When it comes to gaming, speed kills. In a good way.
For first person shooters and anything with high frames per second, it becomes more and more crucial to ensure you’re the fastest on the draw.
So when it comes to polling rate, what do you need to look for, and what should you consider?
Let’s take a closer look at the importance of speed and polling rate.
What is the Best Polling Rate?
When looking for a gaming mouse, look a polling rate of 1000Hz, for a reporting speed of one millisecond.
Having a high polling rate of 1000Hz is important for games that require speed, precision, and accuracy. These include not only competitive genres like FPS, but intense rhythm games like OSU as well.
Having a high polling rate will also help when it comes to higher-end hardware like ultra-wide displays with high refresh rates of 120Hz or greater.
Always make sure your mouse polling rate is faster than your monitor refresh rate or you may experience lag.
What is Polling Rate?
Polling rate is the speed at which your mouse communicates input to your computer.
Over USB, the base polling rate is usually 125Hz, or once every 8 milliseconds.
Most gaming mice, however, typically include a 1000Hz polling rate, once per millisecond, or 1000 times per second.
If all other things are equal, having a higher polling rate than your opponent means your inputs will be first, giving you an edge in speed and performance.
High polling rate also means that your inputs will be more accurate and precise in terms of timing on a frame-by-frame basis.
With high frames-per-second and refresh rate, a fast mouse will be crucial to keep up with the action.
You can check your mouse polling rate by using tools like the DirectX Mouse Rate Checker or BenQ Zowie’s Online Polling Rate Tool.
Wired vs Bluetooth vs 2.4gHz Polling Connection Types
When it comes to speed, having a high polling rate is important but can be limited by the connection type that you choose.
Bluetooth: The Polling Rate is Not Ideal
Bluetooth is common and convenient for modern computers, but is it really the best choice for gaming? Though Bluetooth may have good range, the slow high-latency connection is not ideal for gaming.
For most wireless mice, Bluetooth means that the polling is rate is limited to 125Hz or often times even lower. If you are doing anything more than casual gaming, Bluetooth will provide a fast enough connection, and may even get you killed (in your game of choice, of course).
2.4gHz: A More Reliable Option
2.4gHz wireless in its basic and upgraded forms are much more reliable than Bluetooth in terms of speed, but may not be as reliable as Bluetooth in terms of range or signal strength.
Reliability of the 2.4gHz signal is dependent on the receiver and quality of connection. 2.4gHz receivers typically need a clear line-of-sight to your device’s transmitter, and great distance means poorer signal strength.
Even a USB 3.0 port can interfere with your connection, so a USB 2.0 port is often recommended.
Many times, a USB extension cable will be needed.
The upgraded forms of 2.4gHz may perform just as well as a wired connection, and in some cases may even beat a cable.
These include Logitech Lightspeed, Razer Hyperspeed, and Corsair Slipstream.
When choosing a wireless mouse for gaming, make sure it can keep up with the action and choose a high-performance gaming option.
Wired Connection: Old Reliable
Using a cable is undoubtedly the most reliable and cost-effective solution for speed and performance.
Though you will certainly have speed on your side, you may also have to worry about added resistance or weight known as “cable drag”.
It’s important to make sure your cable is managed well, or even a high polling rate will not be enough to give you precision and speed.
Though the fastest speeds will come from a serial PS/2 port, most options simply don’t include a PS/2 connector anymore. The “ancient” outdated technology has all but gone extinct.
With USB, polling rates range from 125Hz to 1000Hz, with some even exceeding that range.
Not all mice are created equal, and many regular mice may not have the speed you need for gaming.
Make sure your gaming mouse has a speed of 1000Hz if you are more than a casual gamer.
Even if you won’t require such speed, a higher max polling rate could mean better performance in the lower ranges as well.
Why Don’t I Need More Than 1000Hz?
If higher numbers means faster and more accurate inputs, then surely even higher polling rates are more ideal, right?
At a certain point, polling rate becomes less about practical performance, and more about paranoia and overkill.
Game Engines Can’t Handle High Speeds
It’s undeniable the difference between 125Hz and 1000Hz speeds. Especially when it comes to cursor smoothness and position on a high refresh rate display, higher polling rates are important for accuracy.
On paper, a polling rate higher than 1000Hz is even more ideal. But is it necessary? Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you always need to.
One factor that comes into play is the speed of your game engine. Many game engines simply are not made to process inputs any faster than once-per-millisecond.
When you factor in other factors such as display latency, or how fast it takes your monitor to display changes, higher polling rates than 1000Hz become less practical from a price-to-performance standpoint.
Monitor Refresh Rate: Why It Matters
As we’ve established above, high polling rate is crucial when playing on a display with high refresh rates.
If your monitor operates at 120Hz, 144Hz, or greater, then you may start to notice lag with a basic mouse.
This is because your monitor is refreshing data faster than your mouse can report it.
Most modern consumer and gaming displays, however, don’t exceed 240Hz refresh rate. 360Hz displays are only now starting to become more common.
While there are monitors with refresh rates of 480Hz, 960Hz, and soon perhaps even in the thousands, these displays simply aren’t common enough or practical enough for a normal gamer to consider.
Unless your monitor’s refresh rate is greater than 240Hz or 480Hz, a mouse polling rate of 1000Hz is more than enough to provide smooth and reliable performance.
Is Razer’s 8000Hz Polling Mouse a Gimmick?
More power. A phrase commonly associated with gaming products, and a motto that Razer has taken to heart.
The Razer Viper 8K, born from the Razer Avalon project, is the latest entry into super low latency gaming peripherals and is currently the fastest gaming mouse on the market.
At 8000Hz, or 8 times per millisecond, the Razer Viper 8K is eight times faster than the typical gaming mouse.
While this speed sounds absurd on paper, and ideal for power-hungry gamers, is it really necessary?
Perhaps not for most gamers.
As display technology and game engines improve, however, high speeds will absolutely be necessary. With gaming displays reaching 360Hz and above, 1000Hz mice may become noticeably more laggy than what you were used to.
Though 8000Hz is certainly excessive by today’s standards, such innovation will be necessary to keep up with hardware and software improvements in the near future.
Do I Need a New Mouse or Monitor?
At this point you may be asking yourself: is it time to upgrade?
While you may certainly benefit from a new mouse or monitor, be careful where the upgrade path may lead.
The Slippery Slope of Upgrades
One of the biggest caveats of upgrading is the snowball effect.
After spending your money and upgrading your mouse, you may find that your keyboard may not be up to task either, and now you need a keyboard with high polling to match your new mouse.
But now your monitor is just too slow to take advantage of your fancy new gaming mouse and keyboard with thousands of Hz coarsing through their cables. Time for a new display.
Then a new GPU, more RAM, a faster processor.
The list goes on and the rabbit hole gets deeper. Soon your snowball has turned into something out of Katamari Damacy.
The more you consider relative performance and bottlenecking, the more you will have to spend money and upgrade, chasing performance that frankly you may never need.
If you are determined to upgrade, though, here are some options for some of the best gaming mice with high polling rates.
Best High Polling Rate Mice
Ben Q Zowie EC-2
A popular choice for gamers, the Ben-Q Zowie EC2 is an ergonomic gaming mouse that offers adjustable DPI and mouse polling up to 1000Hz. Settings can be adjusted via buttons on the bottom of the mouse, without the use of drivers or software.
Ideal for grips of all types and featuring a reliable 3360 optical sensor, the EC2 is a great choice for gamers looking for the standard in FPS Gaming.
Find the Ben-Q Zowie EC2 on Amazon and get your game on.
Glorious Model O
The Glorious Model O and Model O Wireless are superlight ambidextrous gaming mice making waves in the community.
With a honeycomb cutout shell, the Model O weighs in at just around 2.5 ounces, or 66 grams.
Featuring the same Pixart 3360 sensor as the Zowie EC2, the Model O has 1000Hz polling and tracking up to 12,000 DPI.
For smaller hands, check out the Model O-
Find the Glorious Model O on Amazon and ascend for a great price.
Razer Viper 8K
At 8000k polling, the ambidextrous Razer Viper 8K is the fastest mouse on the market, eight times faster than the other two mice listed above.
Find it exclusively from Razer.
Polling rate might not be as popular as DPI, but proves to be at least just as important when considering speed and performance.
Most beneficial for those with faster displays and competitive gamers, polling rate ensures low latency input for the most intense gaming situations.
For most people, 1000Hz will prove to be more than enough. Moving into the future, however, innovation in speed and higher polling rates will be increasingly important.
Thank you for reading. Now put down the article, and pick up a fast gaming mouse.
Have a great game, and an even better day.