Netbook graphics given a boost

April 30, 2009 // 10:05 a.m.

Tags: #gaming #gma #gmabooster #graphics #graphics-media-accelerator #netbook #overclock #overclocking

Netbooks are great – well, I think they are – but nobody's ever accused them of being fast in the gaming graphics department, largely down to the common usage of Intel Graphics Media Accelerator GPUs. However, a new package promises to give gamers' netbooks a bit of a boost.

A new tool by Vladimir Plenskiy called GMABooster – via jkOnTheRun – promises to unlock the hidden performance of your Intel GMA950 graphics chip on the common 945GM/GME/GMS/GSE and 943/940GML/GU chipsets, without draining your battery too quickly.

The application works by changing the clock speed of the ultra-low voltage version installed into netbooks of 133/166MHz to the standard desktop speed of 400MHz. As the graphics chip is designed for these speeds, there's little or no risk of anything crashing or overheating – at least, according to the developer.

The application only affects the clock speed, and doesn't change the voltage level – meaning that battery life and heat output shouldn't be affected too much. Ben over at UMPCPortal ran some tests on two netbooks – the HP Mini 1000 and the Sony Vaio UX180 – and reported a increase in Crystal Mark scores of around 22 percent.

The application is available for both Linux and Windows – and even MacOS X if you've created yourself a little portable hackintosh – and is described by Plenskiy as “donorware.” Although it's freely to download, the software will stop working after a week – with nothing to stop you re-downloading it and re-installing it should you so choose – unless you donate and receive a serial number.

Even with the GMABooster tool, you're unlikely to be playing Crysis on your netbook, but it's still a pretty clever hack to squeeze that little bit extra performance out of the miniature marvels.

Tempted to give GMABooster a go on your own netbook, or is overclocking a device that is designed for portability over power perfectly pointless? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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