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Comparing DP DisplayPort 1.4 vs. 1.2 Specs: What’s the difference?

HDMI connection fulfills the audio and video transmission needs of Blu-ray players, HTPCs, and gaming consoles. But HDMI interfaces do not fulfill the needs of high-end desktop PCs. DisplayPort interconnects offer more competent cable type for high-end monitors, desktop PCs, and graphics cards. Let’s first understand what DisplayPort is:

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Also Read: Best mini DisplayPort Splitters

What is DisplayPort?

DisplayPort is a digital display interface that connects a video source to a display device like a computer monitor. It is being developed by an association of PC and chip manufacturers and standardized by the VESA. Through this interface, multiple devices can be connected. Therefore, data can be transferred between monitors, PCs, laptops, and other workstations.

DisplayPort depicts its potential as a high-end cable. It provides outstanding bandwidth and a wide range of transmission options. Initially, it was designed to substitute DVI, VGA, and FPD-Link. With the use of active or passive adapters, DisplayPort is backward compatible with other interfaces like DVI and HDMI.

Two of the most prevalent DisplayPort standards are DisplayPort 1.2 and DisplayPort 1.4. There are significant differences between the two. Let’s go through the below sections to learn more:

The raw data:

All high-end cable standards have some hard numbers besides their name. It denotes their capability. Right from their first iteration, DisplayPort cables have provided extensive and outstanding bandwidth for data transmission. The same is being improved in the successive generations. When the matter comes to comparison of DisplayPort 1.4 and. 1.2, the newer standard is found more capable; however, DisplayPort 1.2 is still notable.

DisplayPort 1.2 provides a maximum total bandwidth of 21.6 Gbps across its four lanes, and the maximum total data rate is 17.28 Gbps. Although DisplayPort 1.4 has an identical four-lane structure, it extends the max. Total bandwidth to 32.40 Gbps as well as max. total data rate up to 25.92 Gbps.

The mentioned figures are equal to those of DisplayPort 1.3. DisplayPort 1.4 was more focused on feature updates than a physical change to the design or cable. But it integrated Display Stream Compression (DSC) 1.2. This lossless compression format explores a broader range of refresh rates and resolutions compared to its bandwidth may otherwise permit.

Resolutions, refresh rates, and more:

The raw numbers can appear remarkable on a spec sheet. But what they indicate in the real world is access to higher resolutions and top refresh rates. The battle of DisplayPort 1.4 vs. 1.2 is more of features. However, it is also related to a head-to-head competition of what games and videos the cables can support.

When introduced back in 2010, DisplayPort 1.2 became a forerunner in this new era of high-end data transmission. It supports features like panel-self-refresh and adaptive synchronization. In addition, it has also enhanced the refresh rate support and resolution of the standard. So, it opens up the option of 5K resolution @ up to 30 Hz, 4K @ up to 75Hz, and 1080p @ up to 240 Hz. Previously, DisplayPort connection couldn’t reach these standards.

But DisplayPort 1.4 takes things quite forward. It supports 1440p at up to 240 Hz when it comes to resolution and refresh rates. It can also support 4K at up to 120 Hz. Like DisplayPort 1.3, it even supports 5K resolution at up to 60 Hz and 8K resolution at 30 Hz.

That is without even articulating in its support of DSC 1.2. DisplayPort 1.4 vs. 1.2 is an outburst without even considering the compression technologies.

However, it is even more capable with DSC 1.2 support by DisplayPort 1.4. When DSC is enabled, it can support 4K resolution @ 60Hz with 30bit/px color and HDR. Also, it can support 8K at up to 60 Hz.

DisplayPort 1.4 cables are fully backward compatible with older DisplayPort devices. So, if you use a full-size or Mini DisplayPort connection, there are no issues about compatibility.

Although there is some advantage of purchasing a device that supports the DisplayPort 1.4 standard over DisplayPort 1.2, if you compare DisplayPort 1.4 vs. 1.2 cables, a minor reason is still there to choose the older alternative.

Comparison of DisplayPort 1.4 vs DisplayPort 1.2:

FeaturesDisplayPort 1.4DisplayPort 1.2
Maximum Bandwidth32.4 Gbps21.6 Gbps
Common Resolutions @ 144 Hz3440 x 1440

3840 x 2160

1920 x 1080

2560 x 1440

Max. Total Data Rate25.92 Gbit/s17.28 Gbit/s
Max. Sample Rate1536 kHz768 kHz
Max. Audio Channels328
HDCP 2.2SupportedNot Supported
Display Stream Compression 1.2SupportedNot Supported
Video output4K @ 120 Hz, 8K @ 60 Hz4K @ 60 Hz
Refresh rate at 8K (7680 x 4320)60 Hz with 10-bit color HDRNot Supported
Refresh rate at 4K (3840 x 2160)120 Hz with 10-bit color HDR75 Hz with 8-bit color
Dynamic HDRYesNo
Multi-Stream TransportYesYes

Which DisplayPort Cables to Buy?

Considering all the improvements, DisplayPort 1.4 is the winner. If you are looking to buy a DisplayPort cable, you should get it from a reliable company.

Even though your existing equipment only supports DisplayPort 1.2, choosing a quality DisplayPort 1.4 cable is recommended. It offers backward compatibility with your existing equipment and may enable you to prevent the replacement of cables when you want to upgrade your hardware.

Since DisplayPort 1.4 is backward compatible, it can be used on those monitors that only support DisplayPort 1.2. If you buy DisplayPort 1.4 for older monitors, it can save you money because it proves helpful when upgrading the hardware in future purchases.

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