The Nvidia Reflex is one of the brand new technologies for its GeForce RTX 3000. On paper, delays should be minimized to allow players to perform better in competitive games. We tested it.
Incognito: The fan of competing gaming players
If you have ever played a game online, you know that delay is the most important factor to take into account, even more so with the system of competition between players. It Can take many forms And accumulates from one end of the chain to another: server delay, Internet connection, mouse or screen.
You should minimize this delay as much as you want to play based solely on your personal performance. Remove the regression from the equation.
Never the last to offer new technologies around video games, Nvidia Provided its Nvidia reflex functionality GeForce RTX3000, But it is compatible with previous generations of the 20th, 10th and 9th series .It’s time to look into this technology.
What is Nvidia Reflex?
So Nvidia is attacking what it is familiar with: the visual channel. With Nvidia Reflex technology, the goal is to reduce system latency between the processor, graphics card and game display screen.
More specifically, Nvidia Reflex is a set of software technologies to reduce this delay and allow better synchronization between the processor and the GPU when rendering the image. Unfortunately, this goes through an API that game developers need to follow. This means the technology is limited to a list of compatible games such as Apex Legends, Overwatch, Valent, Fortnight or Destiny 2.
In detail, the Nvidia Reflex is actually based on deleting the line between the processor and the GPU. When a player takes an action in a game, for example shooting another player, the processor calculates the consequences of this action (did he score? How many life points did he lose? Should I show it now?) So it is possible to ask the GPU to calculate the new image. (Reducing the life bar, showing the bullet impact, etc.). In a game that is very greedy on graphics, the GPU can be a factor controlling the performance, the processor can do its calculations faster than the GPU, thus filling a “queue” for the GPU, which creates system lag.
With Reflex, Nvidia wants to sync everything so that each image is computed by the GPU as soon as the processor sends the data and starts its calculations as soon as the user takes action. In this, Reflex approaches the principle of a performance range software, and ensures high stability and therefore low inactivity. In fact, it also controls the greed of games based on processor resources.
And Reflex On + Boost Option?
In games offered by Nvidia Reflex, there are three possible settings: off, to deactivate the reflex, to enable it and to “On + Boost”. This last option will increase the operating frequency of the graphics card, which will send a new image to the screen as often as possible. This is done at the expense of increasing power consumption. This system is useful for games where the game speed is limited by the processor. Without the boost mode, in these cases of “CPU bonding”, the graphics card will naturally reduce its frequency because it will not be used to the maximum. This will cause it to lose its sync with the screen, thus creating a delay.
How did we test the Nvidia Reflex?
Testing the promises of the Nvidia Reflex is not an easy task. It is really necessary to measure the response time of the screen from the action like mouse click. We’re talking about a few milliseconds in a row, so you need a high-speed camera to measure the contrast.
Nvidia gave us a device designed locally for this purpose and lent it to magazines: the latent visual analysis tool or, in short, the LAD. This is a small sensor, which we attach to the front of the screen and connect to the computer via USB to take measurements. A small mouse button is also attached to the box to ensure that the measurement starts as soon as the click is detected. This device works to measure the delay on any screen and in any game. It would be interesting to use this to measure the delay of most high frequency gaming screens, or compare the delay provided by different cloud services. Gaming. But for now, let’s start by testing the Nvidia Reflex.
The configuration used for this test is:
- AMD Raison 7 5800X
- G.P. Nvidia GeForce RTX3080
- 32 COD RAM DDR4
- SSD Sada Sandisk Ultra 3D Nand 2D
- Rancran Dell S2417DG (24 lbs, 2560 x 1440 pixels, 144 Hz, G-sync)
In each game tested, we performed 100 measurements to obtain interesting and relevant data for each option (reflex enabled or disabled).
As we explained above, the Nvidia Reflex should make sense when the GPU is in high demand. Overwatch is not the most optimal and most greedy game, so it may come as a surprise here for this test, but it is a gaming machine that allows it to go very fast at display speeds, up to 400 pictures per second. So we tested this game twice, first with the graphics settings to the maximum and 200% with the rendering option (which forces the GPU to deliver at 5120 x 2880 pixels) pushing the card within its limits. To see how the Nvidia Reflex works in a game where CPU and GPU are not used much, a second test session was done with settings with lower graphics quality.
This test shows that the Nvidia Reflex proves itself well when calling the GPU. In a situation like this, we saw the average idle drop from 57.6 meters to just 33.2 meters, which is especially noticeable in high-level gaming. The invisibility in this system was significantly reduced by enabling the Nvidia Reflex. Very pleasant way that allows you to aim with greater accuracy.
In contrast, a display that is not requested by the GPU, with low graphics quality, will not allow to significantly reduce the delay with the Nvidia Reflex. The benefits of implementing the option are minimal in this case.
The most popular game of 2021 manages the latest technologies in Nvidia graphics cards: Ray Tracing, DLSS and Nvidia Reflex. So, we did the first test session with the maximum graphics settings including Ray tracing options and DLSS enabled in performance mode. We did at least re-experiment with graphics settings.
Here again, the first scenario shows a very clear gain by activating the Nvidia reflex. We only go from 56 ms to 32 ms, which again makes the game more enjoyable in the game. It is in this type of situation that we recommend implementing the Nvidia Reflex. Especially since the implementation of the option is done without compromising the performance of the game.So there is no reason not to do so.
The story is not the same in our experiment with the minimum parameters. In this case the Nvidia Reflex adds even a small system delay, which goes from 23 to 26 ms without boost mode, and can be enabled up to 24 ms with this option. However, these are very minor differences that are difficult to detect with the naked eye in the game.
As we have seen, the Nvidia Reflex is illustrated in very specific scenarios: the graphics card is pushed to its limits and the minimum rendering delay can no longer be guaranteed. It could be a greedy game, or a PC with a low cost graphics card or even a high definition game (QHD + or 4K). Paradoxically, the Nvidia Reflex may have less appeal on Nvidia’s high-end graphics cards because they are less bulky. In all these cases, activating the Nvidia reflex is a good idea. This is done at no cost to performance and significantly reduces delays. You can feel the difference in the game.
In other cases, activating the Nvidia Reflex may not bring immediate benefits. We saw this in our games that were at least set up with graphics settings. But it does mean playing at poor graphics levels: slowering textures, very small visual range and less detailed animations. By the end of our two scenarios, we understand that the Nvidia Reflex allows you to adjust graphics parameters without a PC with a high-end graphics card. In fact, we can see a balance between performance, reduced latency and increased graphics settings with the Nvidia Reflex. It always allows you to go to the limit without increasing the delay, for the same reasons, and we can imagine playing on a very limited system at 1440p or 4K.
I was skeptical about the Nvidia Reflex before this test, but I have to admit that it’s an interesting new soldier in the software ecosystem of Nvidia with software like Nvidia Broadcast or technologies like DLSS. What is significant harm to the reflex is that it eventually asks for support from game developers. This will necessarily limit the number of games that are compatible with the function.
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