Razer’s Viper 8K is a refresh of the 2019 true ambidextrous Viper. For the most part, it’s identical and is now available at the same $79 asking price, but it has some key upgrades for competitive gamers who are hoping that tech might help them get the edge over their opponents.

First off, Razer now includes the Focus Plus 20,000DPI sensor used in many of its other 2020 mice, along with the latest generation of optical switches that have a more tactile click feel, according to the company (although it didn’t stand out as noticeable to me when I tested the mouse). The biggest news is that, according to Razer, the newly revised Viper can achieve the fastest polling rate of any mouse currently available: up to 8,000Hz — far higher than the industry standard of 1,000Hz.

The polling rate measures how often per second the mouse tells your computer where it’s located on-screen. The more frequent the polling is, the smoother your mouse tracking can be. In the case of Razer’s new Viper 8K, an 8,000Hz polling rate can deliver a whopping 8,000 pings to your PC per second, while reducing the response time of those pings from one millisecond to just an eighth of one millisecond. On paper, it seems really impressive.

The Viper 8K’s Speedflex is slightly thicker, a change made to better accommodate the increased polling rate. | Image: Razer

But why, exactly, would anyone need a polling rate this high? Razer says this is an upgrade that you won’t necessarily feel or notice right away since this improvement slices off mere fractions of a millisecond from the response time — something I’d wager most people couldn’t delineate. However, according to Razer, it could help your movement and aim feel more responsive, and gamers who play fast-paced games, like first-person shooters, are most likely to benefit from using this mouse — even if they don’t notice it happening.

Frankly, I didn’t notice a stark difference in gameplay while testing out Ghostrunner, a first-person title that relies on fast reflexes. (I failed a lot, but honestly, that’s nothing new.) I then tried to put Razer’s 8,000Hz polling rate claim to the test with some sites that track that metric. Tools made by Mouse Insider and Zowie recorded a 4,700Hz average polling rate for this mouse. There were a few times it peaked into 5,000Hz, so it seems like it could go higher if it were physically possible for me to move my hand any faster.

This is a picture of the original Viper. The new Viper 8K looks exactly the same. | Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / ThinkAuthority

Your PC hardware may also play a factor. Razer requested that press who were going to test the mouse have access to PCs with at least an Intel Core i5-8600K or AMD Ryzen 5 3600 processor, an Nvidia GTX 1080 or AMD Radeon RX 5700 or better graphics processor, and a high refresh-rate monitor at 144Hz or over. Thankfully, you don’t actually need a PC that high-end to use this mouse. Razer’s Synapse software lets you revert the polling rate to 125, 500, 1,000, 2,000, or 4,000Hz. However, since the main objective of the Viper 8K is to make your experience smoother with its high polling rate, you’ll take better advantage of this mouse’s specs if you have at least a midrange system with a high refresh rate monitor and powerful hardware.

I expect other peripheral companies will launch similar mice with high polling rates, though if you feel your needs are being met with current tech, you probably don’t need to get too excited about this feature just yet. But if you need a new mouse, this isn’t a bad choice. I like using this mouse as much as I did the original Viper. And the fast polling rate tech won’t cost you anything extra to attain since the Viper 8K is the same price as its predecessor.