I am not a fan of gaming but after a whole year of home office, I really started to feel uncomfortable in my eyes. Some of my friends say it is because of the monitor I use. Although not totally into this point, I think it makes at least some sense.
A better monitor can surely be more friendly to my eyes.
Samsung S27A350H to Dell S2721DGFA
My switch or upgrade is big. It is also the reason why I think it’s worth writing this article.
During the last year, more specifically until this evening, I was using a Samsung S27A350H, noted by macOS as SMS27A350H. I got it as a second-hand monitor, primarily because of the price and no need of „fancy“ stuff. It is not so bad, but it is just not good enough as of 2022 for me. It is okay: 27 inch, Full HD (1920 x 1080), from a big brand Samsung, and like the following image. And these points are what I thought being enough for my stage of not for enjoying the life.
Now, it is 2022. It is the start of a new stage of my life. Naturally, it is time for me to have the normal criteria. What for a monitor? 27 inch should be big and small enough (small in the sense of having two in parallel), QHD (2560 x 1440) fits well to the 27 inch (4k for 32 inch in my opinion), HDR is a must (I use MacBook Pro), Color range and Contrast should be good enough (I am a photography and amateur designer), High frequency and Low reaction time are good to have. These are the minimum requirements. There are many monitors on the market which satisfy all my above requirements. Not really a fan but with respect to the brand Dell and also saw the promotion events of Dell at the right time, I have ordered a Dell S2721DGFA.
To be honest, I didn’t expect to have a gaming monitor because I am not really much into gaming. I just paid the price I think acceptable and Dell S2721DGFA just offers me some extra cool features which are for gaming and I am also happy to have. So what are the things? One of the them is the resolution QHD 2560 x 1440 (DisplayPort: 165 Hz, HDMI: 144 Hz). And it is also the thing which leads me onto this article. But before going to this point in details, although not sponsored by Dell, for the favor of my new Dell monitor, let me introduce a little bit of Dell S2721DGFA. I think the page title for this monitor on Amazon.de gives a good impression: „Dell S2721DGFA, 27 Inches, Gaming Monitor, QHD 2560 x 1440, 1ms, IPS Anti-Glare, 16:9, NVIDIA G-SYNC, Height-Adjustable, VESA, HDMI, DP, USB“.
Type-C to HDMI – Why Didn’t It Work Well?
Personally, I am somehow also a moderate technology enthusiast, in the sense I like to experience and own things which represent new horizons. How is it related to the topic here? I have 3 USB-C multiport adapters / hubs / docks / docking’s / docking stations, how you name them, and many HDMI cables and mono-port adapters.
My USB-C to HDMI Docks
(for the copyright and credits, the following many images, if not specified, are all from official sources on official websites including ugreen.com and lulian.cn, and shopping websites including taobao.com, jd.com, suning.com, aliexpress.com and amazon.de; images in one gallery can be from multiple web pages, simply because of the marketing mess where not all necessary information is given on the same page, as a result I need to collect them from multiple pages for the same product)
The first one I bought is CableCreation CD0566 (may be a similar other one). I bought it for my MacBook 2015 which only has one USB port and it is USB-C. The possibilities provided by this dock are many – cable Internet, SD card, one external monitor via HDMI (4K@30Hz).
The second one I bought is Ugreen CM179 (may be a similar other one). Back then I just had a new MacBook Pro 2018 and two new Dell U2417H (again, page title on amazon.de, „DELL U2417H 48.6 cm (24 Inch) Monitor (HDMI, DisplayPort, 6ms Response Time) Black“), so apparently, the CableCreation CD0566 with just one HDMI didn’t satisfy the requirements. Therefore, I bought the second dock. The benefit is the new dock has two video output port – one VGA and one HDMI(4K*2K@30Hz). (I also forgot how it was, with lip closed, whether I used both HDI and VGA from this dock or I used both my docks.) (The following images bring confusion; among them the image may be in conflict with text explanation; may be resulted by different versions in different years)
The third one I bought was SSK SC200. And it is bought last year and carried from China to Germany by one of my friends. To be honest, I haven’t yet unbox it. Bought it just because I was and am into such innovative things. The cool thing about this dock is the support of 3 video output ports – one VGA and two HDMI (4K*2K@30Hz). (The last image in the following gallery may not be for this dock – I just lost the source of the image, therefore unsure)
My Other HDMI Devices and Cables
The above introduced things were also not the whole picture. Again, back then in 2019, except the MacBook and MacBook Pro, in fact, I also had a Lenovo G50-70 (also bought in Germany back in 2014) aside. In order to share external monitors and also the keyboard and mouse, I also bought Ugreen KVM CM200. The HDMI on this device is noted as 4K@30Hz.
And of course, several cables, for making the story telling easier, although I have many HDMI cables shipped when I bought my other devices such as the Dell S2721DGFA, I also just bring out the Ugreen cables I bought separately. And I will use the photos I took today because I get confuse when I am trying to find the right shopping web pages. I have several of the following two cables with lines such as „High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet“.
According to many sources on the Internet, I am convinced that „High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet“ means HDMI 1.4. However, when I try to find the Ugreen HDMI cables, there is no HDMI 1.4 available in 2022. I also don’t think my HDMI cables are more than 5 years old. ~~No idea, maybe, in the past 3 years, Ugreen updated all HDMI cable to be HDMI 2.0, therefore no HDMI 1.4 at the moment.~~ (Some clues are at https://www.lulian.cn/news/92-cn.html and https://www.lulian.cn/product/77-cn.html) Finally, found my online orders – although labeled as „High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet“, they are HDMI 2.0. What another lesson.
(Besides all the above mentioned, in fact, I am also holding the „USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter“, but I have never been not really daily using it – keeping it as the standard to test my other devices. (Recalled on interesting thing – This Apple thing doesn’t work better than Ugreen when the lid of MacBook is close and two external monitors are connected – again, maybe just wrong memory))
The Not Explicitly Told Thing
Through the last two sections, intentionally, I took out the terms like „4K@30Hz“, „4K*2K@30Hz“, and „HDMI 2.0“, but without further explanation. And now it is the time. But hold on, first, let me talk about the issue. What is it?
My new Dell S2721DGFA is with QHU (Quad HD, 1440p, 2560 x 1440) with a HDMI frequency 144 Hz, coincidently, or not really, this is the limit of HDMI 2.0. So what is the amount of „4K@30Hz“ or „4K*2K@30Hz“? It is HDMI 1.4. Therefore, …, all my CableCreation CD0566, Ugreen CM179 and SSK SC200 cannot satisfy my Dell S2721DGFA, although my Ugreen HD 101 cables work just well.
Am I stuck here? Oh, I am a moderate technology enthusiast and it is 2022. So of course, I also bought several new cables (4K@60Hz) even before I had the ideas of buying the new Dell S2721DGFA. Proof? Yes, You can see I received my new HDMI cables on 25.02.2022. Not even mentioning when I ordered them, the 25th is already before the time when I ordered the Dell S2721DGFA – Yes, in Germany, ordering on dell.com takes less then a week for me to get it.
4K@60Hz, 4K@30Hz, HDMI 2.0 – What Are the Secrets?
Finally, congratulations to you, you reached this most valuable part of this article. This is also the „All“ part in the „It’s All for the New Monitor“.
I bought a new monitor, and it didn’t just replace my old monitor and worked well. Then I took the journey to find out why. Finally, I learnt a lot. Sorry, I bluffed as „All“.
In the video world, or the image world, there are terms like 720p, 1080p, 1080i, 2K, 4K, 8K, HD, FHD (Full HD), QHD (Quad HD), UHD (Ultra HD). What are they? One image worth thousands of words. (Images taken on https://dein-technerd.de/bildschirm-auflosung-einfach-erklart/) (Not all terms are popular and not all worth to be known)
In the HDMI world, just talking about the cable categories, although technically more as Cat1, Cat2 and Cat4, more often, we hear HDMI 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 (earlier versions are dying out and newer versions are not yet popular).
So quickest understanding:
- HDMI 1.4, maximum bandwidth 10.2 Gbps
- supports 4K, maximum 30 Hz
- if 1440p, maximum 75Hz
- HDMI 2.0, maximum bandwidth 18 Gbps
- supports 4K, maximum 60 Hz
- if 1440p, maximum 144Hz
- if 1080p, maximum 240Hz
- HDMI 2.1, maximum bandwidth 48 Gbps
- can do 4K at maximum 120Hz
One thing to note, the essence about HDMI is the bandwidth. And HDMI cables are not just wires, still subject to limits.
So, when given as 4K@30Hz, don’t be fooled, it usually says HDMI 1.4; when given as 4K@60Hz, this usually says HDMI 2.0. In other words, 4K there doesn’t equal 4K here.
If more bandwidth than HDMI 2.1 allows, then using DP instead of HDMI will be the choice just like using HDMI instead of VGA, although backward compatibility of legacy devices would be another issue. In 2022, back 10 years should be reasonable and I guess HDMI will only be not enough in 2032 or a little bit sooner, when we say, the world is not linear, but who knows?
Is 60Hz Necessary?
Short answer – Yes. Human eyes are commonly known to have a „refresh rate“ in 30Hz to 60Hz which also means 30Hz is even lower than our eyes has. And according to the „double theory“ (sorry, I just named it), a refresh rate between 60Hz and 120Hz of monitors should be necessary. And 60Hz is the minimum minimum. So 60Hz is very much necessary. (This paragraph just gives the idea, not theoretically strict.)
Again, I am not sponsored for this article. Just out of the interests of a moderate technology enthusiast and maybe for your information. I just given introduction to the upgraded devices which supports HDMI 2.0 and later versions.
The Upgraded Ugreen CM179
One more thing – Many Ugreen Devices in One Page
The page is https://item.jd.com/25976812609.html. More or less marketing trash, but giving some interesting images. The first 3 images are about the Ugreen 10 in 1 which is HDMI 1.4. The 4th image tells several Ugreen devices which support HDMI 2.0. The last image, I guess, is for Ugreen CM274, but not verified.