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DisplayPort 1.3 will make 4K gaming at 120Hz a reality

By December 12, 2015 22 Comments

DisplayPort 1.3 Basics 2016

With 2015 coming to an end and the arrival of the long-awaited DisplayPort 1.3 standard coming closer for each day, it is time to welcome the next level of refresh rates that the standard supports. The most interesting fact about all this, is that DisplayPort 1.3 supports 4K at 120Hz, which is pretty exciting if you ask us. 144Hz at 4K resolution will not be supported by DisplayPort 1.3. Smaller resolutions, such as 1080p and 1440p are capable of running at an impressive 240Hz! Of course, there are diminishing returns from higher refresh rates, but it will be nice to see how a native 240Hz monitor will feel like. And if you thought 4K was amazing, wait till you experience 5K, which is also supported with 60Hz and SDR. 5K resolution offers 78% more pixels than 4K and a 28-inch 5K monitor results in an incredible sharpness of 210 PPI compared to 142 PPI on a 28-inch 4K monitor. It is expected that 5K displays arrive by mid-2016.

DisplayPort 1.3 allows bandwidth data transfers up to 32.4Gbps, which is a huge increase from 21.4Gbps that DisplayPort 1.2 suppors and over 80 percent more than what HDMI 2.0 can transfer. The 2016 AMD Radeon GPUs will be the first mobile architecture to supprot DisplayPort 1.3 HBR3 (High Bit Rate 3). AMD has also stated that by the end of 2016, there will be 4K monitors with a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz, will support FreeSync and will be compatible with Low Framerate Compensation that was added with AMD Radeon Crimson Software. A noteworthy thing to mention is that DisplayPort 1.3 HBR3 utilizes existing cables and connectors, and that a maximum cable length of 2 metres (6.5ft) should be used for optimum experience.
Below is a table summarizing the maximum supported refresh rate that DisplayPort 1.3 supports for popular resolutions.

ResolutionStandard Dynamic RangeHigh Dynamic Range
1920 x 1080 (Full HD)Up to 240HzUp to 240Hz
2560 x 1440 (Quad HD)Up to 240HzUp to 170Hz
3440 x 1440Up to 190HzUp to 144Hz
3840 x 2160 (Ultra HD/4K)Up to 120HzUp to 60Hz
5120 x 2880 (5K)Up to 60Hz

Another very exciting feature coming up in new gaming monitors in 2016 is High Dynamic Range (HDR), which is a new CE industry standard that many monitors will adapt beginning from the second half of 2016. HDR gives you larger color spaces, higher contrast ratios and a higher peak luminance. If you are a display enthusiast, HDR is the next big thing that you have been looking for. Many games are in fact alrady rendered in HDR today, but since GPU’s do not support HDR today and nor does monitors, the output is mapped to standard dynamic ranges.


As you can see in the image above, High Dynamic Range results in much better quality output and looks much closer to real life as well. The color reproduction is much better and so are the contrast and brightness. Once a good and fairly priced HDR gaming monitor has been announced/released, we will add it to our list of best gaming monitors.

AMD is currently working on getting workstation and  PC gaming to HDR in 2016.

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  • Tyrann

    3440x1440p ultrawide at 120hz+ is all i want. Add in some gsync and IPS and we’re golden for 2016. Here’s hoping that the perfect monitor will cost less than $1000.

  • Salvador Sanchez

    4K@120hz? SOLD!! I like it’s not coming until late 2016 to as I have to buy two high end Pascal gpu’s and the deca core 6950X. Gonna be a expensive year of upgrades!

  • Iluv2raceit

    There is no guarantee that the 1st gen Pascal GPU cards will have DP 1.3. You might just want to hang on to those horses…

  • Iluv2raceit

    All of what you are asking for will be possible in 2016…except for the price. Don’t hold your breath on these kind of monitors costing anything less than $1200.

  • Peter Den Gamer

    and to get 120hz on 4k you’d need 4 x Titan X SLI…. I guess you are rich..

  • boe_d

    I’d be fine with ultrawide if they made MUCH bigger screens. Hard to give up the screen real estate of two 30″ monitors.

  • boe_d

    2 meters is pushing it for my rig. Are there no better shielded cables that are rated for optimum performance up to 3 meters?

  • wargamer1969

    Shut up and take my $. 4K at 120htz at nothing less than 40 inches.

  • lozandier

    +1000. I just want 3440x1440p w/ 144MHZ w/ ULB, DisplayPort 1.3, and USB Type-C connectors. A bonus it supports Thunderbolt 3 as well.

    I have 2 980TIs that’ll be upgraded with Big Pascal (next year I suppose) waiting for such a beast monitor to come out.

    DisplayPort 1.3 seems like it’ll be skipped altogether though for 1.4 based on the latter’s specs that was announced recently.

  • lozandier

    I and anyone who knows the productivity values of Ultrawide of that resolution + 120MHZ and up refresh rates will happily pay that much and up.

  • lozandier

    I wonder what would be the refresh rates of a UHD Ultrawide (I refuse to acknowledge the UHD as 4K given the committee that actually standardized that for professional has different dimensions than what’s marketed as 4K from the TV-oriented committee)/5K UltraWide, probably 100MHZ like the 1440p UltraWides today? If so, meh…

    Pros basically have 1440p ultrawide & 5K Ultrawide to pick from, with an ordinary 5K a good back up (actually having proper real estate for pro tools in addition to the content.

  • Charles Walker

    I’d be pretty damn surprised if Pascal doesn’t support 1.3.

  • Andy

    2x GTX1080 will be fine and avalible in May/June.

  • shawly

    The 1070/1080 are not DisplayPort 1.3/1.4 certified, which means they just have DP1.2 ports with support for 1.3/1.4 but without certain features. So it’s not clear if they will support UHD@120Hz.

    Also even if they did, a single 1080 would be enough, except if you wanted to run games at 4K with 120 FPS, that’s another thing.

  • shawly

    The new GTX 1070/1080 don’t, they are just 1.3/1.4 “ready”. They still have DP1.2 ports which means it’s not full 1.3/1.4 support. Guess we have to wait for the next Titan/Ti.

  • Andy

    Waiting for Asus or someone to release a good IPS 4K 120Hz+.
    I belive Asus did show a prototype at the recent fair. I doubt 1 GTX1080 will be enough for 4K@120Hz… but there is also the rumors of a faster GTX1080Ti later in the year.

    But it does feel like tech is being held back artifically.. is it really that hard to release a new cable standard with a little bit of future proofing that could handle 8K at 250Hz or something.

  • shawly

    Of course a single 1080 is enough to drive 4K at 120Hz… Just like a GT 630 can run 1080p at 120Hz.. Hertz are not FPS, mate..

    Even an iGPU can run 4K at 120Hz if the mobo supports DP1.3/1.4.

  • John Dough

    120Mhz, I assume you mean hz because 120.000hz is a bit overkill 😉

  • lozandier

    Ha, you’re right; I’ve made that mistake way too much lately.

  • lozandier

    Shwly probably meant actually game at those rates with a single 1080. That’s impossible for most games. I think too much hype is being attributed to the 1080 vs. Big Pascal—particularly 980TI owners.

  • jerrytsao

    The Titan X Pascal/1080/1070/1060 DisplayPort 1.3 and 1.4 “ready” only means it hasn’t been “certified” yet, those are legit DP 1.3 ports and compatible with DP 1.4 hardware-wise, once DP 1.3/1.4 monitors are out certification will come.

  • PepijnNL

    You mean 120.000.000 (or 120,000,000 for our American friends) hz 😉