ProsWorks like magic, turning a DisplayPort output into an HDMI 2.0 output in terms of video, passing 4K at 60Hz with 4:4:4 sub-sampling; comes in at a reasonable price
ConsSurround sound is too much to ask for...
Since the introduction of 4K TVs, home theater PC enthusiasts have been hoping to get their hands on an easy method to actually get high-quality 4K images on screen. Sure, you could use HDMI 1.4, which any modern PC comes equipped with, but then you're stuck with 4K at 30Hz, which is anything but a smooth experience. And while DisplayPort 1.2 is more than capable of providing 4K output at 60Hz, the vast majority of mass-market TVs don't come equipped with a DisplayPort input. So it is with great excitement that The Tech Buyer's Guru reviews Accell's new DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 Converter, which promises to be everything enthusiasts have wanted for so long!
HDMI 2.0 output on desktop PCs has actually been possible since September 2014, when Nvidia released its Geforce GTX 900 line of GPUs. But they started out quite expensive, and only in late 2015 did Nvidia finally release a video card targeted at HTPC enthusiasts: the GeForce GTX 950, which came it at $150 and offered both HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2, and even H.265 encoding and decoding! Alas, that's still a lot of money if all you need is basic 4K output for desktop use or video streaming, and futhermore, thusfar no GTX 950 model has arrived in the low-profile format often required for HTPC use.
Many enthusiasts had hoped Intel would come to the rescue with the release of the Skylake platform in August 2015, and the surprise of many, including TBG, Intel simply ignored the 4K HTPC market all together. Yes, Skylake can now do 4096x2304 at 60Hz over DisplayPort, up from 3840x2160@60Hz on previous-gen products, but that's not the trick we've all been waiting for. And all along, AMD has been strangely-silent on HDMI 2.0, with even its ultra-high-end Fiji GPUs, released in June of 2015, failing to include a single HDMI 2.0 port. It's as if HDMI 2.0 were a dirty word, but the truth is that it's the only thing that makes the true 4K TV experience possible.
So as you can probably tell, there are plenty of folks lined up for a way out of this quagmire, and Accell has swooped in to potentially save them all with one simple product, its DisplayPort 1.2 to HDMI 2.0 converter, available at Amazon for $37.99. Will it save the day? Our review will answer that question in short order!
We'd like to extend a special thank you to Accell for providing this review sample.
Description and Features
There really isn't too much to say here. This is a self-powered converter, which you plug into your video output, and then pair with a high-quality HDMI cable to pass 4K signals. Please, dear reader, take that "high-quality" bit seriously. Older HDMI cables will fail right off the bat, so despite the fact that the HDMI consortium refused to create an HDMI 2.0 cable spec, there is such thing as an HDMI cable that cannot meet the spec. So, if you haven't purchased an HDMI cable lately, do yourself a favor and buy Amazon's "latest standard" cable, which we can assure you is code for HDMI 2.0!
Speaking of specs, Accell has published some fairly heady specs on this part, the most relevant of which we've listed below:
- Resolution up to 4096x2160 @60Hz, 8-bit color
- 3D video support up to 1080p @120Hz
- Supports content protection formats HDCP 1.4 and HDCP 2.2
- Audio support up to 8 channels LPCM @32kHz
- Supports RGB up to 12 bpc, YCbCr4:4:4 -4:2:2 -4:2:0 up to 12 bpc
Truth be told, there's one spec above that is a bit tricky to interpret, and it turns out to be a whole lot less useful than you might think it is. We'll explain all that on on the next page.
To put the adapter to the test, we tried it on two test systems:
- CPU: Intel Core i5-6600K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor
- Motherboard: Asus Z170I Pro Gaming
- RAM: G.Skill 2x4GB Ripjaws 4 DDR4-3000
- SSD: Samsung 850 Evo 500GB
- Power Supply: Silverstone SX500-LG
- CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-L9x65 (thank you to Noctua for providing this review sample)
- Case: SilverStone CS-01 (thank you to Silverstone for providing this review sample)
- Operating System: Windows 10
Our second test system was equipped with the following components:
- CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K
- Motherboard: ASRock Z97E-ITX/ac
- Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB
- RAM: Samsung 2x4GB Extreme Low Voltage DDR3-1600
- SSD: Corsair Force GS 240GB
- Power Supply: EVGA Supernova 650 GS
- CPU Cooler: Cooler Master GeminII S524 Ver. 2
- Case: SilverStone SG08B-Lite
- Operating System: Windows 10
Both systems were tested with the following AV equipment:
We're going to give this cable a real workout, seeing whether it can beat running an HDMI cable from the HDMI 1.4 output of both of our systems (using Intel Haswell and Skylake chipsets), and then whether it can match the HDMI 2.0 output of our GeForce GTX 980 Ti video card! But before we get to the actual performance on the next page, first we present proof that this adapter can indeed output 4K@60Hz from your motherboard's built-in Intel DisplayPort:
But there's more than meets the eye, literally, as you'll see on the next page...