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Four Keyboards And Four Mice For LAN Party Gamers, Rounded-Up

The Futility Of Benchmarking Mice

The fact that none of the mice failed our testing was interesting, and it compelled us to conduct yet another set of evaluations. First, we checked for the manufacturer-reported tolerances of each mouse, namely their top movement speed. Razer's Orochi, for example, is rated for the lowest speed at 100 inches/second, and yet even that seemed unnecessarily high to us (particularly given the size of a typical desk). Obviously, you're not going to drag your mouse across your entire desk, and especially not in one second.

So, in order to overwhelm the Orochi, you’d need to drag it across a 10-inch mouse pad, pick it up, move it back to the starting position, and drag it across nine more times, all in the span of a second. In other words, regular movement inside the boundaries of a mouse pad could never exceed the maximum speed rating of these devices.

With this in mind, we wanted to determine the maximum speed of an average person’s wrist movements. To do so, we set up two switches ten inches apart. We then had a subject rapidly activate both switches. The activation time was recorded, and we subtracted the first switch’s activation time from the second, arriving at an approximation of the time it takes to traverse our mouse pad.

The average activation time of the second switch was around 92 ms, with a standard deviation of three. The total measured time was between 243 and 268 ms. Using the lowest recorded value, the maximum recorded speed over 10 inches was around 49 inches/second. This means that there is a huge difference between the speed an average person can move his or her wrist and what a third-gen laser sensor can reliably pick up, record, process, and transmit.

Under normal operation, we're exceedingly confident that you won't approach the tolerances of these devices. You're just not fast enough to cause them to fail. Sure, we're taking a big leap by calling our test subject average. But you'd have to move two times faster to even touch Razer's rating.

Acceleration

Acceleration, the rate at which the velocity of an object changes, is closely linked to speed, and therefore, to DPI. Given that there were no inconsistencies in the output of any of these mice during our speed tests, we can also conclude that they had no issues with acceleration. Still, we wanted to crunch the numbers and figure out why.

To begin, the Razer and Logitech devices are rated for up to 30 G (gravitational constant) of acceleration, and while I couldn’t find any data for Thermaltake’s submission, this doesn't really matter, either. It's important that you understand just how ludicrously high 30 G is. That’s the pull of a planet 30 times as massive as Earth. If you were subjected to that, you would immediately lose consciousness. If you were to free fall at that rate, you would be traveling at over 650 miles per hour within one second. Achieving this kind of force in daily life is utterly unfathomable.
With that in mind, we can start looking at what kind of acceleration that would be realistically encountered. The most basic formula for acceleration is as follows:

a=Δv/Δt

Where a is acceleration, delta v represents the change in velocity, and delta t represents the change in time. Using the numbers we collected earlier, we’re able to figure out that over the course of about 0.15 seconds, the human wrist can consistently achieve an average velocity of 49.6 inches per second. That works out to 1.26 meters per second over 0.15 seconds, or less than 1 G. Again, we should be fair and state that we used average velocity and, as a result the figure we see is an average acceleration. But, it does beg the question, what would 30 G really mean for a mouse? 

Working the equation backwards, beginning with acceleration: 

a=30 G
=294 m/s2 * 0.15 s
=44.1m/s=1,736 in/s

We’d need to have held an average velocity of over 1,736 inches per second to reach the limits of the device. That’s over 17 times the maximum speed that the Orochi can handle, giving us a pretty clear understanding of how and why our measured acceleration is so low. It is, of course, to be expected that, at some point in those 151 milliseconds, the acceleration of the mouse was greater than 1 G, but if it had hit anywhere near 30, one or more of the mice would have failed our velocity test.

At the 1 ms reports per second these mice make, it is unreasonable to think that they would ever have any serious problems. Modern laser imaging is too fast, and the human body is far too slow to hit those limits without causing serious damage to the mouse itself.

Understanding what it takes to make these things fail, and the fact that they haven't, certainly gives us an enormous amount of respect for the engineering behind today's mouse technology.

  • Hadoe
    "high-quality console graphics"

    Heh, good one Toms... good one.
    Reply
  • atavax
    i wonder at what dpi's they tested acceleration. It was my understanding that a lot of mice have acceleration issues at different dpi's. I have seen multiple sources that say the G9 has negative acceleration at low sensitivities.
    Reply
  • samwelaye
    I've had my g9x for quite a while now, love this mouse!
    Reply
  • Trewyy
    G9x now down to $55 on Newegg :) I should mention that it was a good review, as always!

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826104261
    Reply
  • ShadyHamster
    Five programmable buttons near the thumb rest, a mechanical button below the scroll wheel, and a battery indicator set the G500 apart from standard mice.

    That should be DPI indicator not battery.

    And whats up with pitting 1 mechanical keyboard up against 3 membrane keyboards? Before even reading the article i knew that the mechanical keyboard would be the clear winner, who would care about the loudness of the keys at a lan party, 99.9% of people would have headphones.
    Reply
  • Swordkd
    Before I bought my Razer mouse(Imperator 2012), I read reviews on newegg and decided to discount the issue that they seemed to be having. After a few months of use, the mice would start to double-click from a single "click". Sure enough, less than 6 months of light to moderate use, my mouse now suffers from this malady once out of every 20 clicks or so. Enough to annoy me.

    I will not recommend that brand mouse to anyone ever again.
    Reply
  • Soda-88
    No 6Gv2?
    Reply
  • kitsunestarwind
    Logitech G9X is a fantastic mouse, been using mine since they first came out, never a complaint and has led to me having very sharp and accurate aim in games like BF3. Buy one it is worth it!
    Reply
  • alidan
    das keyboard professional
    razor naga

    that's my setup...

    that said, sound and weight to press are not lower or higher is better... they are prefferences, i personally love the sound that a cherry blue makes and wish it was a bit louder because i make more sound on each key by bottoming them out apposed to activating the switch.

    and weight, i hear it more often than not that for gaming heavier presses are better because its less likely to accidently activate.

    now, impersonally just because of prior things i have had, i can never recommend razor... but at the same time i use a razor because i want that 12 key pad, and Logitech mouse is even smaller than the already small naga, and i cant get use to its bad form factor... its really the only razor anything i recommend just because there is no other competition that i can tell people to go with outside the small logitech and only if they have small hands.

    also, i dont know if it was mentioned, but the razor keyboard from what i remember has such a strict policy, that if you remove a key cap, you void the warranty. there are story's of the s and j key switched, but because of razors warranty, they have to send it in and get it replaced that way, and its a razor product, you know it will fail... the keyboard doesn't have a mounting plate, so its more likely to fail than other mechanical keyboards because of the solder point stress before the keys naturally give out.
    Reply
  • blubbey
    'The G500 was reported to be too long,'

    I know of course this is personal preference and everyone's different, but either their hands are small or mine are of reasonable size because I can almost cover the entire mouse (fingertips and base of my hand can just about hit the mouse mat at the same time). Unfortunately I don't have much else to compare it to, only random mice however it is larger than any I can remember, so I might just have larger than 'normal' hands.

    Something else you might want to consider that others have found is that the scroll wheel is very 'light' to use. I'm indifferent about it seeing as I'm used to light scroll wheels but a few people have raised that point in reviews that I saw before buying it (~$45 on sale). I've also found that the weights are prety much useless, it's already quite a weighty mouse so an extra few grams really didn't matter for me.
    Reply