AMD has successfully tested the first PC graphics chip with native DisplayPort capabilities. The new chip is expected to go on sale in 2008.

DisplayPort is a high-fidelity digital audio and video interface. Its backers hope it will replace DVI and HDMI as the high bandwidth interface of choice for both desktop and notebook PCs.

DisplayPort is not designed to compete with HDMI in the consumer electronics market. However, thanks to its licence-free status, DisplayPort's supporters reckon it will keep PC component costs down.

As well as AMD, companies including Dell , Lenovo , HP and Intel are already official members of the DisplayPort camp.

"AMD has been driving the high-definition transition on the PC with innovative firsts such as integrated HDMI, high-bandwidth digital content protection (HDCP) and our Unified Video Decoder (UVD)," says Rick Bergman, AMD's graphics head honcho.

HDCP content encryption

"With the successful interoperability testing of the first graphics chip to feature a native DisplayPort transmitter, we are once again breaking new ground in customer-centric innovation by offering increased choice in video and display technologies to our users."

Crucially, the latest 1.1 version of DisplayPort adds support for HDCP content encryption. That's a requirement for legal playback of many high-definition video content sources, including HD DVD and Blu-ray .

Version 1.1 also boasts 10Gbps of bandwidth and supports pixel resolutions of up to 2,560 x 1,600. True high dynamic colour depth support is likewise on the menu courtesy of up to 16-bits per colour component.

With DVI looking long in the tooth and the upstart UDI standard dead in the water, DisplayPort is the only serious licence-free competitor to HDMI.

AMD did not reveal any further details about the graphics chips that will deliver DisplayPort capabilities. However, it's likely that the upcoming R700 family, due out in mid 2008, will be the first DisplayPort capable PC video cards.

Currently, there are no PC monitors on the market that offer DisplayPort support.