HDMI and DisplayPort have different capabilities and uses, so it’s important to understand in which situations it’s best to use them.
Differences in physical characteristics
Putting differences in terms of capabilities and compatibility aside, DisplayPort and HDMI interfaces are different. The DisplayPort interface consists of 20 pins (pins), is asymmetrical in shape and sometimes contains a mechanical accessory that prevents the cable from being accidentally disconnected.
The HDMI interface has 19 pins and is symmetrical in shape. Unlike DisplayPort cables, HDMI does not contain mechanical accessories that ensure that it does not fall out of the slot. This is one of the reasons why HDMI cables become loose over time and lose their strength.
DisplayPort and HDMI – comparison
DisplayPort and HDMI are designed for different purposes and have their advantages and disadvantages. Their choice ultimately depends on the monitor you are going to use.
Currently, the latest HDMI specification is labeled HDMI 2.1a and supports 8K resolution at 60 Hz or 4K at 120 Hz. It is capable of displaying 10K content and dynamic HDR formats up to 48 Gbps.
The latest specification for DisplayPort is DisplayPort 2.0 which supports 8K resolution at 60 Hz, HDR-10 and 10K resolution at 60 Hz. It has a wider capacity of bandwidth when compared to HDMI 2.1 which with a value of 77.73 Gbps is almost tripled compared to DisplayPort 1.4.
At the moment, there are few monitors that are compatible with DisplayPort 2.0, and there are also not too many that support HDMI 2.1. Therefore, monitors that support HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.4 can be found on the market as the greatest values. It should be said that here DisplayPort 1.4 is a more powerful port because it supports 4K resolution at 120 Hz, 8K at 60 Hz and HDR, and HDMI 2.0 only supports 4K resolution at 60 Hz and HDR.
An additional segment in which DisplayPort and HDMI differ is the so-called. Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and it is about the ability of the monitor to adjust the refresh rate. AMD and Nvidia therefore have their own standalone VRR technologies. AMD uses FreeSyncto Nvidia G-Sync. Monitor support for these technologies depends on their model and here we now come to the difference between DisplayPort and HDMI. DisplayPort monitors support both G-Sync and FreeSync. HDMI monitors currently only have FreeSync support.
You can see a full and more detailed overview of the comparisons between HDMI and DisplayPort in the two tables below.
|HDMI 1.4||It supports 4K (4,096 x 2,160) at 24Hz, 4K (3,840 x 2,160) at 30Hz or 1080p at 120Hz.|
|HDMI 2.0||It supports 4K at 60Hz and later (HDMI 2.0ai 2.0b) and includes HDR support.|
|HDMI 2.1||It supports up to 10K resolution at 120Hz, as well as HDR with Audio Return Channel (eARC) that enables Dolby Atmos and DTS: X audio. It also includes Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) such as FreeSync which can be used to adjust refresh rates, although there are plenty of HDMI 2.0 monitors that also support this feature.|
|DisplayPort 1.2||It supports 4K at 60Hz, but some 1.2a ports can support AMD’s FreeSync, and later versions also support Nvidia’s G-Sync|
|DisplayPort 1.3||It supports 4K at 120Hz or 8K at 30Hz|
|DisplayPort 1.4||Supports 8K at 60Hz and HDR|
|DisplayPort 2.0||It supports 16K and HDR at 60Hz and 10K without HDR at 80Hz|
DisplayPort and HDMI compatibility
The HDMI standard is supported by all audio and video devices in every home. Modern televisions, game consoles, PCs, projectors or streaming devices – they all almost always have an HDMI slot.
This is not the case with DisplayPort. It is not designed for the same purpose as HDMI and its interface primarily supports computer monitors. DisplayPort originally served as a replacement for DVI and VGA ports.
When DisplayPort 1.2 came out, it introduced the so-called. MST (Multi-Stream Transport). It provides the option to connect multiple monitors to a single DisplayPort port. This is especially suitable for users who do not want to spend extra money on expensive motherboards or graphics cards for PCs with multiple DisplayPort slots. Of course, it should be noted that the refresh rates, resolutions and bandwidth can be limited in this case.
HDMI does not support MST, but it is possible to use the DisplayPort hub using an HDMI adapter.
There is another difference between HDMI and DisplayPort. HDMI cables are much more flexible when it comes to length, so a wider range of products can be found on the market.
Which connector to choose?
Each user must first define what the HDMI or DisplayPort port needs. A good portion of household devices, as mentioned earlier, are not compatible with DisplayPort, so in this case HDMI is the only option.
When it comes to PC monitors, things are significantly different. DisplayPort has technical advantages over HDMI in terms of wider support for VRR technology and better quality purposes when it comes to connecting multiple monitors. Here, in the end, the only question is what standard a particular computer monitor manufacturer has set, how much do monitors with DisplayPort or HDMI ports vary in price, and what specifications do you need.
Writes: Ervin Mičetić