Technology is emerging day by day, new display protocols and hardware advances lands us with HDMI, USB Type-C, DVI and display port. Nowadays connecting our new monitor with console or PC or laptop gets us question that which we should use? The question arises because we are available with many connectors on both monitor and PC. The situation is confusing if we have no information on which connector we should use for better reliability and performance as well as quality.
With the arrival of new features like 4K resolutions or 144Hz or 240Hz refresh rate have made the things complicated. That is because these technologies are very advanced and not every cable in the market support these protocols.
In this small tutorial, we will review the at present and future of these communications. The upcoming details will help users who have little or no knowledge of connectors and cables. And trying to make new setup or looking for an up gradation.
In the past when we bought a monitor, this usually came with its VGA cable. And in some more modern cases, we had the option of using a DVI cable in one of its different versions to connect the monitors. That is something that greatly facilitated the task since the most users in the past opted for the VGA cable and forgot the problem of connecting your monitor.
Over the years the DVI cable, the already popular HDMI or the more modern Display Port are becoming more frequent in televisions and monitors. Whereas the HDMI cable today is the most used cable by all class of domestic equipment because of its simplicity. Also, this cable provides access to features such as better refresh rate that include new monitors.
We begin by reviewing what each type of cable can offer us in the following article.
The HDMI interface (High Definition Media Interface) is capable of transmitting an image, sound, and auxiliary data digitally to our monitor. Its Version 2.0 is capable of supporting resolutions up to 4K (2160p) at 60Hz. That can have communications of eight channels of audio and Ethernet network up to 100 Mbit/s at the same time. These advantages are significant for most devices, for example, we can connect our PC to our new monitor with a single cable delivering the video and audio signal with a single cable. And if it supports network functionality it could also receive it through this protocol.
The problem comes when the monitor, TV or graphics card only supports this protocol until its version 1.4. Since 4K resolutions are only supported up to 30Hz with resolution 3840×2160 or up to 24Hz in resolution 4096×2160. That creates a mismatch and leaves us in misery to replace the cable.
The second problem is that HDMI has not taken into account the refresh rate specialty for gaming monitors. So HDMI cable does not support a refresh rate of 144Hz or 240Hz. So, these are the two fundamental problems that will force us to change the HDMI cable.
The DVI (Digital Visual Interface) interface is capable of delivering HDMI video and audio signal in digital form. Although the DVI ports are also capable of offering analog signal, which makes them compatible with traditional VGA cables. That cable is an ideal choice for use in old monitors or on modern monitors with this type of interface.
In DVI there are several versions of the same connector, depending on whether it is Single Link or Dual Link. But usually today you will find DVI-D ports, which means you will have to buy this type of cable for interconnection. Here is an example of the differences:
The DVI-D cable is capable of supporting up to 4K resolutions at 30Hz. That makes it poorly recommended for this task, but however, unlike the HDMI cable, it supports 144Hz refresh rate in 1080p resolutions. Also, it does not support 240Hz refresh rate which comes in the highest quality monitors. And it also does not support screen models supporting more than 1440p resolutions at 100Hz. That makes the DVI-D cable enough for your 1080p @ 144Hz monitor or a 1440p @ 60Hz monitor. But we’ll have to consider another option if our monitor has better options than these.
Display Port is a digital interface designed by VESA to replace all PC connectors. And give compatibility to all new features that have been appearing over the last few years. These include even some unusual ones like 5K, 8K resolutions or 4K at 144Hz monitors. Physically it has a similar appearance and size comparable to HDMI although there is a difference of physical shape of the connector.
It is currently in version 1.4 and is capable of delivering video up to 8K at 60Hz or 4K @ 120Hz. That connector allows up to an eight-channel audio of 24Bit at 192KHz in uncompressed format. So, that is its significant advantage over all of its predecessors. The future Display Port 1.5 specification most likely will support panels capable of offering resolutions of 8K (7680 × 4320) with the refresh rate of up to 120 Hz. So the future of PC gaming is already secured with Display Port, despite That HDMI or DVI-D remain popular options.
Another advantage of the Display Port cables is that they are also compatible with adaptive synchronization technologies. Such as NVIDIA G-Sync or AMD Freesync. This technology makes it able to adjust these panel’s refresh rate according to the graphics card. So, providing you with the incredible results eliminating the tearing of games pictures without any use of vertical synchronization.
USB 3.1 Type C
If anyone believes that the new standard USB 3.1 Type C offers only a reversible connector, then he is very wrong. Because of this new digital interface. That will cover many of today’s needs, and that is true only if our equipment can support this new protocol. Surely until now have been very timidly seeing the new USB 3.1 Type C ports in modern mobile phones.
This connector also comes in the new Nintendo Switch and a specified port available in the most modern motherboards. Perhaps being the new Nintendo console the clearest example of its new capabilities, offering HDMI signal through the same USB 3.1 Type C port along with providing additional USB and Ethernet network.
Yes, the USB 3.1 Type C port is capable of offering the HDMI, DVI-D protocol or even the Display Port. That means it can provide video and digital audio simultaneously through this small connector with all the features using only this Ports. For now, USB 3.1 Type C offers HDMI 2.0b, DVI-D or Display Port connectivity up to version 1.3.
What do these means? That is we can get up to 4K @ 120Hz or 5K @ 60Hz resolution from this same cable with eight channel audio. Or it can support standard 1080p or 1440p monitors in all available refresh rates.
Another advantage of this new cable is that it is usually manufactured to withstand up to 3 amps of current and 20V. So, that makes it the most economical cable that is capable of delivering up to 60W of power in any direction. Also, it is the best cable that is capable of providing 5A @ 20V that is 100W.
That makes novelties to become real for example such as connecting our laptop to a monitor that supports this port. That is we can enjoy our display getting power from laptop USB Type-C port along with receive/send Ethernet network signal as well as getting full USB connectivity.
The bad news is that although many laptops nowadays include one or two ports of this style. And the monitors with this support are only a few and still appearing on the market. So it will take years before this method of powering becomes something usual on all devices.