GUIDE TO 4K DISPLAY CONNECTIONS

Article Number: GPU-14100601


​This article provides information on how to get the best display quality with 4K monitors and AMD graphics products using a DisplayPort 1.2 connection.

DisplayPort is a high-bandwidth, feature-rich, digital interface technology which is commonly used for high resolution connections between PCs and monitors.  With the introduction of DisplayPort 1.2 in 20xx, this interface has had the capability to drive 4K displays at 60Hz, included tiled and non-tiled displays.  2014 has seen a number of vendors releasing new 4K monitors at reasonable prices, and as such, adoption of 4K has increased.  With this rapid adoption, many users have questions about how to get the best 4K experience.

It is important to note that DisplayPort is an interface technology that defines a set of specifications for a system of display components that work together to deliver high quality images to the display.  The system components include the source/transmitter (eg. A discrete GPU), the connection cable, and a sink/receiver (eg. A 4K LCD monitor), all running at very high speeds.  If any one of these components is not operating as defined by the specifications, the system may not operate as expected.  This is the reason that VESA defines Compliance Test Specifications - to certify components for correct behavior so that the system components can work together as expected and deliver the best possible user experience.

All of AMD’s [reference] designs that include DisplayPort 1.2 outputs have been tested and certified according to VESA specifications. Even so, it is possible for end users to see issues (such as flickering) that requires a system approach to resolve. 

First, it is important to use the latest display drivers.  AMD Catalyst™ 14.7 RC3, for example, was posted on August 14th, 2014, and included a fix for some 4K displays in the market that were found to have flickering issues with certain AMD Radeon™ graphics cards due to non-standard display timings.  A software workaround was implemented to resolve the display timing issues.
This driver also included some DisplayPort interface enhancements to improve 4k monitor performance and reduce flickering.  For this driver, the improvements applied to the following products:

  • AMD Radeon R9 290 Series
  • AMD Radeon R9 270 Series
  • AMD Radeon HD 7800 Series
  • More to be added here soon..

AMD plans to implement similar enhancements to more AMD Radeon graphics products in the near future.  Always look out for the latest drivers at the link below:

http://support.amd.com/en-us/download

Second, even with these driver improvements, cable quality and other system variables can affect 4k performance.  Not all cables are made equal, and unfortunately there exist some cables in the market which are not certified, and/or do not meet the performance requirements set forth by VESA.  AMD recommends using DisplayPort 1.2 certified cables with a length of 2m (~6 ft) or less when driving 4K monitors.  VESA has published an article about how to choose a good cable here:

http://www.displayport.org/cables/how-to-choose-a-displayport-cable-and-not-get-a-bad-one/

Finally, the monitor itself may be the final component to consider for resolving any issues that arise with 4K systems.  The DisplayPort receiver in the monitor must perform according to specifications, in addition to the accompanying hardware and firmware implementation’s ability to handle 4K timings without issue.  It is a good idea to check with your monitor vendor for known issues, and any available resolutions.

DisplayPort is the most advanced display interface available and, when everything is working correctly, delivers an amazing 4K experience.  Following the tips presented in this article will help to achieve the expected behavior with 4K DisplayPort systems.  If not, please provide feedback via the AMD Issue Reporting Form link below:

www.amd.com/report


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