I stumbled across an interesting looking little program called GMA Booster while browsing the MicroPCTalk forums.
Apparently devices which have 945GM/GME/GMS/GSE or 943/940GML/GU Express chipsets are ULV versions of what is normally called the Intel 945 chipset (and can be found in many of the netbooks and UMPCs out there today), and they all feature the same GMA 950 graphics, but for the ULV chipsets, GMA 950 is underclocked to help improve battery life among other things.
A nifty little app called GMA Booster steps the GMA 950 graphics back up from 133/166 MHz, to the level that is found in non-ULV version of Intel 945, 400MHz. The nice thing about this is that it seems to be a simple instruction set sent to the chipset; it doesn’t change any voltage levels, and isn’t pushing the clock speed higher than it is designed to go, just up to its regular level.
Interested in knowing if your UMPC/Netbook/MID uses GMA 950 and could benefit from GMA Booster? Just hit up the Portal and navigate to your device, check the Graphics category on your device’s Portal page to see if it uses GMA 950.
I tested GMA Booster on my VAIO UX180 and the HP Mini 1000 [Portal page] to see what difference GMA Booster could make. I ran Crystal Mark and compared the graphical test scores before and after using GMA Booster to push the graphical core up to 400MHz.
Sony VAIO UX180
HP Mini 1000
As you can see, using GMA Booster to put GMA 950 up to 400MHz increased the graphical performance (as rated by Crystal Mark) by a little more than 20% on both devices. While 20% isn’t huge, I think it could be noticeable depending upon what you are doing on your device. It probably won’t translate to a direct 20% performance increase in the graphical applications that you are using as there is more that factors into graphical rendering, but again it could help the performance. Other benchmark programs which more specifically rate graphics capabilities might note a bigger improvement in scores.
GMA Booster is ‘donerware’ as the dev calls it. It is basically free, but you need to download it again after a week to keep using it. If you donate you will receive a serial number to alleviate that hassle.
If you do venture out and give GMA Booster a try, why not comment here and letting us know how it works with your device?