HDMI vs DisplayPort vs DVI vs VGA

In the modern day and age of computers, there are several ones one could connect their monitor to their computers for display.

You have the modern day technologies such as DisplayPort, as well as HDMI that are constantly evolving, and then you have some older options such as DVI, as well as VGA.

Now the thing about DVI and VGA is that they are a lot older than what the modern day technology is all about.

You might find the VGA and DVI ports on some laptops, however, most companies are ditching them for more modern options such as HDMI, and even display over ThunderBolt standards.

Still, the question remains, which one is better from contestants. Making the comparison is not really difficult, and finding the result is rather easy too. You just need to know the basics functionalities of every single interface, and you are good to go.

HDMI

HDMI or High-Definition Multimedia Interface has been around for some time, and for those who don’t know, it is one of the most used interfaces in the modern computers, as well as laptops and many other devices that need display.

HDMI started back in 2002, but it took it some time to finally hit the mainstream because HDMI capable devices were expensive back then.

HDMI is able to transmit uncompressed video as well as uncompressed audio over HDMI compliant devices.

The interface has gone through a lot of changes ever since it was introduced, and below is a small rundown of all the version of HDMI, and what they provided.

  • HDMI 1.1: Provided support for DVD audio.
  • HDMI 1.2: This version added support for one-bit audio that is used in the CDs. This version was updated to 1.2a which brought in the addition of Consumer Electronic Control.
  • HDMI 1.3: The HDMI 1.3 version increased the TMDS clock to 340 megahertz, allowing the maximum data rate to reach 10.2 Gbps.
  • HDMI 1.4: The HDMI 1.4 was perhaps the biggest update that arrived, it added support for resolutions such as 4096×2160 at 24 Hz, 3840×2160 at 24, 25, and 30 Hz, and 1920×1080 at 120 Hz.
  • HDMI 2.0: Finally, the UHD era had begun, and with HDMI 2.0, it was finally possible to run UHD at 60 hertz. The 2.0 version was further updated to support HDR.
  • HDMI 2.1: The 2.1 version of HDMI introduced some more features such as support for 4K and 8K at 120 Hz. In addition to that, users got a new cable category called the 48G that enabled the cables to carry higher data rates.

DisplayPort

DisplayPort was created by VESA, and while many thought it was created to rival HDMI, it simply was to replace some of the older standards.

Just like HDMI, there are some iterations with DisplayPort as well, and they are mentioned below for your convenience.

  • The first version was introduced in 2006, and saw two small revisions. It was able to carry max bandwidth of 10.8 Gbit/s, however, over 2 feet. With newer iterations, longer DP cables were able to carry the same signal over longer lengths.
  • The version 1.2 was significant as it allowed for features such as being able to handle double effective bandwidth as well as other features like stereoscopic 3D, and it also brought in the Mini DisplayPort connector. There was a minor update that allowed AMD’s FreeSync to be used over DisplayPort.
  • Version 1.3 was another major update that allowed the transmission to reach 32.4 Gbits/s. It allowed for 4K resolution at 120 hertz, as well as 5K over 60, and 8K over 30 hertz.
  • Although DisplayPort 1.4 did not introduce a lot of high end features, it did introduce some good ones such as the 8K at 60Hz, 4K at 120, as well as 4K at 60 with HDR.

According to VESA, the next version of DisplayPort will be launching soon and will have some impressive results that will bump the 4K at 120Hz.

Considering how Nvidia has partnered up with companies like Asus to create 4K displays at 120Hz with G-Sync, we might be seeing the new DP soon.

DVI

For those who don’t know, DVI was created to supersede VGA, and it did so. Although the success of DVI (Digital Visual Interface) was short lived, it still managed to find its rightful place.

Although it did not manage to break the ground on many levels, it still offered 1920×1200 at 60 Hz, 2560×1600 at 60 Hz, as well as analog video stream at 1920 x 1600 at 60 hertz.

Many compare DVI to the early versions of HDMI, with the biggest difference being the lack of audio support on DVI. Despite being old, DVI is still relevant as it is being mass produced, and is available in most of the modern day graphic cards.

The important thing to note here is that the DVI is available in single, and dual link. All the resolutions below 1440p are supported on the single link channel, but if you want to use 1440p at 60 hertz, then you are going to need to use the dual link cables.

Don’t worry, though, as both cables are easily available in the market, and should cause you no trouble.

VGA

Many consider VGA as the last resort when it comes to using interfaces for display. Despite VGA being present on most of the laptops in the modern day and age, it is nothing more than a last resort for many people.

Why? Well, that is because VGA is definitely capable of delivering high resolution at decent refresh rate, due to its age and limitations, the pixel quality is marred in more than one place.

This means that your images or videos will more likely to appear blurry rather than appearing as they should be. That is why VGA is slowly being removed from modern computers, and does not really serve the real purpose as many people would want.

HDMI vs DisplayPort vs DVI vs VGA: Which One is Better?

After having a detailed look at all these interfaces, if the question is still dangling in your mind regarding which video interface is better, then you need to understand that both HDMI, and DisplayPort are certainly on the top of this food chain and for all the right reasons as well.

Still, if you are looking for the most concrete answer, HDMI is going to do you a solid in almost every single situation.

However, if you are using a really high end monitor that has a high refresh rate and features such as G-Sync, as well as HDR, then DisplayPort is the way to go. Which also means that DisplayPort is the king of the food change at the moment.

With that said, I am not going to completely shun away the use of DVI as in some applications, DVI is still better, and more economical. Especially if you only want to drive a 1440p panel that offers 60 hertz.

I remember I used DVI on my Dell U2711 UltraSharp before I upgraded to a monitor with a higher refresh rate. So, yes, DVI is still going to provide you with plenty of flexibility as long as you are not thinking of going super high end.

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