How much does your arcade stick lag? Arcade stick input lag testing & results thread

TeyahTeyah Return of the DragonJoined: Posts: 1,125
edited March 2016 in Tech Talk
Hey guys, I wanted to share something I've been working on for the past half year or so. I've performed input lag tests for a large number of PS3, and XBox 360 sticks/PCBs and figured that I should post up what I've got done before these consoles become obsolete, lol. I'm now working on testing PS4 sticks.

All of the information on the tests can be found on my website including the methodology used, controls in place, and support for my testing method.
http://www.teyah.net/sticklag/overview.html

The results can be found here:
http://www.teyah.net/sticklag/results.html

And finally, the raw testing data can be viewed & downloaded from here:
http://www.teyah.net/sticklag/rawdata.html

Sticks/PCBs tested as of last update:
PS4: 17
PS3: 43
360: 22


Here are some quick results charts I made up for quick reference:

PS4 results:
PS4%20Arcade%20stick%20lag%20results

PS3 results:
PS3%20Arcade%20stick%20lag%20results

XBox 360 results:
360%20Arcade%20stick%20lag%20results



I'll be updating it as our group comes across more sticks. The PS3 results were certainly interesting, I didn't expect the unlicensed PCBs to have such a huge advantage over licensed PS3 sticks. Anyway, hope this helps out those of you who consider input lag to be an important factor in choosing which stick to use.
Post edited by Teyah on
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Comments

  • gahrlinggahrling Better safe than Hori.. Joined: Posts: 3,968
    Hey, I'm a bit confused about some of your results. Instead of just listing arcade stick models would you also be able to list the PCB?

    Example: AFAIK the Q4RAF uses the same pcb for their white/red & blue versions.

    Also I think that the Joytron Exchanger might use the same pcb as the Q4RAF. Can you clarify this please.
  • DarksakulDarksakul Your lack of faith disturbs me Joined: Posts: 23,900
    One issue I have this data is contrary to Toodles test data he did a while back with the same methodology.
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  • TeyahTeyah Return of the Dragon Joined: Posts: 1,125
    gahrling wrote: »
    Hey, I'm a bit confused about some of your results. Instead of just listing arcade stick models would you also be able to list the PCB?

    Example: AFAIK the Q4RAF uses the same pcb for their white/red & blue versions.

    Also I think that the Joytron Exchanger might use the same pcb as the Q4RAF. Can you clarify this please.
    I discussed the issue regarding the Q4RAF Blue / White / Q2 Pro PCB on the overview page, it's towards the bottom. Also the EXChanger does have a different PCB than these 3 sticks, just had a look again now.
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  • gahrlinggahrling Better safe than Hori.. Joined: Posts: 3,968
    Cool, but I still think it's important to list which pcb each stick is using. For instance the original TE Fightsticks had three different motherboard revisions for the PS3 version, and at least two for the 360. And the last factory batch of the TE Round2 sticks used TE-S motherboards (the same found in the Fightstick Pro and V.S).

    I believe the Etokki Omni uses the 'paewang' pcb which is the same used in the Datel ArcadePro and a few other sticks.

    If you want to identify the TE model in the 360 table then post a pic up here.

    The PS360+ 360 results seem a bit shocking.. are you still testing sticks out or is the project over for now? It would be interesting to see how the newer MadCatz & Hori sticks compare..

    Oh - and you spelt 'Cthulhu' wrong in your PS3 table above :p
  • TeyahTeyah Return of the Dragon Joined: Posts: 1,125
    edited July 2014
    Darksakul wrote: »
    One issue I have this data is contrary to Toodles test data he did a while back with the same methodology.
    Are you referring to this article?
    http://shoryuken.com/2012/01/18/godlike-controls-responds-to-cthulhu-lag-issues-vs-eightarc-fusion/

    It's too bad that there's confusion out there regarding the Q4RAF. There are two PCB models for the Q4:

    1. The original PCB on the initial runs of the stick, which is a two tier PCB (looks like two PCBs stuck together). The Eightarc Fusion, or at the very least the early models of it, also used this same PCB. This PCB is in fact faster than the Toodles Cthulhu PCB as shown in the SRKlabs testing and my testing.

    Pics of this PCB are here:
    http://shoryuken.com/2011/12/12/srklabs-in-depth-review-eightarc-fusion-ps3pcxbox360-joystick/

    2. The new PCB, which is a single wider board, and is used on all of the new Q4RAF coloured models and also in the Q2 Pro line. This PCB was redesigned and is considerably slower than the Cthulhu, as shown by Toodles tests in the above link, as well as in my testing results.
    Post edited by Teyah on
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  • gouryellagouryella Joined: Posts: 149
    Where's the Razer Atrox? :)
  • TeyahTeyah Return of the Dragon Joined: Posts: 1,125
    gouryella wrote: »
    Where's the Razer Atrox? :)

    Unfortunately none of our players are sponsored by Razer so we don't have access to that. Or did they finally put it out for us peasants?

    Either way, the sticks tested are based on what I've got available. A friend actually just got a new Paewang installed, so I may test that to see if it performs the same as the model in his Omni.
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  • PhreakazoidPhreakazoid Turkey Legs Incoming! Joined: Posts: 3,477
    Teyah wrote: »
    2. The new PCB, which is a single wider board, and is used on all of the new Q4RAF coloured models and also in the Q2 Pro line. This PCB was redesigned and is future upgradeable to contain PS4 compatibility. This PCB is considerably slower than the Cthulhu, as shown by Toodles tests in the above link, as well as in my testing results.

    wut?
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  • TeyahTeyah Return of the Dragon Joined: Posts: 1,125
    edited July 2014
    That's what I've heard over the grapevine anyway, that the firmware has the potential to be patched to be PS4 compatible. No idea if that'll end up being the case though.
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  • gahrlinggahrling Better safe than Hori.. Joined: Posts: 3,968
    Teyah wrote: »
    That's what I've heard over the grapevine anyway, that the firmware has the potential to be patched to be PS4 compatible. No idea if that'll end up being the case though.


    Seriously doubt it.


  • PhreakazoidPhreakazoid Turkey Legs Incoming! Joined: Posts: 3,477
    Teyah wrote: »
    That's what I've heard over the grapevine anyway, that the firmware has the potential to be patched to be PS4 compatible. No idea if that'll end up being the case though.

    Based on new information, I doubt it. But that's getting off topic, I just thought it was interesting as I hadn't read anything about that as a planned thing for those sticks in the short term.
    Cerberus, easy dual mod for your TE ->www.phreakmods.com/products/cerberus
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    Available @ FocusAttack.com -> http://www.focusattack.com/jlf-link/
    Available @ JasensCustoms.com -> https://www.jasenscustoms.com/PhreakMods-The-Link.html
    Available @ ParadiseAracadeShop.com -> http://www.paradisearcadeshop.com/fgc-featured/1124-the-link-jlf.html
  • BarkyBarky woof Joined: Posts: 258
    how does the latency of these sticks compare with official licensed gamepads?
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  • RoboKrikitRoboKrikit nuclear Joined: Posts: 1,943
    edited July 2014
    I like what you're doing here. This could be very useful information. But I wonder about the method.

    When you press the button you are opening a circuit between the two PCBs. The button is not sending a "button activation" to two distinct PCBs, it is temporarily connecting the two PCBs as if they were wired directly together. So the behavior is not necessarily the same as a normal button activation.

    Two years ago when the Qanba vs MC Cthulhu lag issue was first brought to light, Toodles did a similar test but used a signal separator and posted the schematic. I think if you were to do your tests this way, the results would be more easily accepted.
  • TeyahTeyah Return of the Dragon Joined: Posts: 1,125
    Are you suggesting that having both PCBs wired together will skew the results towards one PCB over the other, in meaningful amounts (+1 ms) on a consistent basis over 1,000 trials? If so, can you explain the logic and your research behind this?

    If not, then what we are left with is simply additional variance. Which I'm willing to accept and expect to be ironed out after 1,000 trials using the same method. Regardless of whether an input splitter is used, you aren't going to see any stick beating out the Hori VX-SA on 360 - you can even test this manually to confirm. Whether or not my results are accurate to within +/- 0.2 ms or +/- 0.5 ms is not my main concern - as long as the results are reasonably consistent and comparable, my goal has been met.
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  • TeyahTeyah Return of the Dragon Joined: Posts: 1,125
    RoboKrikit wrote: »
    Two years ago when the Qanba vs MC Cthulhu lag issue was first brought to light, Toodles did a similar test but used a signal separator and posted the schematic. I think if you were to do your tests this way, the results would be more easily accepted.
    Toodles himself actually performed both the signal splitting test and the dual wiring test and came up with similar results under both methods. So I don't see an issue with the way I have done things, unless you have something else I should consider.
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  • KomatikKomatik Card demon Joined: Posts: 2,669
    Teyah wrote: »
    Darksakul wrote: »
    One issue I have this data is contrary to Toodles test data he did a while back with the same methodology.
    Are you referring to this article?
    http://shoryuken.com/2012/01/18/godlike-controls-responds-to-cthulhu-lag-issues-vs-eightarc-fusion/

    It's too bad that there's confusion out there regarding the Q4RAF. There are two PCB models for the Q4:

    1. The original PCB on the initial runs of the stick, which is a two tier PCB (looks like two PCBs stuck together). The Eightarc Fusion, or at the very least the early models of it, also used this same PCB. This PCB is in fact faster than the Toodles Cthulhu PCB as shown in the SRKlabs testing and my testing.

    Pics of this PCB are here:
    http://shoryuken.com/2011/12/12/srklabs-in-depth-review-eightarc-fusion-ps3pcxbox360-joystick/

    2. The new PCB, which is a single wider board, and is used on all of the new Q4RAF coloured models and also in the Q2 Pro line. This PCB was redesigned and is future upgradeable to contain PS4 compatibility. This PCB is considerably slower than the Cthulhu, as shown by Toodles tests in the above link, as well as in my testing results.

    Do newer black Q4s still contain the fast style PCB?
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  • RoboKrikitRoboKrikit nuclear Joined: Posts: 1,943
    Teyah wrote: »
    Are you suggesting that having both PCBs wired together will skew the results towards one PCB over the other, in meaningful amounts (+1 ms) on a consistent basis over 1,000 trials? If so, can you explain the logic and your research behind this?

    I don't know if the amount will be meaningful or what will happen at all if I wire two controller PCB signals together, and I definitely don't know if the output is identical to normal usage. That is not normal usage of the PCB. I believe Toodles had a point in doing his test with the circuits separated. Hopefully someone with better depth of electronics knowledge will chime in.

    I don't mean to downplay the amount of time you have put in. To be honest I have done the same type of test and it was my first instinct to just wire in a button, but I can see why that wouldn't be the best idea. I like the work you are doing here, I just don't know if the results are good or not.
    Teyah wrote: »
    If not, then what we are left with is simply additional variance.

    Only if the test is accurate. Combining two PCB signals together could have unintended effects. We also have reports of odd results when certain combinations of PCBs are plugged into the same console, one affecting the other, so an X vs Y test doesn't necessarily reflect on other combinations of X, or perhaps even Y vs X on different ports. You can see where I am going with this.

    I hope you won't accuse me of picking nits in a thread about millisecond differences in head-to-head controller input results.
  • TeyahTeyah Return of the Dragon Joined: Posts: 1,125
    Komatik wrote: »
    Do newer black Q4s still contain the fast style PCB?
    I wish I knew! If anyone has a recently purchased Q4RAF Black and can snap a picture of the PCB, it would be really helpful. But my hunch is that since all of their other sticks are using the laggy PCB, the newly produced Q4RAF Blacks would use the same one.
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  • TeyahTeyah Return of the Dragon Joined: Posts: 1,125
    RoboKrikit wrote: »
    I don't know if the amount will be meaningful or what will happen at all if I wire two controller PCB signals together, and I definitely don't know if the output is identical to normal usage. That is not normal usage of the PCB. I believe Toodles had a point in doing his test with the circuits separated. Hopefully someone with better depth of electronics knowledge will chime in.

    I don't mean to downplay the amount of time you have put in. To be honest I have done the same type of test and it was my first instinct to just wire in a button, but I can see why that wouldn't be the best idea. I like the work you are doing here, I just don't know if the results are good or not.

    I hope you won't accuse me of picking nits in a thread about millisecond differences in head-to-head controller input results.

    So it sounds like your concern is with "overridden inputs" or "normal usage of the PCB" or something of that nature. Let's consider what could happen if one PCB adversely affects the other in "normal" situations:

    1. Input is dropped by one side. Based on the roughly 20,000 trials I performed among sticks with low lag where there were no dropped inputs (every throw was broken so all inputs arrived), this is not a concern in my method as it didn't happen even once.

    2. Input is delayed by one side (the same side) consistently. This would require some serious extra resistance by the extra equipment in between the button and PCBs (in my case, extra wire...) as well as requiring the signal to hit one PCB before it hits the other, where in reality it hits both at the same time.

    Additionally, if one side imposed lag on the other, then lag would be understated for the laggier stick, which doesn't seem to be the case.
    Given how I performed alternate testing to confirm that the real world results of simultaneous button presses are within 0.5 ms of my dual wiring test, I can discount this as a significant issue. It also doesn't make very much sense.

    Toodles' results also confirm that there are no significant differences.

    Finally, I don't mind you nitpicking about milliseconds but I do have an issue with you nitpicking about fractions of milliseconds. The effect of additional variance, the existence of which I'm seriously questioning at this point, would be closer to 0.01 ms than it would be to 1 ms.
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  • Running WildRunning Wild Rock You Like A Hurricane Joined: Posts: 3,183
    edited July 2014
    Now I'm wondering how Playstation 2 sticks like the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2 stacks up. Also curious how much these sticks lag on PC.
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  • RoboKrikitRoboKrikit nuclear Joined: Posts: 1,943
    I think you're probably right, I just want to hash this out early so this doesn't get brought up again and again throughout the life of the thread.

    Does anyone else have any input on the wiring issue?
  • PhreakazoidPhreakazoid Turkey Legs Incoming! Joined: Posts: 3,477
    RoboKrikit wrote: »
    I think you're probably right, I just want to hash this out early so this doesn't get brought up again and again throughout the life of the thread.

    Does anyone else have any input on the wiring issue?

    Not really. Having them isolated is good practice to avoid crossing grounds between ports, but for this it's not going to skew results.

    One thing to say is that the I/O voltages may interact in odd ways. For example, the I/O on the older Qanba sticks are akin to 3.3v when in 360 mode, while many others operate at 5v which can draw it overall to a lower level. However, in the sense of activation it won't cause anything meaningful (harmful) in terms of this test.
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  • RoboKrikitRoboKrikit nuclear Joined: Posts: 1,943
    Not really. Having them isolated is good practice to avoid crossing grounds between ports, but for this it's not going to skew results.

    Good deal, thanks for the input.
  • manbehindthewiresmanbehindthewires Consider yourself lightly, consider the world deeply Joined: Posts: 947
    ZERO latency for the VX SA? That's like optical level speeds through a USB? Or does the 0 because it was the control and nothing beat it? Sorry, I'm sure it's covered in that link but I need to sit down and go through all that stuff properly haha really interesting work!
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  • karapalmkarapalm Joined: Posts: 314
    I tried digging around but I couldn't find a very clear picture of the PCB for the Joytron Exchanger. Does it happen to be the same as the Paewang Revolution boards? Was hoping to see results for my sticks but thanks for the work. I really appreciated the detailed overview to help get some insight into your specific goals and mindset.
  • RoboKrikitRoboKrikit nuclear Joined: Posts: 1,943
    It's 0 because it is the reference.
  • TeyahTeyah Return of the Dragon Joined: Posts: 1,125
    edited July 2014
    Lag test like these are great stack ups to see obvious flaws, but overall, to me, it becomes a witch hunt. Toodles always felt the same way AFAIK, since the ultimate equalizer is the human, wherein you will compensate for delays so long as they're not ridiculously long.

    The PRO stacks up as god awful, yet people win on them consistently. That's just one example. This type of thing is great for research purposes but I'm betting we'll get some folks in here going "zomg, I totally lost because my stick has a 1f delay" even though they've practiced on it for hundreds of hours, and won tons of matches.

    Props on the work put into this, this was no small feat and you've covered quite a lot, including any loose end explanation
    It's true in a sense. If you're used to your stick that has +1.4F delay and can hit all of your combos on it and still reaction DP hops in KoF and everything, then more power to you. :P

    The issue I'm more concerned with is hopping between sticks - the first time I hopped onto a friend's Mad Catz FightStick Pro, I wasn't able to land a certain (super important) 2 frame throw link at all in GGXX. Of course I was coming from my black Q4RAF, which is a really large difference. If I was used to other PS3 sticks it wouldn't be such a big deal.
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  • NENDONENDO I will meditate and then destroy you. Joined: Posts: 3,350
    Things look worse and worse for PS360+ all the time.......
  • TeyahTeyah Return of the Dragon Joined: Posts: 1,125
    To be fair, the PS360+ should be at the top of the list for PlayStation only players, since it should be future upgradeable to work on PS4. If you don't care at all about XBox then it's a great PCB. Maybe PS34+ would be a more fitting name.
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  • gahrlinggahrling Better safe than Hori.. Joined: Posts: 3,968
    iNENDOi wrote: »
    Things look worse and worse for PS360+ all the time.......


    It's ok on PS3 :p
  • NENDONENDO I will meditate and then destroy you. Joined: Posts: 3,350
    gahrling wrote: »
    iNENDOi wrote: »
    Things look worse and worse for PS360+ all the time.......


    It's ok on PS3 :p

    But one of the main draws of it is that it's a solderless 360 pcb.

    Teyah wrote: »
    To be fair, the PS360+ should be at the top of the list for PlayStation only players, since it should be future upgradeable to work on PS4. If you don't care at all about XBox then it's a great PCB. Maybe PS34+ would be a more fitting name.

    I'll believe all that PS4 shit when I see it.

  • FullMetalRossFullMetalRoss That Hurt! Liar... Joined: Posts: 3,860 ✭✭✭✭✭ OG
    Do the results for ps3 include the default latency on inputs that the ps3 has?
    <<>>
  • kikimaru024kikimaru024 Mid-tier scrub Joined: Posts: 1,693
    Is this a better test than hooking up a signal to an LED & filming it against a 60fps/120fps camera?
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  • RoboKrikitRoboKrikit nuclear Joined: Posts: 1,943
    edited July 2014
    Teyah wrote: »
    The issue I'm more concerned with is hopping between sticks - the first time I hopped onto a friend's Mad Catz FightStick Pro, I wasn't able to land a certain (super important) 2 frame throw link at all in GGXX. Of course I was coming from my black Q4RAF, which is a really large difference. If I was used to other PS3 sticks it wouldn't be such a big deal.

    It's notable for both stick switching and also other types of lag testing. For example, we had some conflicting results with SF4 input lag testing. I did dozens of tests and concluded that 360 had 4 frames inherent lag, and PS3 5 frames, using wired OEM controllers. This synced with a previous test that in addition pegged the arcade setup at 4 frames.

    But later on in various threads and IRC we had numerous claims of PS3 at 6 frames, with video, using 3rd party PCBs. This could easily jibe with the poorer PS3 results seen here.
  • RoboKrikitRoboKrikit nuclear Joined: Posts: 1,943
    Do the results for ps3 include the default latency on inputs that the ps3 has?

    That is a developer-specific problem, not an inherent PS3 input issue. It affects the SF4 series.
    Is this a better test than hooking up a signal to an LED & filming it against a 60fps/120fps camera?

    In-game mechanics tests with known outcomes are better than video tests because the results are determined automatically by the system. This allows for less human judgment and a higher frequency of tests; it's very time consuming and error-prone to record results from 1000 video tests, frame by frame.
  • gilleygilley 3D Aminator Joined: Posts: 1,296 ✭✭✭✭✭ OG
    This is very interesting data and would confirm my suspicions with my PS360+ Hitbox. It always just felt slightly "off". I thought it might have been the buttons, they have a stronger spring in them than I'm used to, but maybe it was just PS360+ lag.
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  • unwndunwnd Joined: Posts: 452
    Barky wrote: »
    how does the latency of these sticks compare with official licensed gamepads?

    Would like to know this too, unless it's already been answered and I didn't see it.
  • PresidentCamachoPresidentCamacho Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho Joined: Posts: 3,456
    I'm wondering how the brawl/fight pad pcb scores.
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  • steamwolfsteamwolf Southtown Underdog Joined: Posts: 28
    Does the VX-SA have the same PCB as the VX-SA Kai?
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