Analyzing Input Lag on the Steam Deck OLED: A Closer Look
When it comes to gaming, every millisecond matters. In our previous review of the Steam Deck OLED, we highlighted the impact of its upgraded 90 Hz screen on gameplay. Now, Digital Foundry has taken it a step further by testing the input lag on the Steam Deck OLED and comparing it to its LCD counterpart. The results are fascinating.
Digital Foundry utilized Nvidia’s Latency and Display Analysis Tools to measure the time between a mouse click and the on-screen indication of a shot being fired in two reflex-heavy games: Doom Eternal and Crysis 3 Remastered. Lower input lag translates to a more responsive gaming experience.
Unsurprisingly, the Steam Deck OLED performed best when running at its full 90 fps. Compared to the 60 fps LCD Steam Deck, the input lag was reduced by an average of 26.1 ms for Doom Eternal and 32.5 ms for Crysis 3. The OLED’s faster frame refresh rate, at 11.11 ms, accounts for part of this reduction.
However, the most surprising finding was that input lag improvements were observed even when both units were set to the same frame rate. At 60 fps, for example, the OLED exhibited an 8.5 ms input lag reduction for Doom Eternal and an 11.3 ms reduction for Crysis 3. The lag improvement increased further as the frame rate dropped, reaching over 20 ms for games running at 40 to 45 fps.
These seemingly small differences in input lag can have a significant impact on the overall feel and responsiveness of gameplay. While human reaction times typically range from 150 to 200 ms, gamers are highly attuned to any delay between their inputs and the system’s response.
Interestingly, it appears that some of the input lag variance may be due to firmware rather than an inherent limitation of the LCD screen itself. Digital Foundry discovered that with an older version of the Steam Deck LCD firmware, input lag was notably slower compared to the OLED.
Fortunately, Valve is actively working on firmware improvements for the LCD Steam Deck units, including efforts to reduce input lag. As newer updates are released, we can hope for even further reductions in response times, enhancing the gaming experience for all Steam Deck users.
With each new finding, we gain a deeper understanding of the intricacies behind gaming hardware. The Steam Deck OLED’s input lag improvements showcase the importance of technology in delivering an immersive and responsive gaming experience.
Q: What does input lag mean in gaming?
A: Input lag refers to the delay between a player’s input (such as pressing a button) and the corresponding action or response on the screen. Lower input lag results in a more responsive gaming experience.
Q: How was the input lag measured on the Steam Deck OLED?
A: Digital Foundry used Nvidia’s Latency and Display Analysis Tools to measure the time between a mouse click and the on-screen indication of a shot being fired in two games: Doom Eternal and Crysis 3 Remastered.
Q: How does the Steam Deck OLED compare to its LCD counterpart in terms of input lag?
A: The Steam Deck OLED performed better than the LCD version in terms of input lag. Even when both units were set to the same frame rate, the OLED exhibited lower input lag.
Q: How much of a reduction in input lag was observed with the Steam Deck OLED?
A: Compared to the 60 fps LCD Steam Deck, the input lag was reduced by an average of 26.1 ms for Doom Eternal and 32.5 ms for Crysis 3 when running at its full 90 fps. Even at 60 fps, the OLED showed a significant input lag reduction.
Q: Can firmware affect input lag?
A: Yes, firmware can impact input lag. Digital Foundry found that with an older version of the Steam Deck LCD firmware, input lag was notably slower compared to the OLED. Valve is actively working on firmware improvements to reduce input lag.
Key Terms and Jargon
– Input lag: The delay between a player’s input and the corresponding action or response on the screen.
– Frame rate: The number of frames or images displayed per second in a game.
– OLED: Organic light-emitting diode, a type of display technology that offers better contrast and faster refresh rates compared to LCD.
– https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/technologies/nvlat (Nvidia’s Latency Analyzer Tool)
– https://www.digitalfoundry.net/ (Digital Foundry’s website)