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Are there issues with DIsplayPort to HDMI?

Posted on 2016-08-04
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Last Modified: 2016-08-05
I am shopping for the next model laptop to be used for my organization.  These laptops will be for the sales force who are expected to give presentations at their client's offices.  Among the requirements and features we are looking for, management has added that the laptop must have an HDMI port.  

I thought DisplayPort would satisfy this requirement, but some believe they had problems when trying to use DisplayPort->HDMI cables, but they also can't confirm any of their experiences.  Some of their concerns are that DisplayPort->HDMI cables may require the user to reconfigure their display settings, or that the display is not completely in frame of the television/monitor, or that they may need to use software to make it work properly.

I have never had an issue with this connection.  The external monitor simply shows the laptop's screen without configuration and fully in frame.  Today, I took two laptops (one with HDMI and one with DP) and connected them to five different monitors without issue.  This should be enough, but I'm not certain that I'm selling my confidence.  I'm trying to avoid the infamous I-told-you-so.

Do you have any advice or experiences to share on this topic?
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Question by:jekautz
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
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All of my laptops (mostly the HP EliteBook family) have DisplayPort connectors. I've never had a problem. I use cables with DP on one end and HDMI on the other, as well as pure HDMI cables with an adapter/converter (some passive, some active). All configurations in all combinations work fine, sending both video and audio. I wrote this EE article about my experience with it on the HP 2540p:
Dual External Monitors on the HP EliteBook 2540p

I have many other models, including the HP 8460w and HP 8470w — no problems. I'm writing this post to you an on an HP 8460w in an advanced docking station with three 27" monitors in an extended desktop configuration. Two of them are connected using HDMI-HDMI cables via DP — one with an active DP adapter and one with a passive DP adapter (the active adapter is what allows three monitors to be utilized).

You should proceed with confidence, imo. Regards, Joe
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by:garycase
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The only issues I've ever seen are with passive adapters.     MOST displays should work fine with either; but if you buy an active adapter it's virtually certain that you'll never have any problems.

e.g. https://www.amazon.com/Cable-Matters-DisplayPort-Supporting-Technology/dp/B00EDT0072

or  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA1HE2MV5428&nm_mc=KNC-GoogleMKP-PC&cm_mmc=KNC-GoogleMKP-PC-_-pla-_-Production+Switchers-_-9SIA1HE2MV5428&gclid=COGUmqXnqM4CFYWDaQod0XwJCg&gclsrc=aw.ds
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by:jekautz
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@garycase
What kind of issues did you see with passive and was that with multi-monitor configurations or just a simple duplicate display setting?
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by:garycase
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I don't recall the specific display card, but it was a card with one VGA, one HDMI, and one DP output ... and connecting 2 displays to the HDMI and DP outputs wouldn't work with a passive adapter cable.    An active cable worked with no problem.    I never tried using just one display, so don't know if that would have worked with a passive adapter or not.

Simple fact is I only buy active adapter cables these days => they NEVER have issues in my experience, so I see no reason to even bother with passive adapters (the cost difference is trivial).
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As I mentioned, I've used both passive and active with no problems, but at least one active is required in a three monitor config. On the HP 8460w laptop in the HP advanced docking station that I mentioned earlier, the three monitors did not work until I got the active adapter. I first purchased this DisplayPort (male) to DVI (female) Active Adapter for one office:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004SUO1GM/

It works perfectly. I now have three monitors working where before only two of the three worked at a time. For a second office where I was having the same issue, I purchased this DisplayPort (male) to HDMI (female) Active Adapter:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009YC3W1Y/

This also works perfectly and I now have three monitors working at that office, too.

The first two monitors are connected to the dock via DisplayPort and DVI. I'm driving both at 1920x1200. The third monitor may be either the laptop display or an external VGA monitor.

The StarTech website has a good explanation of why you need an active adapter instead of passive to get the three monitors working:
http://www.startech.com/AV/Displayport-Converters/Active-DisplayPort-to-DVI-Adapter~DP2DVIS

I buy a ton of StarTech products and have been very pleased with all of them, including the active adapters mentioned above.

The AMD website shows the basic requirements for connecting multiple displays:
Connecting multiple monitors for AMD Eyefinity technology couldn’t be simpler. There are four easy rules to remember:

1. The first two monitors can connect to the graphics card with any display output on your product: HDMI, VGA, DVI or DisplayPort.

2. The third (or greater) display must be connected to the graphics card via DisplayPort.

3. If your monitor does not have a DisplayPort connection, you will need an inexpensive active DisplayPort adapter for it. DVI to DP adapters can be had for less than $30 USD.

4. Every family of GPUs supports a different maximum number of displays.
Of course, the laptop/docking station must have AMD Eyefinity technology for this solution. Regards, Joe
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by:Antzs
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I support both HP and Toshiba notebooks in my company.  HP would have the DP while Toshiba will have the HDMI.

Both HDMI and DP will work just fine with any display and projectors.  No issues at all.  

The only problem, is that most client/customers' places usually will only provide a HDMI cable and not the DP to HDMI cable or the DP to HDMI dongle.  

So the sales force might want to bring the cable along in their bag.
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by:jekautz
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Thank you.  These are all good responses that will help to make my case and keeping DP on the table gives me a greater product selection.
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by:garycase
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You're welcome.   The bottom line (as I'm sure you realize) is that DP will work fine; and the safest way to ensure you don't encounter any issues is to buy active adapters for the laptops.    Passive adapters are a bit less expensive, and will likely work MOST of the time ... but an active adapter will ALWAYS work, so the extra $6 to $8 is cheap insurance.
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by:jekautz
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I printed this thread out and handed it to my manager who thanked me for this approach and said he is okay to proceed with DP ports.  I never doubted DP2HDMI until it was pressed upon me that there may have been issues in the past. Thank you all for your help in resolving this matter.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
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You're very welcome. Happy to help. Good luck with the project. Regards, Joe
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