Question Full screen vs borderless - Why does tabbing in and out of full screen cause issues/lag?

ShangWang

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Mar 26, 2021
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Why does tabbing out of and into full screen games cause it to lag a bit and then load? Sometimes when I do this the game stops responding/crashes/lags for the rest of the playthrough.

Why does this happen, and is it different from full screen borderless?

Does borderless continue to run in the background and takes up more RAM/CPU resources than normal full screen because it allows other apps like your browser to run at the same time while playing?

Will normal full screen only allow the game to be running actively, whereas full screen borderless lets ALL apps run actively?

Which is generally better/causes less issues?
 
Why does tabbing out of and into full screen games cause it to lag a bit and then load? Sometimes when I do this the game stops responding/crashes/lags for the rest of the playthrough.

Why does this happen, and is it different from full screen borderless?
Games that run in full screen have exclusive control over rendering, hence its actual name "Exclusive full screen." Windows is no longer rendering the desktop, so when you alt+tab out, Windows has to render the desktop, but at the same time, it stops rendering the game. This may cause games to freak out because the renderer is no longer running.

Full screen borderless is a windowed mode, but the contents are drawn without the border and covers the entire resolution of the desktop, hence its name.

Does borderless continue to run in the background and takes up more RAM/CPU resources than normal full screen because it allows other apps like your browser to run at the same time while playing?
Yes, the game will run in the background. No it doesn't take more RAM/CPU resources, but your GPU may be slightly more strained because Windows is rendering the other applications.

Will normal full screen only allow the game to be running actively, whereas full screen borderless lets ALL apps run actively?
Other applications will in the background regardless if you're doing exclusive full screen or borderless full screen.

Which is generally better/causes less issues?
I find full screen borderless to be better in most situations because I alt+tab out a lot, and I don't believe that the extra resources needed to continue rendering the other applications matter for the level of hardware I have.
 

ShangWang

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Mar 26, 2021
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Other applications will in the background regardless if you're doing exclusive full screen or borderless full screen.
Thank you for answering all those questions! So it doesn't necessarily take up more CPU/RAM resources, but it will take slightly more GPU resources because it needs to render the desktop on borderless?

When the game is tabbed out on full screen the GPU simply stops rendering the game, but CPU/RAM utilization remains the same?

I notice when I tab out of my game to the desktop my fans run slightly louder, so I'm assuming even though it's no longer rendering the game it's still using resources and heats up because I'm browsing and now the iGPU is rendering the desktop.

If you have an iGPU would borderless full screen not matter/not affect performance whatsoever but maybe add a bit more heat since the iGPU is rendering the desktop?

Do you know how windowed mode compares to fullscreen borderless? Do they work exactly the same way/have the same impact on performance and borderless just looks better?

Sorry for the barrage of questions again I'm quite curious on how this works haha.
 
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