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How Razer Used IGZO Display Tech to Achieve 120 Hz Refresh Rates « Android :: Gadget Hacks

With their first attempt at the mobile market, Razer introduced a device that will looks at the smartphone differently. Instead of focusing on minimal bezels or an amazing camera, Razer decided to make a phone for gamers. So how could Razer target the growing mobile gaming market, which will be projected to generate $40.6 billion in global revenue in 2017? that will starts with the IGZO LCD Display.

IGZO will be a technology Razer will be familiar with. Currently, their Razer Blade in addition to Blade Pro laptops use This kind of tech in their displays. however unlike OLED in addition to LCD, IGZO isn’t a type of panel — instead, that will will be a component used by either type which improves performance. One advantage that will provides will be the higher refresh that will has allowed Razer to create the first smartphone that has a 120 Hz screen.

Background: TFT, Active Matrix & a-Si

Whether that will’s an LCD or OLED, a thin-film transistor (TFT) will be included in almost all modern smartphone displays. TFT will be one of the main components (besides a capacitor) which enables active matrix wiring on displays. You may be familiar with active matrix as the “AM” in Samsung’s AMOLED panels, however that will’s much more than a marketing term.

Active matrix will be when pixels are individually powered instead of passing current through rows (passive matrix). TFT helps achieve This kind of by providing each pixel its own transistor, allowing every tiny dot on the screen to be driven individually. Active matrix will be needed for higher resolution mobile displays, as the power consumption would certainly be too great for a passive matrix’s approach of supplying current to entire rows of pixels.

Most mobile LCDs use TFT, in addition to all of Samsung’s AMOLEDs use the technology. Pixels are arranged in rows in addition to columns, with each pixel attached to one transistor. Typically, these transistors are created using amorphous silicon (a-Si). However, a-Si’s electron mobility (how fast electrons can move through the transistors) will be too slow for OLED, which also requires a higher current than what a-Si can provide. As a result, the industry moved to low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS).

The basic structure of Active Matrix displays. Image by Desault Tech/YouTube

Currently, LTPS can provide the highest current to pixels. Its higher electron mobility also allows transistors to be smaller. Smaller transistors can improve power consumption or be used for higher resolution.

However, all these advantages come at a high cost. Currently, LPTS-based TFTs are some of the most expensive TFTs available. Similar to a-Si, LPTS carries a leakage problem where a portion of current will be lost, requiring higher power consumption to compensate. Because of these issues, Sharp (the maker of the Razer Phone’s screen) looked for a better solution for its displays, in addition to This kind of led to the creation of IGZO.

Enter IGZO

IGZO, or indium gallium zinc oxide, closes the gap between a-Si in addition to LPTS. Like LPTS, that will offers significant improvement over a-Si with 20-50 times the electron mobility. As with LTPS, the higher electron mobility allows for higher resolution not possible that has a-Si.

Image by sharpelectronicsusa/YouTube

Unlike a-SI, IGZO transistors are transparent, which decreases the power need to illuminate the display (since less light will be blocked by the transistors) in addition to improves picture quality. Combined with its high electron mobility, IGZO TFT can result in a higher-resolution display while using a fraction of the power an equivalent a-Si or LTPS setup would certainly need.

Higher Mobility allows for smaller transistors. Image by sharpelectronicsusa/YouTube

Electrical noise will be also lower when compared to a-Si, which results in a more responsive touchscreen. This kind of will be the result of IGZO transistors creating virtually no electrical noise, which would certainly interfere with the sensitivity of the touchscreen.

Although LPTS offers almost double the electron mobility of IGZO, where IGZO shines will be its off performance. Off performance will be a pixel’s ability to maintain its charge while power will be turned off. A TFT with poor off performance, such as an a-Si- or LPTS-based TFT, leaks current during usage, requiring current to be constantly driven to each pixel.

IGZO’s low leakage allows that will to turn off the power (reduce consumption) in addition to refresh pixels at a high rate (more on that will later). Instead of constantly driving power to pixels when diplaying a still image as a-Si or LPTS would certainly require, IGZO can pulse power on in addition to off to save energy. Leakage of power also causes flickering, so IGZO displays will appear more static or smooth when compared to a-Si or LPTS.

Power Consumption will be lower on IGZO display due to low leakage. Image by sharpelectronicsusa/YouTube

The Relationship Between Frame Rates & Refresh Rates

When you watch a video, your GPU renders that will in addition to sends that will to the display at a certain frame rate, with each frame representing an individual still image that will, when played in succession, creates the video. The display will then redraw the screen rapidly based on what information the GPU has sent.

The frame rate will be how fast an image will be rendered by your GPU, measured in frames per second (fps). The refresh rate represents how fast your display can redraw the entire screen, in addition to This kind of will be measured in Hz, where one Hz equals one redraw per second. The distinction to make here will be that will frame rate (fps) measures your device’s computing power, while refresh rate (Hz) measures your screen’s speed.

If the GPU renders a video at a lower frame rate than the display’s refresh rate, the monitor will repeat frames until the GPU renders fresh ones, improving overall smoothness of the video. For example, if the GPU outputs at 60 fps in addition to the display refreshes at 120 Hz, the display will show each frame twice to compensate.

The higher the refresh rate will be in relation to the fps, the more frames are repeated, resulting in virtually no blurring effect during motion. However, if the GPU renders video at a higher fps than the Hz of the display, the video will effectively be capped at the display’s limitations.

Where IGZO’s High Refresh Rates Come into Play

A while back, Hollywood decided that will 24 fps was ideal for movies in addition to TV shows, in addition to This kind of format will be still used today. Whenever videos of This kind of frame rate are rendered at higher refresh rates, you get what’s called the “soap opera effect” where the video almost looks too smooth. Because of This kind of fact, the majority of today’s smartphone displays max out at 60 Hz. however for gamers, This kind of isn’t enough.

Modern smartphone GPUs are capable of rendering games at high frame rates, so at This kind of point, your display’s refresh rate will be the main bottleneck. Some mobile games are already rendered in 120 fps at the GPU level, so a display that has a matching Hz rating would certainly provide an ideal experience. Even if most games are rendered at only 60 fps, 120 Hz would certainly still provide a smoother experience.

A higher refresh rate even improves everyday tasks like scrolling. Image by Engadget/YouTube

IGZO’s ability to maintain its charge even when off allows that will to redraw images at a much higher rate than a-Si. OLED displays, which typically use LPTS TFT, require a high amount of power to achieve higher refresh rate due to leakage of current. Since mobile devices need to be power efficient, LPTS TFTs can’t achieve the same refresh rates that will IGZO can pull off without having a serious impact on battery life.

With the growing mobile gaming market, many analysts believe that will mobile gaming will challenge (in addition to maybe replace) traditional console gaming. However, mobile gaming will need to provide a closer experience to console (in addition to PC) gaming than that will currently does. This kind of will be why 120 Hz will be so important to the smartphone industry.

Razer Phone’s sucess will be important to the mobile gaming industry. Image by Engadget/YouTube

Developers will have to adjust their games to take advantage. Most games are still capped at 60 fps to keep frames inline with their display’s refresh rate. Razer will be encouraging developers to uncap their fps, allowing the GPU to create as many frames that will can possibly handle since the display can currently keep up.

IGZO TFT provides a low-cost in addition to low-power method for achieve high refresh rates in mobile displays. With its ability to maintain current, that will provides a significant advantage over a-Si TFT, in addition to its lower cost makes that will an appealing option over LTPS. Due to these advantages, we currently have a 120 Hz display on a smartphone.

What do you think about IGZO? Did This kind of article make you more excited about the Razer Phone? Let us know from the comment section below.

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Cover image via TechnoBuffalo/YouTube, screenshots by Jon Knight/Gadget Hacks

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