About Overclocking an Intel GMA 950

Written by luc braybury
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The Intel graphics media accelerator (GMA) 950 is an integrated graphics engine that may be embedded in the motherboard of a computer using the Pentium 4 processor. It is a cheaper, less-powerful alternative to a separate graphics accelerator card used to power the graphical and video performance of a computer system.

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Overclocking Purpose

Overclocking a computer component means manipulating it to run at a higher rate than was set by the manufacturer. Overclocking is usually done to achieve better performance out of lower-end or older components in lieu of purchasing better or new hardware. The Intel GMA 950 is just such a component and is not designed to support demanding graphical applications. Performance improvements with overclocking in the GMA 950 generally extends only to enhancements in graphical user interfaces, such as Microsoft Windows Vista, Mac OS X and basic video playback acceleration.

Overclocking the GMA 950

It is arguable that overclocking an integrated graphics chip, such as the GMA 950, is not useful since little benefit can be had due to its inherent lower performance; it was designed for users with little use for more expensive graphics accelerator cards, after all. However, the GMA 950 is often set by the manufacturer to run much slower than its limit to decrease power consumption and increase battery life in netbooks and laptops, in which the GMA 950 is most prevalent. To push the GMA 950 to its limit, software such as GMABooster is required.

Benefits of Overclocking

The low voltage versions of GMA 950 used in laptops and netbooks are usually set to run at either 133 megahertz (MHz) or 166MHz, the clock speed. The GMA 950 is capable of running at up to 400MHz equating to a dramatic increase in speed without losing system stability. Using GMABooster safely ramps up the clock speed of the GMA 950 leading to noticeable improvements in video playback and operating system performance.

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