Suppose you are thinking about converting a video using a displayport cable or DisplayPort to DVI adapter, you will first need to understand the two types of adapters, i.e., active and passive.
The final choice would depend on the type of signal from the video source, the number of monitors, and whether it supports dual-mode DisplayPort (DP++) output.
Also, consider the GPU. It allows the usage of only two passive adapters, and beyond that, you should use active adapters. Probably because the GPU has two clock signals for passive adapters, with no freedom of their own.
So, what is the perfect choice? To know this, let us first understand these adapters in detail.
Types of Adapters
Adapters, aka dongles, are used to connect modern devices with old ports or vice versa. Generally, there are two ways to connect them, i.e., active or passive.
Active DisplayPort Adapter
Active adapters use an internal chip for conversion that makes it possible to convert both: single-mode and dual-mode output. It means the video source can be of DP++ format or others. They are ideal for graphic cards like AMD Infinity that do not support DP++ output on maximum monitors. Analog VGA and dual-link DVI can also power active adapters to convert signal levels.
Owing to the additional chips, the active adapters are far more expensive than passive.
Passive DisplayPort Adapter
For a video source supporting dual-mode DisplayPort cable, use a passive adapter. It would then send video to a single-link DVI or HDMI monitor. The reason is that here instead of an adapter, DP++ performs the conversion. Besides, it does not support external chips. The two-clock sync signals per GPU further mandates the use of two passive adapters at most.
Though it is cheaper than an active adapter, DisplayPort passive adapter is not the best option while connecting to multiple monitors.
You got a gist of adapters. The next question is, how would you decide if the DisplayPort is an active adapter or a passive adapter?
DisplayPort: Active or Passive?
The easiest way to tell if an adapter is active or passive is by remembering a chip’s presence. If an adapter has a video converter chip for better performance, then it is active. No chip means that the adapter is passive. Next, if the adapter has a small box for conversation chips, then it is active. A DisplayPort cable that is similar to a regular plug is mostly passive.
Besides, all DisplayPort to VGA adapters are active. DisplayPort to HDMI and displayport to dvi adapter can be active or passive.
Connecting to Multiple Computers
If you are thinking about connecting your DisplayPort source to multiple VGA, HDMI, or DVI monitors, you will probably need an active adapter or splitter. Even if your video source supports DP++, you would require an active adapter. This is because some graphics cannot support DP++ on multiple monitors. Also, GPU supports at max two passive adapters. However, it depends on the device’s capabilities, and thus, it is advisable to confirm with the graphic card manufacturer about the compatible adapter.
DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (MST) hubs are also an alternative option for connecting multiple monitors to a DisplayPort video source. They provide better functionality. However, ensure that your graphics card supports DisplayPort 1.2 standards. Only then you can leverage the full potential of MST features.
Some GPUs/DisplayPort equipment specifically uses Active DisplayPort cables. Well, it is due to the timing and other design requirements.
Choosing an adapter does not sound like a big deal but choosing the right one definitely is. And to make that decision, you need to understand the types of adapters, their use, and if it is suitable for you.