Responsive gaming peripherals are increasingly found on gamer desks. In addition to monitors, which can now display up to 360 images per second, and mice, which already achieve sampling rates of 8,000 Hertz, keyboards are usually given less attention.
At least that’s what the YouTube channel thinks Battle(non)sensewho regularly deals intensively with the topic of input delay in video games. In his latest video, he therefore addresses the question of the extent to which keyboards with sampling rates of 4,000 Hertz can improve latency when gaming. With the help of a special method, he puts different models to the test in two tests and comes to interesting findings.
Another way to change the gaming experience with a new keyboard is to use analog switches. Our author Alexander Köpf goes into this in more detail in his following review of the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog:
more on the subject
This keyboard has saved my life umpteen times
The performance on paper
In theory a keyboard can send new information to the PC once per millisecond with a sampling rate of 1,000 Hertz. 4,000 Hertz shortens the interval to 0.25 milliseconds. Chris wants to find out how much the difference between the two sampling rates actually affects the latency of a PC on the basis of his first test.
To determine the input delay, he uses the Latency Display Analysis Tool (LDAT for short) from Nvidia. It is not yet available to our editorial team, but that will change soon. It connects LDAT directly to the contacts on the keyboard PCB. The test is carried out with a Evga Z15.
After installation, the measuring device can automatically trigger the desired key, thus avoiding additional latency caused by a manual keystroke.
Chris places the other part of the measuring device on a 360-Hertz monitor that is connected to the test PC. In this way, LDAT can precisely measure how long it takes for a key input to be registered by the system and displayed in the form of a white image on the monitor.
The results of the first test are as follows:
- The input delay With a sampling rate of 4,000 Hertz, it is on average 0.31 milliseconds shorter than that of the 1,000 Hertz variant. Thus, the usual latency in this case is 8.5 instead of 8.81 milliseconds.
- Despite a sampling rate of 1,000 Hertz the also tested Corsair K70 Rapidfire cuts a very good figure. It overshadows all other models with the lowest average input delay of just 3.69 milliseconds.
- In addition to this, Chris also refutes a mythcirculating on the internet. Rumor has it that keyboards with a PS / 2 port would be significantly faster than their USB counterparts. In the test shown below, the input delay of the corresponding Cherry G80-3000 is the longest at 11.99 milliseconds.
Link to YouTube content
The practical test with the real push of a button
The second test is intended to show whether and to what extent the difference between the sampling rates is even noticeable under everyday conditions. This is where the additional latency caused by the key switches becomes interesting.
Chris uses his self-made “keyboard torture machine” so that the switches are always operated with the same pressure and at the same intervals during testing.
This time, the LDAT measures the time as soon as the machine hits a key and stops when it detects a change on the screen. In this case, Chris uses CS: GO at 500 FPS as a reference.
The measured delays are higher overall:
- With values of 18.53 and 18.68 milliseconds, the difference between the two sampling rates on the Z15 is less than in the first test. The Evga Z20 with 4,000 Hertz and optical switches basically reflects this result, but is on average around four milliseconds faster than the Z15.
- The Cherry G80-3000 falls behind with an average latency of 25.08 milliseconds. The Youtuber suspects the MX Brown switches on the keyboard and wants to determine more precisely what influence the Cherry switches have on the input delay in the future
- The Corsair K70 Rapidfire again has the lowest latency. At 13.55 milliseconds, it is ahead of the other models despite its 1,000 Hertz sampling rate.
In view of the fact that his three-year-old K70 is the fastest keyboard in the test, Chris comes to the following conclusion:
“[…] Corsair has obviously done a great job in terms of hardware and firmware. This also shows us that the input delay of a keyboard is not only influenced by the built-in switches and the supported sampling rate. “
If you are currently looking for the right keyboard yourself, our purchasing advice might help you:
more on the subject
The best gaming keyboards for every budget – buying advice
You can find out what our hardware editor Nils Raettig thinks about the measured differences in the following summary on the next page.