How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 283

Is it possible to have memory in a computer monitor?
Yes. In fact, many modern monitors do have memory in them. However, this memory isn't used for the same information that's handled in the computer itself. Instead, the monitor's memory is used to control the monitor's behavior. Many sophisticated monitors are equipped with digital controllers that are almost full-fledged computers themselves. These controllers can adjust the size and position of the screen image and the manner in which that image is built. This work by the controller allows the monitor to respond properly when the computer changes the screen resolution or the refresh rate (the frequency with which the image you see is rebuilt). The controller requires memory to operate and it also needs to store data that it can expect to recover next time you turn the monitor on. On a sophisticated monitor, you adjust the image size by pushing buttons under the screen and the monitor uses special memory to record your button presses. When the monitor is turned on, it recalls its record of your adjustments and uses them to return the image size to what it was last time the monitor was on.

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