One of the technologies NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang unveiled during the GeForce RTX 30-series launch event was NVIDIA Reflex. For those unfamiliar with it, NVIDIA Reflex is latency reduction technology that’s designed to minimize input lag, sometimes called input latency or end-to-end latency. That’s a fancy way of defining how long it takes for something to happen on-screen after a mouse click or keyboard input.
NVIDIA Reflex works by streamlining a few steps along the rendering pipeline to reduce overall latency. NVIDIA’s software tweaks to enable Reflex make more efficient use of available CPU and GPU resources and minimize driver overhead, which according to NVIDIA, can reduce latency by up to 50% in games that are updated to properly support the technology. That means when a gamer clicks their mouse button to fire a weapon or whips their mouse around to get in a better position with NVIDIA Reflex enabled in a compatible title, in happens faster in-game.
During the GeForce 30-series unveiling, Jensen announced that Reflex Low-Latency Mode is currently being integrated into some esports games, like Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, Fortnite and Valorant, but that others would be coming. And some new titles are here. With today’s GeForce Game Ready driver release (v456.55), and updates coming to Call of Duty: Warzone and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare at 10pm PT tonight, users with the latest GeForce RTX and older GeForce GTX 900 (and-newer GPUs) will see significantly latency reductions.
According to data posted by NVIDIA, GeForce RTX 3080 cards will see end-to-end latency reductions in the 7% range, while RTX 2060 Super will see reductions of approximately 15% and GeForce GTX 1660 Super of about 17%. Keep in mind, however, that NVIDIA’s testing was performed at 1440P, with maximum image quality settings, and a powerful Core i9-10900K and 144Hz display backing the GPUs. Systems capable of higher (or lower) framerates will exhibit different latency characteristics.
NVIDIA and AMD have both introduced latency reduction features before, but NVIDIA has added a couple of additional wrinkles this time around. A new NVIDIA Reviewer’s Toolkit includes custom hardware and software to help measure latency (which has traditionally been very difficult) and perhaps foreshadows some major advantages down the road. And upcoming ultra-high refresh rate displays will include hardware built-in to monitor latency as well, which is a first for the industry.