We’ve had the Razer Viper 8K for about two months and we got to say, we’ve had a very interesting experience using the mouse because of the 20K dpi sensor and its 8000Hz polling rate.

People familiar with the original Viper mouse will feel the similarity between it and the Viper 8K, with the latter weighing 71 grams, two grams heavier than the original Viper. A big difference between the two mice are what’s inside them: the Viper 8K comes with a 2nd gen Razer optical switch, a new 20K dpi optical sensor and, as previously mentioned, support for an 8000Hz polling rate – hence the name.

The Viper 8K’s design isn’t that much different from the original Viper’s. It still sports an ambidextrous design, the illuminated Razer logo, textured side grips and a colour-coded dpi stage button. It is still a great mouse like before, and arguably will be comfortable for most of you out there.

For those not in the loop, polling rate is the number of times a mouse sends signals to your PC whenever you interact with it (e.g. clicking a mouse button and moving it around). The Razer Viper 8K, as previously mentioned, has an 8000Hz polling rate, meaning it is capable of sending signals at an insane speed of 8000 times per second, or in terms of latency, 0.125 milliseconds (ms). By comparison, a standard mouse will usually have a polling rate of 125Hz or an 8ms latency. Most gaming mouses, on the other hand, will have a polling rate of 1000Hz or 1ms of latency.

Having a lightning-fast mouse may be good and all, but what actual advantages can the Razer Viper 8K give you?

Razer has a graph on their website explaining the difference between a 1000Hz and 8000Hz polling rate. The graph shows how much of a delay both mice have between the time you click on the mouse and when the computer receives and renders it on your monitor. Based on the graph, having the Viper 8K significantly reduces the delay. You’ll also find that the 8000Hz polling rate reduces micro stuttering and allows for smoother tracking, especially when you do really quick movements like a flick or a swipe.

However, you might not see and feel the difference between a regular gaming mouse and the Viper 8K, and the truth is, most e-sports games on the market right now aren’t able to handle a mouse with an 8K polling rate, at least at the time this review is published.

We tried using the Viper 8K while playing CSGO, and we noticed that the game becomes choppy whenever you quickly swipe the mouse. In fact, if you just keep doing it, you’re literally looking at a frozen frame even though the game is still running. This is due to a bottleneck caused by the game’s engine, which can’t process the amount of signal being sent at the speed the Viper 8K sends it, even if your CPU, GPU and monitor can handle it. The game doesn’t update the frame because it simply can’t keep up with the Viper 8K’s polling rate.

Our experience using the Viper 8K while playing Apex Legends isn’t any different either. Any quick swipes of the mouse are guaranteed to give you a frozen frame, but the frame refreshes the moment you stop moving the mouse.

On the other hand, we found that playing games such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Metroid Exodus or even Genshin Impact with the Viper 8K gave us a flawless experience. However, these types of games don’t need a polling rate as high as the Viper 8K’s because you aren’t competing with anyone while playing.

So is the 8000Hz polling rate worthless, considering our findings? We wouldn’t say so. An 8000Hz polling might not be necessary at this point, and it might not be working in a sense, but it is here. It is the way the industry is moving forward, with Razer at the helm. Eventually, more and more mice will feature an 8000Hz polling rate or even higher, to the point that the market is saturated with them. By then, more game developers will step up to follow suit, adding support for polling rates as high as the Viper 8K’s.

For now, if you are looking to get your hands on the Viper 8K, just know that it is a great mouse and you aren’t paying a premium for the upgraded hardware and features. However, keep in mind that the mouse’s 8000Hz polling rate might not work at all depending on the games you play, and even in games where it does work, it might not matter at all.

If all the stars align for the Viper 8K and everything in it works, you might still be asking “is there even any need for an 8000Hz polling rate?” or “would I even see or feel the difference between the Viper 8K and a regular gaming mouse?”. Our answer to those questions will be: that will depend on you, and to a certain degree, we would also say it’s because of the placebo effect.

Razer has technically proven that using the Viper 8K gives you an advantage. If you’re trying to get better at a game and using the Viper 8K removes any kind of hesitation, you would usually do better. It’s like wearing your favourite pair of sneakers for a run or listening to your favourite track at the gym. If the Viper 8K gives you confidence, you tend to feel better, and as a result, you tend to do better.

That’s only possible if everything works, of course.

Content by Soon Kai Hong