This is the third post in the Fundamentals of Aim series, covering the differences between different pieces of hardware, and what software you can use to get the best out of your game.
Hardware and Software, A Tale of two Wallets
So, you’ve got your sensitivity set up, and you have a rough idea of how to play, but how can you really optimise your gameplay for the best performance?
Join me today as we walk through the hardware currently available, from cheapest to most expensive, and what really works.
The best mice for the price
You’ve probably heard about brands like Razer, Logitech and Finalmouse, but what are the differences between them?
Honestly? It’s mostly personal preference, the different brands offer different weights, styles, form factors that best fit different grips and so much more, but there are a few things you need to watch out for.
The most important are going to be the IPS (Inches Per Second) and Acceleration (Measured in G) of a mouse.
IPS is basically how fast you can move the mouse before it loses accurate tracking, generally an IPS of 200-250 is acceptable, but you ideally want a mouse with an IPS rating of atleast 300+ for the most accurate movement with low sensitivity.
G is quite literally the Gs that your sensor can endure while still tracking accurately, a G allowance of 20-25 is good enough for most players, but for professionals, you may want to look for a mouse with a G allowance of 30+, just to be extra sure.
And finally, your mouses refresh rate, measured in hz.
Your refresh rate is how many times the mouse sends information to your CPU in a second, this is generally either of the following values – 125hz, 250hz, 500hz or 1000hz. While 2000hz sensors do exist, they are overkill, even for professionals.
A good refresh rate for most users would be around 500, with one notable exception – Users playing on a 240hz monitor or higher (We’ll cover this more later). These users will likely want to opt for a 1000hz refresh rate, so that the mouse still looks and feels smooth.
After that, it’s all up to you, certain companies offer certain benefits, like Finalmouse cutting as much weight as possible out of their mice, or Logitech’s Primed Click system, but these are more accessories than anything.
Keyboards, and why they don’t matter all that much for gaming
How to avoid shady marketing
All too often you’ll see people pushing Mechanical keyboards or some kind of new funky hotkey system forward for absolutely everybody to use, and these keyboards can often cost upwards of $100. That’s money that could be better spent on other things.
In short – Your keyboard does not matter all that much when it comes to gaming. Some people prefer the feel and sound of a mechanical keyboard, but if they are out of your budget, you don’t need to worry.
Monitors, Refresh Rates and Sync
Getting the best bang for your buck
If you have been into gaming for long enough, you’ve probably heard about “High Refresh Rate” monitors, but what do these actually do?
The monitors refresh rate, in short, is how many times your monitor updates per second. Most common monitors are 60hz, so they update 60 times per second, but what does this mean?
Well, at 60hz, the maximum framerate that your monitor can display is 60fps. Can you get higher? Absolutely, but will you be able to see the difference? Not at all.
This is where high refresh rate monitors come in, anywhere from 75hz all the way up to the top of the line 240hz monitors, and everywhere inbetween. These monitors allow your gameplay to feel much, much smoother than the default 60fps, aswell as reducing visual input lag (From 16.6ms at 60hz to 6.94ms at 144hz, and 4.16ms at 240hz), but they have one major caveat – Your PC has to be able to deliver those framerates.
A 144hz monitor will feel smoother than a 60hz monitor all the way up until 144fps, after which you stop getting any additional benefit, however, if you can only achieve 60fps, your gameplay will still be at effectively 60hz, and will therefore not feel any different. You should only look at a high refresh rate monitor if your PC can back up what it demands.
And now – A short note on GSync and Freesync.
These are two systems in place to eliminate screen tearing, as seen below.
These work by, as the name suggests, syncing your monitors refresh rate to the FPS of your game, but there is one major issue – GSync only works for Nvidia cards, and FreeSync only works for AMD cards, meaning that you have to choose carefully, but does it really matter?
Not really, unless you are notably frustrated by screen tearing you don’t really have much reason to go to either of these types of monitors.
Now, onto perhaps the most important part of any setup
CPUs, GPUs, RAM and Performance
How to best balance your system for what you want to play
More than likely you already know what these parts are, your CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the “Brains” of your PC, your GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is what allows your PC to render graphics more effectively and efficiently (Or, in some cases, at all) and your RAM (Random Access Memory) allows tasks and processes to store and retrieve information almost immediately, but what do these things actually do in the context of gaming?
Your CPU covers logic and calls in games, this would be things like AI, sequences, spawning and other players (In Multiplayer modes)
Currently, CPUs are made primarily by Intel and AMD, and are proprietary to each other, meaning that an AMD motherboard cannot support an Intel CPU, and vice versa.
Your GPU covers graphical processing, so this would be your textures, post processing, antialiasing, supersampling and other rendering options.
Currently, GPUs are primarily made by Nvidia and AMD, however, Intel is set to release a dedicated GPU sometime in Q3 of 2019, which may shake up prices and performance somewhat. It is worth noting that GPUs, unlike CPUs, are not proprietary, and can be put into almost any system, provided you have adequate space, power (Provided by your PSU/Power Supply Unit) and cooling.
Both your CPU and GPU function best under their thermal limits, a simple google search will allow you to find the thermal throttle point for your GPU and CPU, and apps like HWMonitor
allow you to measure your temperatures constantly, letting you know when it might be time to introduce additional cooling.
When a CPU or GPU runs too hot, they will throttle, or reduce their performance in order to not overheat. This is detrimental to performance and should be avoided in order to maintain the best performance ingame, which is one of the best ways to maintain a steady FPS and Frametime.
However, a weaker CPU or GPU may affect the performance of the other. This is known as a Bottleneck, and is something that all users, be they PC engineers or just gamers should learn about.
A bottleneck occours when one part of your PC is too weak to support another, this would be like a CPU being unable to send enough draw calls to the GPU to get the best performance out of the GPU, in this case, this would be a CPU bottleneck.
Bottlenecks have a lot of factors, but one of the main ones is resolution. Playing at a higher resolution invokes more GPU-bound rendering, which, if you are suffering from a CPU bottleneck, can give you better visuals without affecting performance.
The science behind diagnosing bottlenecks is too lengthy to discuss in detail in just one blog, so I would advise you to check out sites like PCBuilds, who have a calculator to determine if you may be experiencing a bottleneck on your system, and have a system in place that reccomends a better pairing of CPU and GPU for your system.
How to optimise your system to deliver the best performance possible
Both Nvidia and AMD GPUs support their own software, AMD Catalyst for AMD cards, and Nvidia control panel for Nvidia cards. These pieces of software allow you to tweak the internal settings of your GPU to deliver the best performance possible, provided you do not care for aesthetics. This can result in upwards of 30-40% better FPS in certain games, when tweaked appropriately.
Software like MSI Afterburner allows you to almost effortlessly adjust the fans and clock speed of your GPU, getting a little bit more power out of it while keeping it just as cool, provided you don’t mind the extra noise, that is.
Acceleration software like Povohats Mouse Accel allow you to maintain all of the benefits of a high/low sensitivity while losing the downsides, allowing you to essentially have both at once (You can find a setup guide here)
And lastly, recording/streaming software can help you to reach a wider audience with both your talents and sense of humour, some of the most popular are OBS, XSplit and Nvidia Geforce Experience (Only available to people with Nvidia GPUs)
Next volume –
Flickshots, Tracking and Hybrid aim
How to get your rounds where you want them to go