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Tested: How Nvidia Reflex can make you a better esports gamer


“Frames win games,” Nvidia likes to say, but there’s more to esports domination than raw frame rates. How those frames get delivered matters too. Latency—the time it takes for an on-screen action to happen after you press a button—reigns supreme in the blink-and-you’re-dead competitive esports scene. If your game looks beautiful but feels sluggish, you’ll find yourself outgunned by rivals playing with crummy visual settings to increase responsiveness.

Enter Nvidia Reflex, introduced alongside the GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090. If you’ve heard of it before, you probably associate it with low-latency features being added to games like Call of Duty: Warzone, Valorant, and Fortnite. But Reflex is actually Nvidia’s overarching brand name for a wide range of new latency-obsessed tools. Yes, the Low Latency Mode being added to games is part of it, but on Tuesday, Nvidia and its partners are also rolling out blisteringly fast 360Hz G-Sync Esports monitors with Reflex Latency Analyzer built in. If you’ve invested in compatible accessories, Reflex Latency Analyzer keeps tabs on the entire pipeline from the millisecond you click your mouse to the millisecond the game renders your gun shooting, helping you identify which parts of your system are acting as a bottleneck.

Nvidia’s Reflex Latency Analyzer and the Reflex Low Latency Mode being introduced to leading esports games are two very different technologies, with two very different use cases, and perhaps two slightly different audiences. But they’re both focused on the same underlying goal: making your games more responsive. You don’t need one to use the other. And better yet, Reflex Latency Analyzer’s powers let us evaluate the effectiveness of both, as well as measure how much faster your reactions would be if you invested in a pricier graphics card or a high refresh rate monitor.

Studies have shown that lower latency can improve your shot accuracy and kill-to-death ratios in competitive esports. Today, we’re going to quantify responsiveness across a wide range of scenarios. Buckle up.

Nvidia Reflex Low Latency Mode

First, let’s dig into the Nvidia Reflex Low Latency Mode you may already be seeing in the games you play. (For brevity, we’ll call the software SDK “Nvidia Reflex” from here on out.) If you’re just interested in raw benchmark results for a wide variety of scenarios, consider jumping straight to our benchmarking section instead.

Nvidia Reflex is an optional set of APIs that developers can choose to implement in their game to reduce latency. It works particularly well in heavily GPU-bound scenarios—if you’re playing an esports game on a higher-resolution monitor, or crank up all the eye candy, you’ll see the most significant responsiveness improvements, as you’ll see in our benchmarks section.

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