VGA vs DVI vs HDMI vs DisplayPort: Best For Gaming?

Short Answer

The best cable standard for gaming is the DisplayPort. Read the rest of the article to find out why!

HDMI-displayport-DVI-VGA

We all know that for a signal to get from a DVD player, computer, game console or other video source to a display such as a TV or monitor we need to connect them in some way, but the pros and cons of various cable standards can be extremely confusing even for techies.

Comparison Table

FeaturesVGADVIHDMIDisplayPort
Max Resolution2048x1536px @ 85hz2560×1600 @ 60hz4k @ 60hz8k @ 60hz
Locking ConnectorYESYESNOYES
3D SupportNONOYESYES
Data, Audio, Ethernet SuppotNONOYESYES
Multi Video Stream (on a single cable)NONONOYES
4k SupportNONOYESYES
8k SupportNONONOYES
21:9 Aspect Ratio SupportNONOYESYES

VGA Cables For Gaming

SONY DSC

VGA (or D-SUB) it’s usually got a blue connector and stays in place with screws on either side of the housing around the contact pins. The advantage of VGA today is that older equipment you encounter like a presentation projector is pretty much guaranteed to work with it, but that’s about it, because it’s an analog standard, the signal degrades from cable length, wire gauge and the conversion to digital for compatibility with your flat panel display.

Its maximum clean resolution might not seem that bad at 2048x1536px at 85Hz but in any modern display it just won’t look very clear and sharp, get anything else if you can.

Get your VGA cable here.

Pros:

  • Compatibility with old equipment such as presentation projectors.
  • Connector lock mechanism (screws)

Cons:

  • It’s analog and prone to signal degradation.
  • Not 4k Support.
  • Not very sharp and clear image.
  • It’s Pretty much obsolete.

DVI Cables For Gaming

DVI_cable-kabelDVI cables are vastly superior to VGA but actually on the verge of obsolesce its just like it. The connector locks with screws just like VGA but its physically larger and the biggest advantage of DVI is its versatility. On the video source side  DVI exists in a number of varieties, DVI-D has only pins for HDMI compatible digital video signal, and DVI-I adds signal pins for VGA compatible analog signals, meaning that any inexpensive passive adapters can drive DVI, HDMI or VGA displays. On top of that while a single link DVI connection is limited to 1920×1200 at 60Hz, but a dual link connection is capable of carrying 2560×1600 at 60Hz.

DVI drawbacks are several though, the connectors are bulky and unlike newer standards, it doesn’t support the same variety of color spaces and nor does it carry audio or data along with video.

Get your DVI cable here.

Pros:

  • It’s very versatile (compatible with HDMI and VGA with an adapter)
  • Relatively high resolutions (with dual link DVI)
  • It has a connector lock mechanism (screws, just like VGA)

Cons:

  • Bulky connector
  • Doesn’t support the same variety of color spaces unlike new standards.
  • It doesn’t carry audio or data
  • No 4k support.

HDMI Cables For Gaming

HDMI-cable-image-001HDMI is one of the most common and supported standards nowadays,  you can find it (or an inter-compatible standard) on pretty much any computer, modern piece of AV equipment or display. It supports multi-channel audio, ethernet data, superior color depth and it has a very wide video format support, including 4k at up to 30Hz and supports 3D formats too.

It has it’s drawbacks too, HDMI doesn’t have a locking mechanism. Also its resolution is limited to 4k at 30Hz and it also doesn’t include support to 21:9 aspect ratios or multiple concurrent video streams. HDMI 2.0 addresses all these issues except the locking mechanism, making it almost as good as my favorite connector: DisplayPort.

Get your HDMI cable here.

Pros:

  • Very common and supported
  • Supports multi-channel audio, ethernet data, superior color depth (compared to VGA and DVI)
  • Very wide video format support
  • 4K support at 30Hz
  • 3D support

Cons:

  • It doesn’t have a locking mechanism
  • Limited 4k resolution at 30Hz only (60Hz on HDMI 2.0)
  • Doesn’t support 21:9 aspect ratio (it does on HDMI 2.0 though)

DisplayPort Cables For Gaming

DISPLXM.mainDisplayPort is a complete package. Unlike HDMI, it has a locking connector, it can be converted to any other standard I’ve mention (including VGA) with an inexpensive adapter and it doesn’t requires a royalty to actually physically implement on a product.

Like HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2 supports 4k resolutions at 60Hz, multiple video streams over a single cable, audio, network, other data signals, stereoscopic 3D, 21:9 aspect ratio and pretty much anything else you could want.

Things are only got better with DisplayPort 1.3 adding support for 8K resolutions at 60Hz (4K at 120Hz), 4K Stereoscopic 3D signal and Adaptive-Sync.

Get your DisplayPort cable here.

Pros:

  • It has a locking connector
  • It’s backwards compatible with VGA, HDMI and DVI (with an inexpensive adapter)
  • Doesn’t requires a royalty to physically implement on a product
  • Supports 8k resolutions at 60Hz and 4K at 120 Hz (on DisplayPort 1.3)
  • 4K Stereoscopic 3D
  • Multiple video streams over a single cable
  • Audio, network and data support.
  • 21:9 aspect ratio support.
  • Adaptive-Sync support

Cons:

  • None, yet.

So… Which one is actually the best?

If you read the whole article, you may already now that we have a clear winner, the DisplayPort. This standard is a complete package that includes everything you could ever need for your gaming experience.

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