What is a DisplayPort Cable?

Mary Elizabeth

There are several standards in use for digital display interfaces. One of these is called DisplayPort. Established in 2006 by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA), the standard was updated twice, in both 2007 and 2009. The DisplayPort cable is a connector to join a monitor or a television display to a computer.

A DisplayPort cable connects a television display to a computer.
A DisplayPort cable connects a television display to a computer.

The DisplayPort standard was designed to streamline displays and connections. To this end, the DisplayPort itself, and therefore the connector on the DisplayPort cable, are both markedly smaller than the connectors on the cables for VGA and DVI, the two earlier standards. The DisplayPort cable connector is smaller in both length and width. In addition, the DisplayPort cable simply plugs in, rather than having the screws that some of the older connectors had. Older displays that have DVI, VGA, or HDMI connectors can be connected to a computer with a DisplayPort by using an adapter.

Another implementation of the DisplayPort technology, the Mini DisplayPort, which Apple announced in 2008, makes possible DisplayPort connectors that are smaller even than those on the DisplayPort cable. As of 2010, this miniaturized interface is only available on Apple® computers and a few Toshiba® notebooks.

The length of a DisplayPort cable is an important consideration when powering a very high resolution display. While cables that are about 6.56 feet (2 meters) may be “DP Certified,” in which case they will support a 2560 x 1600 Wide Quad eXtended Graphics Array (WZXGA) display, longer cables may also support it, but are not guaranteed to. Depending on the situation, DisplayPort cables can run for a distance of up to 49.21 feet (15 meters) without needing signal boosters and without significant degradation of the signal. The throughput is up to 10.8 Gbps of bandwidth.

There are several other capabilities handled by DisplayPort and DP cables that VGA and DVI don’t have. These include the 49.21 feet (15 meter) cable support, as well as 120 Hz refresh, native fiber optic cable support, audio support, >10 bit color support, and powered connectors. Other cable lengths available are 3.6 feet (1.09 meters), 6 feet (1.83 meters), 6.3 feet (1.92 meters), 9.9 feet (3.02 meters), and 15 feet (4.57 meters).

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to EasyTechJunkie about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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