While it is possible to operate a monitor with whatever display cable you have lying around, it may not be suitable if you want to get the best output. For example, if you want to use your monitor for gaming and expect high resolution at a high refresh rate, you must pick a cable that is capable of delivering that. Otherwise, you will not get your expected performance, and your monitor will not be utilized to its fullest capability.
Thus, in this article, we will discuss all the different kinds of cables that are suitable for particular refresh rates so that you can choose the right one for your monitor. But before jumping into that, here is a quick rundown of which cables provide what refresh rate.
|60 Hz||HDMI 1.0||DisplayPort 1.0/1.1||DVI-A, DVI-I Single-link, DVI-D Single-link||Standard VGA Cables|
|75 Hz||HDMI 1.4||DisplayPort 1.0/1.1||DVI-I Dual-link, DVI-D Dual-link||QXGA VGA|
|120 Hz||HDMI 1.4||DisplayPort 1.2||DVI-I Dual-link, DVI-D Dual-link||Advanced QXGA VGA|
|144 Hz||HDMI 1.4||DisplayPort 1.2||DVI-I Dual-link, DVI-D Dual-link||N/A|
|165 Hz||HDMI 2.0||DisplayPort 1.4||N/A||N/A|
|240 Hz||HDMI 2.0/2.1||DisplayPort 1.4||N/A||N/A|
|360 Hz||HDMI 2.0/2.1 with DSC||DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC||N/A||N/A|
What is the Refresh Rate?
The refresh rate is the number of times per second your monitor refreshes its screen. In other words, it measures the number of times your display updates the onscreen image in a second. The refresh rate is measured in Hertz or Hz.
Nowadays, monitors offer a variety of different refresh rates at different resolutions. The most common refresh rates available are 60 Hz, 75 Hz, 144 Hz, and 240 Hz. If your display has a 144 Hz refresh rate, it means the display refreshes its screen 144 times a second.
The higher the refresh rate of your monitor, the higher performance you can expect, as it leads to a smoother image display. It is especially important for competitive or professional gamers to play fast-paced games.
Now that you understand what refresh rate is, let’s move on to our main discussion. Below, we have explained what cables are suitable for different refresh rates.
What Cable Do I Need for 60 Hz?
Currently, the minimum refresh rate available for monitors is 60 Hz. A monitor with a 60 Hz refresh rate will display upto 60 frames per second. A minimum of a 60 Hz refresh rate is required for most recent games. Therefore, this refresh rate works fine for novice gamers. However, some monitors offer high-resolution display quality at 30 Hz as well.
We recommend using HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.2 or higher, Dual-link DVI, and standard VGA cables for 60 Hz.
Typically, an HDMI 1.0 cable supports upto 1080p at 60 Hz, and an HDMI 1.3/1.4 cable supports upto 4K at 60 Hz. However, such old versions of HDMI cables types are not generally recommended.
So, now you may ask, “what HDMI cable do I need for 4K 60hz?” Well, you can use an HDMI 2.0 cable for 4K resolution at 60 Hz, but some content may not seem smooth as this cable maxes out at 60 Hz.
Therefore, we recommend using an HDMI 2.1 cable for high-resolution displays, such as 4K or 8K at 60 Hz, so that you get the best performance from your monitor.
DisplayPort 1.0 and 1.1 can support 1440p at 60 Hz. However, most gamers prefer monitors with 4K and 8K resolutions.
DisplayPort 1.2 and higher can easily deliver 4K resolution at 60 Hz. However, if you want 8K resolution at a minimum of 60 Hz, we recommend using DisplayPort 1.4 or 2.0.
DVI connection technology still exists on all graphics cards, but it is starting to become outdated. In terms of the number of pins used and maximum resolution, DVI cables are available in two types: single-link and dual-link. However, based on DVI connectors, there are five types: DVI-A, DVI-I single link, DVI-I dual link, DVI-D single link, and DVI-D dual link.
DVI-A, DVI-I single-link, and DVI-D single-link cables are able to support upto 1920 x 1200 resolution at 60 Hz. However, for higher resolutions, such as 2560 x 1600 at 60 Hz, you will need either a DVI-I dual-link or DVI-D dual-link cable. In other words, to display higher resolutions at 60 Hz, always pick dual-link DVI cables.
In general, standard VGA cables can support upto 1080p resolution at 60 Hz. However, if you have a VGA cable for lower resolutions, you can get a higher refresh rate. But if you want a higher resolution with a VGA cable, your refresh rate will drop from 60 Hz, and you will get poor display quality.
What Cable Do I Need for 75 Hz?
A monitor with a 75 Hz refresh rate refreshes its screen 75 times per second. 75 Hz delivers a better display quality and lower lag than 60 Hz. The quality is acceptable for novice gamers who are fine with playing at 60 FPS in most cases. However, switching from 60 Hz to 75 Hz will not show a difference as dramatic as switching from 60 Hz to 144 Hz.
We recommend using HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2 or higher, Dual-link DVI, and QXVA VGA cables for 75 Hz.
An HDMI 1.4 cable supports upto 1440p resolution at 75 Hz. So, at a minimum, you will need an HDMI 1.4 cable. However, we recommend using HDMI 2.0 or higher for better quality and more versatility.
DisplayPort 1.0 supports upto 1440p at 75 Hz. But if you want 2160p or 4K at 75 Hz, you will need at least a DisplayPort 1.2 cable.
A dual-link DVI can support upto 2040 x 1536p resolution at a 75 Hz refresh rate. Therefore, you can use either a DVI-I or DVI-D dual-link cable.
You will need a QXGA VGA cable to enjoy 75 Hz since standard VGA cables max out with 1920 x 1080 resolution at 60 Hz. A QXGA cable can comfortably support a maximum resolution of 2048 x 1536 at 75 Hz.
What Cable Do I Need for 120 Hz?
A 120 Hz monitor can refresh its display 120 times in a second. With a 120 Hz display, you will experience much less choppiness and more improved motions. Moreover, you can perform better in competitive games with a 120 Hz refresh rate compared to 60 Hz or 75 Hz. Moreover, 120 Hz monitors are optimal for easing eyestrain.
We recommend using HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.3 or higher, Dual-link DVI-D, and QXVA VGA cables for 120 Hz.
With an HDMI 1.4 or higher cable, you can easily hit 1080p resolution at 120 Hz. However, if you want 1440p resolution at 120 Hz, you will need 4:2:2 color subsampling which requires thorough technical knowledge. Therefore, it is recommended to use an HDMI 2.0 or higher cable for 1440p at 120 Hz. However, if you want higher resolutions, such as 4k at 120 Hz, you will need the most updated HDMI 2.1 cables. For 8K resolution, you will need an ultra-high speed HDMI 2.1 cable with a maximum bit rate of 48 GB.
DisplayPort 1.4 cables are not far behind HDMI 2.1 when it comes to bandwidth. You can use both DisplayPort 1.3 and 1.4 cables for 4K resolution at 120 Hz. DisplayPort 1.2 can support upto 1440p at a 120 Hz refresh rate.
You will need to use a dual-link DVI cable to reach a 120 Hz refresh rate. However, the maximum resolution you can enjoy here is 1080p. Although the DVI connector type does not make much difference here, we recommend using DVI-D. Be cautious when using DVI adapters, as most of them are limited to 60 Hz.
Whether a VGA cable can reach 120 Hz depends on what system the display is outputting from, the CPU power, and GPU capability. Generally, VGA has no limit on the refresh rate. However, if your system or monitor is capped at a particular refresh rate for a specific resolution, such as 4K at 60 Hz, your VGA cable cannot surpass that. However, regardless of your system, it is always recommended to use advanced QXGA VGA for 120 Hz.
What Cable Do I Need for 144 Hz?
A 144 Hz monitor refreshes its screen 144 times per second. A refresh rate of 144 Hz is popular among competitive gamers as it is easier on conventional graphics cards. If you have been using a 60 Hz monitor for a while now, you will definitely appreciate the display quality difference on 144 Hz monitors. In general, higher-end gaming monitors offer 144 Hz and higher refresh rates.
We recommend using HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC 1.2, and Dual-link DVI cables for 144 Hz.
So, you may ask, “what HDMI cable do I need for 144 Hz?” At a minimum, HDMI 1.4 cables support upto 1080p resolution at 144 Hz. However, if you want to enjoy higher resolutions, such as 1440p at 144 Hz, you will need an HDMI 2.1 cable. Therefore, for 144 Hz, we recommend HDMI 2.1 cables.
You may be wondering, “what DisplayPort cable do I need for 144 Hz?” Well, you will need at least a DisplayPort 1.2 cable for 1080p or 1440p resolution at 144 Hz. However, we recommend getting a DisplayPort 1.4 cable with DSC 1.2 so that you can enjoy 4K resolution at 144 Hz.
So, what DVI cable should you get for 144hz? Well, you have only one option here – Dual-link DVI. With a dual-link DVI cable, you can reach a resolution of 1920 x 1080p at a 144 Hz refresh rate.
Although VGA has no refresh rate limit, the technology itself is pretty old, and it is difficult to find 144 Hz monitors with VGA connectivity. Therefore, for 144 Hz and higher refresh rates, VGA cables are not recommended.
What Cable Do I Need for 165 Hz?
A 165 Hz monitor refreshes its screen 165 times every second. Hence, you can expect a much better display quality, improved panels, faster response, and smoother motion with a 165 Hz refresh rate. This is comparatively a newer standard, and the difference between a 144 Hz and a 165 Hz display is not very noticeable. Many gamers also refer to it as “the new 144 Hz.”
We recommend using HDMI 2.1 and UHBR20 DisplayPort or DisplayPort 1.4 cables for 165 Hz.
We recommend using an HDMI 2.1 cable to enjoy 4K resolution at a 165 Hz refresh rate. However, it may require additional compression. If you have enough technical knowledge to do chroma subsampling, you can also use an HDMI 2.0 for a 165 Hz refresh rate, but the max resolution you can reach is 1440p.
You may also be wondering, “what cable do I need for 165 Hz 1080p?” Well, you can use an HDMI 1.3 or a 1.4 cable for 1080p at 165 Hz, but the display colors will not be of the best quality.
So, what DisplayPort cable do I need for 165 Hz? Well, there are two options: RBR and HBR. The older version of DisplayPort, like the 1.0, has RBR bit rate class. A few RBR DisplayPort cables are capable of supporting upto 1440p resolution at a 165 Hz refresh rate. However, we recommend using a UHBR 20 DisplayPort or DisplayPort 1.4 cable as it can handle even 8K resolution at a 165 Hz refresh rate.
The highest refresh rate DVI cables can handle is 144 Hz. Therefore, DVI cables are not recommended for 165 Hz or higher refresh rates.
What Cable Do I Need for 240 Hz?
A 240 Hz monitor refreshes its screen 240 times every second. A handful of expensive gaming monitors offer a 240 Hz refresh rate. 240 Hz monitors are highly appreciated by professional gamers who are willing to invest extra to gain a competitive edge. In fact, the responsiveness these monitors offer in a fast-paced online game is hard to beat by others.
We recommend using HDMI 2.1 and HBR3 DisplayPort 1.4 cables for 240 Hz.
So, what HDMI cable do I need for 240 Hz? Well, for such a high refresh rate, you will also need the most advanced HDMI cables. Therefore, the only options you have are HDMI 2.0 and 2.1. With an HDMI 2.0 cable, you can enjoy up to 1080p resolution at a 240 Hz refresh rate. We recommend using an HDMI 2.1 cable as you can reach 1440p resolution at a 240 Hz refresh rate and enjoy higher bandwidth capability and less compression.
Now, what DisplayPort cable do you need for 240hz? DisplayPort 1.4 can support both 1080p and 1440p resolutions at a 240 Hz refresh rate. However, we recommend checking for HBR3 certification for optimal performance.
What Cable Do I Need for 360 Hz?
A monitor with a 360 Hz refresh rate can refresh its screen 360 times a second, which is super impressive! 360 Hz is currently the maximum refresh rate available for monitors, and there are very few monitors offering such a high refresh rate. Also, such monitors are very expensive. When it comes to gaming, a 360 Hz refresh rate will give you the maximum advantage you can get from your display.
We recommend using HDMI 2.1 with DSC and DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC cables for 360 Hz.
You can use an HDMI 2.0 cable to reach 1440p resolution at 360 Hz. However, we recommend using an HDMI 2.1 with DSC (Display Stream Compression) so that you can enjoy 4K resolution at a 360 Hz refresh rate.
You must use a DisplayPort 1.4 cable to handle such a high refresh rate. With a standard DisplayPort 1.4, you can reach 1080p resolution at a 360 Hz refresh rate. However, we recommend using DisplayPort 1.4 cable with DSC if you want to enjoy 1440p resolution at 360 Hz.
- The Table below shows HDMI Generation
|HDMI Generation||Is 240Hz Support present||Max Refresh Rate(Hz) at Full HD resolution|
|HDMI 1.0-1.2||Not supported||60Hz @1920×1080|
|HDMI 1.3||Not supported||144Hz @1920×1080|
|HDMI 1.4||Not supported||144Hz @1920×1080|
|HDMI 2.0||240Hz @1920×1080||240Hz @1920×1080|
|HDMI 2.1||240Hz @ 1080p and 1440p||480Hz @1920×1080|
So, now that you know which cable to use for which refresh rate, it is time to make a choice.
“We suggest getting a cable capable of handling high resolution at higher refresh rates so that you do not have to worry about cables when upgrading your display system further. However, make sure your CPU, GPU, or the whole system is capable of delivering the resolution and refresh rate before you look for a suitable cable.“