There are a few technological advancements that leapfrog current conventions and provide revolutionary breakthrough both in performance and in substantial end-user benefit. One such innovation is the low-power high-resolution display panels based on IGZO liquid crystal display technology which was jointly developed by Sharp and Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co., Ltd being used on Dell Precision mobile workstations. As the Display Product Marketing Manager I am proud to announce that Dell will be the first to utilize these revolutionary panels on their mobile workstation line-up starting with the Dell Precision M4800 launching in September followed by the Dell Precision M3800 later this year.
So what is IGZO and why do we care? IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide) is an oxide semiconductor that replaces the traditional silicon in thin-film transistors (TFT) which switches on/off the sub-pixels (Red/Blue/Green elements) that make up the image on your screen. An IGZO TFT can pass up to 50 times more current than traditional amorphous silicon based TFT and hence you can make the transistors and the wires connecting the transistors much smaller. This allows for higher pixel density and increased resolution. Let’s compare the Retina display considered the golden standard by many against our Dell Precision M4800 using an IGZO based display. A 15.6”Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display will have 220 PPI (pixels per inch) with a resolution of 2880×1800 whereas the Dell Precision M4800 will have 235 PPI with a much higher resolution of 3200×1800. Not only do you get higher resolution but since the transistors and the wire mesh is thinner, more light from the BLU (backlight unit) is able to pass through the LCD cells leading to a much brighter and vibrant display.
The second big advantage is that since the TFT is much smaller, less current is required to drive it which leads to lower power consumption which in turns increases the battery life on your laptop. The IGZO panels also have lower leakage current and therefore you can refresh the LCD cells at an interval instead of continuously driving current to it. Images that are static such as documents, menus, photos, etc. don’t need to be refreshed as often allowing a much longer pause between the drive and refresh cycle meaning the image can be displayed for a short period without any power to the device. Sharp announced at CES that in this mode you can save up to 90 percent on power consumption.
The third major benefit is the increased Touch sensitivity. When current is applied to the display LCD there is noise generated which can interfere with the touch detection. The smaller the touch area e.g. a stylus with a narrow tip, the harder it will be to detect it under these conditions. With the drive and pause operation of the IGZO displays, the Touch detection can happen during the pause period when there is no noise hence allowing a finer grain of detection.
To sum it all up, IGZO displays allows Dell to provide their customers with a premium display that has stunning high-resolution picture quality, a longer battery life and a high performing Touch input. Dell continues to innovate by bringing technology that our customers care about first to the market.