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Getting the most out of your Intel GMA experience

Getting the most out of your Intel GMA experience

It’s no secret that Intel GMA is… well, crap (to put it mildly), right? It’s really barely capable playing any good games, especially if you’re running the older series of the card, such as the X3100, x4500, GMA 950 or anything else for that matter. And even then anything that pre-dates the HD 3000 has some serious difficulties running any of the most current games. Of course Intel made sure that it’s capable of HD video playback, but is that really enough?

Well, fear not! Today we are going to look at how you can go the extra mile and squeeze a bit more out of your good old Intel GMA.

Tweaking your chip with GMA Booster

If you’re running the old Intel GMA 900 or Intel GMA 950, you can use a tool called GMA Booster. What’s this GMA Booster you’re talking about, you may think. The GMA Booster defines itself as “the first performance boost solution for Intel® [GMA]“. It offers you of up to 2.4x processing power on your GMA chip, which will give you a visible boost on the FPS and graphics quality.

You can download the software here. Unfortunately if you’re an X3100 or X4500 user, you’re out of luck. However, there is some development going on on those particular chipsets as well, so don’t be too disappointed as you may see something coming out 

Keeping only what’s really needed with Game Booster

Game Booster

Another method to boost your performance is to use the software named Game Booster. Some people argue that it barely increases the performance, while others say they feel a significant improvement in their gaming and/or video watching experience.

What Game Booster really does is turn off the unnecessary crap that your computer does not need when running a game, such as the Themes service or the explorer frame. Unless you like to alt-tab out of your games every so often to check your Facebook or email.

You may have to tweak the settings a bit to find the best ones for a particular game or just the best settings for your machine in general. Don’t be afraid of messing something up with your computer when looking for the best settings. There’s nothing better than a bit of trial and error when learning things like this.

You can download Game Booster here.

Updating and tweaking the Intel GMA drivers

Intel HD Graphics Settings

I almost forgot the last thing. The Intel GMA driver. Is yours up to date? Make sure it is by going here. That may give you a boost in performance as well. Also, you should remember to check out the Intel GMA settings, if you already haven’t. Make sure everything there is set to high performance. Meaning you should go to 3D settings and set the slider to Performance, or somewhere in the middle.

The way I cope with my Intel GMA HD (yes I am of the few unfortunate ones who are stuck with the GMA as well), is that I’ve set the settings to custom. Again, a bit of trial and error should let you what works for your computer best. Using the best performance settings may result in badly drawn textures, but if you really want to play Diablo III (oh yes, it’s possible to run it on the GMA) or any other resource heavy game, you may consider it as an option.

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Best Top 10 Mobile Phones

Best Top 10 Mobile Phones

The mobile phone market is filled with handsets of various calibres and the average Joe may find it difficult to choose a handset from the vast variety of operating systems and manufacturers. This is why we at DFG have decided to take away some of your pain and provide a top 10 list of the best mobile phones for all the different types of users.

10. Sony Ericsson Xperia Play

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play

This phone has been made with having gamers in mind. The Xperia Play has a slide-out gamepad, which is not so different from a PlayStation controller when it comes to the looks. The handset itself is Playstation certified, which makes it able to run some exclusive games, which make use of the gamepad in order to bring a full-on gaming experience.

The phone is relatively cheap for what it has to offer (around $250 on Amazon) and it also runs one of the most popular mobile operating systems – Android! This makes it extremely easy to customize according to the users liking and even install custom roms, such as the Darkforest ROM.

If you’re looking for a phone that has the ability to play all the current Android games without any major errors and don’t want to spend too much money by buying a handheld console and a mobile phone, this is the device for you 

9. Nokia Lumia 900

Nokia Lumia 900

The Nokia Lumia 900 handset is really different from most of the handsets in the market. This is mainly because it’s running the Windows Phone 7 operating system, which has proven itself to be work quite smooth and a worthy competitor for Google Android and Apple iOS. The operating system and the handset also have a different design approach so it would really fit anyone who is bored of all the handsets that look almost the same.

The joy of having a Lumia 900 can cost you as much as $500 for a completely unlocked handset (if it’s out of your price range, you may consider cheaper Windows Phone 7 alternatives). And you may be missing out on some of your favourite apps and games, since Windows Phone 7 hasn’t been out for as long as Android or iOS. It doe0s, however, feel rather heavy in hand, despite the fact that it is smaller than its competitors.

The Lumia 900 is definitely the best of its kind and overall this is a great phone if you’re looking for something that is different, yet has the same power and potential as any other handset out there. It is a bit pricey, which puts it at a low position, but if you can find the apps you need working on WP7, you may as well get it.

8. Blackberry Bold 9900


Blackberry is not an uncommon name out there. The brand is usually known for their business class phones which make it extremely easy to organize your calendar, use email and browse the internet. Alongside these features, the Blackberry Bold 9900 also delivers a very professional user interface, making it easy on the eyes and especially good for people who have to text and email a lot.

Despite being released a year ago (2011 August) the price still holds pretty steady. You can get it for $420 on Amazon with a special deal and if you’re trying to buy it from the official Blackberry page it may cost you well over $600.  The price is a bit much considering the fact that you can get an iPhone 4s for much the same price and jailbreak it for a much more fun user experience.

The handset is not too bad if you’re looking for a decent business phone and you have a company paying for it. However, if you fall under the label of casual users more than any other, then you might consider cheaper and more flexible phones as an alternative.

7. Samsung Galaxy Nexus


The Galaxy Nexus device is closely similar to the Samsung Galaxy S2 by the power it has under the hood. What sets it apart is the AMOLED HD screen which I am sure many of you will find just right to view your 720p HD videos. 16GB of internal storage space should also be enough if you’re a fan of taking lots of pictures and videos.

A new phone would damage you for around $400. It is worth it’s price, since you will be able to enjoy the latest Android updates (or the latest CyanogenMod 10) and you will also be always ready to capture the precious family moments on HD videos.

This device is great for a bit more advanced users who do more on their phone than just calling and texting. For $400 this is a real treat in terms of performance and features making it a desirable handset by many people.

6. Huawei Ascend G300

If you’re looking for a phone that has absolutely everything – this is the phone for you. It hosts the popular Android OS, powered by an outstanding processor. The Ascend G300 also has a 5MP camera making it good for anyone who’s not a professional photographer 

The price mark currently stands at $245 which is what places it at this best top 10 mobile phone list. It does not result in a huge hole in your wallet and brings you with all the smartphone features you need in order to go along with the crowd. And since the device can run Android 4.0, it can be customised to suit your own style!

Long story short, this device is definitely worth the money for the features you get. The Huawei Ascend G300 is ideal for someone who wants to stay up to date, but does not want to spend a fortune for the features which are not going to be used anytime soon.

5. HTC Sensation XE


This is the successor of the original HTC Sensation. It has a 4.3 inch screen providing a pretty crisp picture. The Sensation XE (more specs with picture and video samples available on our HTC Sensation XE Review) also has an 8MP camera, making a high-end smartphone with the ability to take stunning and crystal-clear pictures. The phone is also available in the Beats Audio flavour, making it the superb handset for anyone who likes their music loud.

The cost of owning a handset like this starts from $440. But the purchase itself is worthwhile since you are getting the top-notch features as well as the Android operating system. Also, if you are not a fan of the stock operating system and would like to have a phone customized to your liking, there are loads of custom roms available for this device.

It is completely worth the price and we at DFG would recommend this phone for anyone who likes to fiddle around with their handsets, bet it unlocking or custom rom flashing. This phone is suitable for both – the advanced and the average smartphone users.

4. LG Optimus 4X HD


The phone is a monster when it comes down to performance.  This is LGs entrance to the high-end phone market. If you’re bored of the entire king brands like Samsung, HTC and Apple, but still seek something with enough juice to run the latest Android versions and all the games and apps you can carry, this is the phone for you.

Paying the price of $670 gets you a design very similar to the previous Samsung Galaxy handsets and a full set of high-end features.  If you’re an advanced user, you may as well get the Optimus X4 HD to compare to the Galaxy S3 by modifying the Android OS a bit.

This handset would suit anyone who wants to stay with the Android trend but is still looking for something different or just lost trust in the current king mobile phone brands. The advanced users may also have some fun by giving the phone some slight modifications.

3. Apple iPhone 4S


The name of this phone says pretty much everything. The iPhone is an extremely popular phone among all ages of people and used for all sorts of purposes (you can really use it for everything). It hosts an app store bigger than you can imagine, so browsing presentations, documents or any other form of data from the phone shouldn’t really be a problem.

Apple iPhone 4S is available with AT&T from $650. It will run the very newest iOS with all the fancy wireless sync and cloud features you may need. It also has a vast variety of free games and apps to offer, so you will certainly get your money’s worth out of it. And if you’re feeling like you want to do more with your device than it was originally supposed to, you can always jailbreak it and install Cydia.

Overall this is a great phone whether you’re old or young and it’s extremely popular. However, it does bear the price tag of Apple and is pretty expensive, therefore you may consider getting something cheaper (especially if you’re getting it for someone who wouldn’t look after it properly).

2. HTC One X


The HTCOne X handset definitely is HTC’s pride. They have really outdone themselves (even though their share price has gone down) with the quad-core CPU and an amazing 32GB of internal storage to store all your pictures taken with the fancy 8MP camera. It has this extremely premium design feel to it when compared to other phones. However, this design is unibody, meaning you can’t take out the battery whenever you please.

The phone is extremely cheap for what it has to offer – it’s just $440. And for this price you are getting absolutely everything. You will not have to worry about apps or games not being able to run on your device since it can simply run it all. Unfortunately for some people, the phone is rather large and may require two hands to operate the device, especially if you have smaller palms.

This phone is great for whoever is looking a powerful handset to run all their everyday apps flawlessly. This phone is definitely worth your attention if you like to stay connected and really like to multi-task on your handset.

1. Samsung Galaxy S3

Despite the recent quarrel with Apple, Samsung still is the king of smartphones with its latest Galaxy S3 handset. The internal storage goes all the way up to 64GB it also hosts the currently fastest CPU on a smartphone – the 1.4GHz Cortex-A9. The design is a bit different from what we are used to, but amazing nonetheless. And just like the HTC One X it’s a pretty damn large phone, therefore sometimes may require two hands to operate.

The king of the Best Top 10 Mobile Phones starts its price from around $610 (fully unlocked).  Comparing this with the prices of the other handsets from the top 10 list, this phone is the absolute leader. It delivers all of the features and more for a balanced price. This phone should be able to cope with any near future Android OS updates (including the Jelly Bean update) and shouldn’t have any difficulties at all running your applications.

We really recommend this phone for everyone and anyone, whether old or young, it is pretty easy to use. But still think whether you are going to use all the functionality that the device has to offer, since it is quite pricey and there are cheaper alternatives to be considered.

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Get the Xperia S UI on your Xperia Play

I had a few complaints recently, that the ROM was stock themed and that it could look far better. In the previous version of Darkforest ROM, RC2, It was Ice Cream Sandwich themed, however, some people preferred the Sony user interface.

So, I have used FlamEmo’s Arc S Theme with Xperia S look, and have also added the Xperia S applications into the ROM, this is because since Sony took over, the UI has been amazingly good looking. With this ROM, you can get the Xperia S look on your Xperia Play!

Features of the 3.1.0 GSM Update:

-Using 4.0.2.A.0.64 base
-Xperia S themed by FlamEmo – framework-res.apk, SemcGenericUxpRes.apk, SemcSettings.apk
-Disabled ALS due to themed Settings app not showing disable auto brightness option

-Added Xperia S Applications:

Games & apps (facebook)
Music & videos (facebook)
Music Player
Setup Guide (needs resizing still)
Track ID
Xperia S Live Wallpapers
Xperia S Themes (work like existing themes)
Xperia S Widgets
Xperia S Home
– Left all stock widgets there (eg. old timescape) in case people still like to use them.
– Added Xperia ICS Beta Boot Animation
– Left Update center for people on locked bl

Download here


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Proview Tech Owns The Name “iPad”

Many of you probably have never heard of this firm called Shenzhen Proview Technology from China, but you will now. It’s currently in a huge legal battle with Apple claiming they own the copyright to the name, “iPad”.

This company apparently registered the iPad trademark in China back in 2001. Apple bought the rights to the name from a Taiwan company affiliated with Proview, but now this company says it still owns the name in China.

A Chinese court has already rejected Apple’s claim to the name, and now the famous iPad is being pulled from the shelves in one city. Proview wants 30 other cities to follow suit. This would certainly be a huge blow to Apple losing such a huge market. Apple products in China are also considered as highstatus symbol.

It’s not a surprise that Proview is doing everything it can to give Apple such a hard time. Chinese media reported Shenzhen Proview Technology is in huge debt and is on the path to bankruptcy. This is really their lifeline, their last hope for survival as Apple could potentially pay out a tonne of cash to settle this.

Honestly, China is notorious for copyright infringements so it really is ironic that they are now defending their rights.

I think it is quite unfair to Apple back in all, all Apple products are manufactured in China – therefore Apple is actually doing the Chinese a favour providing jobs in China. The Chinese government also failed to tackle copyrights issues voiced by western companiescompany affiliatedso the unjust in this is just unacceptable.

What do you think?

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Are Smartphones Killing Handhelds?


The ever more capable computer in your pocket is, of course, a game’s machine too. App store boasts thousands of games all available to download for a couple of dollars or even nothing, considerably less than the typical $30 USD game for a dedicated gaming console.

There are also many more smartphones than there are handheld game machines; 300 million smartphones sold last year comparing to just 27 million PSPs and DS’. It’s estimated that 6 billion games were downloaded to those phones in 2010, dwarfing the number of games sold by the more traditional machines. So, in a certain light, that makes a smartphone by far the world’s biggest gaming platform and it’s certainly something that Apple claimed in its developers’ conference this week.

Then there are the tablets, offering the users a bigger screen and a better processor on which to play these games. So, as Sony releases the PlayStation Vita in the hope of reviving its flagging fortunes and Nintendo’s 3DS suffers from worse than expected sales, are the gaming giants doing enough to counter the threat from the rise and rise of games on phones?

Even Sony is arguably hedging its bet as the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play phone being the first to be PlayStation certified, meaning although it’s an Android device, the owners will be able to link it to the PlayStation suite and play some PlayStation One games.

So are mobile phone games killing the traditional handheld games then?

“It’s actually hurting that part of the business but in general it’s growing the overall opportunity for games. You know, we use to talk about a few hundred million consumers? But now with mobile phones we are talking about billions of consumers that are playing games now. So overall it’s a big plus for the industry, but it has taken a little out of the handheld segment for sure.” – Frank Gibeau, President of Electronics Art Games.

Is there a difference between the types of game being popular on the phone versus the type of games that’s proving popular on the more powerful devices?

“You have to look at them in terms of their life cycle? Smartphones are fairly new to gaming so you are seeing more simplistic and straightforward designs, but they are getting increasingly and increasingly complexes. Customers and gamers on phones want deeper and richer experiences, and with the processing powers on smartphones growing very fast, we are able to put out really great experiences now that you couldn’t have imagined even a few years ago on a feature phone.” -Frank Gibeau, President of Electronics Art Games.

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Sony Ericsson ICS 4.0.3 Xperia Play ROM Leaked!

Sony ericsson Xperia PLAY ICS

Recently, an Ice Cream Sandwich Android ROM was leaked for the Xperia Play and using it myself, it seems to be very stable with most features working. Hats off to Sony Ericsson for quick development on this device.

First of all, from playing about with the ROM for ten minutes I can tell you there are a few bugs, just after booting your phone you will find com.android.phone and Keypad force close, but after 9-10 force closes, it no longer happens.

I don’t quite know if data works, because I haven’t topped up yet this month, however, I have signal and made a test call and it works. Texting should work flawlessly too.Camera also doesn’t work, upon opening the Camera application you get the error “cannot connect to camera”.Adding APN’s doesn’t work for me (sim related maybe?) as when I open the APN option in the settings app the app force closes.

As this The camera, it was not intended to fall into our hands unlike the official alpha ICS release preview (yes, official!), so I say so good. Sony Ericsson seem to have done this in a timely manner, and should be well ahead of their schedule, they gave us an ETA of March 2012.

I might be using this as the base for the ICS version of DarkforestROM for the Xperia Play, that is if a newer version is not leaked or released.

This ROM is packed by DooMLorD, and requires an ICS RAMDISK, so you will have to flash his kernel too.

Use the command:

fastboot flash boot boot.img

to flash the kernel and to flash the ROM, use ClockworkMod Recovery

Download links:

ROM – flash in recovery

Kernel – DooMKernel for ICS – flash using fast boot

You might need to flash this if data does not work – flash in recovery.

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