What is NVIDIA Reflex? All you need to know
When playing video games at the highest level, latency plays a big role in your ability to perform. If you are a competitive gamer, NVIDIA has a solution for you; a technology called NVIDIA Reflex. It promises to minimize your system latency to levels never seen before.
NVIDIA Reflex was first announced alongside its Ampere-based GPUs late last year. However, the functionality is not exclusive to these new graphics cards. You’re good to go as long as you have a GTX 900 series GPU. So let’s see what NVIDIA Reflex is, okay?
What is system latency?
Before learning more about NVIDIA Reflex, it’s essential to understand the basics of system latency. Simply put, this is the delay between input from your mouse or keyboard and the response on your monitor. You would quickly think that this is just an input lag, but the system latency is more important.
Your input devices and the monitor alone do not determine the overall system latency. Your internal hardware and even the game engine can also impact this latency. Here’s how:
Typically, when playing a graphically intensive game, your CPU prepares the frames for the GPU to render and puts them in a render queue. This allows your GPU to maximize its frame rate as it always has frames to access from that queue and render. However, this comes at the expense of system latency, as frames wait in the queue to be rendered.
NVIDIA Reflex aims to minimize system latency by completely removing the render queue. Now that you know it’s not just your network ping that’s affecting your multiplayer experience, it’s time to see how this technology works.
How does NVIDIA Reflex technology work?
NVIDIA Reflex keeps the CPU perfectly in sync with the GPU to eliminate the render queue. This means that your graphics card renders the images fed by the processor almost immediately, minimizing rendering latency.
Since the render queue is no longer an issue, this also reduces back pressure on the processor side. This allows games to sample mouse and keyboard input at the last second, dramatically reducing game latency.
Render and gaming latencies are just a part of the entire system latency that impacts the overall gaming experience on the client side. The end-to-end system latency will also include your peripherals (mouse and keyboard) and your monitor.
That being said, NVIDIA Reflex performs best in GPU-constrained scenarios where your PC isn’t pushing hundreds of frames per second. At higher frame rates, the difference in latency is negligible because your PC is limited in CPU and there aren’t many frames waiting in the render queue.
Do all games support NVIDIA Reflex?
NVIDIA Reflex is an SDK (Software Development Kit), which means developers need to build it into their games for you to take advantage of the technology. Therefore, even if you have a compatible graphics card, you will need a game that is compatible with Reflex. You can find a list of titles on NVIDIA.com.
At present, only seventeen games support this technology, and three more have confirmed that they will receive support in a future update. Doesn’t sound so promising, does it?
Well, NVIDIA Reflex is a feature that targets esports games. The good news is that it supports almost any popular esports title you can think of right now. One massive name missing from this list is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, but we can’t really complain as this game is almost ten years old.
Big names in the industry like Valorant, Call of Duty: Warzone, Apex Legends, Fortnite, Overwatch, and Rainbow Six: Siege are all supported. Therefore, if you like playing competitive shooting games, you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues.
To use this feature on a supported game, you will need to head to the game’s graphics or video settings and set the Reflex option to At or Walk + Boost.
What is the NVIDIA Reflex Latency Monitor?
Besides the Reflex SDK, NVIDIA is also using monitor hardware to bring this new technology to market. The company’s new Reflex Latency Analyzer will allow users to measure end-to-end system latency on select monitors. Find a list of supported displays at NVIDIA.com.
This is a game-changer, because not too long ago you needed high-speed cameras and other expensive equipment to get that data, which popular YouTubers do. This is no longer necessary as long as you have a high refresh rate monitor with the built-in latency analyzer and a compatible mouse.
Before you jump into a new monitor with this hardware, note that unlike the Reflex SDK which actually works to reduce system latency, the Reflex Analyzer is simply a latency monitor.
Even if you don’t have a supported monitor, you will still be able to view render latency from the GeForce Experience overlay by pressing Alt + R.
What’s the best way to reduce system latency?
In addition to using Reflex SDK, NVIDIA suggests that overclocking your graphics card and using faster hardware will help minimize system latency.
As long as you’re playing at high frame rates, you’re fine on the latency side, even without NVIDIA Reflex. Of course, you can also achieve this by playing games with low graphics settings and disabling unnecessary features like V-Sync that add input lag.
Remember that playing on a high refresh rate monitor is extremely important if your hardware is capable of it. This is one of the reasons NVIDIA is pushing this technology with the new 360Hz monitors. However, you will do very well with a 144Hz monitor, as it only decreases the outputs beyond that rate. of refreshment.
Don’t let latency get in your way
Every millisecond counts when you play games competitively. This could be the deciding factor in whether you connect your shot and secure the kill. Unlike your network latency, which is not under your control in most cases, you can improve your system’s latency with the right settings and the right hardware.
With NVIDIA Reflex enabled, you can make sure that your system latency is never the reason for your underperforming when playing ranked games with your friends. Your PC should never hamper your true potential.
Image Credit: NVIDIA
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