What Is Mouse Polling Rate? [How to Test and Change It]

By John Adebimitan

Before buying a gaming mouse, you need to know what mouse polling rate and DPI are, as these are two of the most important features of a good gaming mouse. A gaming mouse is sometimes the difference between a good and a great gaming session. The extra time you spend learning more about polling rates will help you get the best for your setup.

So what is mouse polling rate? How do you test to know your mouse polling rate? How do you change your mouse polling rate? And what is the best mouse polling rate for FPS games like Fortnite and COD? This article will be discussing all of that and more.

What Is Mouse Polling Rate? And What Does It Really Mean For You?

A mouse polling rate is how often a mouse communicates its position to the computer. The unit of measuring the polling rate is Hertz (Hz). The higher the polling rate, the more times a mouse reports its position to the computer every second. So if a mouse has a 500Hz polling rate, it means it reports its position to the computer 500 times every second. That means a 1000Hz mouse reports its position to the computer 1000 times every second, or every 4 milliseconds.

The polling rate of a mouse shouldn’t be confused with its DPI or Dots per Inch. The DPI is a unit of measurement used to rate how sensitive a mouse is. When the DPI is higher, the cursor on the monitor screen tends to move farther, while the polling rate refers to how fast the cursor moves, or how fast the computer responds to the cursor movement.

Polling Rate Latency
125Hz8 milliseconds
250Hz4 milliseconds
500Hz2 milliseconds
1000Hz          1 millisecond

What is keyboard polling rate?

The polling rate for keyboards is the time it takes for the keyboard to register the keypress on the PC.

Every gaming keyboard and mouse on the market today comes with the standard polling rate of 1000 Hz, which equates to a one-millisecond response time. This means that it takes a millisecond from the moment you press your keys for the command to appear and a millisecond for your mouse to point out where it is on your mouse pad.

DPI vs polling rate

While the dots per inch (DPI) is a measure of mouse sensitivity, mouse polling rate is how often the mouse reports its position to the computer. For example, if the mouse has a 125Hz polling rate, it will report its position to the computer 125 times per second or every 8ms. A frequency of 500 Hz means that the mouse reports its position to the computer every two milliseconds.

However, the higher your mouse DPI is, the more the on-screen cursor moves when you control the mouse. Mice with high DPI settings will detect and respond to small movements. So, the higher the DPI, the better.

Meanwhile, higher DPI settings allow the mouse to receive signals and respond to small movements, allowing you to aim more accurately.

500 vs 1000Hz: Is Higher Mouse Polling Rate Better?

A higher mouse polling rate is generally seen to be better, but a lot more is required if you want to see the difference between a 500Hz polling rate and a 1000Hz polling rate. You need to consider factors like what you expect from a gaming mouse, what your experience and skill levels are, and in some cases what the response time of your gaming monitor is.

If you use the average gaming monitor, you’d hardly be able to tell the difference between a 500Hz and a 1000Hz report rate. It’s only a 1ms deference, which means it’s quite negligible. So we can summarize everything like this: a 1000Hz polling rate is snappier, while a 500Hz polling rate is smoother.

If you use a higher polling rate, you’ll use more CPU resources. When there aren’t enough CPU resources, a higher polling rate – in this case a 1000Hz polling rate – could become unstable, in which case you’d need to revert to a lower, and almost-as-effective one, a 500Hz polling rate.

250 Hz vs 500 Hz mouse

If you have to choose between a 250 or 500Hz mouse, you should always opt for the one with the higher frequency, that is, 500Hz in this case.

Although it is common to hear that the difference between 250 Hz and 500 Hz mice is slight, it is advisable to use the maximum possible polling rate in competitive games. Furthermore, a high polling rate data is necessary in video games where the response time is crucial.

However, the mouse with the higher polling rate frequency will increase the workload on the CPU. Therefore, the polling rate should not be excessively high on computers with low capacity CPU and/or GPU. But you can always adjust the polling rate setting if you feel it’s too high and may affect the PC performance.

How to Take a Mouse Polling Rate Test [Best USB Mouse Polling Rate Checker Online]

To test what your gaming mouse’s polling rate is, use this online tool from Benq. On the tool, you will click on the page and will be required to move your mouse. You should then have a pretty good estimate of what the average polling rate for your mouse is. The tool from Benq remains one of the best if you need a free online USB mouse polling rate checker.

How to Change Mouse Polling Rate

  1. First Unplug Your Mouse from the computer.
  2. To change mouse polling rate to 125Hz, Hold Buttons 4+5, and then Plug the Mouse Back into the USB port. When the wheels light up, the polling rate will now be 125Hz.
  3. To change the mouse polling rate to 500Hz, Hold the Button 5 and Plug the Mouse into the Computer. The rate will become 500Hz as soon as the wheel lights up.
  4. To change the mouse polling rate to 1000Hz, Hold the Button 4, then Plug the Mouse into the USB Port. As soon as the wheel lights up, the polling rate would now be 1000Hz.


These changes won’t take effect if your gaming mouse doesn’t support the report rate you’re trying to use. So if the highest polling rate for your mouse is 500Hz, you won’t be able to upgrade to 1000Hz, but you’d be able to downgrade the polling rate to let’s say 125Hz.

I also noticed that not all brands of gaming mouse can be adjusted, here are some of the best gaming mouse with support for DPI and polling rate adjustments.

[125Hz vs. 500Hz vs. 1000Hz] Adjust Razer Polling Rate on Windows 10 with Razer Synapse 2 Or 3

Razer remains one of the few brands of gaming mice online that offer you an Ultrapolling feature out-of-the-box. This feature allows you to adjust the polling rate to your preference. A Razer mouse comes with support for adjusting the polling rate from 125Hz to a max of 1000Hz.

To change the polling rate with Razer Synapse:

  1. Download the Razer Synapse 2 Or 3
  2. Open the app >> click the Mouse tab
  3. Click on the Performance tab
  4. You’ll find the polling rate adjustment on the Right Side of the Display
  5. Open the dropdown for a list of polling rates to choose from
  6. Select your preferred polling rate, between 125Hz, 500Hz, and 1000Hz

Best Polling Rate for FPS [Fortnite, Destiny 2, COD]

1000Hz is the best polling rate for FPS games like Fortnite, Call of Duty, Destiny 2, CO:GO, and many others. The rule of thumb remains that if you want higher perfect control with lower responsiveness, the 500Hz is great, but if you want lower perfect control with more responsiveness, 1000Hz mouse polling rate is the sweet spot.

Gaming Mouse vs. Regular Mouse

The differences between a regular mouse and a gaming mouse are that a gaming mouse has better sensitivity, a higher polling rate, and better DPI compared to a regular mouse. A gaming mouse also has a lot more buttons, which means better customizations, while a normal mouse doesn’t. A gaming mouse is also more ergonomically friendly and is designed for long sessions while a normal mouse doesn’t come with all of that in features. Generally speaking, the average gaming mouse is built to be more rugged and last longer than the regular mouse.

Read also: HyperX Pulsefire Surge price, specs, and software review.

The Types of Gaming Mice

There are four main types of gaming mice.

  1. Trackball Mouse
  2. Laser Mouse
  3. Optical Mouse
  4. Wireless Optical Mouse

How to change mouse DPI on Windows 11

  1. First, click on the Start button.
  2.  Now type Settings and click on the Settings icon. The easy way to access Windows 11 settings is to use the shortcut (Windows key + 1).
  3. Click on “Bluetooth and devices” in the Settings window, and select “Mouse
  4. Now adjust the slider next to “Mouse pointer speed” to your preference

You can also go to Additional mouse settings >> Pointer options, then Adjust pointer speed.

Three best USB mouse overclocking software you should try

Some of the best USB mouse overclocking software for changing the DPI settings of your mouse include EBGA Precision X, MSI Afterburner, and Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (Intel XTU). This software work for any mouse and are free to use.

EVGA Precision X is an excellent freeware for gamers with up to 10 custom user profiles. In addition, it lets you easily overclock your Intel processors.

MSI Afterburner is also a free software with which you can overclock your GPUs and CPUs. In addition, with MSI Afterburner, you can control your computer’s fan speed and more.

The Intel XTU, on the other hand, is a Windows CPU overclocking program from Intel. It lets you stress-test, monitor, and overclock your computer.

How to overclock mouse

To overclock your mouse, unplug or disconnect it from the computer. Then hold down the 4 and 5 keys on your keyboard. Finally, plug in your mouse to its port again, and the polling rate will change to 125Hz.

Repeat the process by holding down the 5 key to change the poll rate to 500Hz. When you repeat this process with the 4 key, the polling rate will change to 1000Hz.

Alternatively, most mouse drivers allow you to raise the polling frequency in a few steps. Watch the tutorial to overclock your mouse with this procedure:


Best polling rate for gaming

The best gaming mouse polling rate is always the highest frequency or polling rate the mouse can obtain, which is 1000 Hertz in most mice.

1000 Hz is equivalent to 1 ms of response time. However, you can now find much higher rates reaching up to 8000 Hz in gaming mice on the market.

Best polling rate for overwatch

I recommend using a 1000 Hz polling rate mouse. A higher polling rate means the mouse will report its exact position in real-time. If the polling rate is lower, you may need to increase or overclock the mouse. Some mouse software allow you to change the polling rate setting. In the settings, you will see 125 Hz as the minimum, and then 250 Hz, 500 Hz, 1000 Hz, up to 8000 Hz, depending on the capacity of the mouse.

How to change Logitech mouse DPI

Look for the mouse’s DPI button, which is usually on the mouse’s side, bottom, or top. Then slide or press the switch or button to change its sensitivity or DPI. The small screen or your computer monitor will show you or notify you about the change in DPI.

How to change DPI on Cyberpower mouse

The CyberpowerPC gaming mouse DPI can be changed by using the DPI button. CyberpowerPC mice often come with a button that lets you change the DPI. The DPI can be adjusted from 400 to 8,000 DPI. Some even have a maximum of 12,400 DPI optical sensor.

Is a Gaming Mouse worth It?

A good gaming mouse is pricier than the regular gaming mouse, and they worth every dime invested in them. The rule of thumb is knowing what you’d like to use the mouse for. If you spend more time gaming on your PC, and rarely ever use a console for gaming, then get an all-purpose gaming mouse.

Which Gaming Mouse Should I Buy?

In case you’re among those asking yourself “which gaming mouse should I buy” this article has shown a couple of things to look for in a gaming mouse. It should have a minimum of 500Hz polling rate and should have a minimum of 400 DPI for best sensitivity. Considering these two important factors, the gaming mouse we will recommend that you buy is the Razer Basilisk Ultimate HyperSpeed Wireless Gaming Mouse. You can easily program the gaming mouse, change between its different levels of DPI and polling rates. It’s the best for FPS games, its wireless and it comes with a software that makes setting it up a breeze.

What is a good polling rate for gaming?

1000Hz is the best polling rate for gaming. In any case, always choose the highest polling rate supported by your mouse model. Thankfully, the days of high signal rates dragging your FPS down are over. Only pro gamers will notice a difference between 1000 Hz and 500 Hz. But still, for the sake of FPS, many swear by 500Hz instead of 1000Hz.

Does polling rate affect sensitivity?

A higher DPI is more likely to increase the mouse sensitivity thanks to the higher counts per inch. But polling rate only helps reduce the lag between the computer and mouse. If you are extremely sensitive to mouse response, you may notice a difference. But keep in mind that most monitors only refresh at 60Hz or, at best, 144Hz. But you’re much more likely to notice performance issues related to mouse sensor quality than at polling rate.

Does polling rate matter?

Yes, the polling rate determines how responsive your computer is to your commands via the mouse. The higher the polling rate, the less the latency (delay) between moving the mouse and when the movement appears on the monitor. However, you must know that a higher rate consumes more CPU resources.

Is a higher polling rate better?

Logic dictates that a higher polling rate is better. But a higher polling rate also causes more stress on your system (specifically, the processor).
So, depending on your setup, it may not be advisable to set and leave your mouse at the highest polling rate it can handle.
In the same vein, if the polling rate is too low, the mouse may drop a lot of frames in the game, thus resulting in low accuracy.

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