When combined with a powerful graphics card and processor, a 144Hz refresh rate can make your games look incredibly smooth. High-speed activities like sports can look better with less motion blur, and it can even make the mouse moving across your screen appear and feel more fluid.
However, achieving a 144Hz refresh rate requires the appropriate cable, which varies depending on your display’s resolution.
Different 144Hz cable types
A 144Hz refresh rate can be supported by many types of cables. You can utilise DisplayPort, HDMI, and even USB-C for this. However, compatibility is dependent on the individual screen you are using and the desired resolution.
The maximum refresh rate that modern monitors can provide is not 144Hz. With some of the newest models, lower-resolution monitors, including those at 1080p, can go as high as 500Hz. However, whether you’re playing games at 1080p or more demanding resolutions like 4K, 144Hz is still possible. A more powerful graphics card and a suitable cable are required to handle higher resolutions at higher refresh rates, as doing so requires transmitting more data more quickly.
Older cables, such HDMI 1.4, can support 144Hz at 1080p, however chroma subsampling is required to get 1440p. HDMI 1.4 does not support resolutions higher than 4K. In contrast, HDMI 2.0 can only provide natively 1440p at 144Hz; 4K requires the most recent HDMI 2.1 specification.
High-end desktop computers were taken into consideration when designing DisplayPort cables, which increases their ability to sustain 144Hz for several generations. While DisplayPort 1.4 can support 4K if Display Stream Compression (DSC) is enabled, DisplayPort 1.2 can manage 1080p and 1440p at 144Hz. With the most recent DisplayPort 2.0/2.1, native 4K at 144Hz is now finally possible, and 5K at up to 180Hz is also possible.
When it comes to USB-C cables that utilize DisplayPort Alt mode to transmit video, they can also support similar 144Hz configurations. USB-C 3.2 Gen 2×2, USB4, and Thunderbolt 3 and 4 cables are capable of this, but if you want to achieve 4K at 144Hz, you’ll need one of the newest generations of USB cables, such as USB4 and Thunderbolt 4, as they support the latest DisplayPort alt mode and have enough bandwidth for higher resolutions and refresh rates.
Even older standards like DVI have the capability to support a 144Hz refresh rate under specific configurations. Both DVI-I and DVI-D can handle 1080p at 144Hz, but this requires the use of a Dual Link cable. On the other hand, analog cables such as VGA, composite, and component cannot reach 144Hz, even at lower resolutions, making them unsuitable for consideration.
Using an adapter to convert one cable type to another allows achieving various resolutions at 144Hz. However, it is essential for all components in the connection chain to support the chosen resolution at 144Hz to ensure proper functionality.
Considerations for Choosing a 144Hz Cable
Considering the choice of a suitable cable for 144Hz, various factors need to be taken into account, such as:
- What resolution are you trying to run at 144Hz?
- Which connections does your device have?
- How many possible connections does your display have?
What connections you have are the most limiting factor in deciding on the best cable for 144Hz. You won’t be able to play games at 4K resolution if your graphics card only supports HDMI 2.0. Similarly, you won’t have the option of using a DisplayPort or USB cable to connect an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 because they only have HDMI connections.
The fact that HDMI and DisplayPort cables are backward compatible with all earlier generations of HDMI and DisplayPort connections is one of their best advantages. Buy the most recent cable generation once you know what your monitor, computer, or gaming console can handle. An HDMI 2.1 cable will only function at HDMI 2.0 rates when connected into an HDMI 2.0 port. The same holds true for DisplayPort 2.0 cable connected to DisplayPort 1.4 port.
You can’t expect an HDMI 1.4 cable to handle HDMI 2.1 data rates. You might choose older designs because using a higher tier of cable might be slightly more expensive, especially at longer lengths. Just make sure that they are compatible with the resolution you’re trying to run at 144Hz, as older cables are limited in their capabilities.
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|Dual-Link DVI-D to Dual-Link DVI-D Cable||Check Price|
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|Thunderbolt 3 Active Cable (40 Gbit/s)||Check Price|
144Hz DisplayPort Cables
DisplayPort cables offer different levels of support for achieving a 144Hz refresh rate. The initial generation, DisplayPort 1.2, was capable of handling 144Hz at both 1080p and 1440p resolutions. As technology advanced, DisplayPort 1.4 allowed for higher refresh rates at these resolutions and, if paired with a DSC-compatible monitor, it could even achieve 4K at 144Hz. Without DSC, the limit was 120Hz at 4K resolution.
The latest generations of DisplayPort, 2.0 and 2.1, offer even more impressive capabilities. Functionally similar, they can achieve not only 4K and 5K at over 144Hz but also support 8K resolution at up to 144Hz when combined with DSC and chroma subsampling.
144Hz HDMI Cables
In the HDMI family, there are several cables capable of delivering a 144Hz refresh rate, each at different resolutions. HDMI 1.4 was the first to achieve 144Hz at 1080p resolution, and with chroma subsampling 4:2:0 enabled, it can manage 1440p at 144Hz. However, the reduced color resolution may introduce slight latency, which might not be ideal for competitive gaming.
For 1440p at 144Hz, using an HDMI 2.0 or better cable is recommended, as it can handle the refresh rate natively. The best HDMI cable for 144Hz gaming, however, is HDMI 2.1, which can handle 144Hz at any resolution up to 4K.
HDMI 2.1 is widely supported on modern devices, including desktop PCs, Blu-ray players, the latest generation of game consoles, and most modern TVs. It is important to note that only desktop PCs and some laptops can output at 144Hz, as even high-end gaming consoles like the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are limited to 120Hz, regardless of whether playing at 1080p, 1440p, or 4K resolution.
1. Can a single cable support dual 144Hz monitors?
No, a single cable cannot be plugged into multiple monitors. However, you can daisy chain monitors together to achieve dual 144Hz monitors using a single cable chain. To do this, you’ll need either DisplayPort or USB-C cables, along with a compatible graphics card and monitors, as HDMI cables do not support daisy-chaining monitors.
The choice of DisplayPort or USB-C cable will depend on the resolution you intend to run the 144Hz monitors at.
2. Can I use an adapter to achieve 144Hz?
Yes, you can use an adapter to achieve 144Hz. The key is to ensure that the adapter supports the appropriate generation of HDMI or DisplayPort to achieve 144Hz at your target resolution. It’s essential to verify that both cables on either side of the adapter are capable of transmitting 144Hz at your intended resolution. If any link in the chain lacks this capability, you won’t be able to achieve 144Hz.
3. Do I need a special graphics card for 144Hz?
No, a special graphics card is not inherently required for 144Hz. However, you will need a graphics card capable of running at high frame rates, ideally reaching at least 144 frames per second to fully utilize the 144Hz refresh rate. If you’re playing older games at 1080p resolution, a less demanding graphics card will suffice. But for modern AAA games at 1440p or 4K with 144Hz, a high-end GPU from the latest generations is necessary.
4. Does cable length affect 144Hz performance?
Cable length does not significantly affect 144Hz performance as long as you adhere to the maximum length recommendations for DisplayPort, HDMI, and USB-C cables to maintain good picture quality.
Active cables and cable extenders allow the use of even the latest generations of HDMI and DisplayPort cables at much longer lengths, removing real restrictions on using any of them at 144Hz.