Over every decade, a new standardized display connection slowly replaces a more established one. While there will always be adaptors, new display connections offer new features for more refined displays at higher refresh rates. Let's go through the most popular display connections of the past 20+ years and see how older connections are phasing out.
Display Connections for Gaming PCs
The HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) connection was developed in the early 2000s and saw wide adoption for recording and media equipment in 2007. This included the introduction into graphics cards with the ATI Radeon X1600 PRO featuring a whopping 60htz refresh rate on a 1920x1080 monitor!
Revolutions in previous technology aside, each revision of HDMI expands the capability of both maximum resolution and refresh rate being 7680x4320 (8K) @60htz for many supported media formats.
The DVI (Digital Video Interface) connection type is still a prevalent connection mode for monitors starting from 1999 up to the mid-2010s. Before DVI became swapped in favor of HDMI and DisplayPort, the connection worked on 1080p monitors at 144htz on NVidia’s 1000 series of GPUs and below with specific dual-link cables.
This connection type is viable in the current market as 144htz is not going away soon for people looking for older monitors that can support legacy hardware connections or convert them to HDMI.
With a whopping 35 years of service, the VGA (Video Graphics Array) connection is the most widely adopted connection for display monitors that are still prevalent to date. Starting in the IBM computing sector in 1987, VGA has been standardized through the enterprise industry and is compatible with many office monitors supporting legacy hardware.
While adaptors to HDMI and DVI are available, VGA can only manage 30, 50, or 59htz on modern monitors.
DisplayPort (DP) is an “industry heavy hitter” by replacing a majority of VGA and DVI connections through its creation in 2006 and adaptation in the early 2010s.
As revision for the technology started to surpass more and more resolution and refresh rate barriers, Display Port is now the leading connection for most gaming monitors at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K. This latest iteration supports displays up to 10-16K resolution and is the default connection for most developed VR headsets like the Valve Index.
USB Type C
The Type C connection had its inception in 2014 to facilitate the newest generation of display cables. With a high refresh rate in mind, Type C connections can accommodate 4K and 8K @ 240htz!
Due to this high refresh rate and smaller profile has become a popular connection for laptops, media devices, and VR headsets like the Oculus Quest and Quest 2. In addition to display capabilities, its data and power bandwidth can accommodate up to three USB 3.1 and two USB 2.0s, along with charging pass-through capabilities to some display hubs via the thunderbolt designation
Which Display Connection is Best for Gaming?
While different connection types can support a range of resolutions and refresh rates, it is up to PC manufacturers to implement them in their components. The most popular connections for PC monitors are DisplayPort and HDMI as most monitors consumers have do not support an extremely high refresh rate that needs Type C.
This has not stopped GPU manufacturers like NVidia from including a Type C port on their RTX2000 founder series of GPUs in 2018. While manufacturing is constantly changing, it will fall in and out of favor depending on what manufacturers decide to adopt in future GPUs.
Frequent Questions About Display Connections
While some connections use the same signals only need to realign to the new connection type, there are some compromises depending on the connection adaptation and possible hits to performance. Here are some questions explaining the differences.
Is DVI to HDMI Better than VGA?
DVI to HDMI signals are the same, so the only conversion needed is the plug type and are leaps ahead of VGA, which is more archaic in its display sizes.
Will this affect the performance?
In most cases, most modern DVI cables are “dual signal” capable of projecting 144htz on a 1920x1080 display. Where that can be limited is in the “single signal” cables which will not be able to reach 144htz.
How is this better than VGA?
The greatest resolution and refresh rate can do 640x480 at 30htz and cannot support larger resolution sizes.
Is DVI Better than HDMI?
While DVI is comparable to HDMI for anything below 1920x1080 at 144htz, the benefits of HDMI far outweigh the uses of DVI in the coming years. Support for the connection is already dropping with some manufacturers, and within ten years, it will become replaced by HDMI, DisplayPort, and whatever new connection makes its way into the 2020s.
Can I still use DVI to HDMI for older monitors for gaming?
Final Thoughts on Display Connections
While there are many display connections available in the market, some will drop in the coming years for newer connection types.
While abundant in monitors, VGA does not give the gaming performance needed to keep up with modern options. DVI dual signal can hold a torch to HDMI connections at the low end of the spectrum and can be just enough to reach 144fps at 1920x1080p. Both HDMI and DisplayPort are the dominant connections in their field and have no plans to have support dropped within the next decade.
At Apex Gaming PCs, all of our available GPUs and Integrated graphics options come with either a DisplayPort, HDMI, or multiple of each. We also carry an array of Apex Vision monitors in 1080p,1440p, and 4K available for purchase with a system. Whatever your display needs, we hope to fulfill them at Apex!
Written by Will Wilson