DVI vs. HDMI: what’s the difference?

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DVI vs. HDMI: what’s the difference? Understand the main differences

If you’ve bought a computer monitor lately, you might be wondering what the differences are between DVI and HDMI. These are two digital video cables with the main difference being that HDMI processes both audio and video while DVI only transmits video.

However, the differences do not end there. There are many reasons why you might choose one over the other, depending on your situation.

General findings


  • Adapters can be converted to HDMI.
  • Only transmits video.
  • Maximum data rate of 9.9 Gbps.
  • Capable of reaching 3840 × 2400 at 30Hz.


  • Supported by more devices.
  • Transmits video and audio.
  • Maximum data rate of 42.6 Gbps.
  • Capable of reaching 8k at 120Hz.

Both IVC and HDMI are capable of meeting most standard computing needs. With a resolution of 2560 × 1600 @ 60Hz, most standard monitors support DVI, which is beyond the resolution most users set their monitors to.

This is where HDMI comes in, with high end video and audio needs. If you are looking for more than standard computing, HDMI may be a necessity. This is especially true if you want to stream HD videos or connect an HDR output from your game console to your TV.

HDMI 2.0 is a necessity if you’ve purchased a 4K TV or monitor and want to get the most out of its capabilities.

Compatibility: HDMI is everywhere


  • Available on older monitors.
  • Supported by most graphics cards.
  • Adapters can be converted to HDMI.


  • Available on all recent monitors.
  • Smaller versions are available for the phone or cameras.
  • Supported by most graphics cards.

If you’re trying to connect to an old monitor you’ve kept for years, chances are you have no choice but to use a DVI cable. DVI was introduced in 1999 to replace VGA, so most monitors from 2000 to 2006 typically included a DVI port.

However, choosing the right DVI cable can be confusing, as there are 7 variations of ports ranging from DVI-A, DVI-D, and various versions of DVI-I. So you need to check the graphics card port as well as the monitor port to make sure you are purchasing the correct cable.

HDMI, on the other hand, has a universal shape that fits any computer or monitor that has an HDMI port. There are also mini and micro HDMI cables that will allow you to connect cameras and mobile devices to a monitor’s HDMI port.

Since the introduction of HDMI technology in 2002, almost every modern monitor you find today has an HDMI port.

Audio: Only HDMI supports it


  • The IVC only transmits video.
  • Requires a second audio output.
  • Newer graphics cards provide DVI audio.


  • Support 32 audio channels.
  • Supports Dolby and DTS high resolution audio.
  • Does not require a second audio cable.

If you want one cable to rule them all, you can stick to HDMI if possible. HDMI supports the transmission of digital video as well as high-resolution audio, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD. DVI only transmits the video signal.

That doesn’t mean you’re out of luck if you only have one DVI port on your graphics card. Usually, older graphics cards with DVI ports have a secondary audio port. You can connect it to your monitor using a standard audio cable to include sound.

Newer graphics cards that have a DVI port include an audio signal output in the port. To enjoy it, simply purchase a DVI to HDMI adapter and use a standard HDMI cable. This assumes that your monitor supports HDMI and has speakers.

Data transfer speed: HDMI is 4X faster


  • Maximum data rate of 9.9 Gbps.
  • The maximum resolution is 2560 × 1600 @ 60Hz.
  • Can reach 3840 × 2400 at 30Hz.
  • Capable of a refresh rate of up to 144hz.


  • Transmits up to 42.6 Gbit / sec.
  • Supports up to 4k at 144Hz or 8k at 120Hz.
  • Support HDR video output.

Even though IVC is generally available on older monitors, that doesn’t mean it’s very limited in terms of resolution. Using a dual-link DVI cable and a graphics card that supports it, you can use a widescreen monitor at a resolution of 2560 × 1600 at the 60Hz standard that most monitors support.

The IVC can also handle refresh rates of up to 144Hz, which is generally preferred by gamers, but the resolution available will be lower than HDMI.

However, if you’ve purchased a newer 4k monitor and want to take full advantage of its capabilities, you’ll need to purchase an HDMI cable and a graphics card that supports it.

You can also connect the HDR output of a PlayStation or Xbox to a monitor’s HDMI port, as long as the TV or monitor itself supports DVR. For high-end gamers who play modern games, the HDMI port is a must.

Final Verdict: Only upgrade to HDMI if you have to

If you are using a laptop or computer that only supports DVI video with an available audio output port, and you have a monitor that supports DVI and has audio input, there is no no real reason to upgrade either.

Unless you’re an avid gamer, 2560 × 1600 resolution at 60Hz is more than capable of supporting most standard computing needs.

However, if you are planning to upgrade to one (or more) high-end 4K monitor (s) and want to take full advantage of streaming HD movies available online today, you will need to upgrade your card. graphics and your monitor to support the HDMI format. Additionally, be sure to opt for HDMI 2.0 to enjoy the highest data transfer rates and resolution.

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