Tooltips slow games to a crawl


OSNN Junior Addict
6 Jan 2004
I've noticed that when playing windowed games on my Radeon 9800 Pro, windows tooltips will slow them down to a crawl while AA and/or AF are on. While a tooltip from any program or the system is onscreen, games will slow down so far so that you can literally see frames being painted to screen. This happens whether or not the tooltip is overlapping the game window.

I've knocked down one similar culprit of system-related slowdowns: menu shadows, but any tooltips still cause the problem. Curiously enough, menus without shadows cause no slowing at all.

I've googled the problem and searched several forums with nothing to show for it, so if anyone has insight to how to solve this, I'd appreciate it greatly. Sometimes I simply cant play games fullscreen and lets face it - playing games without AA or AF isn't an option anymore, so being rid of this annoyance would be of great help.

Currently using 4.2 Cats, slowdown happens on multiple systems with the 9800 Pro and 9700.
can you explain this?

you have the game in a window and then when you are running an app and a tooltip shows inside the game window it slows ?

or is it fullscreen and the slowdown occurs when a help hint pops up ?
Well, just to clarify further... say my desktop res is at 1280x1024, and I'm running a game windowed in 1024x768. If I move the cursor down to the taskbar/quicklaunch bar and a tooltip for a shorcut pops up, that's when the game slows down. It doesn't matter whether the tooltip overlaps the game or not, it still slows down and stays slowed down while the tooltip is displayed.

This is also similar to another thing that happens when I use Media Player Classic with the video output set to "DirectX9 Renderless". Menus or tooltips will slow down the video in the same way if AA/AF is turned on.
1). Don't run games windowed, it uses extra resources.

2). Never turn on "show window while dragging" it's a brutal resource hog.

In general I've never noticed a slow down from shadowing menus.

What do you mean by tool tip? A windows function or a help feature in the game. It makes a big difference. If you are poppng up windows functions when playing a game you are changing process focuss from foreground to background which starves the games which require massive amounts of resources.
yah... what leejend said concerning the first part of your post racer...

concerning media player.. I am not sure why that would slow down... how do you change the video output to dx9 renderless ? :confused:
LeeJend: I mean Windows XP tooltips.... but why would process focus make any difference?

Sazar: DX9 Renderless is an output setting for Media Player Classic, and you can get it at

I mean, I'm not being picky or anything, but this kinda problem never happened when I used older Nvidia cards before, so why would a newer video card from Ati do it? (Not to start an Nvidia/Ati flame war, hehe) A Radeon 9800 Pro is supposed to have full support for DX9, and the official Catalysts have WHQL certification... hmm...

But still, I am very happy with the Radeon, it's just minor things like this that bug me.
when you are running a game it takes its usually taking 100% processor load... when you shift focus away it is taking away cycles from the window to whatever else... considering that when you have AA/AF your load on the gpu is max it could explain what is happening...

as for media player and the dx9 renderless... I am unsure since I have never used it personally nor have I ever seen it in action afaik...

you can check on the forums since there is a massive ati community there... at least one of whom should be able to help you...
There is a setting inder XP advanced that lets you allocate (to a limited extent) how much system resources are given to "THE" foreground task and how much to background tasks. When the focus changes from the game window the foreground task (with the biggest allocation of resources) moves from the game to the desktop the game is now coming up short.

You can change that so background tasks get more priority but like Sazar says. The games want it all.

Check under under performance - Advanced then Advanced again I think for the settings.
First of all, thank you all muchly for your insight into this problem. Any advice is very well appreciated.

I understand the concept of XP's cpu scheduling scheme, and that very well may contribute to this. But the fact still remains is the issue ONLY happens when AA/AF are turned on. As far as I know, only the GPU handles AA/AF. That's why I posted in the 'graphics cards' section of the forum since it's GPU related. I've become very accustomed to having AA/AF on all the time, games just look nasty without it.

I made a post in the Rage3d forums, but haven't had any productive results so far. I've even turned off all of XP's visual effects just to see what would happen - nothing. I'm hoping this isn't a hardware limitation of the 9800pro. If anything, I'm hoping it's just a driver bug and can be fixed. Maybe I need to feedback to Ati...

Oh, and about video playback... Windows Media Player (v9, etc) in XP uses 'DirectX7 Windowed' for it's output by default. But in Media Player Classic you can change the output to a number of different things, and DX9 Renderless uses D3D texture surfaces. That's probably why it's affected by D3D AA being on.

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