What is the new DisplayPort Alt Mode 2.0 standard and why it might interest you

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VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association) announced just a few hours ago a new standard called DisplayPort Alt Mode 2.0. If we ignore the bombast of its name, this new standard introduces one of the most interesting developments in DisplayPort interfaces, interfaces that until now were reserved for cable video transmission . With the new standard update, the association introduces data transmission through the USB 4 standard while improving the video specifications of the traditional DisplayPort. The utility that this update will provide us can change the paradigm of current cable connections, serving as multifunctional ports.

Did someone say 16K resolution?

No, this is not a joke. The new DisplayPort 2.0 standard will bring support for screen resolutions up to 16K, or what is the same, 15,360 × 8,640 or 132,710,400 pixels .

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This resolution will be limited to a single monitor with a 60 Hz refresh rate. It also includes the possibility of connecting two monitors with 8K resolution or four monitors with 4K resolution . The refresh rate of this last configuration will allow us to reach 144 Hz. Both options are compatible with the HDR standard, so we can have advanced color profiles.

On a technical level, this improvement means expanding the bandwidth to 77.4 Gbps, that is, almost 10 GB per second . That is, the same bandwidth as DisplayPort 2.0. The novelty in this case comes with the compatibility with data transmission, as we will see below.

All the benefits of USB 4 applied to the DisplayPort standard

As we anticipated at the beginning of the entry, the improvement that DisplayPort Alt Mode 2.0 brings to the DisplayPort standard is the introduction of the USB 4 standard. The possibilities that this provides us are immense.

The most important is to transmit data and video between two devices without the need for an additional accessory or two cables. This also implies a reduction in production costs. By relying on a single interface, computers will not need to duplicate licenses to obtain that interface.

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But beyond these advantages, the main novelty comes with the bandwidth in tasks that require data transmission. The USB 4 standard offers a rate of no less than 40 Gbps, about 5 GB per second .

It is the same speed that currently offers the Thunderbolt 3 standard, the standard introduced in computers such as the MacBook Pro or the latest generation MacBook Air. Transferring a movie in 4K resolution or Michael Jackson's discography to a hard disk compatible with this technology would take less than a second . And all while we connect our computer to an 8K monitor if we resort to an adapter with several ports.

It is precisely at this point where the DisplayPort Alt Mode 2.0 standard becomes interesting for the computer world. On the one hand, we have a bandwidth of 80 Gbps in video transmission. On the other, with 40 Gbps in data transmission. Together, they will allow us to perform different tasks at the same time without the need to depend on two physical connections and without the need to license two interfaces.

In televisions, for example, we could transmit 8K movies through an external hard drive . Or connect our computer to duplicate the screen while we edit a 16K video.

The important thing, when will it hit the market?

VESA itself has announced that the first devices compatible with this standard will begin to arrive from 2021. Due to the current situation due to the coronavirus, companies have not yet announced their action plan for next year. Predictably brands such as Intel, Nvidia, AMD and Apple will begin to implement this interface on their devices and components.