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Intel Demonstrates Self-Refreshing Screen, Promises Extra Hour of Power

Everyone knows that a notebook's screen draws even more power than its CPU, but though we've seen some moves toward lower-power LED backlights in the past few years, a typical notebook display still requires near constant input from the computer, even if the picture doesn't change by even one pixel.

With a typical LCD panel refreshing itself 60 times per second, the CPU and video card are required to re-send that signal every time, which makes it difficult for them to go into a low power state when you're just staring at your desktop thinking. Fortunately, Intel has come up with a solution to the power-sucking problem, the amazing self-refreshing screen.

In partnership with panel-makers like LG, which is selling its thin-bezeled Shuriken displays to a number of Ultrabook OEMs, Intel has developed a standard which allows your notebook screen to keep displaying the same image -- in effect, refreshing itself -- while the CPU goes into a low-power sleep state. This will help save precious CPU cycles during moments where you're doing something like watching a photo slideshow or just staring idly at a blank page, waiting for some ideas to come into your head. Intel estimates that this power-savings could result in 45 minutes to an hour of additional battery life on a typical Ultrabook.

At the IDF Day 2 Keynote, Intel's Mooley Eden showed a demo with both a traditional LVS screen and a self-refreshing display hooked up to the same PC, showing the same content. The self-refreshing panel continued to show its content even after it was unplugged from the computer and unable to receive refreshed data. Eden said that self-refreshing displays should be the standard for Ultrabooks within two years time.

Check out the video below to see a self-refreshing display in action.

The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.