Benefits of Optical Switches for Gaming Mice

By Chris Stolze, on September 21, 2021

When it comes to gaming mice, speed is of the utmost importance. High polling rates and lightning-fast switches work together to register your inputs as fast as possible.

The M65 RGB Ultra gaming mouse on a desk with mousepad, K70 TKL gaming keyboard and HS80 RGB Wireless gaming headset

With the new M65 RGB ULTRA, we’re bringing optical switches to gaming mice. As you might recall, the K100 RGB introduced OPX optical-mechanical switches to our lineup of gaming keyboards, but now you may be asking, “what is an optical switch?” and “how would an optical switch benefit me?” Don’t worry! Hopefully by the end of this, you’ll not only understand what an optical switch is, but how they can also improve your game!

A Review of Traditional Switches

Typical mechanical switches and buttons rely on the physical contact of a metal plate to close a circuit that is then reported as a key or button press.

A cutaway view of an older M65 mouse with a traditional mechanical Omron mouse button switch

Mechanical switches have been refined greatly over time and are great choices to this day for gaming, however they still rely on mechanical contacts that wear out over time and vibrate or “bounce” once released, causing unintentional secondary inputs which need to be accounted for in firmware in the form of a “debounce delay” adding to overall click latency.

What’s an Optical Switch?

An optical switch swaps out the physical contact for a beam of infrared light that registers a keypress or mouse button click once the beam is broken.

An animated clip showing an M65 RGB Ultra mouse coming apart to reveal an optical switch being pressed

Benefits of Optical Switches

Since an optical switch works with a beam of light rather than the coming together of metal contacts, we’re able to eliminate switch bounce entirely.

A graph depicting the lack of switch bounce on an optical switch, whereas a traditional switch will bounce and need an artificial debounce delay which adds to overall latency

With switch bounce out of the equation, additional click latency in the form of a debounce delay isn’t needed so the mouse or keyboard is able to instantly register another input once the button has reset.

Another benefit of optical switches is improved durability as the lack of metal contacts substantially simplifies the design of the switch, removing the metal contacts that will wear out over time.

Closing Thoughts

Whether you’re using a mouse or keyboard, optical switches provide a competitive edge, ensuring that your inputs are registered as fast as possible and with the added durability, you can game with confidence knowing that your hardware will stand up to the test of time.

M65 RGB Ultra wireless gaming mouse on mousepad next to K70 TKL gaming keyboard and ST100 RGB gaming headset stand

To learn more about our optical switch offerings, check out the K100 RGB Optical-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard or our M65 RGB Ultra lineup.

To join the gaming hardware discussion, check out our communities over on the CORSAIR User Forum, Discord, and Reddit!


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