Passive and Active Displayport Adapters: What’s the Difference?

A DisplayPort is a type of technology or gadget that provides a wide range of connectivity options from a single connector such as a PC to various displays like monitors, HDTVs, and projectors. These displays can have DVI, HDMI, or VGA inputs hence the need for a DisplayPort adapter.

Over the recent years, HD displays have become increasingly popular, making VGA and DVI standards unfashionable. Whether you are utilizing a PC, laptop, or TV, chances are you are going to need to convert the DisplayPort signal to an HDMI or vice versa. To fulfill this, you are going to need a DisplayPort adapter.

Mini DisplayPort adapters

There are two principal types of adapters in the market today, that is active and passive DisplayPort adapters. So which one should you use? The decision will depend on;

The type of video source signal

Number of monitors

If your video source supports dual-mode DisplayPort (DP++) output


Differences between passive and active adapters

The main distinction between an active and passive DisplayPort adapter is that an active adapter has a conversion chip or semiconductor to boost a device's performance. This means that the port of an active DisplayPort is a little bigger than a passive one. A passive adapter will resemble your regular plug.

Because passive adapters don’t have the additional chip, they are more affordable than active adapters. If your mini DisplayPort or DisplayPort source has the DP++ symbol, you can use a passive adapter to send a single video link to a DVI or HDMI monitor. With a dual-mode DisplayPort, the video source does the conversion and not the adapter.

Active DisplayPorts are more expensive and are the option if you want to connect to multiple monitors. This is because active DisplayPort adapters convert both single and dual-mode outputs. They are also great for use with graphic cards that don’t output dual-mode signals. This also means that your video source doesn’t have to support DP++.

With an active adapter, the adapter performs the conversion, unlike passive adapters where the video source does the conversion. It can convert to DVI. VGA or HDMI. It’s important to note that all DisplayPort to VGA adapters are active, while DisplayPort to HDMI or DVI adapters can be either passive or active.

It’s important to note that all conversions result in a loss of picture quality. It’s also likely that you will experience some lagging because of the shift in voltage, making the adapter slower. It is advisable to use the same type of connection whenever you can. For example, connect from DisplayPort output to a DisplayPort input in another device.

Finally, now that you have some general information about DisplayPort adapters, you will know what works for your home use and professional use. Either way, many devices today are designed to be versatile and compatible, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

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