DisplayPort 1.2 spec doubles bandwidth, adds features


— 6:00 AM on January 20, 2010

Ever hoped to hook up four monitors to a single, tiny display output? As soon as devices start supporting the Video Electronics Standards Association's new DisplayPort 1.2 standard, you may be able to. VESA has beefed up its royalty-free display interface by, among other things, doubling bandwidth from 10.8 Gbps for the DisplayPort 1.1a standard to an impressive 21.6 Gbps for the new one.

This bandwidth increase enables resolutions of up to 3840x2400 at 60Hz—think of the same number of pixels as four 24" monitors arranged in a rectangle, except on a single display. DisplayPort 1.2 paves the way for 120Hz 3D displays with resolutions up to 2560x1600, as well.

Higher resolutions are only part of the story. Users should also be able to enjoy higher color depths, and a single DisplayPort 1.2 connector can drive two 2560x1600 monitors or four 1920x1200 monitors simultaneously. On top of that, the new standard provides an auxiliary channel with 720Mbps of bandwidth, which can double as a USB 2.0 or Ethernet connection. No need for a separate cable to hook up a display's webcam or built-in USB hub, at least in theory.

VESA adds that the DisplayPort 1.2 standard is backward-compatible with DisplayPort 1.1a connectors and cables, including the new Mini DisplayPort standard that debuted on Apple's MacBooks. If we're reading the press release right, VESA even claims users can use the new features with existing DisplayPort cables.

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