The premise is simple: there’s a small amount of memory contained within the panel itself that stores a copy of the current frame being displayed on the screen. If the screen is static, the display is fed from its internal frame buffer rather than from the PC’s GPU allowing the PC (both CPU and GPU) to go to sleep. In the demonstration Intel showed power savings of 500mW, which could add up to an extra hour of battery life depending on the usage model and notebook.
Battery life is expected to increase by 45 minutes to one hour. The technology behind the panel self refresh (PSR) technology is eDP, which stands for embedded DisplayPort. A timing controller (TCON) that is eDP compliant will have an integrated frame buffer. The system takes advantage of eDP PSR only when there is a static image. The static image is identified, stored into the buffer, and displays the image from the buffer allowing CPU and GPUs to power down.