The Lowdown on Latency: Understanding and Checking Mouse Polling Rate

Latency in online gaming can be the difference between victory and defeat, and while it’s typically linked to internet connections, there’s another crucial factor at play: mouse latency. This latency is quantified by the polling rate, which manufacturers specify in Hertz (Hz).

Let’s begin by demystifying latency. It represents the delay between an action’s initiation and its execution. While we commonly associate it with the lag between data sent and received by our computer from a server in gaming, various other latencies exist, even in our peripherals, though they are often imperceptibly low.

Deciphering Polling Rate

Polling rate refers to how often a mouse transmits its position to a computer or other computing device, typically measured in Hertz (Hz) or milliseconds (ms). In the realm of gaming, the polling rate is a pivotal factor, as a mere 1 ms could be the deciding factor between triumph and loss.

There’s a direct correlation between input response and output. The quicker the response time, the sooner the information is relayed to the system and “mirrored” in the game.

Today, there are varying polling rate frequencies, such as 125 Hz, 250 Hz, 500 Hz, and 1,000 Hz. At 125 Hz, the response time is 8 ms, while 1,000 Hz offers a mere 1 ms response time. A notable example is the RAZER DEATHADDER V3 PRO mouse with a polling rate of up to 4,000 Hz, leading to a response time of less than 0.5 ms.

Most often, you can adjust the polling rate via the mouse manufacturer’s software, which defaults to the highest possible polling rate to minimize latency.

Checking Polling Rate

To ensure that your mouse is performing as expected, you can easily check its polling rate. Numerous websites offer user-friendly tools for this purpose:

  1. BenQ: A gaming monitor manufacturer, BenQ hosts a dedicated page for polling rate verification. By clicking anywhere on the screen and swiftly moving your mouse, the average polling rate appears prominently, with the recorded frequency on the right.
  2. Click Speed Test: This site provides real-time polling rate data, including frequency at any given moment, the average, and the maximum recorded. Initiate the test by clicking “Start” and conclude it by clicking “Stop.” To reattempt the test, simply click “Reset.”

It’s important to note that neither of these tools will display values higher than 1,000 Hz, as they are calibrated for these maximum speeds. Achieving polling rates close to or exceeding 1,000 Hz is challenging. So if you observe values of 800-900 Hz, rest assured that your mouse is performing admirably and operating at a polling rate of 1,000 Hz or higher.