|Thermaltake Level 10M Gaming Mouse|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Input Devices|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Sunday, 09 December 2012|
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Gaming Mouse Software
Unlike many other gaming mice, the Thermaltake Level 10M Gaming Mouse has 128KB of internal memory, and macro profiles are stored in the mouse, rather than in the driver on your computer. This way of doing things has some good points and some bad points. Once the profiles and macros are sent to the mouse, you don't need any software support on the computer at all. For example, I was able to program some macros on the mouse, then unplug it and connect it to a Mac, and the macros still worked perfectly.
The down side of this design is that this limits the number of active profiles you can have, since you're limited by the memory in the mouse. In the case of the Level 10M, you're limited to five profiles at any one time, which you can cycle through by pressing the silver lighting bolt button on the left side of the mouse. To load additional profiles you must run the included utility and swap out one of your existing profiles.
There's no software documentation included with the mouse, but you can press the question mark button at the upper right of this screen to go to an instructional Thermaltake web page. Sadly this is for a slightly different version of the software and the example mouse used is different, too.
At the top left of this window are five tabs denoting the different profiles. In this case Profile 1 is active, and is the "Half Life 2" profile I defined. You can select other profiles from the drop-down menu under "Current Profile" and it will replace the existing profile. When you cycle to a new profile by pressing the lighting bolt button, the on-screen display just indicates "P1" through "P5"; it would have been nice had the actual profile name been displayed.
The four main areas of the interface (denoted by the vertical, red-outlined labels) are Light Option, Macro Key, Performance, and Profile Management. The Light Option interface is simple: click on one of the three custom lighting areas, and then choose the color you want.
The Macro Key tab is where you define macros, which may be any combination of keyboard characters, mouse buttons (yes, you can program one mouse button to click another mouse button), and "commands", which are listed in the screen shot below. To define a new macro, you click the "New" button, give the macro a name, then click the "Record" button and perform the actions you want the macro to invoke; pressing the "Stop" button completed the macro. Key presses and mouse clicks are recorded as both "press" and "release", with adjustable millisecond time intervals between each. Once you define a macro you may fine-tune it by deleting individual steps within the macro and adjusting delay times with millisecond precision.
Note that this part of the program is only for defining macros; it's not where you assign macros to profiles or physical mouse buttons. I'll get to that part later.
The "Performance" tab lets you fine tune everything from the double-click time to the polling rate. Interestingly, you can define independent sensitivities for each axis of movement, although I'm not sure what use that would be. You can also define which DPI applies to each of the four selectable DPI settings, and although as delivered the maximum DPI is 5000, using this panel you can set it as high as 8200 dots per inch!
Another indication that this is a serious mouse is the ability to adjust the polling rate, which is the rate at which the mouse sends its position to your computer. Most non-gaming mice (and almost all wireless mice) use a 125Hz rate, so your game or application gets mouse position updates at a maximum of 125 times per second. This rate is a compromise that saves power (for wireless mice) and CPU cycles (for lower-end CPUs). However, the Level 10M Gaming Mouse isn't about "compromise", so you can adjust its polling rate up to eight times faster, or 1,000Hz. Now, regardless of the polling rate, your mouse will only send its position to your computer when it's moving, so you'll only get the maximum rate when the mouse is moving really fast. Using Mouse Rate Checker, we can see that with fast mouse movements, we do indeed reach (and slightly exceed) 1,000 updates per second.
Follow me to the next section where I'll show how to assign macros to mouse buttons and profiles.