What is Keyboard Polling Rate? How does it matter?

There are certain words that you see floating around the internet, but you are not aware of their importance, let alone their meaning. For me, one of those things was the keyboard polling rate. As a gamer, I had seen this word being thrown around but never knew exactly what it meant.

However, the day I learned about the polling rate of the keyboard and how you can alter it according to your requirements, my gaming skills took a big leap. I kid you not, even if you are not a gamer, knowing about your keyboard polling rate and how to adjust it will be one of those small details that will have a big impact. Every bit of information that I possess I have shared in this article.

Keyboard Polling Rate

What Is Keyboard Polling Rate?

Before you get too deep into the world of polling rates and their significance, first things first, you need to familiarize yourself with what exactly is a keyboard’s polling rate. Basically, the polling rate of a keyboard means how often and quickly your keyboard sends data to your PC or laptop that is connected to it.

This seems like a small, insignificant detail, but this small detail has a large influence on the performance of your keyboard. The polling rate is solely responsible for the speed of your PC peripherals, and in this case, the keyboard. It is also called the report rate and is measured in Hertz, denoted as Hz.

Polling Rate And Response Time

Response time is basically the duration of time it takes for your keyboard to scan the key that you have pressed. The relation between the polling rate of a keyboard and the response time is pretty straightforward. The higher the polling rate of a keyboard, the faster and quicker its response time will be. Similarly, the lower the polling rate will be, the higher the response time of that keyboard will be. As I have shared, the polling rate is measured in Hz; the response time is measured in ms.

For instance, if a keyboard has a polling rate of 125 Hz, then its response time will be 8 ms. At 250 Hz, the response time will be 4 ms; as the polling rate keeps increasing, so will the response time, which will then enhance the performance of the keyboard and the user of the keyboard. Usually, keyboards come with 1000 Hz, which means their response time is 1 ms. However, there are some ultra-fast models present in the market that has a polling rate of 3000 Hz, and their response time is 0.33 ms.

How Does It Affect The Keyboard’s Performance?

The keyboard polling rate is responsible for the speed of your keyboard. So the higher the polling rate of a keyboard, the more enhanced and high-speed performance of your keyboard will be. A keyboard that comes with a polling rate of 1000 Hz will have a response time of 1ms, which is as fast as the speed of light.

Every single key of a keyboard has a different response time, which is measured in ms. If a model of the keyboard has a higher polling rate, that means the response time of every single key will be fast. For gamers, high-speed performance of their PC peripherals, and especially keyboards, is a matter of life or death, literally. Therefore, the polling rate of a keyboard has a significant impact on the performance of that keyboard.

Can The Polling Rate Be Changed?

When you purchase yourself a model of keyboard, it has an already set polling rate which determines the response time and the speed of that keyboard. However, with the advancements in every field of technology, there are certain ways that will help you increase the polling rate of your keyboard. However, not every model of the keyboard allows its users to temper the polling rate.

Many models of mechanical keyboards already come with a high polling rate, which means their performance is already pretty fast, so there is no need to increase it more. Another thing to note here is that wired models of keyboards mostly do not allow users to temper with the polling rate. On the other hand, you can alter and adjust the polling rate of wireless keyboards. However, enhancing the polling rate of a wireless keyboard means lowering its battery life, but all good things come at a cost.

Importance Of Polling Rate

The polling rate of a keyboard is a highly essential specification of that keyboard that you can not overlook. If you overlook this specification, you will be stuck with a model of keyboard that has a slow response time and a slower performance. Therefore, to say that the polling rate of a keyboard is important would be an understatement.

We are measuring the Polling rate of our keyboard.

Whether you are a gamer or a person who performs day-to-day menial tasks on this PC, everybody wants to own a keyboard that picks commands quickly. A model that takes eons to register the key that you have pressed is every PC user’s nightmare. For heavy games and other heavier programs such as Adobe Photoshop, you need to own and use a keyboard that comes with a higher polling rate so that the response time of that keyboard is higher and faster.

Importance Of Polling Rate For Gamers

You do not need high-speed performance from your keyboard when you are designing a spreadsheet. On the other hand, when you are standing on the battlefield, the polling rate of a keyboard has a high influence. The polling rate of a keyboard is significant for every gamer out there because the keyboards that come with a higher polling rate perform exceptionally well and faster than the models that come with a lower polling rate.

For a gamer, even the difference of even a millisecond means either staying alive or becoming the target of the enemy’s bullets. Therefore, every gamer that I know has always opted for keyboards that have a higher polling rate, and hence a higher response time. In addition to that, if your keyboard comes with a polling rate of 500 Hz, then you only need to increase it a bit; as for gamers, 500 Hz is good. But, you need to keep in mind that the polling rate of your keyboard should not be less than 500 Hz.

What Lowers The Polling Rate?

Most people do not know this, but there is a small factor that affects and lowers the polling rate of a keyboard, and therefore, its response time. That factor is the distance between your peripherals and your PC or laptop. This is especially important when you are dealing with wireless peripherals, especially keyboards. If there is a great distance between your keyboard and your PC, then the response time may be affected and slowed.

In addition to that, another factor that slows down the performance of a keyboard to some extent is when there is another electronic device present between your keyboard and the PC. The presence of an additional device intercepts the signal passing from the wireless keyboard, which can slow down the speed and the performance of that keyboard. Therefore, it is always recommended to keep the distance between your peripherals and the PC minimum. Moreover, there should be no other electronic device between the two, especially if you are using a wireless keyboard.

Keys With Highest Polling Rate

The Cherry MX Red switches and the Cherry MX Brown switches are some of the best switches currently present in the market. The reason I am referring to these switches as the best is that they come with a higher polling rate and a higher response time. The response time of Cherry MX Red switches is 2 ms, with a polling rate of 500 Hz, with an actuation force of 45g. The Cherry MX Brown switches come with a polling rate of 500 Hz, with a response time of 2 ms and an actuation force of 55g.

FAQs

A keyboard that has to be used for day-to-day menial tasks as well as for beginner-level gaming should have a polling rate of 500 Hz to 1000 Hz. The keyboards that have a polling rate between 500 Hz to 1000 Hz offer a response time of 2ms to 1ms, which is ideal.

Yes, if you are a gamer who plays heavier games, then a higher polling rate is better for you. The keyboards that come with a polling rate that is higher than 1000 Hz have a higher response time; hence it performs better than the model that comes with a polling rate of 125 Hz.

Conclusion

You can not call yourself a gamer if you have not hunted for a keyboard with a higher polling rate. The models of keyboards that have a higher polling rate outperform those that come with a lower polling rate. I have shared all the information regarding the polling rates of keyboards and their significance in the article above. I hope it helps you.