While purchasing components for a gaming PC, gaming geeks, primarily, focus on the motherboard, CPU, SSD, graphics card, and cooling components. Most of the time, we ignore the other essential parts for connectivity, including HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, and VGA cables.
Connectivity parts are crucial when it comes to the quality of data transmission. Each of these parts has some pros and cons. We will cover some of the necessary information regarding selecting these connections, which will ultimately help you decide whether to go for HDMI, VGA, DisplayPort, or DVI.
Buying the best gaming monitor is always an essential element for a perfect HD or 4K gaming. For this purpose connectors also play a significant role in the selection of gaming quality. DisplayPort cables and HDMI are different from each other, but they both support 4K resolutions. Sometime you also need an HDMI Switcher for multiple monitors.
HDMI is used by most of the users due to its resolutions and support for almost all devices. It easily connects to a Blu-ray player, gaming console, and 4k streaming TV. At the same time, DVI is used with the 1080p monitors to get higher frame rates and better quality. VGA is an old technology, yet it is still used widely as a connector for monitors.
HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort efficiently work on 1920×1080 resolution with a 60Hz display. Theoretically, content on all of these should look the same, but it is impossible in the real world. We will also cover, why this occurs, later in the article.
Other than traditional cards especially RTX 2060, RTX 2070 Super and 2080 Ti, the modern graphics cards like RTX 30-series and AMD RX 480 supports 4K resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. They all work seamlessly with HDMI and DisplayPort 1.4 cables. Let us get you through the pros and cons of these cables and decide about selecting the cables.
A Rundown of the Cables
Before getting into the details of each of the connecting cables, let’s discuss the main features. Here is the summary of the functions performed by HDMA, DisplayPort, VGA, and DVI.
- VGA: It transmits video signals only and does not carry audio
- DVI: It works with the older systems and transmits a 1080p display.
- HDMI: This cable is recommended for PC-to Monitor or TV-to-PC connections. It transmits both audio and video signals.
- DisplayPort: It is relatively new from VGA and provides 114Hz to 4K. It transmits both audio and video and is considered to be best, among other options. For better connectivity with older TVs, you may use the DisplayPort to HDMI adapters or cables.
Most of the new devices these days are using USB Type-C and USB-4 cables. They provide higher transfer rates and have better capabilities. VGA is considered the oldest technology and most of the users are still using it.
DVI is only limited to the DVI-monitors while DisplayPort or DP is best for faster transfer of both video and audio and supports adaptive refresh rates.
At the same time, HDMI is still one of the most popular as compared to the DP. Different video cards have different ports, and most of the cards support HDMI that’s why DisplayPort is still less popular than HDMI.
VGA stands for Video Graphics Array and is the oldest of all connections discussed in this article. It’s not a new technology and dates back to when thick and big monitors were used with the computer as display output.
Theoretically, VGA supports 1080p display, but it also varies from time to time as it converts analog signals to digital signals that reduce the quality. Quality also fluctuates from time to time due to this issue. It can output 1920×1080 resolution. But as we explained earlier about its analog connection, which degrades the images.
As the resolution moves to the upper range, the display gets a degradation in the quality. VGA is often referred as D-Sub or RGB connections. Most of the time, when comparing VGA to DVI-A, they are considered the same class. Both have performance that matches each other, and both options are outdated.
DVI is known as Digital Visual Interface, and it has some mixed opinions by users due to confusion in its types. There are mainly three types of DVI connection, which includes DVI-A (analog signal), DVI-D (digital signal), and DVI-I (integrated analog and digital signal).
Out of these, DVI-I and DVI-D have both single and double link versions. This difference between them is mainly due to the bandwidth transmission. Single link DVI is capable of transmitting 3.96 Gbit/s and 1920×1200 resolution. At the same time, dual links DVI has greater physical connection due to extra pins and transmit 7.92 Gbit/s and 2560×1600 resolution.
DVI is considered equal to the VGA connection due to DVI-A, but it’s wrong for the other two versions. DVI is sometimes as good as HDMI for DVI-I and DVI-D. They are the best option for a 144Hz at 1080p, but not for 4K. But for 1440p and higher refresh rate, they are one best option available because 144Hz and 1080 resolution are not supported by HDMI 1.4. It makes DVI perfect for the older gaming setup, which does not have to 4K resolution.
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High Definition Media Interface, commonly known as HDMI, is a standard cable for most monitors and HDTVs. It carries audio and video and is very easy to use.
HDMI is the best choice for plugging in PC into the TV. HDMI supports almost all of the screen resolutions and provides up-to 4K quality. If the monitor or TV has an HDMI 1.4, then the display is limited to 3280×2160 with a 30Hz refresh rate and 4K. While the latest HDMI 2.0 supports 4K at a 60Hz refresh rate.
The main difference between HDMI 1.4 and 2.0 is its capacity to transmit bandwidth. HDMI 2.0 tops at performance chart with 18 Gbps/s maximum bandwidth compared to the 10.2 Gbps/s of 1.4 version.
Both are also different when it comes to color depth. HDMI 1.4 supports 8-bit colors while 2.0 supports both 10-bit and 12-bit, making HDR available for HDMI 2. As HDR allows more color range to be covered, displaying on HDMI 2.0 is more dynamic and covers greater color depth than HDMI 1.4.
HDMI is unique in its functioning, among other connection options, as it transmits both uncompressed video and uncompressed audio. It makes HDMI a one-cable solution for most multimedia devices.
HDMI has different sizes, known as Full-sized HDMI (Type-A), mini HDMI (Type-B), and micro HDMI known as Type-C. HDMI has a different type of ratings available which provide different speed.
One thing that must be kept in mind when buying an HDMI is not to spend a lot extra on the same rating type cables. For working with a resolution above 1080p, it needs a high-speed cable (HDMI 2). While for most of the devices, HDMI 1.4 will do the work.
HDMI has four different cable types: high speed without ethernet, high speed with ethernet, standard speed with ethernet, and standard speed without ethernet. Spending extra bucks on the expensive high-speed cable will not improve anything over a low-cost, high-speed cable.
DisplayPort was the main competitor of HDMI before the arrival of HDMI 2.0. The older version of DisplayPort supports 60fps or a simple 60Hz refresh rate at 3840×2160 resolution. These are also one of the most common specifications of DisplayPort supporting transmission of 17.82 Gbits/s.
With DisplayPort 1.3 and 1.4, it is possible to get 8K resolution, i.e., 7680×4320 resolution. DisplayPort 1.3 and 1.4 are capable of transmitting data at a rate of 25.92 Gbits/s, which is a massive improvement from the previous mainstream version.
Connecting multiple outputs is very easy using daisy-chaining compatible monitors. It can also be achieved using an MST splitter that connects to the single out on the computer. Although it can run multiple displays, there are limitations. You have to work within the described bandwidth. DisplayPort 1.2 supports two displays of outputs of 1920×1080, while DisplayPort 1.3 and 1.4 support two 3840×2160 display output.
DisplayPort VS HDMI
Looking at the popularity and usage, HDMI wins the race with a considerably larger number. HDMI is standard for many display outputs and is very cheap. DisplayPort beats HDMI 1.4 by a large number thanks to its higher bandwidth transmission. But after the introduction of HDMI 2 and 2.0a, both match equally in their performance.
DisplayPort 1.3 and 1.4 support 4K at 120Hz and 8K at 60Hz with the advantage of working with multiple displays of 4K at 60Hz, while HDMI works on single display output only. However, HDMI is used more commonly due to its easy availability and universal connectors for TVs and consoles.
Keeping things simple, we consider DisplayPort a better option, and it has the advantage of multiple displays. Sometimes graphics cards and type of gaming environment demand a specific type of connector. In this case, anyone out of these two connections can do the job.
How to connect HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, USB-C, and VGA?
When it comes to gaming, most of the time, hardcore gamers play on multiple displays. For this, most of the dedicated graphics cards and motherboards have multiple outputs. A combination of these outputs is used to get multiple monitors connected at once.
If a PC has both DVI and HDMI outputs, connect one monitor to the DVI and the other one to the HDMI port. If the device supports Multi-Stream Transport (MST), we can use the daisy chain to connect using DisplayPort.
Hybrid Multi-Monitor mode is also used rarely with the list of supported Intel processors. Hybrid Multi-Monitor supports Intel Embedded Graphics driver for system using specific chipsets.
Display connections play a vital role in everyday usage as well as in gaming. Like we already mentioned, VGA is an outdated technology. Especially advancement in the gaming industry and working at higher resolution and better fps VGA is failed.
In comparison, DVI is a better option and can transmit good resolution. HDMI is one of the most common connectors for output devices. It is cheap, handy, and acts as a universal connector for most devices.
DisplayPort is currently the best option as it has a higher refresh rate and 8K resolution support. Multiple monitors are easily connected using DisplayPort, compromising the quality of output.
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