the HDMI cable?

While minor bends are fine when you are talking about HDMI cables, but any intense bend can break the cable or cause some other damage to the cable.

If you are using expensive cables, it is better that you are going for straight runs because it is more convenient that way.

#13 – Does HDMI 2.0 increase FPS?

No, HDMI 2.0 does not increase FPS. This is the same with all DisplayPort and HDMI cables. Sure, you can get an increase in the refresh rate, but that does not directly translate to higher frames per second.

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