Polling rate is one of the essential mouse specifications significantly affecting your gaming performance.
Simply put, polling rate refers to how fast your mouse communicates your commands to your computer.
If you’re a gamer, you may opt for a high-end gaming mouse with the highest polling rate by default.
If you have a regular mouse, though, you may wonder how you can increase its polling rate and improve your performance.
This article explores all possible ways to increase a mouse’s polling rate and what points you need to consider before doing so.
How To Change Mouse Polling Rate (Step-By-Step)
There are different ways to change your mouse’s polling rate, depending on the brand of your mouse.
If your mouse doesn’t support one method, you can use other ones suggested in this article.
1. Use The Buttons On The Mouse
Some brands of gaming mice allow you to change the polling rate using the button on the mouse.
Bands like Zowie or Anker feature buttons either on the bottom or on the mouse itself to adjust the polling rate.
For example, Anker gaming mice have six DPI levels and buttons or switches on the mouse.
Zowie’s controls to change DPI and report rate are on the bottom of the mouse.
Depending on the mouse model and brand, the polling rates increase in cycles of 125 Hz, 500 Hz, and 1,000 Hz.
Every time you push these buttons, the polling rate increases to these values.
If the mouse supports 1,000 Hz, its default polling rate is usually set at 1,000.
2. Use Keyboard Button Combinations
If your mouse doesn’t come with buttons to change polling rates on it, you can use your keyboard buttons to do so.
It’s a very straightforward process and doesn’t take more than a minute.
Before diving into this option, you should make sure your mouse supports the polling rate values that you can get using this method.
They include 125 Hz, 500 Hz, and 1,000 Hz.
If your mouse doesn’t support these values, this method won’t work for it.
For example, if the highest report rate supported by your mouse is 500 Hz, you can’t raise it to 1,000 Hz.
If you do that, you may damage your mouse because it will push it too hard by making it do something it’s not designed for.
We’ll show you how to check your mouse’s polling rate later in this article.
First off, you need to unplug the mouse from the USB port.
Change the mouse polling rate to 125 Hz simply by pressing numeric buttons 4 and 5 on your keyboard.
Now, plug the mouse into the USB port and check if the wheels’ light turns on.
At this point, the polling rate has become 125 Hz.
If you want to increase the polling rate to 500 Hz, repeat the above process by unplugging the mouse, but this time, press the numeric button 5.
Pressing number 4 will change the polling rate to 1,000Hz.
When the wheel light turns on at each stage, you’ll make sure that the process has been completed.
3. Use The Mouse’s Companion Software
Some gaming mice, such as Razer and Zowie, have their specialized companion apps that you can use to change your mouse’s polling rate, among many other things.
Once you install the app, you can look for the sections to change your report/polling rate.
Then, choose your intended polling rate and set it to the new value.
For example, if you have a Razer app, you can find the option to change the polling rate under Mouse > Performance.
The polling rate adjustment section is on the right-hand side pane.
Click on the dropdown menu and choose your preferred polling rate from the options provided.
If your mouse is Logitech, you can find the option to adjust the polling rate under the gear icon in the Logitech Gaming Software.
Locate “DPI Sensitivity Levels” and drag the checkmark along the graph.
The default polling rate is 1,000, so change the Report Rate if you want a different value.
4. Use Utility Software
If your mouse doesn’t come with an app, you can head to the manufacturer’s website and download its utility software.
The utility software helps users analyze and configure their devices, including gaming mice.
After downloading and installing the software, you can find the option for changing the polling rate and easily set it to your desired value.
You could do many other things like assigning new functions to different keys.
Some third-party utility apps may also be useful in changing your mouse’s polling rate.
However, you need to consider two points.
First, you may never need them because any mouse with more buttons and options than a generic computer mouse comes with some utility software and a driver to help run the mouse effectively.
Plus, these third-party apps may allow you to overclock your mouse by setting the polling rate to a higher value which it doesn’t support.
While it’s possible to do, it may damage your USB ports in the long run.
How To Determine Your Mouse’s Polling Rate
If you’re unsure what polling rates your mouse supports, you can check it via different methods.
Most branded mice show their polling rates on their websites or their packaging boxes.
You can find many online mice rate checkers that allow you to see your mouse’s polling rate in real-time.
For example, this tool has a very straightforward process, only requiring you to click on a start button.
Then you move your mouse over the screen, and the online tool gives you real-time estimates of your polling rate.
You could also download some mouse analyzer software packages to help you test your polling rate.
This tool enables you to find out how often your computer sends the mouse’s position to other applications.
The simple process of using this software involves downloading it and following the on-screen instructions.
The Importance Of Polling Rate In Gaming
Also referred to as report rate, the polling rate is the number of times your mouse reports its position to the computer per second.
If your computer doesn’t know the position of the mouse, you can’t move your cursor.
Therefore, if your mouse has a 500Hz polling rate, it reports its position and movements to the computer 500 times a second.
Polling rate in gaming is important because the mouse’s position in the game is essential in enabling you to move it as fast as possible.
Having a high polling rate is a competitive advantage in gaming.
A high polling rate allows your computer to read the player’s movements more quickly, reducing the input lag.
For example, suppose you’re playing a shooter game with another player, and both of you shoot at each other simultaneously.
You’ll win the duel if you have a higher polling rate.
Of course, this competitive advantage is just on paper because your gaming performance depends on many other things.
What’s The Best Polling Rate For Gaming?
Since high speeds are essential in gaming, you should always use the highest polling rate available.
That’s what most pros do as they can feel the slightest differences in their mouse sensitivity and functioning.
Even FPS games, such as Valorant, Call of Duty, Fortnite, or CS: GO need high polling rates as your mouse and PC need speedy communication.
The difference between a 500Hz and a 1,000Hz polling rate isn’t much.
At 500 Hz, your mouse reports its position to the PC every two milliseconds.
However, this is reduced to one millisecond for a 1,000Hz polling rate.
You may think that a one-millisecond difference won’t affect your gaming experience considerably.
While that’s true for some games, FPS games can benefit from a higher polling rate because even 0.1 second can affect how smooth your aim is.
However, if you don’t play games much and do other stuff on your computer that needs lower sensitivity, you could go for 500 Hz.
This polling rate value can be as good as higher ones in getting your job done.
Here are some other cases when you need a lower polling rate:
- Your mouse or keyboard is wireless and saving battery charge is essential to you.
- You experience lags in the game you’re playing, and you need to lower CPU usage.
Whatever your reason is for reducing the polling rate, don’t go lower than 500 Hz as it can increase your input lag and affect your performance.
Do You Need A Polling Rate Higher Than 1,000 Hz?
It’s widely accepted among gamers that the higher the polling rate, the more precise your aim is.
It may lead you to believe that you can go higher than 1,000 Hz.
That’s not feasible for different reasons:
A higher polling rate would be overkill since it does more harm than good by placing unbearable pressure on your CPU.
In addition, gaming engines limit this choice because they aren’t designed to handle speeds higher than 1,000 Hz.
The highest rate at which a gaming engine can handle input is one per millisecond.
When Should You Stick To A Lower Polling Rate?
Your polling rate hinges on the game you play.
For example, 500 Hz is better for games that need higher perfect control but lower responsiveness.
Conversely, 1,000 Hz better fits games that require higher responsiveness but lower perfect control.
Plus, some games don’t even support high polling rates.
For example, Rainbow Six Siege and Crossfire, which are FPS games, only support polling rates of 125 Hz.
In such a case, a mouse with a high polling rate not only doesn’t improve your performance but will also lead to unsynchronized movements between the mouse and character.
Another thing that limits your ability to increase polling rates is display lag.
It’s the difference between the time a signal input is produced and the time it’s displayed on the screen.
If your display lag is high, increasing the polling rate won’t affect your performance.
The polling rate is also closely related to your monitor’s refresh rate.
If they don’t match, you’ll experience lags when using your mouse.
That’s because the speeds at which your monitor transfers data and the mouse registers inputs are different.
If you want to increase your mouse’s polling rate, you need to check if it’s compatible with your monitor’s specs first.
If you don’t have an advanced monitor, increasing the polling rate won’t affect your performance as the monitor can’t detect such a small difference (change from two milliseconds to one millisecond).
However, if you increase your polling rate from 125 Hz to 250 Hz, there will be a four-millisecond increase in response rate.
This increase is significant and leads to a considerable improvement in your performance.
High Polling Rate For Purposes Other Than Gaming
As mentioned above, a gaming mouse with a high polling rate will give you an edge while playing games, especially first-person shooting games.
What about other tasks you perform on your PC?
For example, do you need high polling rates for graphic design or drawing?
Since higher polling rates translate into more precision, it’s safe to assume that graphic designers will benefit from high polling rates.
That’s because a higher polling rate translates mouse movements to cursor movements more precisely.
This precision can help graphic designers make delicate adjustments and changes to their designs.
Other basic computer tasks, including word processing or internet browsing, don’t need high polling rates.
Even if you use a generic 125Hz mouse, the input lag won’t be so noticeable that you will feel the need to invest in a pricy, high-end mouse.
Polling Rate VS DPI
DPI (Dots per Inch) shows the degree of your mouse’s sensitivity to movements.
It means the higher the DPI, the further the cursor moves on the screen with every movement of your mouse.
For example, if your mouse has a DPI of 1,000, the cursor travels for 1,000 pixels with every mouse movement.
Therefore, a mouse with a high DPI reacts to even the smallest movements.
DPI and polling rate may seem like the same things, but they’re different.
DPI measures how fast the mouse responds to the user’s movements, while the polling rate means the speed at which the mouse reports its position to the computer.
Another difference between DPI and polling rate is that while a higher polling rate is usually a good thing, a higher DPI isn’t necessarily so.
There’s such a thing as “too high DPI” that makes your cursor fly across the screen with the slightest mouse movement.
However, the degree of your DPI settings depends on the game you’re playing and, generally, the actions you’re performing on your PC.
Precision games require lower DPI values than speed games.
For example, if you’re playing an FPS game, a higher DPI helps you aim smoothly with tiny mouse movements.
This feature only comes in handy when you zoom in using a sniper rifle and try to aim at a small target.
If you don’t need a zoom-in feature using a sniper rifle, a high DPI can negatively affect your performance because the cursor will move quickly, even with a slight movement.
That’s why modern gaming mice feature buttons that allow you to easily tweak your DPI degrees on the fly in the middle of playing games.
In addition, when you use a mouse with a high DPI, you need to have complete control over your hand movements to adjust the cursor movements.
It may take a while to get used to the cursor speed if it’s the first time you use a high DPI mouse.
Your DPI also depends on your display resolution.
The higher the resolution, the higher DPI you can use because you’ll have more display real estate that the cursor can travel in with a small mouse movement.
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