How to test polling rate of controller?

I often review controllers and the polling rate of a controller is one of these things. Most controllers have polling rate 125Hz, but some of the newest releases have 1000Hz on PC. So, how to test your controller?

What is polling rate of a controller?

The polling rate of a gaming controller refers to how often the controller sends data to the console or computer it’s connected to. It’s typically measured in Hertz (Hz), and a higher polling rate means the controller sends data more frequently.

For example, a controller with a polling rate of 1000 Hz sends data to the console or computer 1000 times per second, while a controller with a polling rate of 500 Hz sends data 500 times per second.

Also, check out my other article about Polling Rate in Controllers.

Testing polling rate

You can test the polling rate using software like Xinput or Gamepadla. I’ll use Gamepadla in this tutorial as it’s newer and very simple.

  1. Connect your gamepad to your PC using either Bluetooth, a cable, or the provided dongle. Make sure that your operating system recognizes the gamepad.
  2. Download Gamepadla software from Github.
  3. Launch Gamepadla by double-clicking on the file Gamepadla.exe.
  4. Verify gamepad connectivity. Gamepadla automatically detects connected gamepads. If your gamepad isn’t detected, ensure proper connection and try again.
  5. Run the test. Once your gamepad is detected, the program prompts you to continuously move the left stick in a circular motion. This action enables the program to gather latency data. It will take up to 30 seconds.
  6. View the results. Upon completing the test, the program redirects shows you all the data. It contains minimum, average, and maximum latency, along with the polling rate and jitter.
  7. Compare the results. For comparison purposes, feel free to repeat the test with different gamepads. The results will be added to your test page for easy evaluation.
New:   Best Polling Rate Controllers Explained

Below is a screenshot of my test of Gamesir G7 SE. It shows a polling rate of 500Hz when connected by a wire to my PC.

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Gamesir G7 SE controller tested using Gamepadla software

Polling rate is not latency

Polling rate and latency are related concepts, but they are not the same thing.

Polling rate refers to how often a device, such as a gaming controller, sends data to the computer or console it’s connected to.

Latency, on the other hand, refers to the delay between when an input is made (e.g., pressing a button on a controller) and when the corresponding action is registered on the screen.

Latency can be affected by various factors, including the polling rate of the device, the quality of the connection between the device and the computer or console, and the processing speed of the computer or console itself.

So when purchasing a new controller make sure to not only look at polling rate but to look up what latency is reported by users. But it’s not easy to measure as it requires a very high refresh rate monitor + a testing device. Latency can’t be tested only using sofware, because there’s hardware involved and you’re the user who’s clicking controller’s buttons.

Marcus Richardson

I love testing and writing about new tech. I'm also a gamer and an engineer. Check out my Twitter for keyboard stuff.

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