The Atom processors are often used in netbooks and they are usually associated with an Intel chip (we leave the ION platform side) for the graphics.There are three models, the GMA 500, GMA 950 and GMA 3150 and their names do not actually that is the best, as we shall see.
GMA 950 and 3150: the same thing?
The GMA 950 is the IGP Chipset Family 945, the GMA 3150 is the IGP of Atom Pine Trail. In both cases, it was basically the same chip: a component created by Intel, distant descendant of the only dedicated graphics card brand, the i740.Both PGI DirectX9, support Vertex Shader 3.0 support in software (via the CPU) and Pixel Shader 2.0 support in hardware. Both chips are limited to standard 1.5 of OpenGL and a relatively low bandwidth (one channel DDR2-667 or 800, depending on model). Finally, the frequency is low: 133 MHz on netbooks for the 950, 200 MHz for 3150 (and 400 MHz on the desktop versions). Finally, fleas are not able to handle decoding codecs usual, being confined to a semi-hardware decoding of MPEG-2.
GMA 500: slow, but complete
In contrast, we find the GMA 500. Despite its name, this chip is not from Intel, which only integration, but in PowerVR. This is actually a smart SGX 535 (comparable to that used in phones) that is (in theory) compatible with DirectX 10.1, Shader Model 4.1 and OpenCL (with 4 units of computation). Clocked at 200 MHz, it has the drawback of not being equipped with optimized drivers, which in practice makes it slower than a GMA 950, even if she does more things. But it was mainly an advantage: it is capable of decoding in hardware codecs HD streams as MPEG-2, H.264 and VC-1.
Nevertheless, in practice, there is a big problem with the lack of proper drivers, the GMA 500 is rare in the general public. Indeed, it has been designed for MID and has been used in some netbooks that for one reason: it uses (much) less than the GMA 950. But with the arrival of Pine Trail and the IGP, machine-based Atom Z and GMA 500 are expected to disappear, even if the couple uses less: its price is prohibitive and Intel obviously pushes manufacturers to opt for a couple Atom N450 + NM10.