Dominik Domanski, MYLIUM
EETimes (1/15/2011 1:35 PM EST)
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” We have all heard this saying many times and we observe the usage of icons, graphic images, pictograms, and pictures everywhere. Electronics is no exception. I remember my first projects where I used a light-emitting diode (LED) to indicate a Logic 1 value on an output pin.
After that came 7-segment displays; still later were liquid crystal displays (LCDs) with 2x16 characters (that was a big step at the time...). Some of us even played with simple black-and-white graphic LCDs. When working with these small, low-resolution devices, the task of switching individual pixels On and Off were relatively easy to perform using “cheap-and-cheerful” low-cost microcontrollers. Many designs were created in this way… in fact many are still working around us to this day.
However, problems start when we wish to work with something bigger and in color like an LCD monitor. These are relatively cheap and, in many cases, they are already on our desks. Let’s assume that we’re working with a resolution of 800 x 600 = 480,000 pixels, a color depth of 16 bits = 65,535 colors per pixel, and a refresh rate of 50 or 60 Hz. Thus, we will require 960 KB of memory for a single frame to be read 60 times per second.
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