In the past several years, competitive multiplayer gaming has become more popular than ever. Video games such as CS: GO, DOTA 2, Valorant, Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, and many other titles can have millions of players every month.
Many of these players aim for constant improvement to be considered among the best. In that case, it is important to reduce input lag and latency as much as possible. This can be achieved with high-end mice, high-refresh monitors, and now with NVIDIA Reflex.
NVIDIA Reflex is a new feature that was 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 required for an action (such as the click of a keyboard or mouse) to be displayed on the screen in front of you. For example, when you click on your mouse to shoot, you want that action to be sent to the game quickly. The click-to-display delay could be the reason that you miss your shot.
The image above illustrates system latency terminology. Let’s explain some of those terms.
- Peripheral Latency – The time needed for a mechanical action on an input device (mouse, keyboard, controller, etc.) to be sent to the PC for processing.
- Game Latency – The time needed for the processor to process your input and send the processed information to the graphics card.
- Render Latency – The time it takes for the GPU to process that information (through a render queue) and render the frame. The rendered frame is then sent to the display.
- Display Latency – The time needed for the monitor/TV to display the rendered frame.
When we combine all of these together, we get total system latency.
This delay/system latency can be reduced in numerous ways. One of the most effective methods is with 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 also popular as they can considerably reduce input lag.
Being even a small step ahead of your competition is essential in competitive matches. NVIDIA Reflex is where gamers can gain that advantage.
Reflex SDK And Reflex Latency Analyzer
We can’t know for sure how Reflex works, but NVIDIA has shared some information on the technologies in play.
Reflex relies on the in-game implementation of the Reflex SDK.
This SDK is essential for the reduction in latency because it allows developers to implement Reflex directly into their games.
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 their system.
This can be useful as competitive players can do trial and error of all settings and different hardware to find the sweet spot of the lowest system latency.
How Does Reflex Reduce System Latency?
So, how exactly does Reflex assist with reducing system latency? It’s not magic, but it definitely gives that impression.
Here is NVIDIA’s explanation in a video.
Basically, the implementation of the SDK helps the game’s engine schedule renderings smartly and quickly, which effectively reduces the GPU render queue and removes loads from the CPU, keeping the CPU and GPU in sync.
There is also the Low Latency Boost option in some games that disables 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. Disabling power-saving features results in a higher power draw. It is up to the user to determine whether or not this is worth it.
Fortunately, you can keep Low Latency Boost off while keeping Reflex enabled.
As we can see in the image above (source: NVIDIA), competitive games such as Valorant, Fortnite, Destiny 2, and Apex Legends reduce up to 30% of system latency. Keep in mind that this is without Low Latency Boost. Enabling it could reduce latency even further.
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 will probably never work on an AMD GPU. This is typical of 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.
Here’s a table of GPUs that support Nvidia Reflex.
|GeForce RTX 4000 Series||GeForce RTX 3000 Series||GeForce RTX 2000 Series||GeForce GTX 1000 Series||GeForce GTX 900 Series|
|RTX 4090||RTX 3090||RTX Titan RTX||GTX 1080 Ti||GTX Titan X|
|RTX 4080||RTX 3080 Ti||RTX 2080 Ti||GTX 1080||GTX 980 Ti|
|RTX 4070 Ti||RTX 3080||RTX 2080||GTX 1070 Ti||GTX 980|
|RTX 3070 Ti||RTX 2070 Ti||GTX 1070||GTX 970|
|RTX 3070||RTX 2070||GTX 1060||GTX 960|
|RTX 3060 Ti||RTX 2060 Ti||GTX 1050 Ti||GTX 950|
|RTX 3060||RTX 2060||GTX 1050|
Reflex Game Support
As NVIDIA Reflex requires collaboration with developers, naturally, not every game has it.
Here’s an updated list of games that support NVIDIA Reflex:
- Apex Legends
- Battlefield 2042
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 (Warzone included)
- Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
- Call of Duty: Vanguard
- Destiny 2
- Apex Legends
- Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
- God of War
- Naraka: Bladepoint
- Crossfire HD
- Deep Rock Galactic
- Nine to Five
- Quake: Champions
- Super People
Check out NVIDIA’s website for the full list of supported games.
For example, LEAP, a multiplayer FPS game, can get 50% reduced system latency with Reflex, according to NVIDIA.
So, is NVIDIA Reflex worth it?
Considering that there are absolutely no downsides to enabling this option in any of the games listed above, there really is no reason not to use it. It is going to make your experience more responsive, so yes, NVIDIA Reflex is absolutely worth it.