NVIDIA Reflex Explained: Reduced Latency To Boost Competitive Gaming
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NVIDIA Reflex Explained: Reduced Latency To Boost Competitive Gaming

Lloyd Coombes
18 November 2020

"Frames win games", according to NVIDIA.

NVIDIA recently rolled out a new slate of GPUs, while quietly rolling out Nvidia Reflex.

This new technology is intended to reduce input lag between your device and your chosen display, in order to improve player responsiveness.

Here's how it works.

Nvidia Reflex Explained: Reduced Latency To Boost Competitive Gaming

As per Nvidia, there are plenty of places where latency can strike your setup:

  • Peripheral Latency: The time it takes your input device to process your mechanical input and send those input events to the PC
  • Game Latency: The time it takes for the CPU to process input or changes to the world and submit a new frame to the GPU to be rendered
  • Render Latency: The time from when the frame gets in line to be rendered to when the GPU completely renders the frame
  • PC Latency: The time it takes a frame to travel through the PC. This includes both Game and Render Latency
  • Display Latency: The time it takes for the display to present a new image after the GPU has finished rendering the frame
  • System Latency: The time encompassing the whole end-to-end measurement - from the start of peripheral latency to the end of display latency

That's an awful lot of potential pitfalls during any one moment of gameplay, but NVIDIA Reflex looks to counter at least some of these.

The system integrates directly with the game, and uses a Low Latency mode to tweak rendering to eliminate a GPU render queue.

This reduces CPU pressure, and allows the game to sidestep those aforementioned pitfalls.

NVIDIA already has some of gaming's biggest developers working with its software development kit.

“NVIDIA Reflex technology arms developers with new features to minimize latency in their games," Nick Penwarden, VP of Engineering said.

"We’re seeing excellent responsiveness and player control with Fortnite running on the GeForce RTX 30 Series.”

Dave Heironymus, Director of Technology at Riot said “Valorant was designed from the beginning to be a precise, competitive FPS, and that means doing everything we can to ensure crisp, responsive gameplay."

"With GeForce RTX 30 Series and NVIDIA Reflex technology, we're able to serve players around the world with the lowest render latency possible" he added.

It's perhaps no surprise then that the technology is already in use in the likes of Apex Legends, Destiny 2, Fortnite and Valorant, with the likes of Black Ops Cold War also sporting the tech.

You don't need a snazzy new GPU, either, with Reflex supported by NVIDIA graphics cards way back to the GTX 900 series.

The GTX 1660 Super, a more affordable GPU, could see as much as a 33% increase in responsiveness for example.

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