Click to viewAs if we needed another display standard, along comes DisplayPort, approved last year and just about to sally forth on graphics cards and monitors everywhere. WTF do we need another standard for, anyway? Bandwidth, that's why. DisplayPort (plug pictured above at left, next to a dual-link DVI connector) can handle a maximum 10.8Gb per second, carries 8 channels of digital audio as well as all that video, and has a bidirectional auxiliary channel that can also handle 1Mb per second. That's a lot of data. It could turn out to be a reliable, fast and easy-to-use bridge between computers and home theater displays. But DisplayPort is not all sweetness and light.
A touted aspect of DisplayPort is its "security," comforting to those who create content but an unwelcome guest for those who can't stand even the thought of DRM (digital rights management). Carrying HDCP along with it, the standard is designed to protect content from those free-copying, eyepatch-wearing pirates. In addition to that, it also carries an additional DRM can of worms, DPCP (DisplayPort Content Protection).
That gives the standard an advantage over DVI in the eyes of content creators, who have sometimes been known to arm-twist various hardware manufacturers. Speaking of which, the standard has gotten rousing support from many of the usual suspects, including Dell, HP, Philips, Samsung, Intel and Lenovo, and also graphics cards manufacturers AMD and NVIDIA.
Those companies might like this standard better than HDMI for another reason, too: Unlike HDMI, DisplayPort's an open standard with no fees required to those who invented it. Other than that, besides the slight bandwidth advantage of DisplayPort, the two are almost the same and will be interchangable in some cases with an adapter. But not all cases. Such as...
What do we like about it? You can daisy chain multiple 2560x1600 monitors together, and the standard also supports fiber optic cable, able to blast tons of serious bandwidth for longer distances. It also has an advantage over DVI with its 15-meter spec length, compared with DVI's measly 5-meter recommended distance. We're also quite fond of that ability to support 16-bit color for each component, and hey, the damn thing is easier to connect than a DVI or VGA cable. With Dell and ATI first out of the gate, expect graphics cards and monitors to jump on board any day now. [DisplayPort Info Guide]