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What is the Best Mouse Polling Rate for Gaming?

PC Gaming Mouse

Are you a gaming enthusiast who is fine tuning your gaming rig for optimal performance? If so you might be looking at the finer aspects of your setup such as determining what is the best mouse polling rate for gaming. In this post, I go over everything you need to know about polling rates and how it affects gaming performance.

What is Mouse Polling Rate?

What is the Best Mouse Polling Rate for Gaming

Mouse polling rate refers to the frequency at which your mouse communicates input to your computer. This includes the clicks, movement, and scrolling. The most common polling rate for USB-connected mice today is 125 Hz, meaning once every 8 milliseconds.

This rate is very important for competitive gaming because lagged input means delayed response, and that can result in losses or disqualification in gaming tournaments. Ostensibly, this means the best mouse polling rate for gaming is the highest polling rate. Like most stats, it’s a little more complicated than that.

It’s not just speed however. Lots of games today have combos and special moves. Executing one correctly can be the difference between a win or loss. Having a faster input can be a more accurate input, and thus a faster response to a combination of moves.

Several gaming mice have a very high mouse polling rate of 1000 Hz, translating to once per millisecond. This is an asset in gaming tournaments, specifically for competitive fighting games or first-person shooters.

Difference Between Mouse Polling Rate and DPI

While both are metrics to measure the speed of your mouse in some way, they represent different things. Polling rate measures how frequently your mouse communicates with your computer.

However, the DPI is a measure of the dots per inch your cursor moves on screen compared to the real distance your mouse moves. Hence, DPI can be thought of as the sensitivity of your mouse. The polling rate can be thought of as the accuracy. Both metrics are important to your gaming experience.

What is the Optimal Mouse Polling Rate for Gaming?

optimal mouse polling rate for gaming

The optimal polling rate for your mouse will vary from person to person. Your preferences and how you define the ideal gaming experience will be vastly different from other gamers. It will also depend on the gaming setup you have and the games you enjoy playing. For most players, the high polling rate of 1000 Hz which is the default on gaming mice will do the trick.

However, for the most competitive tournaments, it’s considered optimal to raise the polling rate to be as high as possible.

You can do a test of polling rates for your most common gaming experiences. Say, you enjoy playing Dark Souls or Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice where parrying timing is everything. Accuracy is a huge deal in that experience. You can try out what polling rate suits you the best in that arena.

You can also try Call of Duty or Fortnite or PUBG, whatever FPS you enjoy playing. In that arena as well, timing matters. So, you should experiment and find what polling rate suits you best.

Do Mouse Polling Rates Matter for Gaming?

Black and White Cordless Computer Mouse

Most definitely they do. However, beyond setting a high polling rate for higher accuracy, you should know that hardware lag can be an issue. You should have a gaming PC which can keep up with the high polling rate of your mouse.

For example, a polling rate of 1000 Hz could be too much for your PC to handle. It could produce lag, the exact thing you’d want to avoid with a high polling rate. Hence, your PC should be able to handle the frequency of communication with your mouse for an optimal gaming experience.

Difference Between Polling Rates for Wired and Wireless Mice

Gaming mice, both wired and wireless, have gotten really good in the past decade. You can hardly tell the difference, except in the most demanding of games.

Bluetooth Mice Suffer from Lag

That being said, Bluetooth mice usually suffer from lag due to distance. With Bluetooth mice, the polling rate is often limited to 125 Hz, which is fine for most games. However, if you’re in a competitive gaming tournament, you’ll need a wired connection. So, it’s better to get a wired mouse instead of being at the mercy of Bluetooth connections.

2.4 GHz Mice are More Reliable

Basic 2.4 GHz wireless mice are more reliable than Bluetooth mice. At the end of the day, it’ll perform almost as well as a wired mouse.

Now that you have a good idea of how important polling rates are for competitive gaming, check out our top selection of best gaming mice for PC gaming.

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