Debuted in 2002 with widespread adaption in 2006, the HDMI standard has long remained the defacto standard for plugging your GPU into your monitor. However, with every subsequent generation of cards in the coming years, there has been a major reduction in the number of HDMI ports being put in graphics cards.
It’s because HDMI is an older standard. Instead, it is being replaced by DisplayPort, a fairly newer, open standard that improves on HDMI in every meaningful way. Moreover, since converting a DP signal to an HDMI is possible but not vice versa – manufacturers tend to prioritize HDMI over DP.
The lack of more HDMI ports is due to a generational difference. However, there’s more to it than what meets the eye. There’s an amplitude of reasons why manufacturers tend to place more DP ports than HDMI in their system.
Why Does My GPU Have More Display Ports Than HDMI Ports?
Display Port is a newer standard, is more secure, and costs less to implement as compared to HDMI. Therefore, your GPU has more Display Ports than HDMI ports as GPUs get more powerful and demand higher bandwidth which only DisplayPort can provide alongside support for newer codecs.
Whenever a manufacturer decides to adopt or let go of a standard, it leads to a massive paradigm shift in the industry. For example, when Apple decided to drop the headphone port, more companies followed suit, which singlehandedly caused a significant boom in the wireless headset industry.
So, in the case of HDMI now being slowly let go, there are a few reasons why manufacturers have taken to that accord over the years. Here’s why:
DisplayPort is Cheaper To Implement
DisplayPort runs on an open standard. Essentially, companies do not have to pay any fees to implement the technology into their system. On the other hand, you’ll need to pay a royalty fee to the company that created the system to use the HDMI specification.
So, the fact that DisplayPort is inherently better (more on that later) has led to most manufacturers opting for the cheaper, obvious route of reducing the number of HDMI ports within their graphics cards.
DisplayPort Offers Better Performance
Since DisplayPort is an open standard, it allows manufacturers the flexibility to experiment and innovate on new technologies that help drive the entire industry forward. Here’s a quick look at some of the differences between the two standards:
|Max Bandwidth||10.2 Gbps||21.6 Gbps|
|Compatible With||DVI||HDMI, DVI, VGA – Adapters|
|Royalty||Yes (Licensed Standard)||None (Open Standard)|
It is quite easy to decipher that Display Port trumps HDMI in every meaningful way from the table. You’ll be able to achieve higher bandwidths, daisy chain your monitors, achieve backward compatibility, and even have a more secure connection with better protocols by using DisplayPort.
With all those points in mind, it is quite apparent why manufacturers are choosing to implement more DisplayPort ports by the droves compared to HDMI. Besides that, DisplayPort leaves much more room for futureproofing as a large amount of bandwidth remains unused when using a DisplayPort in even the most conventional settings.
What To Do If Your Monitor Only Has One HDMI Port?
You should use either an HDMI to DP adapter or use an HDMI to DP cable so that you can use multiple HDMI monitors even if you have one HDMI port.
Let’s say you’ve got your slick new RTX 3060 only to find out it has one HDMI port. Well, that’s not a big issue if you are running a single monitor. But, if you have multiple monitors that do not have a Display Port, you may start thinking about changing your monitors.
Well, hold that thought right there. We’ve been accustomed to the nuances of HDMI and its disapproval of converting to any other standard. Worry no longer, though, as, with the advent of DisplayPort, you can convert your DisplayPort signal to HDMI using an inexpensive adapter.
If you aren’t sure of how to use an HDMI to DP adapter, here’s a quick guide:
- Connect your HDMI cable to your monitor like you previously did
- Connect the other end of the cable to your newly purchased adapter
- Now, connect the other end of the adapter to your GPU using the DisplayPort cable
- Now, head onto Display Settings on your Windows PC and change the monitor viewing option to Extend
You will not be suffering from a reduction in quality, and neither will you have to worry about your monitor glitching out or not working appropriately. In fact, AMD Freesync also works great with the adapter. However, you will need to directly use a DP cable from your GPU to your monitor without an adapter to be able to use NVIDIA’s G-Sync. So, keep that
HDMI to DP Cable vs. HDMI to DP Adapter: Which Is Better?
An HDMI to DP Cable is better compared to an adapter from our testing. This is because an adapter can lead to some software glitches (in some rare cases) on a Windows machine. However, a cable is free from any of these errors.
While both achieve the same result and have no difference in proper implementations, we have noticed Windows getting a bit finicky with an adapter. At the same time, it always works flawlessly with a cable.
However, if you are worried about gaming performance between the two, there is no real-world difference, and you’ll do absolutely fine with either (given that Windows plays nice.)
Why Do GPUs Have A Single HDMI Port Till Now?
It is because HDMI is still widely used and has been adapted throughout the world. Therefore, removing it is not easy. While it does cost the manufacturer a bit of money, not everyone has access
Moreover, it is very unlikely to see the complete removal of an HDMI port in the foreseeable future. In fact, some GPUs still include the older analog VGA and DVI standards since consumers still use monitors that only have those ports in handy. Moreover, the port also isn’t going anywhere due to its heavy usage in server-based computers.
Since changing the infrastructure of a company that has hundreds of server racks due is simply unfeasible, GPU manufacturers tend to take into regard consumer requirements and therefore won’t make an overnight shift.
Should You Use HDMI Or DisplayPort If You Have Both?
If your monitor has both an HDMI and a DisplayPort, you should always opt for DP. This is because DisplayPort has much better bandwidth, is future-proof, and also contains a locking mechanism that makes sure your cable stays securely connected to your monitor.
While you won’t be gaining much benefit if your monitor is locked in at 1080p@60, you’ll notice tangible benefits in the overall user experience. Thanks to DisplayPort’s locking mechanism, for example, your cable won’t be coming off any time soon. Moreover, DP cables are generally considered to be more durable. So, they’ll last for a longer time as compared to HDMI.
Lastly, whether you like it or not, once you purchase a new monitor with a higher native resolution and supports greater frame rates, you will ultimately go for DisplayPort anyway. So, instead of purchasing an HDMI cable and then going for DP later, why not make the immediate switch and secure yourself some future-proof relaxation?
The lack of multiple HDMI ports on modern graphics cards can be extremely annoying to deal with. However, taking a quick look at your graphic card’s specification page will let you know exactly how many ports each standard has.
So, before your card ships to you, make sure you order either a cable or an adapter so that your multi-monitor setup doesn’t go in vain. Besides that, though, once you switch to DisplayPort, you’ll quickly find out all the advantages that are why HDMI is slowly fading away in the first place.
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