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HDMI vs. DisplayPort: What should I use for my PC monitor?



Which monitor is suitable for your computer? There are many factors that you should consider before you make a purchase, but a big deal has to do with the ports to which the monitor is connected. Different ports have different capabilities and compatibilities, but first look at the back of your PC for the options available to you.

If you want to connect a new monitor to your gaming computer, you will probably notice two ports that look remarkably similar. There will be HDMI and DisplayPort ports to choose from, but what's the difference between the two, and does it really matter which one you use?

 HDMI or DisplayPort

As always, the answer is, "It depends." What do you want to do? For example, you have different needs depending on whether you're playing or editing photos, or just connecting your Mac to something that works.

Even though your monitor supports both connections, it may only support specific versions of each one that determines what resolution, repetition rate, and other properties it can handle. Here's what you need to know.

Connecting via HDMI

Let's start by talking about HDMI, the standard you're probably familiar with. HDMI is most commonly used on televisions such as the LG OLED55E8PUA which send high-definition video and audio signals over a cable for easy, clean installation. There were several versions of HDMI, which were each improved. On modern monitors, you can find any combination of the following ports:

  • HDMI 1.4 : Supports up to 4K (4,096 x 2,160) at 24Hz, 4K (3,840 x 2,160) at 30Hz, or 1080p at 120Hz. [19659010] HDMI 2.0 : Supports up to 4K at 60Hz, and later versions (HDMI 2.0a and 2.0b) include support for HDR
  • HDMI 2.1 : Supports up to 10K resolution at 120Hz as an improved HDR with dynamic metadata and advanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) that allows Dolby Atmos and DTS: X audio to be sent from the display to a receiver.

  HDMI

These are slightly simplified explanations. There are other improvements in every standard, but most PC users will take care of them.

In addition, all modern HDMI ports should support AMD's FreeSync technology, which prevents games from tearing while playing at the monitor's refresh rate for the video card's frame rate (with newer HDMI versions) FreeSync at higher frame rates). However, HDMI does not support Nvidia's similar G-Sync technology – this requires DisplayPort.

Best Gaming Monitors from 2018

Connecting to DisplayPort

DisplayPort looks similar to HDMI, but another connection is more common on PCs than televisions. It still allows high-definition video and in many cases audio, but its standards are a bit different. On modern monitors, you'll probably find the following:

  • DisplayPort 1.2 : Supports up to 4K at 60 Hz, some 1.2a ports may also support AMD's FreeSync
  • DisplayPort 1.3 : Supports Up to 4K at 120Hz or 8K at 30Hz
  • DisplayPort 1.4 : Supports up to 8K at 60Hz and HDR

This seems less powerful than HDMI (especially considering the features of HDMI 2.1), but DisplayPort is featured on some of our best Monitors – including the Acer XR382CQK – and also have some advantages.

 DisplayPort

First, it supports AMD's FreeSync and Nvidia's G-Sync, giving you whatever the used card brand enjoy a smooth gaming experience (if your monitor supports this technology). In addition, you can use to drive multiple monitors over a DisplayPort connection instead of using multiple ports, which is convenient. Laptops can even send DisplayPort signals through a USB-C port.

In the end, the port you choose depends on the capabilities of your monitor and the features you need. DisplayPort is a bit more versatile, but if your monitor only gives you the choice between HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2-like this Pixio display is probably the better choice, since HDMI 2.0 does not support HDR and DisplayPort 1.2. Of course, you need to refer to the specifications of your monitor to decide which port to use in your specific setup.


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