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Ask Slashdot: Low-Latency PS2/USB Gaming Keyboards? 177

An anonymous reader writes "I've a cheap but low latency mouse (A4Tech) and I noticed my trusty old wired Logitech PS/2 keyboard seems at least 50ms slower (if not more) than the mouse when I test with those reaction time sites. I even increased finger travel distance over my mouse button to make it fairer and the difference still remains. So either the tests are slower with keyboards or my keyboard is high latency. Assuming the latter any suggestions for a good reasonably priced gaming keyboard? Extra function keys might be nice but since my hands aren't big what would be better is being able to output a custom key/combo if you hold down (special?) keys while pressing another key. For example I could configure it so if I hold down "Special Key 1" with pinkie or thumb and press 4 it actually outputs 9, and if I hold down shift as well it outputs shift+9 (and not just 9). Being able to replace the capslock key function and have it behave as another key (or a special modifier) would be a bonus — I've never needed capslock and have probably used it more by mistake than for its normal function, or to test how badly a PC has hung."
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Ask Slashdot: Low-Latency PS2/USB Gaming Keyboards?

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  • so this...... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @03:10PM (#44270949) Journal
    So this is how far Slashdot has sunk. Keyboard latency? Fuck the submitter and the mod who approved it.
  • Re:so this...... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dyingtolive ( 1393037 ) <brad DOT arnett AT notforhire DOT org> on Saturday July 13, 2013 @03:17PM (#44270987)
    At least it's a nice change from the "do my job for me" Ask Slashdots.
  • 50 ms? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by hammeraxe ( 1635169 ) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @03:17PM (#44270989)

    Surely 50 ms is just human response time. I highly doubt a "low-latency keyboard" (even if such a thing exists) could improve your gaming performance...

  • Re:50 ms? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Miamicanes ( 730264 ) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @03:54PM (#44271243)

    > The typical human reaction time is between 1/10th and 3/10th (more the later) of a second. That is 100 to 300ms.

    now pile another 50-100ms of USB latency on top, and you've just increased the problem by a non-insignificant factor.

    It's not a coincidence people gripe about USB. By traditional embedded-electronics standards, USB fsck'ing SUCKS. It's not a coincidence that there are STILL things you could bitbang with a real EPP/ECP parallel port that are flat-out impossible to do via USB. USB forces you to do your bitbanging at the remote end, and use the USB bus SOLELY for polled bit-shoveling after the fact. Serial ports required manual configuration up front, but once you got them configured... they pretty much worked flawlessly unless the wire had a short or a bad solder connection. Ditto for traditional parallel and ps/2 ports.

    I NEVER used to have ps/2 mice just stall and hang on me the way USB mice do under Windows. I've had plenty of times over the past few years when the ps/2 trackpoint on my keyboard worked fine, but the mouse pointer acted like it was frozen if I moved the USB mouse, for periods of 2-5 seconds a couple of times per week.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @04:20PM (#44271359)

    For certain kinds of games, where reaction time is pretty much the be all, end all (like Call of Duty) it does seem like it can make a difference. It isn't that your human reaction time isn't still the biggest thing, but that you make it faster relative to other people and thus gain an advantage. I was, and still am to a degree, skeptical that it matter much but I've tried it and seen results.

    So in my case, it was my monitor. I have long used professional screens, at the time it was a NEC 2690WUXi. Nice pro quality IPS screen, fully calibrated for a great image. It runs at 60fps, meaning 16.7ms between images and has about 33.3ms (2 frames) of delay for its image processing time. So basically 50ms from the time the computer sends the data to it, to the beginning of image formation. A few more ms for the image to fully form.

    I decided I wanted to see what the 120Hz hype was about, so I bought myself a second monitor, a BenQ XL2420T. It's a cheap TN panel, but very, very fast and has a mode to cut through all processing and lower latency. In 120fps mode you get a frame every 8.3ms, and delay of about 3.4ms until the image start forming, just another 1.5ms until it is complete. So 11.7ms from data to beginning of image formation.

    Well I found out two things. One is that you definitely CAN see the difference between 60 and 120 fps. It is actually more noticeable on the desktop, where you have sharp lines and high contrast, but in games too. It is a level of smoothness and fluidity you hadn't seen before.

    The other thing is that my performance in Black Ops 2 was quite measurably better playing on the faster monitor. My KDR (kill death ratio, how many times on average you kill another player per time you die) increased by over 0.5, which is a lot. It was just much easier for me to get shots off on people before they could get me.

    Now is that all latency? Probably not, the smoother frame rate probably helps too, but it is a difference that is really there. It isn't a case of "Oh you just want you new monitor to be better," or something I have both kinds of monitors and the pro one is what I use 99.9% of the time and for almost all games (I now have a PA301W) because the better colour and image quality is just so worth it. But there is no question for speed sensitive games, the faster display helps me do better.

    So how does this apply to mouse and keyboard? I've no idea. I haven't tested it. The keyboard I use is based off of ergonomics, not speed (a Kinesis Freestyle 2, they rock). However perhaps such a thing could help too.

    I mean the theory would go like this: Presume you have two people, both with an equal reaction time. Say 500ms if you like. Their computers process and prepare everything for display at the same time. However one guy has a fast screen, and the other a slow screen, like 10ms vs 50ms. Then also one guy has a fast input device, the other guy a slow one, say 1ms vs 10ms. What this means is that the net reaction time, as in the time from the computer saying "This has happened," to the time it receives a response, is 511ms in one case, and 560ms in the other. If you are talking games where a lot of damage is done per shot, that could be enough to make a difference.

    I'm not sure that it is worth worry about as much as people do, but I can see how it can make a difference in theory and I was amazed that the fast monitor made as much difference for me as it did. In general though, my recommendation is just stick to games that aren't so twitch based, and use a nicer display.

  • Re:so this...... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trogre ( 513942 ) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @06:49PM (#44272091) Homepage

    Why the hatred? This seems a genuinely interesting topic to us nerds, whom this site is ostensibly meant to be for.

    As far as Ask Slashdot questions go, this is one of the better ones.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 14, 2013 @03:07AM (#44274929)

    Every keyboard I have ever seen is a USB 1.1 HID device.

    You must either be very young or have not seen many keyboards.

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