If you thought Apple’s Pro Display XDR was exciting, get ready for DisplayPort 2.0 to usher in a whole generation of 8K screens and beyond. Freshly published by VESA, the standards association responsible for defining the connection, DisplayPort 2.0 brings with it a threefold increase in data bandwidth performance.
That fatter pipe is vital for higher resolution displays, not to mention higher frame rates. It’s been a long time coming, too, in tech industry terms. The last time the DisplayPort standard had a significant update was back in early 2016, with DisplayPort 1.4a.
DisplayPort 2.0 will be backward-compatible with DP 1.4a, as you’d expect, and includes its support for features like Display Stream Compression (DSC) with Forward Error Correction (FEC), and HDR metadata transport. However because of the huge increase in bandwidth, it means DP 2.0 can support 8K resolution (7680 x 4320) at 60 Hz refresh. That’s including full-color 4:4:4 resolution, and 30 bits per pixel for HDR-10 support.
Bandwidth rises to up to 20 Gbps/lane, for a maximum payload of 77.37 Gbps. There’s also 128b/132b channel coding, compared to the 8b/10b of DP 1.4a.
What’s the maximum resolution DisplayPort 2.0 supports?
8K may be the headline feature, but DisplayPort 2.0 actually goes much higher than that – if you have the right hardware. With a single display setup, you can power up to a 16K display at 60 Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR (with DSC). That’s a whopping 15,360 x 8,460 resolution.
If you want to do away with compression, meanwhile, a single DisplayPort 2.0 cable could drive up to a 10K (10,240 x 4,320) display, still at 60 Hz. That’s with 24 bpp :4:4:4 and no compression.
How many monitors can DisplayPort 2.0 support?
While an 8K display – or higher – might be appealing, for most people it’ll be multi-monitor configurations that DisplayPort 2.0 powers on their desk. The good news there is that the cable is more than ready to fill your workstation with just about as many screens as it could hold.
You could have up to two 8K panels at 120 Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR (with DSC), for instance, or two 4K display at 144 Hz and 24 bpp 4:4:4 (no compression). If you want three panels, you could drive a trio of 10K screens at 60 Hz each, or three 4K monitors at 90 Hz and without compression.
Even if you still want to leave bandwidth for USB data, you can still get an impressive multi-monitor setup going on. In that situation, for instance, you could have three 4K 144 Hz displays and still get data support.
What connector does DisplayPort 2.0 use?
As before, there’ll be two types of plug you’re likely to encounter with DisplayPort 2.0. The native DP connector is sticking around, and compatible with existing devices. However there’ll also be the USB Type-C connector, which carries the DP audio and video signals through DisplayPort Alt Mode.
The switch to DP 2.0 means you can have that plus Thunderbolt 3 for speedier data, too. A new display stream data mapping protocol for both single- and multi-stream transport will also help with setups like driving several monitors from a docking station, or daisy-chaining them together.
A new Panel Replay capability, meanwhile, will cut down on power consumption by allowing the GPU to only update portions of the screen that have actually changed. VESA says that will be of particular benefit to smaller devices – like laptops – which still want to drive high-resolution monitors but without a big hit on battery life. It’ll also mean recharging a device will be done more quickly, even when simultaneously driving an external display.
When are the first DisplayPort 2.0 devices on sale?
The DP 2.0 standard may be out, but we’ll have to wait a little longer for the first products that actually use it. VESA says it expects hardware using DisplayPort 2.0 to arrive by late 2020.