Update1 (2011-08-03): Seems like mmmsheen at notebookreview forums has discovered a way to unleash the performance of the GMA 500. Function keys still don't work, but wakeup from sleep does. Watch the video here.
Like always my research around the GMA500 started because I wasn't happy about how things worked (I cannot play Minecraft on my netbook for crying out loud!). But as I delved deeper into the knowledge pool that is the internet, I realised it wasn't the chipset that was holding my computer back, it was the driver. The Vista and 7 driver has among others no support for OpenGL and limited support for 3D acceleration and DirectDraw. This performance problem netbook owners are experiencing isn't because Intel don't want to write a good driver, but because there is some sort of legal licensing problem. This is also why Intel has no Linux driver for the GMA500 (still you can install some linux distros: I've written an old tutorial on Jolicloud and Vaio P which might still be valid.
But hurray, for XP users you can get a developer version of the GMA500 XP driver (IEGD - nonconsumer driver) which you can (with a little extra work) use on Vista and Windows 7. I went ahead and installed the driver in this fashion:
- Downloaded the IEGD Driver from here. Also downloaded the Windows 7 driver from Sony's website in case something would go wrong (which it did).
- Right-clicked on Computer in the start-menu and chose Manage.
- Clicked Device Manager and clicked on Display adapters and uninstalled the GMA500 and removed all the drivers.
- Restarted and installed the IEGD drivers.
- Restarted and...
I had a lecture at the hospital so I went there, booted up the Vaio P and started to take notes. In the brake I put it to sleep (by closing the lid) as I normally do. Unfortunately the XP IEGD drivers don't wake up on Windows 7. They also cannot adjust the backlighting of the screen. When I got home I tried it again but with hibernation. Nope. The drivers don't like it. So I finally tired of it all and installed my old drivers again. I know, I should have tried a game or two to see the performance there. But seriously? Would you use a driver that makes your computer crippled?
I went on this quest (can I call it quest? please?) to see if I could enhance the performance of the GMA500. I couldn't.