DisplayPort vs Mini DisplayPort

What’s the difference between DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort?

Aside from the obvious size, there are some differences that aren’t immediately noticeable that you should be on the look out for when choosing between the two.

DisplayPort vs Mini DisplayPort resolutions

displayport cable

Early versions of Mini DisplayPort (mDP) can display the same maximum resolution as the original size DisplayPort (DP).

On the DisplayPort 1.1a version both can show up to a 2560 x 1600 resolution and in the 1.2 version up to a 4096 x 2160 resolution.

However, there are no Mini DisplayPort cables that support versions 1.3/1.4/1.4a or 2.0.

Basically with the Mini you’re limited to the amount of bandwidth that the 1.2 version can output.

DisplayPort vs Mini DisplayPort
VersionSpecsDisplayPortMini DisplayPort
DP 1.0, 1.1, 1.1aMax Link Bandwidth10.8 Gbps10.8 Gbps
Max Payload Bandwidth8.64 Gbps8.64 Gbps
Max Resolution3840 x 2160 (4K) / 60 Hz3840 x 2160 (4K) / 60 Hz
DP 1.2/1.2aMax Link Bandwidth21.6 Gbps21.6 Gbps
Max Payload Bandwidth17.28 Gbps17.28 Gbps
Max Resolution3840 x 2160 (4K) / 60 Hz3840 x 2160 (4K) / 60 Hz
DP 1.3/1.4/1.4aMax Link Bandwidth32.4 Gbps-
Max Payload Bandwidth25.92 Gbps-
Max Resolution5120 x 2880 / 60 Hz
7680 x 4320 / 30 Hz
DP 2.0Max Link Bandwidth80 Gbps-
Max Payload Bandwidth77.4 Gbps-
Max Resolution7680 x 4320 (8K) / 60 Hz / 10 Bit Chroma / HDR

3840 x 2160 (4K) / 120 Hz / 10 Bit Chroma / HDR

Why is Mini DisplayPort behind?

graphic card inputs

How come there aren’t newer versions of Mini DisplayPort cables?

Mini DisplayPort was developed by Apple and initially revealed in 2008. Apple’s entire line of products, from the Macbook to the Mac Pro and everything in between, eventually had their DVI ports replaced with a Mini DisplayPorts.

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) soon reached an agreement with Apple to license the new tech into the DisplayPort standard.

Later companies like HP, Dell, Asus, and Lenovo used the same input in their devices, though this was mostly limited to laptops and 2-in-1 tablets.

In 2016, Apple began replacing the Mini DisplayPort with USB-C. Meaning the only company that had once used in all its devices, including desktops, had abandoned it.

Since Mini DisplayPort is used mostly on mobile electronics, the bandwidth that 1.2 offers is more than enough in typical scenarios such as hooking it up to a single large monitor, television, or projector.

There simply is no real consumer demand for higher versions with more bandwidth so companies never bothered to invest their resources in further developing it.

Should I use DisplayPort or Mini DisplayPort?

Single Monitor Setup

It all depends on with what monitor you’re working with and what kind of setup you want to be looking at.

If you’ve just got a single monitor and it only has a Mini DisplayPort then go with the Mini, if you got a regular size DisplayPort then go with that one.

If you’ve got both options go for the regular size because you will be able to use higher resolutions with the newer versions.

Basically go for the larger and newer DisplayPort version whenever possible. There’s not much of the price difference between the versions. All DisplayPort versions are backwards compatible so there is no need to worry there.

Multi Monitor Setup

multi monitor setup 1

The amount of bandwidth and resolution that DisplayPort can output is usually more than good enough if you’re using a single monitor setup.

For most users that’s gonna be true since today’s monitor typically sport a 2560 x 1440 or 1920 x 1080 resolution.

But if you’re trying to setup a multi monitor setup then you can quickly run out of bandwidth if you’re not careful with the number of monitors and the size of their resolution.

For multiple monitors you’ve got a few options:

If your graphics card has multiple DisplayPort outputs you can simply have a separate cable for each monitor that you have.

Higher end gaming graphic cards will typically have at least two DisplayPort outputs. Otherwise there are graphics cards geared specifically towards multi monitor setups for business professionals with up to four DisplayPort outputs.

If you’ve only got one output on your graphics card and only a DisplayPort input on each of your monitors. Then you can get a DisplayPort hub that will split the signal so that you can send it to more monitors.

These hubs are typically sold in versions that support between two and four monitors. Make sure your graphics card can handle this many monitors and at their resolution.

If your monitors have DisplayPort outputs then you can use a technique called daisy chaining.

Let’s say for example you have two monitors. In this situation, this involves linking one cable from your graphics card to your first monitor and with a second cable linking your first monitor to your second monitor.

In effect making a chain.

This works by having the first monitor pass the necessary signal onwards to the second one without the second having to be directly plugged to the graphics card itself.

Dan Alder
Dan Alder
Dan's logged far too many hours in CS 1.6 and reminisces about LAN parties back in the good ol' days. He's also an engineer that's interested in anything to do with tech.
Dan Alder
Dan Alder
Dan's logged far too many hours in CS 1.6 and reminisces about LAN parties back in the good ol' days. He's also an engineer that's interested in anything to do with tech.

One Response

  1. Great discussion. I found this article because I have a Mini DisplayPort question. I have an ASUS 2017 laptop Gen7 Core i7 (FX73VM). The Mini DisplayPort on it will only sync to the Acer 4G monitor at a maximum of 2048×1152 72KHz V60Hz mode. Is that a cable problem or the output on the internal display adapter? How could we tell? The HDMI (other) port will push 2560 4G, but the secondary Mini DisplayPort only 2048.

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