USB Lag - Does it exist with the Xbox 360 and / or the PS3



Does anyone know if USB lag (attributable to USB’s device polling) occurs with the 360 and / or the PS3? They obviously use USB inputs for their controllers but I’m not sure if the USB protocol is the same as it is with computers.



The Xbox 360 and the PS3 uses the same USB Protocols.
The the differences are the drivers required.

The PS3 is based on Plug-n-play HID class generic drivers
The Xbox 360 is is based on specific drivers (that just happens to be preinstatement on Vista, Win 7 and Win 8 and downloadable for XP).
The Xbox 360 it self as a security lock out that Official Xbox 360 controllers and Grey market controllers have a security chip for.


To the OP’s point… you don’t feel USB polling lag. I promise. The standards are the same, the polling rates might vary slightly between the two, but the differences are completely, 100% negligible and not worth fretting over. I promise you that the monitor you play on, even if it’s an EVO monitor, is introducing much more end-to-end latency than any USB polling stuff (go get a CRT lol). Unless you’re going for perfect emulation of some arcade game (in which case why are you using consoles in the first place), USB poll rates don’t matter worth squat.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, I just argued with a dude last week who was blaming wireless XBox controller lag on losing games and I just about ragequit the back of his face with my fist. Controller latency ain’t worth fretting about unless it’s adapters or shady third-party controllers/PCB’s. There’s just way too much luck and variability involved in “hitting” the windows anyway for them to be a measurable, significant factor.


Like Underwing said you never feel the USB Polling rate Ever, If there is some lag than the problem is with the PC itself and not the USB.
For any USB Device the slowest USB polling rate is 125hz, that is 125 cycles per second, that is in one second a 125 commands can be sent.
Now the Typical licensed or 1st party Xbox 360, PS3 or Wii Controller as a polling rate of 1000hz. That is ONE THOUSAND cycles per second, 1000 commands can be entered in a single second.

For a frame of reference according to Blizzard the top level tournament players of Star Craft 2 averages just above 300 commands a second.

When it comes to fighting games, Hit boxes and animation delays will effect you much more than USB polling ever will.

I also want to add that Wireless controllers have a higher Polling rate than the minim 125 hz.

(Well its not exactly 125 commands a second for a 125 Hz rate, but for laymen terms I going with this explanation).


A bit of a tangent but I thought the PS3 / Xbox360 can be polled at 1000Hz but the PS3 only allows reception of 1 out of 10 interrupts while the Xbox 360 receives 1 out of every 2? With the DualShock3 controller trying to poll every 1ms while the Xbox360 controller tries to poll every 4ms. So the standard controllers only have a polling rate of PS3 = 100Hz (1000/10) and Xbox360 = 125Hz (1000/8)?

Not that it matters since you’re not tracking mouse movement where polling rate is usually the subject of heated debate. So even at 100Hz it shouldn’t be an issue for console controllers.


How can you be so sure? USB lag is subtle and variable, and while it may average well less than a frame, it can -effectively- add almost a frame and a half in the worst case.


Don’t confuse USB polling lag with frame rates. Frame rates are only used to measure ether the Lag of the video graphics processor and nothing else.

Theres 2 ways of testing controller lag, One method done by Ben Heck using a hacked controller with a light up chart of what buttons are pressed in real time
Or the Toodles method which is to test against a known PCB

Link to the Toodles test

Slowest polling rate is 125 Hz there is no sub 125 hz devices , the report of 100hz was for 3rd party controllers and that report lacks credibility (thank you Xim). The PS3 on the console side is a 1000 hz polling rate.

The Lousy polling rate reports come from adapters that tries to adapt a PC Keyboard and mouse to work as a Dual Shock 3 controllers, these adapters always lag.
The manufacturers of these adapters try to blame Sony instead of their own shooty workmanship.

As for the Xbox 360, I don’t know. I did not take a look at there technical specs. I want to guess at least 500 hz.


I don’t even understand why this keeps coming up. Instead of finding something to blame, practice.


I can be so sure because you’re technically misinformed – as others have mentioned, the relevant USB HID class specs used here bottom out at about 125Hz – over twice the “frame rate” involved. Any “lag” due to the USB spec variability would be within that 1/125th window – sub-“half-frame” if you insist on using that rhetoric, and in practice you’re talking about statistically half of even that. Worst-case, that is in the ballpark of induced latency from digital monitors. In reality, as others have pointed out, the polling rate set by the relevant consoles is even higher – 1000Hz for PS3, and I want to say I’ve read that it’s somewhere weird like 600Hz for 360, but don’t quote me on that.

Implementations are a different thing – that’s why adapters and third-party controllers are tested against known-good controllers, i.e. first party controllers. But the variability in implementation is mainly because they use cheap microcontrollers to implement the spec, and are checking slower than they’re being polled by the consoles. This isn’t the case with good controllers.

TL;DR: I can be so sure because these things have been tested by smart people, and also because I have a decent understanding of the USB HID protocol (and the limits thereof) from having implemented multiple HID devices myself, not using some libraries. And then debugged those things using signal analyzers.


I agree, Who cares what is the technical differences between the PS3 HID drivers and the Microsoft Xbox 360 game pad drivers?
If you practice, you be better at the same game everyone else plays regardless what system that game is on.

I remember back in the day the better tournament players grew up on and practiced on inferior hardware and a flawed version of the game because it was what was available.
The guy who played Street Fighter II on the SNES or Sega Genesis/Megadrive everyday is better than the guy who played the actual arcade game about maybe once a week.

Show me the guy who can master Street Fighter II Champion Edition on the Sega Genesis with the 3 button game pad, and I show you a Evo champion.

I got beat by my friend in BlazBlue, I play maybe once in a while, he plays all the time on the PSP. The fricking PSP which is far from ideal gaming conditions, I own several sticks he own none and he whooped my as. Why you asked, because he played the game, he practiced, he played story mode with every character, he tried every game mode, and everything so he knows how other characters perform.

You want to be good at what ever game you want to be good at, practice. Play every mode, every character in each mode, every challenge and bit. Play against the Computer, play against people online, play against people locally, make your little brother or sister play against you, your friends, your parents, your significant other, neighbors what ever but get out there and practice, stop blaming the hardware for your failures.

Now this might not even be the point of the OP’s question, but it does not matter for technical specs and what brand arcade parts pale in comparison too some good old fashioned practice.


Parts are all preference. I consider them to be ways to tweak your play style. However, you can compensate your play style with practice. For example, I usually play on a throw shortened LS-40, which I loved. But I switched over to a LS-56 for a variety of reasons, and haven’t throw shortened the stick yet. Sure, it’s not what I’m used to or what I prefer, but stock still feels pretty good and I’m still playing on it. Takes a bit of practice to adjust and I have to be a bit more conscious about it, which is actually a good thing in the end. I also don’t really like stock Japanese buttons and prefer the tactile response of iL buttons, but get this, I’m still playing on a set of Hori buttons from a HRAP3 I bought and that’s with a set of Sanwa and Seimitsu buttons in storage waiting to be put into a finalized stick build. Same switches as Seimitsu, but all the people clamoring about how “shitty” the plastic is on the Hori’s when I brought up the fact they share the same switches as Sei’s do are just looking for reasons that they can’t use them. The buttons are fine, the plastic sturdy and I’ve been playing fine on them for a while. I really don’t like JLF, but if I absolutely have to, I will play on one. I don’t practice on them so I’m not used to them, but if for whatever reason all sticks in the world became JLF and Seimitsu ceased to exist, I’d have to practice and get used to it. Thankfully, that isn’t how things are and I can tweak to my liking.

Now sure, SOME parts really are crappy, but when you’re playing on any set of standard buttons or sticks then it’s you who needs to adjust. If you don’t like it, swap it out, but no matter what parts you use you will still need to practice. That’s what it boils down to. I’d put a significant amount of money on a pro player using mediocre parts vs a mediocre player using pro parts.

If you’re playing offline in training mode, then there is no real reason you can’t do what you set your mind to. If you can’t do something particular, then sit back, and think about what you may be doing wrong and maybe suck up your ego and ASK someone else for help. If you’re losing to people offline, then you seriously have to look at what you’re doing wrong, and correct the issue with yourself. Suck up that ego and ask your friends why they’re beating you. If you’re playing online and losing, then looking for any reason as to why you’re losing is like trying to find a needle in a haystack of uncontrollable variables, don’t waste your time, and instead, focus on yourself and focus your efforts to offline and get better there. Don’t learn games online, learn them offline. Even with a laggy monitor you can still play these games offline and learn them to their near fullest, and that’s probably the worst factor against anyone, and it can be overcome. So many tools these days to get better.

It’s just sad that people will go to such great lengths to look for why something is holding them back other than their self. USB lag, are you kidding, c’mon man. If USB was significantly laggy, then the millions of sticks, controllers, mice, keyboards, and every other input device out there wouldn’t be using it. PC’s, consoles, phones, tablets, and whatever else wouldn’t be using it for every single input, and it simply wouldn’t exist because no one in their right mind would actually use it if that was the case.


I know for most people this isn’t a possibility due to geographical location.
I do remember one of the venders at Otakon (Video games New York) as a display board. Its actually just a big piece off wood with various joysticks and buttons installed onto it.

Their idea is to give customers a chance to feel out how and even why a Sanwa JLF and a Seimtsu LS-32 feel differently.
And how does a Sanwa, a Semtsu and a Happ button feels like.

I think retailers with local customers, a enterprising Modder/Builder or even a tourney organizer with the physical space and budget could set up some sort of demo board or stick to allow people to feel out the differences of each stick.


I’ve always wondered why most vendors don’t do something like that. It’s something I’ve talked about with Moonchilde before. I really wish they would stick various stick and buttons on just a big old plank of wood just to let you see what it feels like. Subjective descriptions and measurements only tell you one part of the story, and for something as tactile as using different button and stick types, you really want to get your hands on and see for yourself which one works the best. It also makes for an extremely good selling tool when trying to sell your wares.


Hah, was Xim where the “100Hz” thing originated? That would explain a lot.

I just go to gatherings / tournaments and ask “Can I feel your stick?”.
(results may vary, may receive a punch to the face as an answer)


I just go to gatherings / tournaments and ask “Can I feel your stick?”.
(results may vary, may receive a punch to the face as an answer)

I do that with other players and friends who use different configurations, but having a big old plank of wood I can play with would make it a lot easier and gives me a base to start from. Even Sanwa buttons feels different depending on the case they’re in. Strangely enough, the Sanwas on a standard Madcatz TE feel sloppy, whereas on my Qanba, they feel nice and crisp. They’re both exactly the same buttons, both the same age in terms of it’s use, and yet they feel different.

For example, I’m on a chase to hunt down these perfect buttons that I once used on a 3s cab at a local arcade. They felt so nice and crisp, and yet no button I’ve ever used has come close to replicating that feeling. I’ve been told they might be Sanwa with RG switches, but nobody ever has those available for me to test myself in-person.

Or the tactile difference between each Seimitsu stick variant.


Oh I agree, I was just making a joke hehe.

I’m by no means a hardcore modder but I’ve helped friends dual-mod their sticks as we well as do basic part swaps and I’ve noticed more than once that the case alters the feel of buttons. In the past I’ve made a mistake installing buttons where the quick disconnects are butting up against something in the case making the buttons feel mushy. But sometimes I can’t figure out why the buttons just feel different installed in a Hori or Madcatz or Qanba case.


Funny that you mention that; a good buddy of mine (up until about 3 weeks ago) worked around the corner from Video Games New York. He had sent me a picture of what I believe is that said display board to me, with the caption: “Come visit me here, and I’ll bring you to this place!”.
Here’s the pic:

Now that I look at it, there’s price tags on the parts, so it might’ve been a different board then. But still, the idea is still there.


That is what I am talking about. That is the same board I see at Otakon. Some parts and prices changed over the years but I recognize that bad boy anywhere.

I think they had a 2nd board where they let you feel out each stick, its been almost a year since I seen it last.

What I do really like is their staff is knowledgeable and very friendly, I got some of my Import games from them.


Dear God that thing is beautiful