Testing and results
One of the great problems that face any mouse and mousepad review is that there is never an easy set of benchmarks with which to provide the reader with hard numbers. Nor for that matter is there any set application and gaming suite with which to provide comparative results.
CPU : Intel Core i7 920
Motherboard : Biostar T-Power X58A
RAM : 6GB Corsair Dominator
GPU : ATI 4870X2
OS : Windows 7 64
Input : Roccat Kova Gaming Mouse and Roccat Sota Gaming Mousepad
The test setup was reasonably beefy to ensure that it would run a constant frame rate regardless of what was being tested, so that any lag or missed input was solely a result of the mouse, rather than frame issues.
Polling and Response
Direct Input Mouse Rate was used to track the response time and polling rate of the Roccat Kova. As the sensor did the same 3200dpi that was available on the Kone, I was hoping for similar results. However despite trying various ports and dpi settings it remained rock solid at 500MHz polling rate and 2ms response time. Quite a strange result for something aimed at being built for pure performance. It's by no means slow, but at the ultra-highend competitive level that 1ms can make the difference between glory and gibbed.
Naturally the two items of software almost anyone can be guaranteed of using are the operating system, and a browser. Not the stiffest of tests, but the Kova tracked well and the pointer was always exactly where I wanted it to be. The experience was repeated with a CM Storm mousepad and the result was identical. So the Sota mousepad certainly can hang with the best.
Adobe Photoshop CS3 was next up for testing. If there is one area in which accuracy of movement is paramount, it is graphical work, and particularly image editing. The lowest 400dpi setting enables even the most ham-fisted editor to get accurate results, then switching up to 1600dpi enables those of us who are experienced, but can't quite splash for a Wacom, to move around the interface with speed and, most importantly, precision. The tracking sensor is superb and wasn't even phased by the always difficult test of slowly hand-drawing a circle. That is a test in which a lot of mice fall demonstrate some "sticking" in their sensor, but the Roccat Kova passed with flying colours.
Nobody buys a high-end gaming mouse and pad without wanting to test their mettle against some gun-toting bad guys so it's time to run through a few of your and my favourites. The dpi was upped to the maximum 3200, and battle commenced.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare was been a favourite both with OC3D, and the gaming community at large, since it's release. Recently we've all had the pleasure of Infinity Ward releasing Modern Warfare 2 and so it was there that we headed next. Any doubts about the 500MHz, 2ms sensor were quickly dispelled with the mouse responding crisply and accurate even in the most intense firefights. Armed with the Kova the terrorists never knew what hit them as everything from the close-your-eyes-and-fire minigun, to the deep breath sniper rifle tracked accurately, and always put the bullets on target.
One of our most popular titles to use in benchmarking just happens to be my all-time favourite game, so it will surprise no-one to see Company of Heroes : Tales of Valor up next in the test suite. Tales of Valor provided a new game mode alongside the normal RTS goodness, and so whilst it never quite reaches the frenetic heights of a FPS, nonetheless speed and accuracy are, as always, vital. Accuracy in strategy games is almost more important than in FPS games, because whereas you can re-spawn, in an RTS that unit has always cost you resources so they are much harder to replace. Luckily the Roccat Kova shone. Selecting pioneers amongst a swathe of armour was easy, directing artillery in the midst of battle was as natural as you could hope and the mouse and pad consistently put the pointer exactly where you wanted it to be.
All in all a very high performing mouse and pad that easily covers Roccats aim for a stylish, but uncompromising, part of their SDMS.
Phew. Time to head toward the conclusion, that might not be what you're expecting.