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What’s the best mouse polling rate for gaming?

What's the best polling rate?

A lot of people who are unaware of what polling rates are end up buying the wrong mouse that will effectively be detrimental to their in-game performance. Fortunately, we have listed down everything you need to know about polling rates of gaming mice below.

Don’t need to all know all the detail about polling rates? The best polling rate for gaming mice is usually the highest polling rate you mouse can achieve. In most gaming mice, that’s 1000Hz. 

What is Polling Rate?

Simply put, polling rate is the frequency at which your mouse signals the computer its whereabouts on the screen. It’s measured in Hz and can vary from 125Hz to over 1000Hz depending on the brand and model of the mouse in question.

For instance, a mouse with its polling rate set to 125Hz will refresh its location on screen 125 times per second. The higher the polling rate, the more “real-time” the cursor movement that you see on the screen will be. Here’s a table of total millisecond delay at common polling rates. 

Do Polling Rates Matter?

From what you’ve learned so far about polling rates, it’s easy to see why a higher polling rate would benefit a gaming mouse. On paper, yes. The math checks out—and having a higher polling rate seems to be a no-brainer. But in reality, the difference between mice that polls at 500Hz and 1000Hz is only 1ms. So, unless you have superhuman eyes, you won’t notice any discernible difference between the two.

It can however be argued that higher polling rates are superior since it reduces input lag. While this is true, any polling rate north of 500Hz already has so little input lag that it won’t make a noticeable difference in games.

Moreover, it has been found that high polling rates of 1000Hz or more tend to put a heavier load on the CPU. in reality, this load is minuscule compared to what modern processors are built to handle, and should not affect most systems. But those who are still rocking older CPUs might face issues when using mice with super high polling rates. In their case, sticking to a simple middle ground would be much better. 

What Is the Best Polling Rate for Gaming?

The polling rate you use your mouse on can depend on what type of game you’re playing. Fast-paced eSports titles benefit more from the reduced input lag from a higher polling rate. other games, such as exploration and adventure types—do not necessarily need as high of a polling rate.

Depending on the types of games you play more, and the type of mouse you have, your polling rate can vary from 500Hz to 1000Hz. We don’t recommend going below 500Hz (though there is no reason why anybody would) as that introduces quite a noticeable amount of input lag.

Besides, most modern gaming monitors tend to circumvent any disparities in input lag caused by the mouse in the first place.

Most gamers tend to select one polling rate and stick to it for the entire lifetime of their mouse. while there’s no fault in this practice, you should always be aware of what your polling rate is and whether or not it is at a healthy level to the games you frequent. 

How Do I Change the Mouse Polling Rate?

There are many different methods to change the polling rate of your gaming mouse—and it all depends on the brand. Some mice allow you to change the polling rate from physical buttons that are present on the mouse itself. Others require proprietary software to do so.

We have listed below the steps needed to change the polling rate of the most common brands of gaming mice.

1. Logitech Mice

If you have a Logitech mouse, you will need to install the Logitech G Hub application or the Logitech Gaming Software. You can find the polling rate options under the “Sensitivity (DPI)” section in G Hub, and under the gear-shaped icon in Logitech Gaming Software.

The polling rate is called the “report rate” in both applications.

2. Razer Mice

If your mouse is made by the infamous three-headed snake, you will need Razer’s proprietary software as well.  Install the Razer Synapse software if you haven’t already. Once you have it installed, open the application and click on your mouse. Then, click on the “Performance” tab and move down to the polling rate section.

Here, there are two methods by which you can adjust your mouse’s polling rate. The first option is to select a specific polling rate from the given presets. These are usually set at 125Hz, 500Hz, and 1000Hz. Alternatively, you can click on the drop-down menu and manually select your preferred mouse polling rate.

3. Glorious Mice

If you own a Glorious gaming mouse and wish to change its polling rate, you will need to install the Glorious software in order to do so. The software is chock full of options that allow you to customize your mouse in whichever way you want. But the setting we’re looking for can be found on the “Mouse Parameter” menu on the bottom right corner. Clicking this will open a list of sub-menus. You will find the polling rate menu towards the bottom. Click it and you will be able to set whichever polling rate you wish.

4. SteelSeries Mice

Just like the previous brands, SteelSeries mice also require you to install customization software. In this instance, it’s the “SteelSeries Engine”. It’s a comprehensive software that allows you to tweak many settings, including polling rate. Simply select the polling rate you want and apply the settings.

5. Zowie Mice

BenQ Zowie mice are quite different in how their polling rates are adjusted. You can actually use physical buttons on the mouse to change its polling rate by doing a series of simple maneuvers. Although the question of whether or not this method is better than using a simple software control is up for debate.

First, make sure your mouse is unplugged. To change your polling rate to 125Hz, hold mouse buttons 4 and 5 (these are the side buttons) and plug the mouse into the USB port. The mouse wheel will light up to confirm the polling rate change.

To set the polling rate to 500Hz, hold mouse button 5 and plug the mouse back in. the wheel will again light up to confirm the change.

And finally, to set the mouse’s polling rate to 1000Hz, hold down button 4 and plug in the mouse. The wheel will light up (again). 

Polling Rates in Wired vs Wireless Mice

Now that you know what mouse polling rate is, and what it does, you might be asking “well, do wired and wireless mice differ in polling rate?”

The short answer is: no.

The long answer is a little more complicated than that. You see, in the early years of wireless gaming mice, their polling rate was actually quite less compared to their wired counterparts and hence had much higher latency.  

But wireless mouse technology has advanced to the point where there really is no difference in polling rate between them and wired mice. Any latency that can be hypothetically found in a wireless gaming mouse will have to do with Bluetooth interferences and not polling rate.

So, you really don’t have to worry about being disadvantaged when it comes to latency and polling rate if you do go for a wireless mouse.

Higher polling rates on wireless mice draw more power, so if you’re trying to converse battery life on your wireless mouse, going 500Hz instead of 1000Hz will save you some juice.

Mouse Polling Rate Test

If your mouse somehow does not have a supported software that allows you to check which polling rate you’re at, don’t worry. There are plenty of online tools that allow you to test the polling rate of your mouse.

https://devicetests.com/mouse-rate-checker is a very comprehensive web-based tool that you can use to test your mouse’s polling rate. By clicking “start”, you will be shown two frequency values for your maximum as well as your average polling rate. It is especially useful if you want to diagnose any potential issues with your mouse, instead of having to take it to a repair shop (or even completely replace it). 

Are Mouse and Keyboard Polling Rates Different?

Just like mice, keyboards too have polling rates that determine how often keypresses are reported back to the computer. And just like gaming mice, having a higher polling rate is generally preferred as it reduces latency and the potential to miss key presses.

The main difference lies in customizability. While gaming mice offer a wide degree of freedom to adjust the polling rate to your liking, not every keyboard offers the same amount of flexibility.

Most wired keyboards already come with the highest polling rate out of the box and will sometimes not offer any way to bring it down (because why would you?). However, some wireless keyboards do offer the option to change the polling rate as bringing it down helps increase battery life.

In a nutshell, most keyboards already offer really high polling rates, and you won’t have to worry about changing them. 

Do Super-Fast Polling Rates Make a Difference?

Some special gaming mice such as the Razer Viper 8K and the Corsair Sabre Pro offer polling rates up to an insane 8000Hz! But the question of the day is: is it really worth it? Well, yes and no.

On paper, having a mouse that polls at 8000Hz makes it have almost non-existent latency. But so does a mouse with a 1000 or 2000Hz polling rate. Once you cross the 500Hz threshold in polling rate, the difference becomes infinitesimal. Even a professional eSports player will have a hard time feeling the difference between a mouse that polls at 1000Hz and a Razer Viper 8K.

What’s more, the added strain on the CPU by a mouse with a polling rate of 8000Hz would be quite sizable. This is especially true for low to mid-range CPUs.

Another issue that arises when a mouse polls at super high polling rates is software incompatibility. Some games are simply not designed to withstand a mouse that refreshes at such a high rate. Instead of reducing input lag, using a mouse that polls at 8000Hz in certain games might actually do the opposite and cause it to lag!

If you’re looking for a “fast mouse”, stick to ones that offer really good optical sensors and low-latency switches. Leave the super high polling rates for the future. 

Conclusion

If you made to it the end, congratulations! You’re now an expert in all things polling rate. You can now shop for a new gaming mouse without any concerns regarding its polling rate, and make an informed decision that will suit your needs. 

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