AMD open-source driver efforts are sometimes used as an indicator of what is to come. The news which comes via Photonix sees the latest Linux kernel patch add preliminary support for DisplayPort 2.0 protocol in AMD GPU drivers.
The DisplayPort 2.0 specification was announced quite some time ago. In 2019, the DisplayPort workgroup released the final specification and gave it out for monitor makers to use. However, VESA told Tom's Hardware in January that thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, these DisplayPort 2.0-enabled monitors have been delayed and thus we have none on the market presently.
The DisplayPort 2.0 protocol allows for Ultra High Bit Rate (UHBR) of 10, 13.5, and 20 Gbps per lane transfer over the passive copper wiring. This means that the data transfer rate is improved over the previous DisplayPort 1.4 protocol, and with it there is much more bandwidth, allowing for better image output.
The patch, lined up for the Linux kernel merger brings updates to AMD GPU display drivers and adds support for UHBR 10, as UHBR 13.5 and 20 are currently not yet supported. As UHBR is compatible with VESA's DisplayPort 8K (DP8K) certification, the new protocol will allow us to run monitors at resolutions like 8K at 60 Hz with high dynamic range (HDR), and 4K displays with more than 144 Hz refresh rate also running with HDR. You can learn more about the protocol and its limitations here (opens in new tab).
As the patch is queuing up for the addition to the AMD GPU driver, we know that it is meant for the next generation of graphics cards. As the current generation RDNA2 GPUs lack support for DP 2.0, it is the upcoming RDNA3 series that will carry the newest protocol support. The first DP 2.0 monitors and displays are expected to become available in the coming months.