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This sounds crazy but I've tested this several times and it is completely reproduce-able. If a YouTube video is not running in the background Skyrim takes approximately 2 minutes to load and the framerate in the game is very choppy (10 FPS). However, if I have a YouTube video running in the background (it can be finished playing), the game runs with 60+ FPS and is perfectly playable (also loads in seconds).

If I have a stream running the FPS is not as good (about 40 FPS).

If I close the YouTube video while the game is running the FPS then drops back to choppy values.

Does anyone know why this is happening? I have an HP Pavillion Laptop with an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 and the latest versions of my drivers and DirectX with Windows 7 fully updated.

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That is nutty! Which model Pavillion is it? Does it have dual graphics, like integrated Intel and discrete AMD? –  Paul Dec 31 '11 at 4:30
    
Does this happen with other flash based video sites? Or just YouTube? –  Paperlantern Dec 31 '11 at 4:40
    
Something I just thought of is perhaps something with your vsync being screwed up. Vsync makes the computer sync fps of a game or video playback with the refresh rate on your monitor, typically 60 fps. Perhaps your vsync is off by default causing some really wonky and crappy performance in games until something on the YouTube player kicks vsync in and makes the game happy also. Just kinda thinking out loud, honestly I'm not entirely sure where a setting for this would be located. Ati control panel maybe? –  Paperlantern Dec 31 '11 at 4:45
    
check your power properties, there is a lot of messing with the stepping and power savings , and ramping up the steppings to accomplish tasks that aparentally can be controlled behind the scenes, via wonderous alogrithms that make the computer and OS very smart, , , when it works right :-) I have seen occurances like this on desktop, when the cpu is stepped up because it needs to "work" and when the gpu is stepped up because it is called to work. Usually i just say to heck with you and Manually set it myself :-) The idea being the other task pushed the hardware GO button :-) –  Psycogeek Dec 31 '11 at 9:24
    
If you have some utilities that can tell you the clock speeds of the gpu and cpu, or the FSB type stepping, take a look at what they are at each different stage, and please report them. (like in the question) Another utility that could be usefull, because "throttling" could occur , would be a way to see temperatures of the cpu at least. Anything that would show the cpu load (at least) –  Psycogeek Dec 31 '11 at 10:15
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