Last reply by 07-08-2021 Unsolved
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Is my PC HBR2 or HBR3 capable?

Dell is now selling USB Type-C HBR3 capable monitor. The question has appeared, "Is my PC HBR2 or HBR3 capable?". One quick way to identify this is to open the monitor Menu- Others- Display Info and look for something like this found in the U2520D Menu- Others- Display Info. Note the U2520D DP Capability DP 1.4 (HBR3). The laptop in this case is HBR2 as shown in: Link Rate (Current): HBR2.

HBR2 (High Bit Rate 2) is the standard used by DisplayPort 1.2
HBR3 (High Bit Rate 3) is the standard used by DisplayPort 1.3/1.4



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7 Plutonium

Thanks for creating this thread.  Hopefully in the future Dell will start calling out DisplayPort HBR level support in the documentation of their actual PCs so that people can plan accordingly upfront rather than having to buy an HBR3-capable display that shows this information in order to figure it out.  I noticed that the Setup and Specifications documentation for the XPS 15 9500 and XPS 17 9700 are improving somewhat in this regard since they specifically mention DisplayPort 1.2/1.4 support on their USB-C/TB3 ports, whereas the documentation of most other laptops right now only says "DisplayPort".  But as of this writing, that's ironically sort of a one step forward, two steps back situation.  The reason is that the XPS 15's documentation incorrectly claims DP 1.4 support on the right side USB-C port (it's only 1.2), while the XPS 17 claims DP 1.2 support all around even though it can run DP 1.4 if the BIOS option to allow the NVIDIA GPU to run the outputs is enabled (and the XPS 17 configuration includes an NVIDIA GPU, which it can apparently be ordered without, at least in some markets.)

And even if those issues were corrected, users looking at those specs would still have to know that DP 1.2 means HBR2 and DP 1.4 means HBR3, which isn't obvious.


Edits =

Added Display Info to Menu description line

Added definitions

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A late replay. Recently I'm shopping for a proper docking station for XPS 17. It seems that DP 1.4 would support HBR3. However, per Dell's documentation here, that the thunderbolt ports on XPS will support DisplayPort 1.4 (supporting up to HBR2). The inconsistent information just further confuses me. 


@PoppyElliott  Until recently, Dell didn't even identify a specific DisplayPort revision in their specs.  The USB-C port specs just mentioned support for "DisplayPort".  I suggested to Dell-Chris M that this be changed since Dell's documentation of their docks and displays are very clear about differentiating what setups are possible and under what conditions when the attached system supports HBR2 vs. HBR3, but the documentation of their systems doesn't specify which revision they support -- which of course isn't all that helpful.  He agreed and passed it on to the Documentation team.  So when the new XPS systems launched, I was thrilled to see that revisions were provided....except that now instead of the information not being available, it was incorrect.

The XPS 15 9500 specs as of this writing still say that the right-side USB-C port supports DP 1.4, which isn't correct.  It only supports DP 1.2, because all ports are driven by the Intel GPU, which in that system only supports DP 1.2.  The specs of the left-side ports mention support for DP 1.2/HBR2.

As for the XPS 17 9700, the specs used to say it supports DP 1.2/HBR2.  To my knowledge, DP 1.4/HBR2 isn't even possible.  But in terms of what it actually supports, neither of those tell the full story.  If you get a configuration with the NVIDIA RTX GPU -- not just the GTX GPU -- then you get a BIOS option that allows you to choose which GPU controls the outputs.  By default, it will be the Intel GPU, and in that case to my knowledge it only supports DP 1.2/HBR2, since it uses the same Intel GPU as the same Core 10th Gen H Series CPUs as the XPS 15 9500.  But if you enable that BIOS option to give the NVIDIA GPU direct control, then the ports support DP 1.4/HBR3.  There's a page about this BIOS option here.  (The wording "Direct Graphics Controller Direct Output Mode" is goofy.  I suspect the first "Direct" was supposed to be "Discrete".)  And I spoke with someone on this forum who enabled that option and was able to run Dell's 8K display at 60 Hz, which is only possible with dual DP 1.4/HBR3 connections -- but that was only achievable after enabling that BIOS option.  If you get a configuration that does not include an RTX GPU, then the Intel GPU controls the outputs with no ability to change that.

But again, I don't think DP 1.4/HBR2 is possible.  The only way I can see that potentially making any sense would be if the GPU supported capabilities of DP 1.4 such as HDR and/or DisplayPort DSC without being able to run the higher bandwidth rates of HBR3, but I don't think the Intel GPU in that system supports either of those except maybe on the built-in display that would use eDP.


In case anyone wonders, I have a Dell XPS 9700 with discrete RTX 2060, and after checking the "direct output" BIOS option, I am able to run a 3840x1600 display at 120Hz, both directly via USB-C -> DisplayPort cable (oddly enough, rated only for 4k@60Hz, while a cable rated for 8k@60Hz didn't work), and through the WD19TBS dock.

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