Hello everyone.

I set up this blog since I've come across countless posts from different forums about whether a certain game works on a laptop with an integrated graphics solution such as the Intel X3100.

While this blog will cover the X3100, which I have, you can also find a link to the blog about the GMA950 integrated solution (which is maintained by ElbertZai), and as such will prove that integrated graphics solutions are not to be brushed aside.

Welcome to the unique world of mobile gaming.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A brief history of why integrated graphics got a bad rep.

When laptops first came out, they were purely no-nonsense, business machines - used mainly for work, running programs made for the usual work loads such as word processing, spreadsheets and slideshows. Games weren't a concern for the people who bought these laptops and as such, there was no need to address the compatibility of such laptops to certain gaming requirements.

Over the course of time, laptops have crossed over from being a work-related machine to a study-related one as well. As laptop technology improved, prices went from unreasonable to affordable. In addition to this, the internet has grown to be a powerful tool in research for students and teachers alike. With these developments, the laptop became a necessity for people, rather than a luxury.

Of course, students don't just work... they play too. And with this, came the requests for better graphics solutions to replace the ordinary ones that usually came with the mainstream laptops.

This demand was addressed by integrated graphics solutions:

Integrated graphics solutions, or shared graphics solutions are graphics processors that utilize a portion of a computer's system RAM rather than dedicated graphics memory. Computers with integrated graphics account for 90% of all PC shipments. These solutions are cheaper to implement than dedicated graphics solutions, but are less capable. Historically, integrated solutions were often considered unfit to play 3D games or run graphically intensive programs such as Adobe Flash. (Examples of such IGPs would be offerings from SiS and VIA circa 2004.) However, today's integrated solutions such as the Intel's GMA X3100 series (Intel GL960 & GM965 chipset), AMD's Radeon HD 3200 (AMD 780G chipset) and NVIDIA's GeForce 8200 (NVIDIA nForce 730a)are more than capable of handling 2D graphics from Adobe Flash or low stress 3D graphics. However, the aforementioned GPUs still struggle with high-end video games.

Previously, the early solutions made by VIA and SIS fell way short of their discrete counterparts (by discrete, we mean dedicated graphics cards, those with separate graphics memory chips for exclusive use of the GPU). People started to try playing games on their laptops which they played on their desktops. Naturally, some worked fine, but a lot didn't. This didn't discourage the hardcore users though, some came up with emulators which allowed one to play without the necessary hardware requirements, albeit with a drastic cut in quality, but nevertheless got the point across: mobile gaming was a possibility.

When Intel made their own solution, it was the "Intel Extreme Graphics". This brought about some improvements in graphics, but not enough to consider any game "acceptably playable". This technology apparently wasn't enough so they replaced it with the GMA line.

The GMA 900 was the first graphics core produced under Intel's Graphics Media Accelerator product name, and was incorporated in the Intel 910G, 915G, and 915Gx chipsets.

The GMA 950 is Intel's second-generation Graphics Media Accelerator graphics core, which was also referred by Intel as 'Gen 3.5 Integrated Graphics Engine' in datasheets. It is used in the Intel 940GML, 945G, 945GU and 945GT system chipsets.

The GMA X3100 is the mobile version of the GMA X3000 used in the Intel GL960 and GM965 chipsets and is the fourth generation. The X3100 differs in a lot of ways such as it supports hardware transform and lighting, up to 128 programmable shader units, Direct X 10, and up to 384 MB memory, in addition to other improvements.

Throughout the early course of these developments, gaming has always been seen as unacceptable for such solutions which gave rise to the notion that if you didn't have a dedicated graphics card, there would be NO CHANCE that you can play a decent game. This has significantly changed with the 950 and x3100 series.

This is why I've put up this blog - to dispel the notion that those people who have the integrated solutions won't be able to enjoy gaming on their laptops. I'll be putting tips and tricks on how to make the most out of the X3100 for gaming.

Drop by every now and then, try the tips and get your game on.


kimberly said...

When I bought my computer I did not know about the graphics card, however I saw a blog like this in a webside and it contained information, how to use and how install the graphic card. Similar to this, I think costa rica investment opportunities introduce great ideas how you can do the best investment. This is very interesting!!!

nikhil said...

What is reason behind the less capability of integrated grphics solutions?

abdulraheem said...

Thanks for sharing the details!
i would like to more information from your side!
please added more then tips!Am working in
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