NVIDIA vs AMD. Xbox vs PlayStation. Mario vs Sonic. And now, DisplayPort vs HDMI?
Okay, maybe the DisplayPort/HDMI battle is not as contentious an issue as the console wars, but it still is a crucial debate to consider when creating your PC gaming setup.
If you're struggling to know which cable to buy or which cable to use, here's the rundown...
What is HDMI?
HDMI cables are very much the industry standard for connections. With most low-end, budget monitors or TVs supporting HDMI, it's a safe bet for anyone needing to do a presentation at work/school, or if you want to connect your device to a hotel TV.
Most devices these days support either HDMI 2.0 or HDMI 2.1. HDMI 2.0 supports 4K resolutions at up to 60Hz, and HDMI 2.0a/HDMI 2.0b also support HDR. HDMI 2.1, while not as prevalent (it is supported by the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S), can support up to a 10K resolution at 120Hz with HDR.
HDMI 2.0 can transfer up to 18GB/s of data compared to HDMI 2.1, which has a max data transfer of 48GB/s.
What is DisplayPort?
The DisplayPort connection, while not as well known as the HDMI, is still a digital standard connection type. It is more commonly found on a PC monitor than a TV, so if you like to use a TV with your PC (some people do!), then that's something to consider.
Similar to HDMI, there are different variants of DisplayPort. Version 1.4 is the most common DisplayPort connection, which supports up to 8K resolutions at 60Hz with HDR. Version 2.0 has now formally been released, supporting 16K resolutions at 60Hz with HDR, or 8K resolutions at 80Hz with HDR. At a 4K resolution, it should be capable of supporting 144Hz displays, too.
In terms of data transfer speeds, DisplayPort 1.4 can transmit up to 32.40GB/s compared to DisplayPort 2.0's 80GB/s max data transfer.
Should I use DisplayPort or HDMI?
In the battle between DisplayPort and HDMI, the answer is...well, it depends.
On paper, DisplayPort 2.0 is the superior connection type, but with a lack of mainstream support expected until late-2021 at the earliest, it's most likely you won't have a full DisplayPort 2.0 setup for a while. One thing you should also keep in mind is that both your monitor and your PC need to support the connection type.
Ultimately, it boils down to your own monitor and PC. Pick the connection for your own setup, rather than picking a setup based around a connection. If you already own a HDMI 2.1-supporting monitor and a next-gen console, it would be hard to go wrong with that connection type. If your monitor is only 1080p, either connection type is fine, but we'd strongly suggest you upgrade.