What is Polling Rate? And How Can It Effect Your Mouse Performance??

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Hey there!! What is polling rate?? I suppose you’ve also asked this question to yourself a couple of times while you were dealing with gaming peripherals, especially with gaming mice. So, what is polling rate and why does it matter when it comes to gaming peripherals?? In this article you will learn everything you need to know about polling rate and it won’t be a thing that you fry your brains out anymore. So, keep reading and keep learning!!!

We will be discussing: Of course polling rate, but not only that. We will also take a quick look on some fundamental technical and historical information.

  • Why they market mice with polling rate and DPI?
  • Evolution of optical-laser mouse. Polling rate came into scene.
  • Polling Rate Explained


Why They Market Mice With Polling Rate??

what is polling rateAs gamers who are interested in peripherals you may have come across with this so known phenomena of advertising gaming mice with their DPI and polling rate. Well there is of course a reason behind this advertising campaign because “Polling Rate” and “DPI” are two parameters which directly effect the performance of your gaming mouse. And where do we need mouse performance?? That’s right!! !!!GAMING!!!

This is why gaming mice are usually advertised with their “Polling Rate” and “DPI” included. Think like this: Do you need any serious performance like the fastest response time or ultra high precision from a mouse while you’re bowsing the net or handling your daily tasks on your computer?? Of course you don’t need, every mouse can do that.

So before getting into polling rate, let’s have a really small talk about mouse basics and when all this electronics=signals strawaganza came into the scene:


Evolution of the Mouse and The Importance of Polling Rate

Before there were optical and laser mice, it was the era dominated by ancestors of new age mice –  the good old ball mice. If you’ve grown up in 90’s you would know these buddies well. Ball mice reflected placement and movement of your cursor on the screen by evaluating the moves of a track ball inside the ball mouse. But they were picking up dirt and developments in technology gave humanity far better options such as optical mice.

I’m gonna try to explain you the technology behind it in the simplest way. There is a light emitter which illuminates the surface and a camera under the mouse which takes pictures of the surface. Surface’s picture is taken hundreds of time every second and these pictures are evaluated in the brain of our mouse. By evaluating the changes on the surface pictures mouse decides in which direction our cursor moves. Mouse input data is sent to computer and this data is processed in our computer to reflect it as mouse cursor movement.

what is polling rate

When signal processing comes into frame, mouse’s signal reporting rate becomes a parameter which effects mouse performance and that’s why it can be leveraged by gamers to take their game one step further.

Now, this is where polling rate steps in. I suppose we’ve spent enough time with the basics. Let’s get to know what the hell is polling rate.


What Is Polling Rate?? Everything You Need To Know

It’s actually simpler than it’s tought. Polling rate (also known as report rate) is the frequency that your mouse reports where its position is. Means that it’s how often your mouse reports the position data to your computer. Polling rate is measurd with “Hz”.  A polling rate of 500 hz indicates that mouse position data is reported to your computer 500 times every second. When we do th e math, we can easily find out that during 500 Hz polling rate our mouse reports to our computer every 2 milliseconds. Higher polling rate means higher report rate and more often update of mouse cursor placement. I think you can get the point why polling rate is advertised as a performance parameter.

So, now we know that 125 Hz is 8 millisec and 500 Hz is 2 millisec report rate. But how many polling rate options do mice ussually have??

There are four standard polling rates you can come across with. They are 125, 250, 500 and 1000 Hz. You can do all the math yourself if you have a passion for numbers and mathematics, but I will make everything easy for you and provide you with a table of polling rates. Here they are:


what is polling rate


Mice that usually support higher or lower polling rates usually have their own software where you can adjust their polling rate from their own software and  allow you to program a button to automatically switch polling rate. Logitech mice form upper series are a good example, you may check out Logitech G502 or the legendary Razer Deathadder as an example.



Is Higher Better?? How Will Changing Polling Rate Effect Your Performance??

So, it’s a technically true fact that higher polling rate will come in handy for increased precision, but is it really better to have an increased polling rate? Actually to some point increasing your polling rate may benefit you, but more than enough is just a waste of CPU. Users usually find their sweet spot at 500 Hz and switching from 500 to 1000 doesn’t really make a huge difference.


More the polling rate you increase more the CPU you consume, that’s also a minus for unnecessarily high polling rate. In modern hardware CPU consumption from polling rate won’t be much a problem, but still, why you should consume unnecessary CPU when you don’t get a decent result??


So my conclusion is: Increasing your polling rate will benefit you till some level (usually 500 Hz) and you may see some positive results. But increasing the polling rate above 1000 Hz, in opinion of many people, won’t make much of a difference and will also unnecessarily consIume some additional CPU.

And What About DPI??

DPI as an indicator which is effective on mouse performance. It means “Dots Per Inch”. It indicates the pixel movement of your cursor simultaneously with your mouse moving an inch on the surface. To explain it more clear: If your mouse is set to 2500 DPI your mouse cursor will move on the screen 2500 pixels as you move your mouse on the surface for an inch. It’s actually a terminology which is over exaggerated for the sake of marketing campaigns.

High DPI is an important factor for mouse precision but too much DPI would be unnecessary and won’t allow you to score precise hits by running all over the screen just with a single little move.

I would like to talk about DPI for a while, but it’s better not to mix a polling rate article with DPI. That’s why I’m pointing you to a source where you can learn anything you need about DPI. Click here:



What is Polling Rate – Conclusion

So, now you know what polling rate is and how much of it is about ideal. Higher polling rate can be useful till some level, but you may feel like above 500 Hz isn’t making much of a difference, so you try out yourself and see which one is better for you. The same thing goes with DPI, you may like high stakes of DPI if you have a 4K resolution gigantic monitor, but if that’s not the case you may find yourself lowering your DPI on a standard desktop gaming monitor. To read more abut DPI you can check out our article about DPI.

These performance parameters are best evaluated by the user itself. You will be checking them out, testing them and finding yourf sweet spot. I hope this article was helpful and hope that you could find what you were searcing for. If you’re happy with what you’ve found here, SHARE IT!!! Because sharing is caring!!! And leave your comments below if you want to say or ask anything. Or you can contact directly from admin@gamingmiceplanet.com. Check out the whole site to find many more interesting and cool stuff ;))

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2 Responses to What is Polling Rate? And How Can It Effect Your Mouse Performance??

  1. Jason says:

    Computer mice have come a long way. I use a regular mouse, but it is the optical type instead of the ball mouse you refer to. See! I’m not so old-fashioned after all:)

    It is amazing what all happens under the hood of the computer mouse. I had no idea it did all those steps to make the cursor move on your computer. I just use the mouse and don’t think anything of the process. This article really opened my eyes and blew my mind.

    Thanks for dropping this knowledge bomb on me, although I feel technology is advancing too fast for me, though.

    • admin says:

      Hey there Jason!

      I don’t think you’re old fashioned)) Let’s say that you have your own “Retro Style” 😉

      Ball mice are still on counters but etiher it’s hard to find one or there are new series of ball mice which’s ball is on the mouse and you’re controlling it with your finger))

      I’m really glad that I’ve enhanced your vision and technical knowledge)) That’s one of our goals here in gamingmiceplanet.com and it feels good to know that we’re succeeding one step at a time:)

      Technology is actually easy. You should only know well the basic knowledge and foundations of science. Then it all gets easier))

      Keep in touch for more ass kicking science 😉 and don’t forget to check out all of our content to find more interesting stuff 🙂

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