Mini DisplayPort vs Thunderbolt

The advancement of Technology has birth series of development. Computers/laptops have evolved beyond their first models. The models and versions available now have several features that allow swift connectivity and easy customization.

When it comes to computer gadgets, there are tons of connectivity options available. These options include both physical and wireless cables. Regardless of the desktop/laptop model, users will need different connectors to connect and cast external devices.

Although some of these ports might not come in handy, video ports are necessary since computers cannot work without a monitor. While for laptops, ports like Thunderbolt and DisplayPort are available for video outputs since laptops feature a slim form.

This article will be reviewing and comparing Mini DisplayPort and Thunderbolt video ports.

What is Mini DisplayPort?

Mini DisplayPort Cable
Mini DisplayPort

A Mini DisplayPort is a video connection type, and it is a miniaturized version of the DisplayPort interface. With a Mini DisplayPort cable, users can send images to a display in digital form while protecting the images’ source for viewing on flat-panel computer screens and high-definition televisions.

The Mini DisplayPort is a great alternative for DVI, mini-DVI, and micro-DVI connectors. Users will require a Mini DisplayPort cable to connect their laptop to an external display.

Mini DisplayPort ports allow three connection types to other monitor connections. These connection types include Mini DisplayPort to DVI, Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI, and Mini DisplayPort to VGA.

Generally, Mini DisplayPort is a smaller version of a full-size DisplayPort. Ports like HDMI and DisplayPorts are prominent video ports. And they function the same way as any video port. The only difference is that a Mini DisplayPort uses a physical connector.

A Mini DisplayPort is suitable for laptops and computers with small forms. Basically, a Mini DisplayPort offers better performance compared to other video ports like HDMI, DVI-D. In addition, it is capable of processing resolutions up to 2560×1600.

Features of a Mini DisplayPort

  • 2560×1600 screen resolution
  • Supports uncompressed audio format like LPCM
  • Compatible with HDMI 225Mhz/2.25Gbps per channel (6.75Gbps total)
  • Supports mini DisplayPort 1.1a and HDMI 1.3b output
  • Compatible with HDMI 12-bit per channel (36-bit total) deep color
  • Supports HDMI resolution of 1080p

Pros of Mini DisplayPort

  • High compatibility with all DisplayPort displays
  • Swift access and connection
  • Clear resolution support

Cons of Mini DisplayPort

  • Not compatible with multi-display adapters
  • Not compatible with 4k displays

What is Thunderbolt?

Thunderbolt cable

Thunderbolt uses two high-performance standards – PCI Express and Mini DisplayPort and combines them into a single connection and cable. A Thunderbolt port allows users to connect external displays or drives to their laptops.

Thunderbolt uses a similar connector as the Mini DisplayPort, and users can enjoy the speed and flexibility of PCI Express for expansion devices. A Thunderbolt device can be linked to another. It enables multiple devices to run on a single Thunderbolt port.

A Thunderbolt host computer connection supports a hub or a daisy chain of up to six devices, with a maximum of two out of the six devices being high-resolution displays.

The Thunderbolt connector is a prominent and versatile port that is available on any laptop. Generally, it uses a combination of USB and video output shared with PCI-E lanes of a laptop. Thunderbolt has different versions; the older versions (Thunderbolt 1 and 2) are less versatile than the more recent Thunderbolt 3 and 4.

Thunderbolt 3 and 4 is prominent in most laptops, and it offers better performance.

Features of ThunderBolt

  • 4K 60 Hz display
  • Compatible with USB, Ethernet, eGPUs
  • USB-Based Storage
  • High-Performance Networking
  • External Graphics
  • Docking

Pros of ThunderBolt

  • Compatible with dual 4k 60 Hz monitors
  • Versatile connector
  • High performance

Cons of ThunderBolt

  • Limited compatibility with monitors without adapters
  • Pricey

ThunderBolt vs. Mini DisplayPort

From the above description of Thunderbolt and mini DisplayPort, it can be deduced that Thunderbolt is a highly versatile port that uses a combination of USB, PCI-E lanes, and video output ports.

While Mini DisplayPort, on the other hand, is a lesser version of a DisplayPort suitable for video ports. Both ports can be used in laptops and some computer models with small forms.


Mini DisplayPort is designed to send video output signals to compatible video devices like monitors and TVs.

While Thunderbolt, on the other hand, is more versatile. Hence, its functionality is vast since it supports USB devices, video output, ethernet, and eGPUs.


The connectivity of both Thunderbolt and Mini DisplayPort depends on the physical output of the port.

Mini DisplayPort uses a customized proprietary connector while ThunderBolt, on the other hand, relies on a USB type C connector. This connection feature allows users to connect any device to it.


In terms of compatibility, Mini DisplayPort has a better compatibility range than Thunderbolt. Mini DisplayPort is suitable with any monitor with a DisplayPort connector with the right cable.

In comparison, Thunderbolt requires that users have a ThunderBolt monitor or use an adapter to initiate connections to other types of monitors.


Thunderbolt has a better performance range as it uses PCI-E lanes to connect to computers. While Mini DisplayPort can only use up to a 2560×1600 monitor.

Although Mini DisplayPort might be adequate for most users, it does not meet the standard if you decide to use a 4K monitor.

Also, Thunderbolt supports up to 40 Gbps transmission speed which is relatively high for devices like 10 Gigabit networking, NVMe SSD drives, eGPUs, etc. Thunderbolt’s transmission speed is faster than that of Mini DisplayPort.

In addition, when it comes to connecting displays, Thunderbolt can process dual 4k 60 Hz display or more with the right adapter.


The difference between Mini DisplayPort and Thunderbolt is clear. Making a choice or deciding on the right video output for your device should not be an issue.

You can easily pick the suitable one for your device. Note that Thunderbolt is more versatile in terms of functionality. However, in terms of Compatibility, Mini DisplayPort takes the lead.