Quick fix for Windows 7's display lag


I assume you guys would be aware of this- after I looked into it, it seems to be a fairly well-known issue. But since I’ve already posted it in 3 different places, I figured I may as well post it here, too.

(crossposted from SRKGD)
I mentioned in the last thread that there was some input lag while using Windows 7.

After doing some moderate investigoogling, this seems to be an issue with vsync, which Win7 uses for everything in the standard Aero layout (the one where with all of the pretty semitransparent borders). This can be addressed a number of ways, the simplest being to go into the display settings and change your layout to Windows 7 Basic, or another non-Aero layout. I tried High Contrast Black and things were also improved, but for some reason Windows Classic felt like it had a bit more lag than either of those two.

I also tried changing the color from 32-bit to 16-bit (under monitor settings), and there seemed to be another improvement. However, it was less noticeable than just switching to a non-Aero layout, so it may just have been a coincidence.

In my case because I’m using a windowed application (GGPO/FBA) I went into Win7′s graphical properties menus. But if you’re running a fullscreen application of whatever game you’re playing, you can just go into the game’s options menu and turn off vsync. I tried it with the PC version of SSF4:AE, and the difference was very noticeable.

When you turn off vsync the game will be slightly less pretty, but it wasn’t a big deal in SSF4:AE, when compared even to some faster-paced FBA games.


If you’re like me, you most likely have the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver. Which means disabling vsync will only apply to 3D graphics (also known as enabling asynchronous flip). But if you only play exclusively 2D FGs like ST or KOF, I’m not sure if doing this will result in less lag.

I’m gonna try it next time I have a chance to play, but if you know that it does help for 2D games, please let us know.


I have an AMD processor, so maybe things are a little different. But there does still seem to be a difference when vsync is turned off, albeit a somewhat minor one. For example, I can feel the difference by just spinning my mouse cursor in a circle in one mode and then switching to the other, so it would stand to reason that it applies generally to whatever is happening on the Win7 desktop.