What is The DisplayPort Pin 20 Issue?

Gamers enjoy building high-end gaming setups – and DisplayPort enjoys popularity among gamers for it’s higher bandwith and performance. However, in some cases dating back to the early 2010s, gamers around the world experienced the DisplayPort pin 20 issue, which is caused by incorrectly made DisplayPort cables. When they tried to attach their shiny new gaming monitors using badly made DisplayPort cables, they were having troubles getting their computers and monitors to boot. What exactly happened?


The Problem

The VESA specification shows that both the source and the sink are supposed to provide power at 3.3V+-10% and 500mA on the DP_PWR pin, which is the notorious pin 20.


DisplayPort Pin Assignment


Pin 20 is very useful when you are trying to connect dongles to your device. Some dongles require an external power supply to work, and thanks to DP_PWR, you don't need a separate power supply cable to power your dongle.

The real issue is that one should never ever connect the DP_PWR of the source to the DP_PWR of the sink: it's impossible for both pins to have exactly the same voltage, so connecting them together would effectively result in a short circuit condition. In addition, if your display is powered on while your GPU is powered off, this connection might even cause graphics card failures.


The Fact

Truth be told, pin 20 is actually part of the VESA standard, and that means most DisplayPort cables from third-party brands have the pin 20, so it’s no big deal. The difference between an incorrectly built DisplayPort cable and the correct one came down to how the pin 20 was wired.


DisplayPort Pin Wiring


According to the VESA specification, pin 20 is not wired at all. The issue can be avoided by using a properly wired DisplayPort cable. But how are we supposed to know that?


iVANKY DisplayPort Cable Pin 20 Unwired


The only way to know is to tear the connector apart. As shown above, the pin 20 of iVANKY’s DisplayPort cable is not connected. All the DisplayPort cables at iVANKY are correctly wired and don’t cause damage or failure on your PC.


The Fix

If your graphics card was manufactured after 2017, then you have nothing to worry about. The issue is commonly found on older models, and GPU manufacturers like Nvidia and AMD provided software updates to fix the problem.

However, the fastest and safest fix is a well-built, VESA certified DisplayPort cable. All DisplayPort cables at iVANKY are properly made and wired correctly, preventing possible damage and failures to your computer.


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