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Win a shot at an RTX 3080 Ti in Nvidia's System Latency Challenge

You also get to see how much your shooting sucks without Nvidia's latency-optimizing tech.

Screenshot by Lori Grunin/CNET

Improving system latency -- the chain of tiny lags across your mouse, keyboard, controller and monitor -- can make anyone's game better. But it's hard to understand the difference between 85ms and 55ms without seeing that difference for yourself. Nvidia's hopes to convince you it's worth paying a premium for partner devices with its Reflex Latency Analyzer tech, which can optimize performance in the 25 games that support it. The strategy: Offer gamers a chance to win a high-demand graphics card, the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition, an MSI Oculux NXG253R G-Sync display or a Logitech Pro X Superlight mouse by testing their shooting skills.

The Meta's Reflex-supported aim training software, KovaaK's 2.0, includes two Nvidia Experiments modules starting today. The new modules simulate 25ms, 55ms and 85ms of system latency as measured by your aim accuracy when shooting single or multiple targets (flicking and frenzy, respectively) in-game. Access to KovaaK's is free for the week, but you'll need to create an account. To participate, just boot up the software and press the big Nvidia Experiments button, scroll through Nvidia's terms of "consent to participate in research mode" and follow the instructions.

Why only shooting? Nvidia's own research shows latency has a significantly bigger impact on aim accuracy (and therefore in shooters) than on frame rate. Also, it's aim-training software.

The software simulates the effect of latency on your system configuration by measuring game and GPU latency via Reflex, then using its existing data to estimate and calculate the rest of the system equation. It'll then add a lag of the relevant duration (25ms, 55ms or 85ms). You can't play around with your settings to see how they affect the experience, though. Your changes will just be ignored. 

As far as marketing and research-data-collection strategies go, it's quite clever. There are caveats, as with any contest, both to compete and to win one of the 27 prizes (there are nine of each). You can try the software with any GPU, but in order to make it onto the leaderboard, and therefore to win, you need to use a Reflex-supporting GPU. In other words, you'll need a GeForce 900 series or newer Nvidia GPU. 

The winners are randomly selected from the leaderboard and only a single entry per human, so it doesn't matter how uncoordinated you are. But it also means your chance of winning decreases as more people participate. So shhhh. Don't tell anyone about it.

At the very least, you get to try the most excellent KovaaK's for a week. At best, you can win an RTX 3080 Ti and sell it for holiday gift cash.