When using a wireless controller, you might notice some input lag. Input lag occurs when the controller input is not registered completely or is registered with a delay. A wired controller has minimal input lag that is not noticeable but wireless controllers can have significant input lag that can be noticed by the gamer. In this article, I am going to go over how you can reduce controller input lag on  PC. 

V-Sync and How It Affects Input Lag

V-Sync allows games to sync with the frame rate and refresh rate of the display. Disabling this setting is going to unlock the FPS limit and decrease input lag. On the downside, this can result in screen tearing. 

When this setting is off, the graphics card is able to send frames to the display as fast as it possibly can. When this setting is turned on, the GPU is forced to queue frames in order to match the frames to the refresh rate of the display. This creates a latency of up to 50ms. 

Overclocking Your Controller With hidusbf

One of the ways in which you can decrease the input lag of your controller when gaming on a PC is by overclocking your controller using hidusbf. This works on all kinds of different controllers such as DualShock 4, DualSense, Elite controller, and others. Do note that your milage is going to vary depending on the controller that you have. Some controllers are going to get better results than others. 

The following is a step-by-step guide on how you can overclock your controller using hidusbf.

Step By Step How to Setup hidusbf

  • Download hidusbf from GitHub
  • Extract the files anywhere you want
  • Plug your controller into your PC

If you have a PS4 controller then you need to follow the steps below:

  • For PlayStation 4 controllers install DS4Windows
  • You might need to download and install .Net 5.0
  • Run DS4Windows and install the driver bus
  • If you are on Windows 7 then go through the mentioned installation process
  • Once everything is done press finish
  • Now unplug your controller and plug it back in
  • When you do that you will see the controller pop up
  • If your controller does not show up then you need to restart your PC

This is how you can connect your PS4 controller to your PC and have it run properly. You do not need to go through these steps if you have an Xbox controller as all the drivers are installed automatically when you plug it in. It should work as intended in a few seconds, once the drivers have been installed. Once that is sorted, you can use the following steps to overclock your controller

  • Install the certificate that is included in the files that you downloaded from GitHub in the link provided above.
  • Run the USB Devices Rate setup
  • Click the dropdown menu and select all
  • Select your controller from the list
  • At the bottom, check the Filter On Device box
  • Select Yes twice
  • Click Default at the bottom and change that to 1000
  • Click on Install Service and then click Restart
  • Wait for a few seconds and then unplug your controller and plug it back in
  • It should disappear and come back still showing the rate as 1000Hz

Do make sure that you use a proper cable to connect your controller to your PC. You should not use a dodgy cable, which may or may not work properly. We recommend using the X Input Test before and after overclocking your controller in order to see the difference in polling rate and to verify that your controller has indeed been overclocked. 

If you are interested in reverting the settings back to normal then you can select the Default option at the bottom click on Install Service and then click Restart. This will revert your controller back to the regular settings.

Does Plugging Your Controller In Improve In Lag

Yes, plugging your controller into your PC is going to decrease input lag. There is some minimal input lag even when the controller is connected via a cable but it is negligible and can hardly be noticed.

Wired controllers similarly have lower input lag as they do not rely on Bluetooth for signal transfers. A wired signal transfer is better and more consistent than a wireless one. That is why when you plug your controller into your PC, the input lag is going to improve. 

How To Test For Input Lag?

If you want to test your controller input lag then you can use the X Input Test. This is going to test the input lag 2000 times and give you a polling number. You can run this a couple of times in order to get a more consistent rating. You should run this test before and after you overclock your controller to see the difference in input lag. 

Even if you are not overclocking your controller you can run this test before and after your fixes in order to see whether or not your input lag issue has been resolved or not. 

Do note that that the rates mentioned on the list should be stable. If you see that the numbers are jumping all over the place, for example, 3 to 0.7, then you should try changing the cable or a different cable. The polling rates should be dead stable. 

What Is The Best Controller For Less Input Lag

The PlayStation controller has a true update rate of 250Hz while the Xbox controllers have a true update rate of 124Hz. The wired input lag of different controllers are mentioned as follows:

ControllerInput Lag (Wired)
Xbox One S6.7 ms
Xbox Series X6.8 ms
Xbox Elite 26.9 ms
DualShock 49.9 ms
DualSense7.2 ms

Do note that you can overclock all of these controllers and once overclocked, the DualShock 4 and DualSense controllers do have a lower input lag as compared to overclocked Xbox controllers. You can the DualSense controller down to 2 ms. 

ControllerInput Lag (Bluetooth)Input Lag (Wireless Adapter)
Xbox One S7.6 ms7.1 ms
Xbox Series X12 ms5.9 ms
Xbox Elite 210.2 ms7.3 ms
DualShock 43.1 ms
DualSense4.9 ms

What Is A Good Input Lag Time?

Anything under 15 ms can be considered acceptable when it comes to the input lag of a controller. The lower the number the better. When gaming on a monitor, the user experienced an input lag between 2 and 18 ms. Humans can add anywhere between 220 to 280 ms.

This is everything that you need to know about controller input lag and how you can reduce it for gaming.

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