PHOTOS: Mouse 125Hz vs 500Hz vs 1000Hz

PHOTOS: Mouse 125Hz vs 500Hz vs 1000Hz

Originally created in a Blur Busters Forums thread, and now a part of the Mouse Guide, this is a photo comparision of 125Hz versus 500Hz versus 1000Hz mouse poll rates. The 500Hz versus 1000Hz is human-eye visible during motion blur reduction strobing (e.g. LightBoost) as well as G-SYNC where NVIDIA recommends a 1000Hz mouse.

You can see this by enabling motion blur reduction on your 120Hz monitor, and then drag a text window. Fewer microstutters makes text easier to read while dragging.

The gapping effect is caused by the harmonic frequency difference (beat frequency) between frame rate and mouse poll rate. It is clearly visible when no other sources of microstutters exist; e.g. fast GPU, fast CPU, low-latency USB. This mouse microstutter is clearly visible in Source Engine games on newer GPUs at synchronized framerates.

During 125Hz mouse poll rate versus 120fps frame rate (125 MOD 120 = 5), there are 5 microstutters per second. This results in 1 gap every 25 mouse arrow positions.

During 500Hz mouse poll rate versus 120fps frame rate (500 MOD 120 = 20), there are 20 microstutters per second. This results in 1 gap every 6 mouse arrow positions.

These mouse microstutters become especially visible on low-persistence displays such as strobed monitors or CRTs, during window-dragging. 500Hz vs 1000Hz difference is amplified during LightBoost, ULMB, Turbo240, and BENQ Blur Reduction.

About Chief Blur Buster

Head of Blur Busters.

6 comments on “PHOTOS: Mouse 125Hz vs 500Hz vs 1000Hz

  1. [email protected] says:

    You mention that these micro stutters are clearly visible in source games at synchronised refresh rates , I’m assuming you mean VSync?

    Are they noticeable if VSync is off? Does frame capping also have the same effect as VSync?

    • Chief Blur Buster says:

      Or framerate capping via fps_max.

      However, microstutters can also occur because of a harmonic frequency difference between framerate versus refreshrate. There can be complex 3-way harmonics between framerate, refreshrate, and mouse pollrate, that are easily seen with in some older game engines.

      A simple example is fps_max 118 during 120Hz operation, that causes 2 microstutters per second if you are running capped ourt at 118fps (for VSYNC OFF and for triple-buffering VSYNC ON) when excluding mouse microstutters and network microstutters (e.g. Solo play mode).

  2. CrunchyBiscuit says:

    “Doesn’t this mean, that you should get a 144 Hz G-Sync monitor, cap your games at 125 fps and you no longer need to buy a 1000 Hz mouse?”

    (I hope I’m not speaking out of turn here) theoretically, yes, but:

    Because there is no check up or synchronization going on between the two values (polling rate & refresh rate are both arbitrary numbers, even when closely matching), eventually your mouse polling rate and monitor refresh rate will start to slightly misalign (one is always ever so slightly faster than the other, compare it to manually aligning clocks or metronomes, etc). This will result in observable microjudders while panning the view with the mouse every once in a while. To make the misalignment have the least impact on visual feedback, I would still recommend 1000Hz (or higher of course).

    For example. I play some games using raw mouse input at 1000Hz polling on a current monitor setting of 50,000Hz. While theoretically these two numbers should be properly dividable, I can still notice a small window of misallignment every 20-25 seconds or so while panning the view with the mouse during high contrast scenarios. It’s rather hard to see, but there if you look carefully and patiently enough and know how to spot it (all other factors which could be responsible for irregular frequencies are eliminated, of course). The problem still occurs because there is no synchronization going on. The microjudders become more noticeable when I set the mouse at 500Hz. Even worse at 250Hz, despite, in theory, these numbers should work very well together with a 50Hz refresh rate.

    Which is why I think mouse synchronization will be the best way to deal with this issue. Just like frame rates can be synchronized with refresh rates (and frame rates even determining refresh rates in case of G-Sync), we should be able to synchronize polling rates to refresh rates as well.

    Of course, upping the mouse and USB polling rate isn’t a bad idea either, and probably the preferred method for competitive players, because it ensures the quickest possible input feedback and should also eventually solve the problem of frequency misalignment by making it completely unnoticeable. However, higher polling rates will also result in higher processor utilization, a problem avoided by the synchronization method.

    For competetive players concerned about responsiveness, I would always suggest using high polling rates, high frame rates (with maybe a cap for consistency), high refresh rates and no v-sync (and preferably G-Sync, or soon FreeSync). Many competitive players I have seen don’t use G-Sync yet, play without v-sync anyway and are perfectly fine with tearing. If you don’t mind tearing, the issue of polling rate/refresh rate misallignment certainly won’t bother you, as it’s far too subtle for most people to notice or care about.

    However, if you’re concerned with consistent motion smoothness, there still is no universal solution to solve the issue of misalignment between polling rates and refresh rates despite being v-synced or G-Synced. Luckily, there are games that have a customizable mouse filter or smooth setting to get rid of the issue, but this will unfortunately always result in some form of input delay, and half the time it doesn’t even properly do what it was designed for.

    I read that Quake Live has some feature which syncs polling rates of 125Hz to the internal engine clock or something. Not sure exactly how it works, but it sounds like this method might solve the issue as well. Unfortunately, the majority of games that came out the last couple of years do not offer a whole lot of customization options in the mouse department.

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