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Intel shows off Intelligent Display tech for laptops to save even more power

By Vijay Anand - on 20 Sep 2023, 4:42pm

Intel shows off Intelligent Display tech for laptops to save even more power.

This is Intel’s Intelligent Display Technology (IDT).

Besides advancing the state of silicon tech to power the AI and data-driven era and democratising AI through Intel Core Ultra (Meteor Lake) processors coming later this year, at Intel Innovation 2023, you’re bound to find other ongoing showcases worthy of attention. One such showcase is Intel’s Intelligent Display Technology, or IDT in short, which was demoed on the show floor. Utilising a combination of vision processing to sense a user’s intention and assess the content processed onscreen, Intel’s AI-powered IDT software and display panel innovation will boost battery life and improve sustainability goals through a few techniques.

Intel set up this demo station with the left screen void of IDT support and the right display supporting IDT. Even though both display outputs look similar, due to screen optimisations, you still net power savings as observed by the green power monitoring line versus the blue line.

The first technique is Autonomous Low Refresh Rate (ALRR), which interprets user activity and content displayed to throttle the refresh rate up/down dynamically. The slide below from Intel is pretty straightforward to understand, but it’s also mind-boggling why nobody has looked into this arena previously. After all, the display is one of the largest contributors to a laptop’s power draw and any optimisations to how it’s used go a long way to improve battery life standings. Throttling down the refresh rate when the screen is idle (such as when a user is reading a document or slide) or matching the video content’s recorded rate are definitely smart tweaks.

ALRR is part of the suite of techniques from Intel IDT.

The next is User-Based Refresh Rate (UBRR) which utilises the laptop’s webcam to assess if the user’s gaze is looking at the screen, has turned to the sides, or has completely turned away to manage screen brightness and refresh. In the event that the user is not present, the display blanks off. Again, why hasn’t this been implemented years back?

Below is an example of a display that doesn’t support this functionality (left) versus the more intelligent display on the right that blanks off the screen, and you can also note the power consumed is immediately reflected on the monitoring screen positively.

UBRR kicked in to power down the right screen, resulting in an immediate steep dip in power consumer.

The last is Dynamic Visual & Power Enhancements (DVPE), which takes a leaf out of how some of the top TVs treat display content by factoring screen contents to adjust contrast and brightness dynamically (somewhat like Dolby Vision, for example). When DVPE is activated, the display’s panel power is more judiciously utilised but without drastically affecting the screen output.

Note the net battery life improvement with Intel IDT features in full swing – up to 24% more. This statistic improves further with Windows Modern Standby, though it’s debatable since Modern Standby’s purpose is to keep certain elements of the system on an always standby state but yet connected to receive updates. Nevertheless, we look forward to Intel IDT-supported laptops coming to market late this year, presumably with some variant of Meteor Lake-based processor platforms.

Battery life gains via Intel IDT.

Speaking with Intel staff further, a key enabler of Intel IDT is the panel’s microcontroller to comply with the required states and usage of the screen and communicate deeply with the operating system. Currently, Intel is working with a vendor that supplies more traditional panel varieties, while an OLED-based variant is in the works and is slated to be available sometime in 2024.

Read Next:

1) We visited the factory that assembles the next-gen Meteor Lake processors
2) All about the new Meteor Lake processors
3) Intel is betting on glass substrates for future high-performance chips

4) Intel ushers in the age of the AI PC

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