The central theme to this year's Intel Developer Forum is one of promoting a new range of laptops called Ultrabooks. You can read all about them here and they're designed to be low-power, full-performance notebooks on a weight, power-draw and form factor diet.
Bringing down system-wide power is a multi-faceted job on a laptop. Intel can only do so much work with the CPU and chipset, so the onus is on panel, memory and hard-drive manufacturers to lend a hand to drive average power down and battery life up.
LG has stepped up to the plate with a panel that uses self-refreshing technology, shown on the right. Called Shuriken, the panel itself houses a small amount of memory that copies the content of the notebook graphics' frame buffer. Having the current frame resident in the panel's memory means static images, such as pictures, can be displayed without having the battery-sapping CPU and graphics draw any power. The display, once a frame is in memory, is completely independent of the notebook's CPU and GPU; they can be put to sleep.
While having panel-side memory isn't convenient when playing movies or games, where the screen is constantly updated, this kind of technology makes a lot of sense when the graphics are largely in idle mode - writing emails or checking Facebook, for example. LG reckons that using a self-refreshing panel can save 0.5W compared to a conventional LVDS-connected panel - or, putting it another way, can increase battery life by up to 45 minutes on certain low-power notebooks.
Self-refreshing panels are expected to infiltrate the market over the next two years, said Intel, and they'll go hand-in-hand with future chip releases to push power-draw down further.