PS2 vs USB Mouse

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Updated November 28, 2022

If you’re looking for a premium mouse, you may wonder what wins the PS/2 vs. USB mouse debate. While USB keyboards and mice are more common than ever, PS2 connectors still have a place on modern devices. PS/2 mice and mechanical keyboards work without extraneous drivers thanks to dedicated PS/2 ports. That said, most computer accessories use the USB standard, making PS/2 devices a little difficult to find. So, if you’re unsure about PS2 vs. USB mouse interfaces, stick around.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • USB mice are cheaper and more widely compatible with modern computer setups.
  • PS/2 mice do not require drivers to work and offer hardware interrupts for minimal input lag.
  • Experts recommend USB mice over PS/2 models due to their availability and durability over long-term use.

If you’re looking for the best wireless mouse for gaming or office work, you should likely stick to USB devices. A wireless PS/2-connected mouse is a specialty product and might not exist outside of new-old stock. Additionally, the best USB-C mouse will likely cost less than a custom PS/2 model, but you should learn what to do when you lose your mouse USB for long-term use.

Insider Tip

USB Type-C offers the lowest latency keyboard and mouse connection, which can make a performance difference in competitive games.

If your high-end USB mouse light is on when the computer is off, consider changing the power settings for your USB ports. Compared to PS/2 mouse and keyboard setups, USB devices enjoy more customization with the operating system or in-game settings.

PS/2 Mouse vs USB

While USB drivers support a plethora of devices, PS/2 ports are ready-made for keyboard and mouse connections. Additionally, a PS/2 mouse utilizes hardware interrupt, while USB models rely on polling rates to communicate with your PC. Using an old-school system makes the choice between PS/2 and USB mice simple, but modern machines might have both input options.

Input Speed

Since PS/2 mice use hardware interrupts to communicate button presses, they technically offer faster input times than USB models. That said, modern USB mice have a low-enough latency to compete with PS/2 models.

Compatibility

You cannot use PS/2 input devices on modern machines, so USB mice are a better choice for most situations. Using a PS/2 to USB adapter might expand a PS/2 mouse’s usefulness, but you’ll lose the speed advantage of hardware interrupts.

Warning

Do not remove a PS/2 mouse while your computer is powered on, or you can damage the PC’s software and hardware.

Durability

PS/2 mice use a series of small pins to connect to the PC, and those pins are easy to bend and break compared to USB connections. USB mice are much more durable due to USB ports’ reliability and connectivity.

Cheaper Option

Outside of specialty PS/2 hardware for modern PCs, USB devices are much cheaper and more available.

STAT: A 2021 Pew Research Center showed that 8% of 65+ Americans are constantly on the internet. (source)

PS2 vs. USB Mouse FAQs

What did computers use before the USB standard?

The home computer initially used serial ports for input devices and data transmission. As data requirements grew, parallel ports were introduced to allow for increased data transmission speed. Lastly, PS/2 ports became the normal connection method for dedicated devices like keyboards and mice.

How are gaming mice different from normal models?

A computer mouse for gaming should provide high sensitivity and an adjustable DPI. Gaming USB mice also offer improved durability and fast-input mouse buttons.

What is N-Key rollover on a mechanical keyboard?

N-key rollover refers to the number of simultaneous key presses you can send to a computer. Since PS/2 keyboards use a dedicated port, there is almost no hardware key limit compared to USB models.
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