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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

VESA DisplayPort 2.1 tightens alignment with USB Type-C, USB4

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This week the DisplayPort specification was released by VESA. While the update makes some important improvements in efficiency, VESA aims to make things as easy for consumers and implementers alike.

DisplayPort 2.1 is not just compatible with DisplayPort2.0. VESA and its Partners have certified all DisplayPort 2.0 products that were previously certified under the DisplayPort 2.1 spec. DisplayPort 2.0 certified products such as GPUs, Docking Stations, monitors, cables, and other devices will all fall under the newer v2.1 specification.

VESA states that one of its most important goals with the update was to provide a robust user experience. This applies to peripheral connections via DisplayPort Alt Mode (DisplayPort Over the USB Type C connector), tunneling through the USB4 connection, and native DisplayPort cables. Whatever method you choose, the alignment between the spec (physical layer), and the PHY (specular layer) has been improved for dependability.

If all of these are the same and DisplayPort 2.0 or 2.1 can be used interchangeably, then you might wonder what the purpose of the new specification is. The most important addition is the DisplayPort bandwidth management feature. This allows DisplayPort tunneling to coexist more efficiently with other I/O traffic over the USB4 connection. This efficiency is in addition to VESA’s new mandated support of VESA’s visually lossless Display Stream Comppression (DSC codec) and VESA’s Panel Replay capability. VESA’s DSC implementation can reduce bandwidth usage by up to 67%, without any visual artifacts. In certain cases, the Panel Replay capability can also reduce tunneling packet transport bandwidth up to 99%.

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VESA Board Chair Alan Kobayashi and VESA DisplayPort Task group Chair Alan Kobayashi boldly stated that DisplayPort 2.1’s higher bitrates “offers ample bandwidth to meet the needs of practically every practical application.”(Image credit: VESA)

Cable specifications were also updated in the announcement. DisplayPort 2.1 will allow for greater capabilities and longer cables, sometimes exceeding two meters. VESA explains that DP40 cables are VESA-certified and can support the UHBR10 link speed (10 Gbps), with four lanes providing a maximum throughput 40 Gbps. “VESA-certified DP80 cables are capable of supporting the UHBR20 link speed (20 Gbps) with four lanes. This allows for a maximum throughput up to 80 Gbps.

Ex-HardOCP Editor in Chief Kyle Bennett statedlast Wednesday that multiple sources had told him that AMD Radeon Nu 31 GPUs would support the DisplayPort 2.0 specification. rumors that RDNA 3 would support DisplayPort 2.0 and UHBR20 were circulating this summer. The Intel Arc LE model GPUs also Support DisplayPort 2. According to VESA, both the AMD- and Intel GPUs support DisplayPort 2.1. These are competitive perspectives. The GeForce GTX 4090 flagship of Nvidia Ada Lovelace supports DisplayPort 1.

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