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See the bottom right option, under DirectX? I still haven't figured out what it does, and changing the setting and clicking OK yields no visual change.

Is disabling it critical to any game fucntions (!MOTD, etc)? Does disabling yield a performance boost? In any case, what does that option do?

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Disabling it should have no functional impact to your game but it may improve your FPS slightly, I believe it is only active if you play in "Windowed mode" - it just makes things like the taskbar all pretty.

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Turns of all the nice looking Windows Vista/7 features while playing, saving up a few resources. Can be done also by simply right clicking hl2.exe and checking a few boxes. Overall making your fps higher.

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