Does HDMI Support 165Hz Refresh Rate?

Simply put, the answer to the question “does HDMI support 165hz refresh rate?” is a yes. HDMI CAN support 165Hz refresh rate displays BUT it all depends upon the version of your HDMI interface as well as the resolution you wish to run on your display.

165Hz refresh rate is a fairly rare refresh rate that is mostly found on premium gaming grade monitors. This isn’t a common refresh rate for other devices such as TVs, projectors or the phone displays.

So, whey even have 165Hz refresh rate when you already have 120Hz, 144Hz and 240Hz monitors? The reason for this has to do with the fact that going from 144Hz to 165Hz generally does not cost the manufacturer’s a dime. 144Hz monitors can easily be overclocked to 165Hz, so why not release the monitors with 165Hz refresh rate in the first place?

Coming back to the question at hand, does HDMI interface support this unique 165Hz refresh rate? I have already clarified that it does, however, in the following text I will explore which version particularly support this refresh rate and at what resolution AND color depth.

ASUS Tuf 31.5 monitor
165Hz refresh rate is often found on premium gaming monitors such as this ASUS Tuf 32″ Gaming Monitor.

Also Read: What is the Best HDMI Port for Gaming?

There are Different HDMI Versions

For starters, before we delve into whether HDMI can support a certain refresh rate or not, you must familiarize yourself with the different versions of the HDMI interface.

The version of the HDMI interface defines how much bandwidth it can carry. You see, there are three core aspects that determine the amount of DATA your display interface is generating. This includes:

  1. Resolution of the Screen
  2. Refresh Rate of the Screen
  3. Color Bit Depth

The higher the resolution of the monitor and the higher the refresh the more data it generates per second. For instance, 1920×1080 at 60Hz means that the monitor is generating 60 FHD frames in a second.

3840×2160 at 165Hz means that the monitor is generating 165 UHD frames in a second. Hence the later scenario is obviously generating far more data.

Color bit depth defines the amount of colors your monitor can display. Most monitors are 8 bit and hence they can display 16.7 million colors. Professionals monitors have 10 or a higher bit color depth. 10-bit color depth equals 1 billion colors!

If you consider the HDMI connection as a pipeline, then the version of the HDMI interface defines the size of the pipe connection. The newer the version the more data it can carry.

The following table defines how much data the different HDMI versions can carry. While you can take a peek into the Max Resolution and Refresh Rate, the most important metric here is the max effective bandwidth each version can carry.

HDMI VersionMax ResolutionMax Refresh RateMax Bandwidth
(Gbit/s)
Effective Bandwidth
(Gbit/s)
HDR?Audio Technology
Supported
HDMI 1.01080p1080p @ 60 Hz4.953.96No- 8 Audio Channels
HDMI 1.1/1.21440p1440p @ 30 Hz4.953.96No- 8 Audio Channels
-Super Audio CDs
HDMI 1.3/1.44096 x 2160 (4K)120 Hz @ FHD Resolution
30 Hz @ 4k Resolution
24 Hz @ 4k Resolution
10.28.16No- 8 Audio Channels
- ARC
- Dolby TrueHD
- DTS-HD
HDMI 2.04096 x 2160 (4K)60 Hz @ 4K Resolution1814.40Yes- 32 audio channels,
- Dynamic Resolution Adaptation (DRA)
- High-Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding (HE-AAC)
HDMI 2.1Upto 10240 x 4320 (10K)Upto 120Hz @ 10K4842.67Yes- 32 audio channels
- eARC

Also Read: Does it Matter Which HDMI Port I Use?

Calculating Your Data Rate

Since we know the effective bandwidth of each HDMI version, we can check to see if your desired refresh rate, resolution and color bit depth would be suitable for the version of your HDMI interface.

The following is the equation you can use to calculate your data rate.

(H + Hblank) × (V + Vblank) × (C x 3) × F

In this equation,

  • H is horizontal pixel count
  • V is vertical pixel count
  • C is the color depth
  • F is the refresh rate
  • Hblank is the Horizontal blanking interval
  • Vblack is the Vertical blanking Interval

Note on Blanking Intervals

Blanking Interval is the time between the last line scanned of a frame and the first line scanned of a frame. You don’t need to know this in-depth for the purpose of this article. For CVT-RB Format,

  • Hblank = 80 pixels for FHD @ 165 Hz
  • Vblank = 88 Pixels for FHD @ 165 Hz

You can also use online calculators if you do not wish to calculate all this by yourself.

So, for instance, if I have a Full HD monitor with 165Hz refresh and an 8-bit color – which most tournament grade gaming monitors do. I get the following data rate:

(H + Hblank) × (V + Vblank) × (C x 3) × F

(1920 + 80) × (1080 + 88) × (8 x 3) × 165

= 9,250,560,000 bit / second

= 9.26 Gigabits/second

Hence from this we can deduce that even an HDMI 1.4 interface would suffice for this since HDMI 1.4 has an effective bandwidth of 10.2 Gigabits/second and our data rate of 9.26 Gbits/s is lower.

This is IF you have an 8-bit monitor. If you have a monitor with 10-bit color depth, you would need at least an HDMI 2.0 to run 165Hz refresh rate.

The following table explains further:

Refresh
Rate
ResolutionColor Bit
Depth
Data Rate
(Gbit/s)
Required
Minimum HDMI
Version
165Hz1920x1080 (FHD)89.26HDMI 1.4
165Hz2560x1080812.22HDMI 2.0
165Hz2560x1440 (QHD)816.30HDMI 2.1
165Hz3840x2160 (UHD/4K)836.29HDMI 2.1
165Hz1920x1080 (FHD)1011.57HDMI 2.0
165Hz2560x10801015.28HDMI 2.1
165Hz2560x1440 (QHD)1020.37HDM 2.1
165Hz3840x2160 (UHD/4K)1045.37HDM 2.1 with DCS

Also Read: Does PS5 Support 144Hz Refresh Rate Monitor?

So, Does HDMI Support 165Hz Refresh Rate?

From the discussion above we can see that the HDMI interface most certainly supports 165Hz refresh rate. However, depending upon your resolution and the color bit depth of your monitor, you may need HDMI 1.4, HDMI 2.0 or newer version.

On the basic full HD resolution gaming monitors, 165Hz can be supported by even the HDMI 1.4 interface which can be found on PCs even a decade old.

For higher resolution and color bit depth, you would need to make sure the HDMI port on your PC and on your monitor conform to the newer version.

Also Read: How to Check HDMI Port Version?

FAQ

Does HDMI 1.4 Support 165Hz?

Yes, HDMI 1.4 can support 165Hz refresh rate (165 frame per second) if your gaming monitor has an 8-bit color depth.

Does HDMI 2.0 Support 165Hz?

Yes, HDMI 2.0 can support 165Hz refresh rate for 8-bit and 10-bit full HD 1080P monitors. For QHD or UHD displays, you will need at least HDMI 2.1.

Can HDMI 2.0 Support 165Hz 1440P?

It is not supported UNLESS you wish to downgrade the settings.

In order to support 165Hz at 1440P resolution, you would need to lower the color depth of your monitor to 8 bit and also set Chroma subsampling to 4:2:0 or 4:2:2.

Can HDMI 2.1 Support 165Hz 1440P?

Yes, it can for both 8-bit and 10-bit color bit depth monitors.

Do You Need Display Port for 165Hz?

You would only need a DisplayPort to run 165Hz refresh rate monitor IF the HDMI port version on your monitor or on your PC does not support the max resolution of your monitor at 165Hz.

It should be noted that DisplayPort itself has its limitation in terms of the max bandwidth it can carry. Hence, 4K @ 165Hz would also be not possible for DP 1.2 or even for DP 1.4.

Final Words

So, the short and simple answer to the question “does HDMI support 165Hz” is a yes. A typical FHD monitor with 165Hz can even be supported by even the decade old HDMI 1.4 interface.

For monitors with higher resolution, you will need to have newer HDMI interface both on your source device (PC) as well as on the display device (monitor/TV).

Also Read:

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Author:

Atif Qazi
Atif Qazi is the founder of PCGuide101. He is a digital nomad who loves everything PC. He is a PC builder, tech enthusiast, engineer, and a lover of single player lore-rich RPG games.

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