The Video Electronics Standards Association(VESA) has updated the specifications of its embedded Display Port to 1.4 with changes aimed at saving power usage for all types of devices. In a previous update, VESA had introduced a feature called Panel Self Refresh (or PSR) that freed the computer graphic sub-system from having to constantly send image information for static images. Better yet, the graphics processor could in theory be turned OFF. That meant that static images do not consume power on the computer side, but only on the display side.
This time, VESA went a bit further by introducing partial frame refresh, a technique that allows the display to use power to only work on blocks that have actually changed – this is hugely convenient in a “windowed” computer world where each window is a block on the screen.
With increased resolution lead by Apple’s Retina display, it is clear that sending display data using “brute force” methods (sending the whole frame even if only part of it has changed) won’t cut it anymore. Displays are one of the most power-hungry systems in the computer, but the power that is required to refresh that information is often overlooked. While this won’t double your battery life, every power savings count. [press release]
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