NVIDIA has been at the forefront of PC gaming technology for years, but its new Reflex technology may be a game-changer when it comes to competitive play.
Intended to reduce latency significantly, the clever tech can make a huge difference to pro-players and casual ones, too. Our sister site Stealth Optional sat down with Seth Schneider, NVIDIA GeForce Esports Product Manager, to chat about the process, and just what it can offer gamers.
What is Reflex and how does it work exactly?
NVIDIA Reflex is a suite of technologies that optimize and measure system latency.
Latency is the time that passes between when you click the mouse to fire and when that click registers with the display or screen. And lower is better. Lower system latency enables players to perform their best - allowing them to acquire targets faster, react quicker, and increase aim precision. Lower latency can be achieved by simply enabling NVIDIA Reflex in a game’s settings.
NVIDIA Reflex includes:
- NVIDIA Reflex Low-Latency Mode, a new technology to reduce game and rendering latency by up to 50 per cent. The Reflex Low Latency Mode aligns game engine work to complete just-in-time for rendering, eliminating the GPU render queue and reducing CPU back pressure in GPU intensive scenes. Reflex is being integrated into top competitive games including Apex Legends, Fortnite, Valorant, Call of Duty: Warzone, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Destiny 2, Overwatch and more.
- NVIDIA Reflex Latency Analyzer, which detects clicks coming from the mouse and then measures the time it takes for the resulting pixels (for example, a gun muzzle flash) to change on screen. Measuring system latency has previously been extremely difficult to do, requiring over $7,000 in specialized high-speed cameras and equipment. Head over to the Reflex Latency Analyzer compatible page to see all Reflex compatible displays and mice.
How important is latency when it comes to games? And what advantage does it give PC gamers over console?
Based on our research, it turns out that latency is a key factor that contributes to aiming performance. Lower latency enabled players to be more precise and acquire targets faster. On PC, gamers can play at higher framerates, use faster monitors, and use features like NVIDIA Reflex to reduce latency below what the consoles are capable of.
Right now, we see a handful of games support Reflex, but what new games are going to support it?
We can’t announce new features for our partners, but Reflex is a big hit. 7 out of the 10 most popular shooters already support NVIDIA Reflex. The games that support NVIDIA Reflex are a who's who of first-person shooters including Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Warzone, Destiny 2, Fortnite, and Overwatch, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, Valorant and more.
(You can find the full list here)
- Apex Legends
- Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)
- Call of Duty: Warzone
- CRSED: F.O.A.D. (formerly Cuisine Royale)
- Destiny 2
- Kovaak 2.0 The Meta
- Rainbow Six: Siege
- War Thunder
On Warzone, can you discuss the advantages PC gamers using Reflex will have? And how will this affect cross-platform competition?
In nearly all sports -- golf, racing, football, etc -- the right gear can help competitors achieve their full potential. The same is true for esports -- better GPUs, displays, and peripherals can help you respond more quickly and precisely to opponents.
The 360Hz monitors are coming now,… but just how much of a difference does it make compared to 120Hz?
360Hz is a significant upgrade compared to 120Hz. It’s 3x the amount of frames that can be presented to the gamer per second and has lower latency than a 120Hz display. For esports gamers looking to optimize their setups, 360Hz is a great option. Check out our latency optimization guide here.
Does someone at 120Hz have a disadvantage when playing against someone with 360Hz Refresh?
Playing games well requires a multitude of skills - positioning, game knowledge, game sense, and aiming capabilities. 360Hz provides lower latency. Based on our published research, lower latency enables gamers to be more precise and accurate in aiming tasks.
What are some common ‘no no’s’ people may not be aware of that inadvertently lead to increased latency? And what can they do to instantly improve if Reflex is not an option?
Optimizing latency can be very challenging since every aspect of PC performance is factored into the equation. To help gamers optimize for latency, we have written a latency optimization guide that walks through the pipeline and provides great suggestions for optimizing system latency. Some common mistakes gamers make is keeping VSYNC ON or using borderless fullscreen mode. Both of these settings can significantly increase system latency. Keeping your game in fullscreen, disabling VSYNC, and turning on NVIDIA Ultra-Low Latency in the control panel are great ways to easily reduce system latency.
Which NVIDIA GPUs support Reflex?
NVIDIA Reflex provides a free upgrade to nearly all GeForce gamers by reducing latency and improving responsiveness for GTX 900 Series and higher GPUs in DirectX based games and GTX 10 Series and higher GPUs in Vulkan based games. In fact, % latency gains are typically higher for lower-end hardware.