GMA booster increases your GMA based device’s graphical performance

Posted on 28 April 2009, Last updated on 11 March 2020 by

gma booster logo

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 (website no longer exists) 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

GDI40974654+557 (13%)
D2D24123604+1192 (49%)
Total76239391+1768 (23%)

HP Mini 1000

GDI21102384+274 (13%)
D2D29363778+842 (28%)
Total50466162+1116 (22%)

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.

Download GMA Booster

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?

37 Comments For This Post

  1. Ben Lang says:

    New article: GMA booster increases your GMA based device’s graphical performance

  2. Sokonomi says:

    Im assuming no such thing is available for GMA 500 devices. :’) That would have helped out alot of UMPCs

  3. DavidC1 says:

    There’s a reason Intel doesn’t clock it at 400MHz and its pretty obvious. 3x the clock speed results in less than 30% performance increase in average.

    Not to mention its still an overclock. It’s akin to taking a ULV CPU and putting it to desktop speeds because “it can”.

    Do it with caution if you are going to use it.

  4. Ben says:

    David, I understand what you are saying, but it is a bit different than overclocking. In general, overclocking pushes the core to a level in which it needs additional modifications in order to run consistently and effectively. You’ll note that on most big gaming rigs, people purchase extra bulky heat sinks, fans, or even do things such as liquid cooling, and to push the cores to the levels that they demand often requires tweaking the amount of power that runs to them.

    I’m considering this not truly overclock because 1) it doesn’t mess with voltage, and 2) it only puts the core up to the original specification for which it was designed. Traditional overclocking pushes cores beyond the original specifications.

  5. theluketaylor says:

    That assumes the mobile parts haven’t been binned for mobile since they can’t run the clock specified for desktop use. The mobile parts are spec’d to run x volts at y mhz. Running it at anything else is beyond the spec regardless of if its desktop brothers run higher clocks or voltage. Sometimes parts are sold at lower clocks since that is what the market requires and sometimes it’s because the parts can’t run higher and it’s a trick to increase yields.

    Just because you are not changing the voltage doesn’t make it not overclocking. Lots of overclocks don’t need a voltage bump to be stable. Regardless of the lack of change in voltage it is going to increase power draw and especially in mobile devices cut into already tight thermal tolerances.

  6. DavidC1 says:

    taylor is right Ben. There’s a process called “Binning” in chips. Basically not every part is demanded and/or can run at the highest frequency or runs at highest power. The silicon that can reach lower power is further optimized by lowering clock speeds and put into mobiles.

    “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.”

    There’s a reason its called “ULV” parts or lower voltage parts. Intel isn’t conspiring to anybody Ben. As I said, the mobile parts have lower power consumption than desktop chips at ALL power levels, even at same frequency.

    Usually there is headroom to ensure stability and that is what overclocking is. Headroom exploitation.

  7. Ben says:

    Thanks for explaining further guys, we can call it overclocking : )

  8. icura says:

    This is GREAT news. So many games are limited by the GMA 950 in a UMPC. It’s worth losing a bit of battery life when you need it. I’ll test Halo, Penny Arcade and Eschalon when I get time. They were the ones which were close, but bottlenecked on the GFX.

  9. Ben says:

    Interested to hear your results.

  10. icura says:

    I just did a 3dmark03 test at 1024x600x16 and the results were 2682 for 166MHZ, 200MHz gives 2695 and 2712 for 400MHZ. Not so exciting.

    But I’m looking forwards to seeing real work improvements.

  11. DavidC1 says:

    The Intel GMA 950 is NOT bound at all by pixel throughput. GMA 950 is a form of tile rendering core called “zone rendering” which allows most of the processing to be able to be done on-chip to save bandwidth and performance. Plus its clocked at 400MHz with 4 pixel pipelines.

    The problem is the poor shader support. The pixel shaders aren’t excellent and vertex shaders don’t even exist. The GPU is bound by those to perform much higher.

    Another possibility is that at much higher clock speeds like 400MHz its throttling so it doesn’t burn up the chip.

  12. JP says:


    The french website has tested extensively GMABooster:

    To sum up the test:
    * there are some annoying stuffs like the unability to restore the default clock setting (a reboot is needed)
    * the better benchmark performances are real, but definitely small — while the battery drain is higher, of course
    * overall, unless you are an hardcore gamer wanting to grasp as much fps as you can, the use of GMABooster is not recommended — especially since the software is annoying unless you buy it, and it doesn’t seem like good value for the money

    Please note that I didn’t try GMABooster myself.

  13. icura says:

    Thanks DavidC. The only benchmark that I noted a significant improvemwnt on was mtexels/s. on 3dmark01se.

    I noted that the pixel shader tests only increased slightly with the overclock, but this was also the case for tests that did not require any shaders or T&L.

  14. DavidC1 says:

    You can easily find out the actual clock speed of the core by running fillrate tests. GMA 950 cores can reach >95% of theoretical fillrate when measured.

    If your default core is at 133MHz, it should score around 520-525 MTexels/s in single and multi-texture fillrate in 3DMark. If the final score doesn’t go above 1550MTexels/s then the clock speed isn’t REALLY at 400MHz.

  15. Ninjustin says:

    All I’m wondering is if this heats up the chip to a dangerous level considering the machine it is in. It does however boost my graphics enough to continue playing Diablo 2 in Windows 7 as I was playing it in XP. Don’t know about the benchmarks but until I get better drivers this fixed my problem.

  16. James Preston says:

    Surely most UMPCs are running hot enough wont this just make the issue worse?
    But sounds great all the same!
    May have a go with this on my R2H :)

  17. Ben says:

    If someone wants to check it out, download Notebook Hardware Control and test the temps on your device with and without GMA Booster.

  18. icura says:

    temp on my U1010 was fine. Hardly noticed a difference. I’ve had it clocked at 400 all morning. Just browsing.

  19. Matiz7 says:

    Pals, I’m impressed. Great results in 3DMark 06 with GMABooster enabled! (browse to the bottom of the page, some guy has posted the measurements). What I do not understand is why Vertext Shader is still? Maybe this is the answer why in other tests improvements are not that whopping?

  20. Matiz7 says:

    Scores in PCWizard2008 bench, 166/400MHz on my lovely MSi WindU90:
    Texture was 346 now 480 [1.38x faster! Cool!]
    Particle 3D was 4 now 8 [2x faster!!! I am going insane!]
    Billboard was 131 now 143 [hmmm…]
    I’ve read a FAQ on and got that: Atom and poor memory speed could be the tight bottlechecks. Oops and aahh. Our platform is too limited to benefit from 2.4x GMA speedup in all applications… Still I’m happy: with CPU Turbo Mode introduced in MSi BIOS update (24% OC is it) and GMA Booster at 400 MHz my Wind offers much much more speed than I’ve ever expected from this baby!

  21. Michael says:

    Will this program work on a Mobile Intel(R) 965 Express chipset in a Lenovo laptop as well? If not is there any way to overclock such a chipset?


  22. Nando says:

    GM965 does support a 500Mhz Core Render clock. On my system it’s a 400Mhz and I’ve tried to enable the bits to do it, as described at

    So far haven’t been able to change it to 500Mhz. Might need the link to be shutdown first?! GMABooster author is working on a GM965 version.

  23. DerekMcNelly says:

    @adiblasi Forgot one letter:

  24. Nick Chase says:

    I just hope it’ll improve flash video performance. I’ve got an ASUS EeePC 900HA that chokes on high-res flash video, even the 480p video from hulu or amazon video on demand.

  25. E.J. says:

    @adamrobo possible graphics boost for your macbook:

  26. Sherif M. says:

    Ran my own series of tests on my Acer Aspire One AOA150 with 1.5GB of ram (replaced the factory 512 stick with Corsair 1gig stick) and Crystal Mark 2008R 4 (or whichever is the most recent).

    GDI 166-3192
    D2D 166-2926
    OGL 166-665

    GDI 200-3310
    D2D 200-2922
    OGL 200-663

    GDI 250-3265
    D2D 250-3477
    OGL 250-685

    GDI 400-3252
    D2D 400-3792
    OGL 400-687

    So at 400mhz I realized a 1% gain in GDI, 30% gain in D2D and 3% gain in OpenGL . I don’t get it… I don’t understand why GDI fluctuated as much as it did and why it dropped at 400mhz. Most of all I did notice a change using programs like VLC but haven’t tested anything else.

  27. Jim Andrews says:

    Folks I’m a registered user of PCMark 2005 suite. Just have run a Shader test. Unbelievable – my EEE does actually render pixel shaders 2 times faster times with GMA Booster! Sweet!!! Thanks for sharing, Ben!! I think I’ve found a reference test for GMA950, btw… i.e. 400/166 = 2.4, yeah ~ 2 times faster!!!

  28. André Limaverde says:

    Quem tem um notebook com o vídeo integrado da intel GMA 950, o GMABooster pode dá um empurrãozinho…

  29. Wee Tiong says:

    Hi guys i keep getting “You are using a outdated version of gmabooster” even thought i have downloaded the latest, went to some other sites and redownload, still getting the same error, anyone knows whats wrong?

  30. Misha says:

    Downloaded from official site and GMABooster works OK. Check your date/time settings :)

  31. Mostafa says:

    I have hp530 laptop after install the booster and start it the program give me a message that i need to have the last version from the program. Plz help me
    My laptop features:
    cor2duo 1.7/865 Mhz
    Vega intel GMA950 / 945 128mb
    Ram 1G DDR2

  32. the hun says:

    I would say it’s an overclock and getting back to the “bin chips” this is a standard practice to “bin” the ones that can’t pass a stress/and or quality control test….so a few of these may pixelate out at 400mhz also I notice a speed bump with VLC in my Asus 1000HA.

    I think with these netbooks it’s best to keep the price @ $250USD because when you burn them out in a year it’s not that big of a loss simply sell the screen and RAM on ebay no problem and recuperate part of the initial investment.

    Pity for us that the nexgen netbooks will probably list at $425. minus a $30 rebate…i’m not overly impressed with this program plus it’s annoying as other people made comment on.

  33. bigkumadog says:

    The download setup win32 zip file is corruped and wont unzip. so can’t even load program to try it out.

  34. Techno says:

    I have been using GMABooster for about 2 months now for playing World of Warcraft and a few Steam games with and it works wonderful. I’ve noticed an increase in frame rate while using it and it makes certain games more tolerable while playing even if the FPS dips low at times. I haven’t noticed any abnormal heating either. I just took a screen shot of my Netbooks temperature while playing WoW.

  35. Max says:

    Techmo, the temperatures you are monitoring don’t include the GMA 950 so the temps could be high…

    I myself am getting a Samsung q1 ultra which on which I will be using GMA Booster on.

  36. Ellsworth Sauer says:

    I played with several people that have ruined relationships, marriages etc over this game and for the longest time I just didn’t get it. Guess I still don’t. Blizz is making the game much easier to be casual. Maybe this altaholic needs to stick with one toon so he doesn’t feel pressured to gear up so many freakin’ toons? That way he can get in run a heroic, do whatever dailies he needs, spend some time goofing off and then move on to the wifey. She probably just needs attention/affection and if he would dedicate a few hours EVERY evening with her she would probably let him play WoW w/e.

  37. AaronX07 says:

    I play multiplayer flash games a lot, and it’s a really hard thing to do on my netbook with all the lag. I just downloaded the GMAbooster the other day, and now the games I play work smooth, and only has very little occasional lag. I’m thinking about donating. :D

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