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Intel GMA 500 Review

September 23rd, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments


The Intel Graphics Media Accelerator GMA 500 is designed for the netbooks, embedded products, handheld devices and advanced smart phones.

The GMA 500 is a part of the Intel System controller Hub ( for example US15W). The System Controller Hub US15W integrates the Graphics Controller (GMA 500), memory controller and I0 Controller. Some reviews refer to Intel GMA 500 as a graphics card – while a more correct term will be graphics core. The GMA 500 is not a graphics card, not even a graphics chip, it is a graphics core – a part of a chipset.


The GMA 500 Series are featured in the Intel Atom Zxx based netbooks (yes, of course as part of the System Controller Hub chipset). The GMA 500 is used, for example, for the playback of high resolution Video ( including HD video). The video decoder inside GMA-500 has ability to accelerate the MPEG2 and AVC HD video.

The nominal clock frequency of the GMA-500 is 200 MHz. The GMA 500 is clocked at 100 MHz in UL11L chipset and at 200 MHz in US15L and US15W chipsets. The GMA series has other higher clock rate graphics processors. The GMA 900, for example is clocked at 400 MHz.

Manufactured with 130 nm techonology, GMA 500 supports DirectX 10.1, Shader 4.1.

According to some of the benchmarking results available, the average score with the 3D Mark 06 is close to 1000. The Windows 7 gaming experience puts it at a score of 2. The Windows 7 graphics experience score is at 5.

The graphics performace is therefore acceptable (even with HD), however, the it is definitely unsuitable for the gaming graphics.

The GMA 500 was not developed from the ground level by Intel. Instead, Intel took the license from the Imagination Technologies. The core of GMA 500 is based upon the PowerVR SGZ 535 core. This is the same core that powered the Apple A4. According to intel, GMA 500 is a flexible, programmable architecture. The GMA-500 supports shader-based technology, 3D, 2D and advanced graphics, HD video decode. It supports screen tiling, zero overhead anti-aliasing, internal true color processing, programmable 3D accelerator, and 32-bit FP (Floating Point) operations.”

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