Presented in partnership with NVIDIA…
When people think of esports and competitive gaming, giant desktop towers and monitors likely come to mind. After all, better hardware gives competitive gamers an edge, and so that means the bigger, the better, right? That may have once been the case, but the introduction of laptops with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series GPUs means one integrated device can take the place of the separate display, tower, and peripherals a desktop needs while still offering the excellent performance that esports enthusiasts demand.
In addition to the stellar performance delivered by RTX 30 Series laptops, NVIDIA is continuously introducing new technology and features that benefit competitive gamers. One of its latest, NVIDIA Reflex, helps to combat latency, a perennial enemy of anyone who plays fast-paced games.
Latency is the time it takes between taking an action and getting the result. System latency, which is what NVIDIA Reflex combats, can be explained easily using a first-person shooter as an example. The time between clicking the fire button and your gun firing on-screen would be system latency. Since this lag is measured in milliseconds, most gamers don’t even notice it when playing single-player games. However, for competitive players, milliseconds of delay can be the difference between winning and losing.
System latency is a result of the pipeline computers typically use to render a game. Put (very) simply these steps are:
- A player clicks a mouse button, signifying to the game that they want to fire their weapon.
- The peripheral processes the input and sends it to the USB port.
- The CPU processes the input and simulates its effect on the game.
- The CPU processes these changes and sends the data needed for the display to the Render Queue.
- The data waits in the queue for its turn to be rendered.
- The GPU renders a new frame and outputs it to the display.
- The display renders the results of the button press on screen.
This process all happens very quickly, up to hundreds of times per second depending on the display’s refresh rate. However, the infinitesimal amount of time it takes between each of these steps adds up. Now, each of these steps has to occur, but there’s a way to make them more efficient.
NVIDIA Reflex lowers system latency in RTX 30 Series GPU-equipped laptops by streamlining the pipeline. Typically, the CPU processes frames faster than the GPU can render them, which is what causes the render queue to fill up. NVIDIA Reflex zeroes the render queue, so each frame is processed just in time. This means each frame doesn’t need to wait in line to be rendered, and backpressure on the CPU is reduced since it doesn’t run ahead of the current frame.
NVIDIA Reflex works even better when paired with the high framerate screens available on RTX 30 Series laptops. Since Reflex renders frames just in time, the more frames a monitor can display per second; the less latency the player will experience. Some RTX 30 Series laptops feature displays that can output a whopping 360 frames per second. That’s a high target to hit, even for hardware as powerful as that included in these laptops. However, with G-SYNC technology, these displays can adjust their refresh rate to keep pace with the GPU and ensure players continue to enjoy low latency gameplay.
With the latest version of GeForce Experience, you can now measure your Render Latency in real time. This is a portion of System Latency and can help give you an idea of your GPUs responsiveness in real time, helping you optimize your graphics settings!
The combination of raw performance and excellent features like NVIDIA Reflex and G-SYNC make RTX 30 Series laptops great partners for any user who takes competitive gaming seriously. The suite of tools provided takes the guesswork out of training for the next big match, and reduces overall frustration. Being able to measure and reduce system latency actively is a big deal for those who are trying to become the best, and NVIDIA Reflex gives you the chance to make sure it is your skill, not your hardware, that determines whether you win or lose.
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