What is SysLat?
SysLat is an open-source external monitoring and diagnostic tool for Windows PCs. By sending a signal to your computer and capturing the response with its built-in sensor, SysLat can measure system latency down to the millisecond.
What is system latency?
System latency is akin to your machine’s reflexes. It’s a measure of how long a delay there is between a signal (you clicking the mouse) and the machine’s response (you firing on screen). The lower your latency, the shorter the delay.
Well-performing machines will have a system latency of 15 milliseconds or lower, while poorly optimized PC’s generally have system latencies that can range from 50–70 ms or higher.
Why should I worry about system latency?
If you’ve ever played online, you know how much of a difference connection speed and lag can make. Slow connections can feel like you’re playing in slow motion, or make you miss shots you should have landed.
System latency is the internal version of lag. If your system latency is high, then your PC will react slowly even with the fastest internet connection. And that delay can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Because human reaction speeds average ~200 ms, shaving just 35 ms off your system latency means increasing your reaction speed by up to 20%. SysLat helps you do that.
What can affect my system latency?
Every little thing in your machine—literally. A certain amount of latency is normal. The laws of physics require signals to take at least a little time to get where they’re going. But every speed bump they hit along the way, like a poorly optimized setting or outdated driver, can make that delay a little longer. The main culprits are:
● Hardware (Processor, connections, internal components, etc.)
● Monitor (Low refresh rate/framerate, etc.)
● Game settings
● Background processes (Browser tabs, antiviruses, updates, etc.)
So why SysLat?
The first step in fixing a problem is realizing that it’s even there. The primary purpose of SysLat is as a monitoring tool. Just as some people may keep an eye on their ping or their framerate, the SysLat hardware and software combo allow you to monitor your system latency. Often, the things that affect latency don’t affect framerate at all. This can make troubleshooting and diagnosing your system frustrating—you know that something is wrong, but your framerate seems to indicate that everything is fine. SysLat’s second purpose is as a broader diagnostics tool. As more people use the device and submit their benchmarks to SysLat.com, the community will be able to use the data to find and identify troublesome manufacturers/PC parts, resource hogging background processes, the best game settings for optimal system latency, and more.
I’m not a PC gamer… Why should I buy one?
1. To invest in a start-up
2. To win my undying love and affection.
Jokes aside, system latency is a problem for all systems—not just gaming PCs. Any hardware setup that requires fast reaction times or high responsiveness from its users can benefit from monitoring and optimizing system latency. Medical technology, remote work terminals, manufacturing controls—all of these can benefit from an affordable latency monitoring tool. As an open-source project, SysLat also has the potential to grow and adapt as more people contribute. Other uses for the hardware, such as game development, anti-cheating measures, and end-user simulation for remotely supported hardware (self-checkout POS systems, ATMs, etc) are all more than possible. If you’re interested in contributing or adding to the project, please check out our contribute page and GitHub repository! [link to Contribute page]
What GPUs is SysLat compatible with?
Unlike other consumer latency analysis tools, SysLat isn’t bundled with a monitor or GPU from the manufacturer. You’re free to use SysLat with any Windows PC, regardless of GPU.
What operating systems is SysLat compatible with?
SysLat is compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10 (both x86 and x64 versions). Because this project currently uses RTSS, an open-source, Windows-only utility, to hook the graphics engine, this hardware will only work on Windows for the time being. A UNIX/Linux-based version of the tool is planned for the future and will be compatible with the current hardware (no upgrades required!)
Does the device have to be in the lower-right corner of my display to work?
No, the device’s light sensor is attached via a flexible cable that allows it to be positioned on the screen wherever you like.
Does it have RGB?