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High Performance Gaming Mice Don't Perform 283

An anonymous reader writes "A new mouse performance speed-testing software has scientifically demonstrated that there is virtually no difference between the performance of expensive, high-end gaming mice and cheap laser office mice. The software, called Metalocity, is available for free download so you can test your own mice and confirm the empirical results for yourself. It also shows that the multi-button approach of the Razer Naga and WarMouse Meta increases user speed by up to 112 percent." Note that this report comes from someone who wants to sell you a $80 gaming mouse with a zillion buttons on it, so a grain of salt is required here. But the question is valid: are the expensive mice really worth anything?
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High Performance Gaming Mice Don't Perform

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  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Monday March 28, 2011 @08:55AM (#35637714) Journal
    Leaving aside for the moment the fact that TFA is actually a gratuitous piece of advertising fluff, which basically says "our competitors' products are rubbish so buy ours"... I've tried all kinds of mice over the years, including high-end Razer gaming mice and the like - and to be honest, I've never found that there's any kind of big, glaring performance difference. I think the most important thing with regard to mice is just to find one that you're comfortable with. For me, the Intellimouse Explorer 3 (but emphatically not the later versions) fits my hand well and has the right number of buttons positioned just where I want them, so I use that. It also has the advantage of being pretty cheap, which is handy since the wheel tends to gum up after 18 months or so in a way that I've never been able to fix, requiring periodic replacements. But at the end of the day, any "performance" differences are going to be pretty slim, so I'd just focus on getting something you're comfortable with and that supports your hand properly, to avoid joint pains later in life. The same goes for the keyboard - I've seen players with expensive gaming mice risk giving themselves all kinds of RSI by using keyboards which, through either sheer cheap-and-nastiness or plain old bad design, force their hands into all kinds of contortions.
    • by eln ( 21727 ) on Monday March 28, 2011 @09:00AM (#35637800)

      the wheel tends to gum up after 18 months

      You may find keeping wet wipes on your desk and wiping your fingers off after every 10th Cheeto or so clears that problem up.

      • by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Monday March 28, 2011 @09:15AM (#35638024) Journal

        You may find that natural oils from your fingers pass on to your computing equipment and capture small dirt particles that eventually acrrue into visible/noticeable yuckiness that needs to be cleaned up.

        Or you may wear gloves, or you may just not use any computing equipment intensely, or you may have someone else come and clean it regularly for you. The rest of us recognise that we need to clean our keyboards and mice from time to time.

        18 months of handling before a mouse needs cleaning sounds extremely reasonable to me.

        • Indeed - and the problem with the Intellimouse Explorer 3 is that despite quite a bit of prodding around, I've never found a way to open it up and clean the wheel-joints that doesn't actually break the thing.

    • Mod parent up.

      I've had "performance" mice, and none of them have really been better than my IntelliMouse Explorer as well. I got the Razer Copperhead off Woot once and meh. It didn't really fit my hand nearly as well as the IntelliMouse did, and it just stopped working after about 3 months or so.
      • by RingDev ( 879105 )

        Another IntelliMouse user here. I have a slightly newer model with two thumb buttons.

        I also use a Nostromo n52te. That thing is pure gravey. Those two tools combined let me rock the DPS meter and tank hard in WoW ;)


    • by AC-x ( 735297 )

      I second that, tho because of the way I hold a mouse I prefer the original (and still the best) Intellimouse [], may they never discontinue it.

    • It also has the advantage of being pretty cheap, which is handy since the wheel tends to gum up after 18 months or so in a way that I've never been able to fix, requiring periodic replacements.

      I don't own a Razer-mouse, but I do recognise your problem here. Have you ever tried opening the mouse, and cleaning the interior?
      I've been doing this myself for about five years now, and I'm still on the same mouse after all those years.
      Since I'm on a Logitech mouse, I don't know if it's the same as a Razer mouse,

    • by jandrese ( 485 )
      FWIW, I use simple (cheap) Logitech wheel mice and I've never gummed up a wheel, even after years of use.
  • It depends (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 28, 2011 @08:56AM (#35637736)

    On what you are buying it for.

    If you are buying an expensive mouse because you think it will make you a l337 gaming god, then no. It won't do jack for you.

    If you are buying an expensive mouse because it has better ergonomics than your cheap mouse and you want to reduce wrist strain, or if it has more buttons and you need or want that extra functionality, or if it has greater accuracy in movement and you need more precision, then yes. It will help you.

    A mouse is a tool, like any other. Buy the tool most appropriate to your needs and desires. Don't buy one expecting it to make you a better USER of the tool.

    • If you are buying an expensive mouse because it has better ergonomics than your cheap mouse and you want to reduce wrist strain ...

      An alternative is to just use a nice pad for that :P []

    • I have been using gaming mice for work, not play, for the past five years. It's not about comfort, it's about accuracy. I simply don't see a comparison between a deathadder and a standard laser. Pointer speed, direction, and movement are all better. Of course it makes a difference if you have a 30" screen with a 512MB graphics card and maximum resolution 2560x1600.

      If you're on a 17" wide you aren't really going to notice bupkis.
    • by cgenman ( 325138 )

      I'd disagree. When you need really precision aiming, which clicking an icon doesn't, you need a higher-resolution than normal sensor. Anyone who has gamed in a 3d environment for any length of time in a twitch or action title will tell you that. Get a higher-resolution mouse, and your scores go up a little.

      For pulling down menus and clicking icons my trackball beats the pants off of most people's mice. But it's terrible for precision aiming in gaming. The testing methodology here is similarly testing t

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday March 28, 2011 @08:57AM (#35637748) Journal
    In terms of things like ergonomics, number of buttons you can actually use/remap, etc. but the bottom line is that optical sensors have gotten pretty good, even at the low end.

    It is true that the fancy laser stuff will let you mouse on surfaces where basic LED mice won't; but even laser diodes aren't all that costly, though they are used as a price discrimination feature.

    Beyond mere ergonomic satisfaction, which is something of a matter of taste, and utility of extra buttons, which is a combination of taste and design, the only place that really dramatic differences jump out at you is with the wireless stuff. It is harder, though still entirely possible, to buy some really dire wireless mice. Slow refresh, shuts down to save power at the worst possible times and then spends 10 seconds waking up again, that sort of thing(and bluetooth? Pay double or insert dongle...)

    For your basic rat on a string, though, it is hard to get too worked up about the differences between modern sensors.
  • ...than about $50 tops on a mouse. Personally, I wouldn't spend more than about $20. My latest mouse I got when I replaced my keyboard (because one of the feet had broken off), I got a mouse and keyboard combo for about $30.
    • by Machtyn ( 759119 )
      I purchased both of my Razer gaming mice from I think they were both about $25 after shipping. A worthwhile purchase in my opinion (there's no reason my thumb and ring finger need to remain lazy).
  • by zifn4b ( 1040588 ) on Monday March 28, 2011 @08:58AM (#35637778)

    As an avid computer FPS gamer, I can tell that using a higher end mouse definitely makes a difference. I've used quite a few in my days, mostly Logitech. I currently use an MX518. However, let's say for the sake of argument that the sensors are not of higher quality and don't offer any higher DPI or sensitivity than their mainstream office counterparts. There are other aspects to gaming mice that are quite important. The ergonomic shape of the mouse. The placement of the buttons. The software that allows you to configure the sensitivity very specifically to your preferences. In some mice, you have the ability to add or remove optional weights to suit your specific style. All of these contribute to being able to fine tune your mouse to give you the optimal control that allows you aim more accurately and quickly than a typical mouse that does not have these features.

    • by captainpanic ( 1173915 ) on Monday March 28, 2011 @09:35AM (#35638326)

      I'll explain my point by looking at chairs rather than mice first.

      At some point, an office chair is good enough. It's got everything for a healthy working position.
      Spend 4 times more money, and you will most definitely sit more comfortable... but the question we're answering here is: do you work harder with significantly less chance for injury? Maybe just a little. Probably no measurable difference.

      I don't doubt for a moment that you get a nicer gaming experience with your MX518 mouse. The question in TFA was not whether you like it more, but whether you can click faster or more precise. The answer given in TFA is that you can't really.

      • by hitmark ( 640295 )

        Enthusiasts of any stripe will never grasp the concept of "good enough".

      • A single repetitive stress injury prevention / reduction is worth whatever difference you spend on a chair. The problem with prevention is that you never know if you're actually preventing anything, since it is a hidden benefit.

  • I love my Logitech MX1100R, it's an office mouse AFAIK, not really a gaming one, works great in gaming and standard use. Comfy, replaceable batteries and the extra 3 buttons are handy in some games. It was a bit pricey but I haven't looked back because it's so comfortable to use for extended periods.

    Buying 'bling' mice to me personally, like "high performance gaming ram" is just stupid.

  • But this has to be the biggest load of shit I've ever read on /.

    Gaming mice in "no better than a normal mouse for non gaming tasks" shocker.

    Sort it out /.

    • But this has to be the biggest load of shit I've ever read on /.

      You don't read idle, do you.

    • But this has to be the biggest load of shit I've ever read on /.

      You must be new here. Either that or it was the first time you have read an article.

  • by ultraexactzz ( 546422 ) on Monday March 28, 2011 @09:10AM (#35637956) Journal
    From a technical standpoint, looking at benchmarks and the like? It probably doesn't matter so much. The extra buttons certainly help, if the mouse is well-designed. But I'll tell you this - if I feel more confident because the mouse I'm using cost $80 instead of $20, then I'm going to play better. And that might be worth it.
  • But that's all it really is. This is the online equivalent of those newspaper ads where an Amish craftsman oh so tenderly puts the finishing touches on the wood cabinet of an electric fireplace, while the fireplace is inside and running.

    Moreover, I don't recall ever buying a gaming mouse so that I could perform a "500-click series of randomly generated commands" in the fastest possible time. I buy them because of the control I get over the mouse motion, leading to smoothness and accuracy in pointing.
  • No.

    "Gamer" versions of just about any peripheral pretty much guarantees that it's at least 200% overpriced, and absolutely not one iota of performance better than the standard generic version you can buy at Microcenter from the big bargain bin.

    "Gamer" Headsets
    "Gamer" Keyboard
    "Gamer" network card
    "Gamer" mousepad

    The only positive reviews I've ever seen of this crap come from people who were given one as a freebie to "review".

    • by ph0rk ( 118461 )
      Standard generic versions tend not to have 9 buttons. There was a time when Kensington had 5-button mice for $20, but they are hard to find these days.

      I'd actually prefer more "non-gaming" models to have more buttons, but for some reason only "gamers" must want programmable buttons.
    • by Pulzar ( 81031 )

      "Gamer keyboards" tend to have additional programmable buttons for key stroke combinations, which normal keyboards don't. "Gamer mice" similarly have extra buttons that normal mice don't. The "gamer network card" has a dedicated network processor on board, which reduces CPU usage, and has an impact on your local LAN latency.

      For most people, these features make no discernible difference between "gamer" and "normal", but they do nonetheless provide some value to a small percentage of people, and hence charge

  • A good gaming mouse should have:

          * An ergonomic shape to hold for a couple hours at a time. I find that it works well to have a more arched shape for continuous use, instead of a flatter shape for reaching over to occasionally click something. Thumb rests are also popular.

          * Lots of buttons, in a convenient arrangement.

          * High resolution. Even if you don't want it to track fast, you want the tracking quantum to be small. For productivity apps, on the other hand, a larger quantum is nice to prevent it from accidentally moving.

    There are also firmware differences. Ever notice how the LED goes dim when you're idling? That's a power saving strategy. It's actually just flashing it on occasionally to see if it's moved, then going back to sleep. Cordless productivity mice do this very aggressively, and you *will* miss that golden headshot opportunity if your mouse is idled down, since it won't start tracking again until the next flash - which can be as infrequent as once every couple seconds if you've been camping a while and it's gone into deep sleep.

    TFA is measuring performance of speed clicking a bunch of icons. The mouse will never go to sleep in this scenario. If they tried another benchmark - like, hold still for 30 seconds and then click the icon as fast as you can - you will see some BIG differences, and gaming mice that don't go to deep sleep will win handily.

    Bluetooth mice also gave wireless mice a bad name, and so a lot of gaming mice still have tails. The proprietary wireless interfaces are much less power hungry and respond so fast I can't tell the difference between my current midrange wireless mouse and the midrange corded one it replaced, other than no longer having the wire get tangled at inopportune moments.

    • by kangsterizer ( 1698322 ) on Monday March 28, 2011 @09:27AM (#35638216)

      notice how the LED goes dim when you're idling? That's a power saving strategy. It's actually just flashing it on occasionally to see if it's moved, then going back to sleep. Cordless productivity mice do this very aggressively, and you *will* miss that golden headshot opportunity if your mouse is idled down,

      campers who are able to get their mouse to idle due to excessive camping are horrible, horrible gamers to play with anyway.

      sorry, had to ;-)

      • That depends on the game. If you're playing Quake-style deathmatch, sure, that kind of camping is lame.

        I play things like Project Reality [] where the maps are enormous and the gameplay is much slower. You squad up and hike across the map for a good several minutes without any enemy contact (though you have to be constantly on your toes). You reach a river. The whole squad crossing at once is suicidal, so you go in pairs, with everyone else staying in the trees and ready to provide cover fire. With 30 sec

    • by Krneki ( 1192201 )
      I concur.

      But you forgot to add a good software package to create and edit powerful macros on the fly.

      P.S: The last Logitech mouse (G700), can be both wired and wireless a win win situation.
  • by yakumo.unr ( 833476 ) on Monday March 28, 2011 @09:22AM (#35638142) Homepage

    There has still never been a better mouse performance review than the ESR Mouse Score. []

    results comparisons : []

    He later reviewed the original Razer Deathadder and ran it through the same tests here : []

    But sadly I'm not aware of him doing any later tests, I would really love to see him do an ESR MouseScore 2011

  • No surprise. Pinky and The Brain couldn't ever perform either...
  • There is only one way to find out about the quality of a gaming mouse and it is to play with it. My gaming mouse is comfortable, fast and has a lot of buttons which are all bound and used. The adjustable DPI allows me to quickly swith from a sniper sensitivity to a tank pilot sensitivity. My G500 also has hyper-fast scrolling which is useful to find specific pages in huge documents or doing funny moves in games. Furthermore, I usually browse the web without touching my keyboard. DON'T PLAYER HATE ON ME
  • I admit that I own a "gaming mouse". No, actually I own three of them, one for each of my computers at home. It's simply because the mouse that I found to work best for me happens to be the Logitech G5 (which now has been succeeded by the G500). The shape, the weight and the surface texture are all very nice, and unlike the less expensive mice, the "gliders" at the bottom are very large and the optical sensor works on pretty much every surface I tried it on. I just like it, and I think that when it comes to

    • I was going to mention the G5 myself; I use one at home and love it. The main features that really make it work for me are the size and shape of it (I have big hands and this mouse is fairly big), the fact that you can put weights in it to make it heavier, the extra buttons and the ability to quickly increase or decrease the sensitivity of the mouse which is great for photo work.

      I guess you can only define performance once you define your priorities because my gaming mouse performs the tasks I want it to e

  • For those who'd like to configure a multi-button mouse on Linux, it can be tricky. I have a little writeup here [] for 2 models. Hmmm, server seems to be down at the moment...
  • Just bring back the microsoft optical trackball explorer.
  • "Aye hates mieces to pieces" [WB Sylvester the Cat]

    I also do not play many games. But my son does, and the retro PS/2 interface seems preferred over USB as it appears to have lower latency. Myth?

    • by Skuto ( 171945 )

      Polling rate on USB is configurable. (Many gaming mouse change this, but on Windows it's just a registry setting so it can be done manually too).

      So I guess this is a myth.

    • "Aye hates mieces to pieces" [WB Sylvester the Cat]

      Mr. Jinks, actually. []

      Hey, do I win pedant for the week award? :-D

    • by daid303 ( 843777 )

      Latency of both USB and PS/2 is well below a fraction of human reaction time. So it doesn't matter at all. No myth, just hype.

      • by redelm ( 54142 )
        I realize HRT is ~20ms and both USB & PS/2 are faster than this.

        However, that does not mean it doesn't matter or is imperceptible. Humans can perceive things they cannot react to; oftentimes these are called "feelings". Furthermore, many games have finger-twitch challenges that certainly will respond inside of 1 ms. If a gamer successed more often on one than the other, then that is also data.

  • I've never felt the need to buy anything other than a standard Microsoft USB Basic Optical Mouse...

  • I don't care about click speed, I care about movement accuracy. When my hand twitches a little, does the mouse accurately send that information in a timely manner? If I wanted faster clicking, I'd use software with an auto-repeat feature.

    I use a decent Logitech laser mouse and it has very good performance and fairly good responsiveness for a wireless mouse. On the other hand, I've used office mice that I have to shake around to get a response out of.

  • They are the $300 Monster cables of the gaming world. I thought everyone knew that.

  • by jockm ( 233372 ) on Monday March 28, 2011 @10:51AM (#35639560) Homepage

    I thought the WarMouse sounded familiar. It was also known, once, as the OpenOffice Mouse []. Its lead designer, Theodore Beale [], is also known as Vox Day []. Vox Day is a anti-evolution, anti-feminist, christian writer and blogger who believes -- amongst other things -- that all atheists are sociopaths.

    He is the author of a handful of poorly reviewed games, including the tedious looking The War In Heaven [].

    None of this will affect the quality of his mouse, it should live and die by its merits. But because of who is behind it, I for one, and going to give it a miss...

  • by CodePwned ( 1630439 ) on Monday March 28, 2011 @11:00AM (#35639710)

    I'm a gamer and build my own systems over the years. Lets be clear what I consider performance.

    - Smooth movement (is it jumpy or does it smoothly move the icon or view in game)
    - Comfort of mouse (does it feel good to my hand so my hand won't hurt later)
    - Buttons (Are they quality? Do they depress easily? Are they located in the right spots?)
    - Software (Does the software allow me set sensitivity and map keys?)

    Mapping out how fast a click response rate is stupid. Of course there won't be little difference.

    The purpose of getting a more expensive mouse are the additional features. If anyone purchases a mouse because "it's response rate is faster than an average mouse" is just stupid. I have a Razer mouse and it vastly exceeds in my performance criteria than the standard Microsoft Intellimouse.

    I've tried about 20 different mice while gaming and coding and non perform for me as well as the $70 Razer I have. Is it right for everyone? no. But their study is flawed.

  • I have a Logitech MX518, with it's DPI cranked up to 1800. I am very quick with this mouse, whereas any of my friends who touch it tend to be slower, as the increased sensitivity often means they overshoot buttons on screen.
    I would hazard that the testers might be quicker using office mice because that's what they are used to.
  • I agree that the "high resolution" portion of the gaming mice are complete bunk. After a certain point, it doesn't matter much unless you are playing on a really odd surface (like nearly unblemished glass). What matters most is the features.

    I can play equally well in terms of accuracy on a cheap dell laser mouse as I can with my $100 mouse. I have the $100 mouse because I use the buttons/features (adjustable palm, thumb, etc...) which the cheap dell mouse doesn't have. If I switch out for a different mo

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