RGB Doesn’t Make Your PC Faster?!

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Does using a mouse with RGB or ARGB LEDs reduce CPU performance?

We live in a time when gaming products are the ones that are most on the agenda, and in this regard, there is no gaming mouse that does not have LED lighting. This lighting is merely aesthetic in many models, but in others it can be quite useful to indicate what profile we have on, or even with reactive effects in games. Does this have an impact on CPU performance? Let’s see it.

Today, it is uncommon to find a “gaming” mouse that does not include RGB LED lighting, a feature that may be overlooked by some users but is quite useful to others. What if we told you that the LED lighting on your gaming mouse could be slowing down your CPU’s performance?

The effect of your gaming mouse’s LEDs on CPU performance

Let’s start with those gaming mice that have LED lights, but it’s entirely cosmetic. These mice have a small internal memory that allows them to maintain lighting profiles, and in this case, it is not dependent on any software because it functions totally independently of the PC, thus the effects are always available even if the mouse is connected to a port.

Charging through USB (you can check this, for example, by connecting your gaming mouse to the TV or even using the plug-in charger of your mobile): In this scenario, the effect on CPU performance is nil.

However, in the case of gaming mice that use software, especially those with complex lighting effects, things can change dramatically. In the case of mice where a specific color is configured based on the assigned profile or some specific effect, it only has an impact when the profile is changed or the aforementioned effect is selected (though the performance impact is minimal), but it also has no effect on CPU performance the rest of the time.

LED gaming mouse

When we can definitely see a drag in PC processing speed, it’s in mice with more powerful LED illumination effects. Setting the mouse to flash red when we are attacked in a game, for example, requires the software to be integrated with the game, which indicates that the CPU is constantly sending and receiving information in order to execute the reactive impact on the mouse lighting.

The same is true for sound-reactive effects, for example, some mouse allow you to arrange the lights to change according on what is heard on the PC, which requires constant CPU work, committing resources to these effects, which can cause a performance drag in some circumstances, especially with less powerful CPUs.

How much performance is sacrificed when using a gaming mouse with LEDs?

As previously said, when it comes to a mouse with built-in lighting that is not software changeable, the general rule is that the influence on CPU performance is zero. When it comes to mice with the lighting set to vary with profile changes, we can find some CPU work at the moment of profile change, but it is something fleeting that only happens for a fraction of a second. We cannot say that it is noteworthy, at least not in general (it depends a lot on the software).

The impact on the CPU of a gaming mouse with LED lights configured in reactive mode is heavily dependent on its power. For example, using a Corsair mouse and iCUE software, the “LED Keeper” service used for this consumes an average of 0.3 percent of CPU utilization on an Intel Core i7-8700K, which is quite low and that it should not impair the processor’s performance in any way unless you are pushing it to its limits.

It is very dependent on the processor, and if you have a low-end processor and are playing with reactive effects, you may see a dip in FPS with these active effects. In any event, there is some performance impact.

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