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What is a polling rate? The computer mouse technology explained

If you’re interested in picking up a new gaming mouse or keyboard, then you may want to make sure you’re clued in on the polling rate.

We’re going to be running through what a polling rate is, so you know which type of peripheral you should be choosing.

What is a polling rate?

The polling rate measures how often a device (typically a gaming mouse or keyboard) reports its position back to the computer it’s paired up to. This is measured in Hz, with a higher number generally seeing a shorter delay.

A mouse with a higher polling rate can help decrease the lag between moving your mouse in real life and waiting for the cursor to move on the screen. A higher polling rate will be better suited to gamers who need to take quick actions within their game, such as a competitive shooter where reaction times are so important. However, a higher polling rate will also use up more CPU resources, as the CPU has to check in with the mouse more often.

There are multiple options when it comes to polling rate, with the lower polling rate mice seeing a greater delay. We have tabled the total delay at the common polling rates below.

Polling RateTotal Delay

Does the polling rate matter?

Since having a higher polling rate results in less delay, certain users may want to invest in a mouse that features a high polling rate. However, since the delay difference is measured in milliseconds, some users may not even notice that they’re using a mouse with a low polling rate.

Sound waves demonstration picture of a black Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar

We recommend that competitive gamers invest in a high-polling rate mouse. Productivity and office workers likely will not require a mouse that can move across the screen that quickly, but anyone playing an FPS game may want the best response times to ensure a high level of performance.

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