[Step 3.1] Ports and additional features

Hi Folks!

This post is going to be about ports! after this we will have enough of an idea of what we’re making to start working on the product’s industrial design (ID)!

In the meantime we are testing panel samples and we will get back to you with the results shortly!


Ports are part of our DNA :slight_smile: The V had lots of ports which helped to set it apart from the competition, and Project: Spectrum should be no different. Or should it? Let’s find out in this topic!


- port signal resolution/refresh rate feature support
VGA analogue 1920x1080 at 85Hz -
Dual-Link DVI-D digital 1920x1080 at 144Hz, 2560x1440 at 75Hz -
HDMI 2.0a digital 3840x2160 at 60Hz audio, HDR
DisplayPort 1.4 digital 3840x2160 at 120Hz audio, HDR, adaptive sync
USB Type-C digital 3840x2160 at 30Hz (HDMI alternative mode) or 3840x2160 at 120Hz (DisplayPort alternative mode) audio, USB-PD power delivery

Backgrounds and considerations


VGA has been around for decades, and because it’s commonly found on older projectors and displays it can still be found on some modern computers for reasons of compatibility. Its resolution support is limited, and because it’s an analog connection there is a loss of image quality both in converting the digital signal from your computer and in the transfer. Since we want users to actually be able to enjoy the full quality of the display panel, we feel that VGA is not suitable for our monitor.


DVI has also been around for a long time, and though it has replaced the VGA port as the go-to connector for monitors long ago, it too is now slowly dying out in favor of HDMI and DisplayPort. Though there are a number of varieties to DVI, the one that is relevant to us is Dual-Link DVI-D, the digital variant capable of higher resolutions. It is still a very common port on computers, so if we opt for a Quad-HD (2560x1440) panel it may be a suitable port for our needs, though even then it would not lend itself to high-refresh rate gaming.


HDMI is the modern standard for transferring a digital image signal between computers, consoles, set-top boxes and TVs. Being able to deliver both a video and an audio signal makes it a one-stop solution for connecting multimedia devices. Though it is fine for most resolutions, its focus on film and TV means that high refresh rates aren’t supported. It is the ideal port for connecting your computer to a TV rather than a monitor, but because of that it is still a very common port found on many modern computers.


DisplayPort was designed to supersede DVI as the new modern standard for monitors. And as such, it can handle just about any use case you can throw at it. High resolutions? High refresh rates? Audio signals? DisplayPort can do it. Features like HDR, adaptive sync, or daisy-chaining multiple monitors on a single cable? DisplayPort again. Because it’s aimed specifically at monitors and not at multimedia devices in general, it’s taken a while to become as wide-spread as HDMI. So you’ll mostly find it on modern computers, but when it’s there, it’s the port of choice!


USB Type-C can be used to carry protocols other than USB. Thunderbolt 3 has been a popular example of adding functionality to the port, and another useful feature are alternative modes. Through these, a USB Type-C port can output a DisplayPort, HDMI, or other signal. On devices with limited space, having this versatile, reversible port allows you to connect a variety of peripherals. And for some time, that was done mostly through port adapters (the dreaded ‘dongles’). USB-C has been appearing more and more on monitors, allowing you to connect computers with video output over USB Type-C directly to the display. And because USB-C can also transmit audio and power, your screen could charge your laptop with the same single cable through which it receives its image signal.

Time to plug in our monitor!

What ports do you think should be on Project: Spectrum?

  • DVI Dual-Link DVI-D
  • DP DisplayPort
  • USB-C USB Type-C

0 voters

If you picked USB Type-C, what features should it support?

  • USB-PD to power the monitor using the computer
  • USB-PD to power the computer using the monitor
  • USB HDMI Alternate Mode to carry an HDMI signal
  • USB DisplayPort Alternate Mode to carry a DisplayPort signal

0 voters

Not all about graphics

Obviously, the image signal connectors are the most important ones on a monitor, as without them it couldn’t actually do its primary job as a display. But some monitors offer additional ports, like a built-in USB hub.

Instead of digging around the back of a computer case that might be out of reach, USB ports on the side or back of the screen allow for quickly plugging in a temporary device like a USB thumb drive. Some may connect their keyboard, mouse, and other accessories to the monitor so that only a single cable has to be run between the monitor and computer, keeping a cleaner desk.

When considering these features, keep in mind that things like a built-in USB hub generally require an additional USB cable to be run to the computer alongside the image signal cable.

  • I don’t care about extra features, just get me a good display
  • I want a hub with just USB Type-A built into my monitor
  • I want a hub with just USB Type-C built into my monitor
  • I want a hub with both USB Type-A and Type-C built into my monitor
  • I want an SD card reader built into my monitor
  • I want a 1Gb network port built into my monitor
  • I want something else built into my monitor, I will leave comment

0 voters


Just want to ask, has it already been decided that Spectrum will/won’t have touch/pen capability? USB-C connectivity would be useful in this application.

Personally, the inclusion of a touch/pen capabilty would make the Spectrum instantly attractive even as a secondary monitor purchase (especially with VESA mounting), for people who already have good design/gaming displays.


I feel that if vga and dvi-d don’t add much cost and are possible within the design, they should be added anyway. Not the prettiest but they still get the job done. But it’s all about costs imo.


I would even go as far and add DVI and VGA in this order depending on either cost.
But if it cannot drive the Display at native resolution and frame rate they can be left out to decrease the Chance of buyers that cannot use the capability of their Monitor when just looking at the plugs and not the full specs.


I voted for USB C and DVI, the latter just for compatibility with older kit but I would be happy to do without it if including it meant a smaller overall feature set or if it otherwise negatively impacted the product - particularly if any port type meant actually reducing the maximum resolution or refresh rate of the product as a whole.

From the point of view of universality I would also have voted for HDMI and DisplayPort as I think they’re still important - particularly HDMI. However, I removed those votes in favour of asking for relevant adapters to be included (or available at low cost).

I’m also of the opinion that multiple, switchable inputs is a good idea - How about a DVI and a couple of USB C ports round the back (arranged so that the direction of plugging in is parallel to the monitor plane!) and another couple of USB C ports on the side?

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I agree with you!!!
A dock simply MUST have as much ports as possible!!!
A Swiss Army Dock :sunglasses:

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Psst, this is the screen project :stuck_out_tongue:

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I think it should have DP and USB C, and maybe also HDMI, but the others are not necessary. Not many GPUs have USB C so it will be necessary to include DP.

Will the monitor have Freesync?

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Aaaahahahahahahahah :joy:
I was switching between and have lost track :joy:
My apologies :disappointed:

3x USB/thunderbolt 3 type-C ports 1xHDMI(UHD) port and 3xUSB-Type A port would be great to have as a extra feature for the monitor.

The monitors I use have multiple ports on them VGA, DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI. I have multiple computers attached. It would be great to have multiple ports, and firmware that will allow me to switch between sources via app/utility, or at least have the source button on the top, bottom or front of the display, and not behind. Some serious consideration regarding convenience would be fantastic.

Good question! We are trying to understand from the manufacturer what it would take to make it touch as it seems metal mesh cost and direct bonding would skyrocket the price :slight_smile: But hang on there!


I have mixed feelings about the extras features. It all depends on cost. If they’ll add a lot to the price tag I won’t be so inclined to have them. Extra $50…I can live with that. Extra $150…probably not. Again, it depends on what I would be getting for the extra expenditure.


Found a different model with HDMI and DP: https://www.amazon.ca/Philips-258B6QUEB-USB-C-Docking-Monitor/dp/B0764LGJ98/ref=sr_1_8?keywords=USB+c+dock+monitor&qid=1558106830&s=gateway&sr=8-8

I have had my eye on this monitor. really like the idea that I could plug my Galaxy S10 into a USB-C cable and have it charge and launch dex, while having USB-A ports for periphrials and additional video input for machines with out usb c

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VGA should definitely be allowed to die already. It is unsightly.
Personally I would probably go for HDMI, DP, 2x USB-C since that seems to me like it would take into account most use scenarios.


I want speakers. Saving space but using vesa mount with monitor arm, speakers should be at the side of the monitor.

Or can we hook usb speakers?
My current asus monitor has speakers! It is well arm mounted! :grimacing:

I know that current GPU don’t have HDMI 2.1 outputs (yet), but in case the Spectrum ends up 4K, would it be possible to have an HDMI 2.1 input, in order to use it with for example an upcoming PS5 in frequencies over 60Hz? (if the cost of it is similar)

Next year consoles might use 4K at 120Hz in HDR, and will likely need an HDMI 2.1 connection.

I’m curious if during your researches, you came across news from VESA about DP 1.5 or whatever its next version will be called, we exceeded the bandwidth limit of DP 1.4 a year ago in a consumer monitor (forcing the use of chroma-subsampling), and still no news about an upgraded DP while it’s concretely needed.


Are there any (pro)consumer products that have a “clear” advantage for those techniques? And do we have a reason to believe those techniques aren’t horribly optimized for transfers (might be easier to encode/decode them? or just less data). DP 1.4 seems to be just fine for the current consumer market with 4k 120Hz possibility.

There are variants of HDMI that have 4K@120, same as DP. You should use that if using DP.

10 gig ethernet please (just to fill in more space)