DVI Maximum Resolution and Refresh Rate

It’s tricky figuring out DVI’s maximum resolution and refresh rate because there are three types of DVI: DVI-A, DVI-I, and DVI-D.

Each of these DVI standards has different bandwidth limits. To make matters even more complicated, there are DVI single-link and DVI dual-link.

After spending ages researching the DVI video port and connectors, I finally have a firm grasp on how they work.

Remember, each connector type has bandwidth limitations. As the resolution increases, the refresh rate will lower. It’s up to you to find the sweet spot.

DVI Maximum Resolution and Refresh Rate

DVI-D dual-link has a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2400 at a 30 Hz refresh rate.

At 2560 x 1600 resolution, DVI-D dual link can support 60 Hz. Lowering the resolution even further to 1920 x 1080, and DVI-D dual link can support a refresh rate of 144 Hz.

DVI-D single link has a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1600 at 30 Hz. To reach 60 Hz on a DVI-D single link, set the resolution to 1920 x 1080 or lower.

Bear in mind, the maximum output resolution will depend on the device creating the signal. Graphics cards can usually output a wide range of resolutions, with the older models being limited to 4K.

However, if the DVI port is connected directly to your motherboard, the resolution output may be much lower. The maximum output will also be affected by the quality and length of the DVI cable.

Later on in this post, I’ll walk through the maximum resolutions, refresh rates, and bandwidth limits of each type of DVI.

What is DVI?

DVI (Digital Visual Interface) is a type of video port mostly found on PCs. It looks similar to VGA but with three rows of pins and a flat pin. The exact layout varies depending on the type of DVI being used.

First launched in 1999, the DVI video port was designed by a company called Digital Display Working Group as an attempt to replace analogue VGA cables.

Even though the video port is dated, it’s still found on many electronics such as; motherboards, graphics cards, monitors, and TVs.

DVI uses a mixture of analogue and digital signals. The oldest type of DVI, DVI-A, is limited to analogue signals only and has been mostly phased out at this point.

Today, DVI-D dual link is the most common connector, followed by the DVI-I dual link.

While you don’t need to know every specification of each type of DVI, it’s important to understand the basic layout of each one.

Types of DVI:

types of dvi chart

I’ll explain the chart in more detail below. Make sure the cable you buy matches the same connector DVI version on your device!

I made the mistake of buying the wrong adapter twice because I didn’t know about all the different types of DVI.


As mentioned earlier, DVI-D is the most common type of DVI today because it carries only digital signals, much like HDMI. It has 3 x 8 pins, for a total of 24 on the main section.

For that reason, it’s very easy to convert DVI-D to HDMI (and the other way) because all you need to change are the physical connectors.

DVI-D to HDMI adapters cost a few pounds.

Dual Link

DVI-D Dual Link, as seen in the picture, has three rows of eight pins and a flat pin on the side. It’s the most common type of DVI found in computers and monitors today. DVI-D dual link has the highest bandwidth limit of all types of DVI.

DVI-D dual link can even support 4K, although only at 30 Hz. It’s almost twice as fast as a DVI-D single link.

Single Link

DVI-D single link has the same core design, except it’s missing six pins in the centre of the connector. It only has 18 pins in total.

For that reason, the single link has lower data transfer speeds, and therefore can’t support specific resolutions.

That’s okay because most electronics nowadays don’t support DVI-D single link.

DVI-D Bandwidth

DVI-D dual link has a maximum bandwidth of 9.90 Gbit/s. The bandwidth of a DVI-D single link is 4.95 Gbit/s.

DVI-D Maximum Resolution and Refresh rate:

  • 3840 x 2400 at 30 Hz
  • 2560 x 1600 at 60 Hz
  • 1920 x 1080 at 144 Hz


DVI-I is no longer common, but it can still be found on old electronics. The DVI-I connector is interesting because it carries a mixture of analogue and digital signals. The layout is the same as DVI-D but with four pins surrounding the flat pin. The four pins are used for analogue signals.

DVI-I is compatible with digital and analogue monitors. Since DVI-I can carry both analogue and digital signals, you can easily connect it to an analogue monitor by using a passive adapter (something like this DVI-I to VGA adapter).

What is interesting is a DVI-D cable will work with a DVI-I port and vice versa. However, if you use the same cable with different ports, all the pins won’t be connected, so you won’t get the analogue signals from the four extra pins on the DVI-I port.

But it’s unlikely that you’ll need those anyways. In short, you don’t need to worry about buying a specific cable for each type of DVI.

Having a DVI-I output on your PC makes it possible to connect an old monitor or TV that only supports analogue signals over VGA. On that note, take a look at our DVI vs VGA article.

You can also connect DVI-I to an HDMI monitor by using an adapter because DVI-I also carries digital signals.


When it comes to specifications, DVI-D and DVI-I are practically the same.

The physical connectors of DVI-D and DVI-I are slightly different (DVI-I has four pins around the flat pin for analogue signals) but the maximum resolution and refresh rate are the same because they both have the same number of pins.

DVI-I Maximum Resolution & Refresh Rate

The maximum resolution of DVI-I is the same as DVI-D:

Dual Link

  • 3840 x 2400 at 30 Hz
  • 2560 x 1600 at 60 Hz
  • 1920 x 1080 at 144 Hz

Single Link

  • 1920 x 1200 at 60 Hz


DVI-A is a very old video port and it’s even rarer than VGA. DVI-A only supports analogue signals, it can’t carry digital signals. It has 12 pins on the main section and four surrounding the flat pin.

Can DVI Support 4K?

DVI can support 4K at 30 Hz through a DVI dual link connector. To reach the standard 60 Hz, the resolution needs to be lowered to 2560 x 1600.

Generally, it’s better to use HDMI or DisplayPort for 4K resolution because they have higher bandwidth limits.

The Bottom Line

To summarize, the technical specifications of DVI are rather complicated.

The short version is DVI can support a resolution of 3840 x 2400 at 30 Hz or 2560 at 1600 at 60 Hz with the dual link port.

DVI-I and DVI-A support analogue signals, so you can use a physical adapter to connect them to a VGA port, and vice versa.

The maximum resolution of analogue signals depends on a number of factors, for more information read VGA max resolution. 

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About Tim Gagnon

Timothy Gagnon is a tech blogger and writer. When he's not dissembling computers, he's researching the latest tech gadgets and trends.

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