What Is Nvidia Reflex And Should You Use It?

In these past several years, competitive multiplayer gaming has become more popular than ever. Video games such as CS: GO, DOTA 2, Valorant, Apex Legends, Warzone, and many other competitive titles host millions of players every month.

Many of these players strive to improve and be the best. To achieve that, they must reduce their input lag and latency as much as possible which can be done with high-end mice, high-refresh monitors, and now, with Nvidia Reflex.

Nvidia Reflex is a new feature that got introduced with the RTX 3000 series GPUs that reduces system latency as much as possible in video games. This reduction in latency is essential, especially for the most competitive and professional gamers.

Let’s see how Nvidia Reflex works and why you should use it.

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What Is System Latency?

We’ve mentioned system latency multiple times already, but what makes it so bad? Why should gamers try to keep it as low as possible?

System latency is the time needed for one action (click of a keyboard or mouse) to be displayed on the screen in front of you. Basically, when you click on your mouse to shoot, you’ll want that action to be sent to the game quickly. The click-to-display delay could be the reason you miss your shot.

system latency terminology

The image above shows system latency terminology. Let’s explain some of those terms.

  • Peripheral Latency – The time needed for one mechanical action on an input device (mouse, keyboard, controller, etc.) to be sent to a PC to process it.
  • Game Latency – Time needed for the processor to process your input and send that process information to the graphics card.
  • Render Latency – The GPU gets that information (through a render queue) and renders the frame. The rendered frame is then sent to the display.
  • Display Latency – Time needed for the monitor/TV to display the rendered frame.

Combining all of these together we get total system latency.

This delay/system latency can be reduced in multiple ways. One of the most effective methods is through higher FPS because more FPS equals less input lag. This is why so many professional players lower their graphical settings to push their FPS as high as possible.

Another way latency can be reduced is with better hardware. Many gamers have high-end mice that advertise the lowest possible latency. High-refresh rate monitors are popular too as they can also considerably reduce input lag.

However, being even just one step ahead of your competition is essential in competitive matches. Nvidia Reflex is where gamers can get that advantage.

Reflex SDK And Reflex Latency Analyzer

We can’t know for sure how Reflex works, but Nvidia has shared a bit of information on the technologies that are in play.

Reflex relies on the in-game implementation of the Reflex SDK.

The SDK is essential for the reduction in latency because it allows developers to implement Reflex directly into their game.

The Reflex Latency Analyzer on the other hand is a tool that is implemented in certain G-Sync supported monitors. This analyzer allows users to determine the latency of the system.

This can be quite useful as competitive players can do a trial & error of all settings and different hardware to find that sweet spot of the lowest system latency.

How Does Reflex Reduce System Latency?

So, how does Reflex actually help with system latency? It’s not magic, but it certainly seems like it.

Basically, the implementation of the SDK helps the game’s engine schedule renderings smarter and faster which effectively reducing the GPU render queue and also removing loads off of the CPU, keeping the CPU and GPU in sync.

There’s also the Low Latency Boost option in some games that stops all power-saving limitations of the GPU while gaming, allowing the graphics card to clock higher and stay at those clocks for longer, even when the game is CPU bound.

Of course, there are drawbacks to this. Disabled power-saving features results in a higher power draw. So, it is up to the user to determine whether this is worth it.

Fortunately, you can keep Low Latency Boost off while keeping Reflex enabled.

games system latency measure with Reflex on

As we can see in the image above (source: Nvidia), competitive games such as Valorant, Fortnite, Destiny 2 and Apex legends drop up to 30% of system latency. Keep in mind, this is without Low Latency Boost. Enabling it could lower latency even further.

Yes, 10 or 20 milliseconds may not seem like a whole lot, but if your enemy is just 1ms quicker (thanks to lower system latency), that is more than enough advantage to beat you.

Which GPUs Support Nvidia Reflex?

We have sad news for you if you are on AMD. Reflex does not and probably will never work on an AMD GPU. Typical for Nvidia. Fortunately, AMD does have Anti-Lag which is similar to Nvidia’s Ultra Low Latency Mode.

If you want to use the power of this technology, you will need an Nvidia GPU. Specifically, GTX 900 series, GTX 1000 series, RTX 2000, and 3000 series. Anything below the 900 series won’t support it.

Geforce RTX 3000 Series Geforce RTX 2000 Series Geforce GTX 1000 Series Geforce GTX 900 Series
RTX 3090RTX Titan RTXGTX 1080 TiGTX Titan X
RTX 3080 TiRTX 2080 TiGTX 1080GTX 980 Ti
RTX 3080RTX 2080GTX 1070 TiGTX 980
RTX 3070 TiRTX 2070 TiGTX 1070GTX 970
RTX 3070RTX 2070GTX 1060GTX 960
RTX 3060 TiRTX 2060 TiGTX 1050 TiGTX 950
RTX 3060RTX 2060GTX 1050 

Reflex Game Support

Nvidia Reflex

Since Nvidia Reflex requires collaboration with developers, naturally, not every game has it. Currently, only a dozen titles support it.

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 (Warzone included)
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
  • Destiny 2
  • Apex Legends
  • Valorant
  • Mordhau
  • Fortnite
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
  • Warface
  • Ghostrunner
  • Naraka: Bladepoint
  • Crossfire HD
  • And more…

We hope and believe more video games will support it in the future. For now, the most popular multiplayer shooters have Reflex which is more than enough.

Conclusion

So, is Nvidia Reflex worth it?

Considering the fact there are absolutely no downsides to enabling this option in any of the games listed above, there really is no reason why you shouldn’t use it. It is going to make your experience more responsive, so yes, Nvidia Reflex is absolutely worth it.

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Branko Gapo
Branko Gapo

Keeping up with the incredibly fast evolution of computer technology is impossible. That is why Branko will be using his knowledge on this matter to share news and information on all the latest essential technological innovations and advancements.