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The Deathadder Megathread

post #1 of 2468
Thread Starter 
The Unofficial Deathadder Megathread

uCkBa.jpg

Hell, it's about time. The Deathadder and the MX518 are arguably two of the most popular gaming mice on the planet. Surprisingly, there's no consolidated information on either of these mice and there's a lot of misinformation regarding them both on the internet. I've recently acquired a ton of knowledge regarding the Deathadder from building kinzuadders and I want to share the knowledge I learned with the community.

Who this guide is for: While the wording of this guide will be written towards prospective buyers this page will serve as consolidated Deathadder resource for those who own, are looking to buy, or are curious about the Deathadder and it's releases.

Additionally, please do not be afraid to share information. This is more or less an open source project and I'd love to integrate your feedback in this thread.


Table of Contents
  • Releases: The established variations of the Deathadder.
  • Performance Characteristics: Comparing and contrasting differences in lift-off distance and tracking in different variations of the Deathadder.
  • Build Quality: Analyzing material differences and their real-world applications among Deathadder releases.
  • Conclusion: For those set on buying a Deathadder: Which variation should I buy?


Releases


First-Generation PCB
Deathadder 3G V1
  • Sensor: Avago S3688
  • Never publicly released
  • These were debuted at CPL 2007 and had many problems. The mouse was never sold and the released CPL edition Deathadder is a Deathadder 3G V2

Deathadder 3G V2
  • Sensor: Avago S3688
  • 1st Retail Variation
  • 1800 DPI
  • Shell will not accept Deathadder 3G V3 / 3.5G.

Second-Generation PCB
Deathadder 3G V3
  • Sensor: Avago S3688
  • 2nd retail revision. Includes the Mac edition and Voodoo edition.
  • 1800 DPI
  • Internal shell identical to the 3.5G. The 3G V3's internals can be swapped into a Black Edition shell.

Deathadder 3.5G
  • Sensor: S3888
  • The Deathadder 3.5G includes ANY version with the S3888 sensor, most notably the standard Deathadder 3.5G and the Deathadder Black Edition
  • 3500 DPI
  • Internal shell identical to the 3G V3

Yep, that's right, the 3G V3 performs more similarly to the 3.5G than the 3G V2. Some may be confused to how this can be. If the 3G V2 and 3G V3 use an identical sensor, the Avago S3688, why does the latter perform more similarly to the Deathadder 3.5G, which uses an entirely different sensor, the Avago S3888?

Well first of all, to clarify things, the S3688 and S3888 are very similar sensors. It turns out these sensors are similar enough that another factor creates more pronounced performance differences. What is this factor?

It's the PCB.

In all mice, the PCB, and more specifically the on-board processor interprets what the sensor reads.

So what makes the 3G V2 different from the 3G V3 / 3.5G?

Thunda, through empirical testing found the 3G V2 interprets higher frequency light and detects more red waves than infrared waves, as evidence by the 3G V2 being red-LED swappable and the 3G V3 not. Processors that detect red, as opposed to infrared wavelengths have a lower lift-off distance. This is why red-LED optical mice like the Microsoft IMO 1.1 have virtually no LOD.

So, what does this mean?

Yes, that means two mice with the same sensor can behave extremely differently For example, take the 3.5G Deathadder and the Imperator or the Steelseries Xai and the Razer Mamba. Both of the mice in each corresponding set uses the same sensor and each mouse in the set has different performance characeristics. With that being said, while the sensor is the heart of the mouse, it's not the only performance effecting factor.

So, how exactly are the 3G V2 and 3G V3 different?

The 3G V2 and the 3G V3 / 3.5G actually have a different dpi at the lowest setting. Additionally, 3G V2 can be modded for an red-LED to lower lift-off distance.

Another minor difference is that the internal shell of the 3G V2 is unique and it will not accept internals from the 3G V3 or 3.5 G, which both share the same internal design. However, it should be noted that the 3G V2 internals can easily be modified with a dremel to fit 3G V3 and 3.5G PCBs.

Since these both have identical sensors the only determining factor for the performance differences must come from the PCB itself.

Luckily all Deathadder releases have different boxes, labeling, and plastics. Refer to the build quality section for an in-depth material comparison.

Deathadder 3G V2
Box:The box features a matte grey, non-shiny, non-rainbow and non-holographic Deathadder logo.

A4VK4.jpg

Mouse:The Razer logo inlay will be opaque white.

Label:On the underside of the mouse, the label does not feature the Razer snake logo on the top right. Underneath the label the plastic is smooth, and not rough like the other releases.
VT1KI.jpg


Deathadder 3G V3 / 3.5G
3G V3 Box:The box features a shiny, non-rainbow holographic Deathadder logo.

The Mouse:The Razer logo will not be inlaid and there is no rubber on the logo outline. The logo is translucent. Please note that I changed the scroll wheel to the Black Edition scroll wheel. Stock 3G V3 / 3.5G mice will have a clear scroll wheel with a blue LED.

KtSfG.jpg

3.5G Box:

3.5G Box:The box features a shiny, rainbow holographic Deathadder logo.

wA50b.jpg

Label:On the underside of the mouse, the label features the Razer snake logo on the top right. Underneath the label the plastic is rough.

hFLXO.jpg


Deathadder Black Edition
Box:The box is clearly labeled as the black edition box. No pictures necessary.

The Mouse:The top features a metallic grey coating and rubber sides that make it extremely distinguisable. Please note that I changed the scroll wheel to the Stock 3G V3 / 3.5G scroll wheel. Stock Black Editions will feature a black rubber wheel.

Label:The label will clearly indicate it's a black edition Deathadder. Underneath the label the plastic is rough.

QonBo.jpg


Performance Differences


Now we're on the important part. We wouldn't be here if Razer's different components yielded products that performed exactly the same.

Lift-off distance

Method: Rest one CD below both front skates and one below the back.

Each CD is approximately 1.2mm.

Deathadder 3G V2: Tracks at 1 CD, will NOT track at 2 CDs
Deathadder 3G V3: Tracks at 2 CDs, will NOT track at 3 CDs.
Deathadder 3.5G: Tracks at 3 CDs, will NOT track at 4CDs.

Tracking
All Deathadder releases have the best perfect control speed at the 1800 DPI setting. The only discernible difference is that the lowest setting on the 3G V2 tracks faster than the lowest settings on the 3G V3 and the 3.5G. Thunda estimates it's around 520 DPI. I've empirically tested all three mice and I do, indeed feel the 3G V2 is faster.

DPI Settings
Deathadder 3G 1800 DPI V1 (Never publicly released)
Unknown

Deathadder 3G 1800 DPI V2 (First retail variation)
~520 (shown as 450 on box), 900, 1800

Deathadder 3G 1800 DPI V3 (2nd retail revision)
450, 900, 1800

Deathadder 3.5
450, 900, 1800, 3500

Build Quality

Each mouse also has different build qualities. I'm a pretty big hobbyist and I've been able to tell good, well cured plastics from bad. While this may seem subjective there are obvious differences in materials for all releases of the Deathadder. Included will be a discussion of the building materials and their real-world implications.

Deathadder 3G V2: Along with the Black Edition, the 3G V2 is undeniably built the best. Rubber quality is soft, top notch and the plastic is smooth.

However, in a real-world environment these more expensive materials aren't necesarily more rugged, and this is especially true in the case of the Razer Deathadder.

A perfect comparison can be found in leather: Soft, full-grain leather used in Prada shoes is much more expensive than roughened suede found in Redwing work boots. However if you were a construction worker you'd want a pair of shoes that could withstand the harsh environment of your workplace. For you, the boots made of roughened suede would suit your needs. Likewise, when you game with your mouse your hands are filled with oils that attract grime and can cause you too sweat. This environment, while not as extreme as a construction site does favor materials that can absorb moisture and stay grime-free.

The softer, more expensive rubber found in the 3G V2 will feel more saturated when your hand sweats. Additionally, the plastic is smoother than other variations and this lets grime build up. The 3G V2 is the hardest of all Deathadders to keep clean. Mouse feet are exactly the same as the 3G V3 / 3.5G variations and are complete garbage.

Deathadder 3G V3/ 3.5G: This build quality the worst. Rubber quality is low and the plastic has a "stickier" feel. However this mouse will, performance wise, outperform the more expensive materials in the 3G V2.

The 3G V3's plastic is not as smooth and will relatively not attract as much grime. The less expensive rubber also doesn't become as oily when exposed to your hands and will remain dry for longer. Mouse feet are exactly the same as the 3G V2 are complete garbage.

Deathadder Black Edition: Easily the best build quality. While the plastic underneath is still the ****ty plastic found in the 3G V3 / 3.5G, Razer has coated the entire upper mouse in rubber. This gives the Deathadder Black Edition the most preferable performance characteristics of any Deathadder.

Sides are rubberized similarly to the 3G V2. The top is BARELY rubberized, which in fact is the best of all Deathadder tops. This will not attract grime and will not make your hand sweaty.

Conclusion

What mouse is best for you is based on your specific needs. If the lowest possible lift-off distance is needed and money is not an option the 3G V2 is your only choice. If you don't care about lift-off distance or build quality, the 3.5G will more than satisfy your needs. If braided cables are a serious deal-killer only the 3G and it's variations would suit you.

I compared and contrasted my needs in a mouse. I want something with a relatively low lift-off distance (i.e., I'd only use the 3G V2 or 3G V3) but wanted a mouse that didn't get grimy. There's nothing out on the market that suited my needs so I actually custom built a Razer Deathadder Black Edition 3G using the internals from a 3G V3 and the DA:BE.

Again guys, please submit any information regarding the Deathadder to this thread. Contributions and help are greatly appreciated and discussion is highly encouraged. Happy fraggin guys smile.gif
Edited by hella - 3/19/12 at 10:16pm
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post #2 of 2468
Nice writeup.

I'd like to add that firmware V2.44 (3.5G) and V1.00 (BE release) are likely identical as far as performance goes. V2.44 and V1.00 were updated to 2.45/V1.01 on the same day according to the Razer site.

Just want to avoid confusion as some people assume that the bigger number is better.
post #3 of 2468
Dang nice! i just learned a lot about my mouse smile.gif
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post #4 of 2468
best mouse I ever used next to the razer copperhead. I peeled off the rubber coating on my deathadder after it wore out after months of extreme usage lol. still looks great tongue.gif
post #5 of 2468
DA:BE is awesome.
I've tried other mice such as logitech g9x, razer imperator, etc and DA:BE just has everything for me.
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post #6 of 2468
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylit;15105792 
Nice writeup.

I'd like to add that firmware V2.44 (3.5G) and V1.00 (BE release) are likely identical as far as performance goes. V2.44 and V1.00 were updated to 2.45/V1.01 on the same day according to the Razer site.

Just want to avoid confusion as some people assume that the bigger number is better.

I'd imagine the only real difference between the normal 3.5G firmware and the BE firmware is the lack of LED controls on the BE.
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post #7 of 2468
Quote:
Originally Posted by HWI;15106515 
I'd imagine the only real difference between the normal 3.5G firmware and the BE firmware is the lack of LED controls on the BE.

Yep.
post #8 of 2468
Thread Starter 
I'm glad you guys like it. I plan to add more information as time goes by, especially modding information and firmware information.

I'd also have to agree with y'all, the deathadder black edition shell is astounding. Unfortunately I couldn't deal with the 4CD LOD.

So I hacked together a black edition with a 3G sensor. Surprisingly, it turns out the 3G V2 internals don't fit the BE without dremeling out some parts. For simplicity sake I took a 3G V3 and dropped it in. This mouse, along with the MX518 are my two favorite mice... and I even favor it over my kinzuadder smile.gif
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post #9 of 2468
Quote:
Originally Posted by hella;15105432 
What mouse is best for you is based on what you need. If the lowest possible lift-off distance is needed and money is not an option the 3G V2 is your only choice.

Is it still possible to buy the 3G V2? I haven't seen it at any of the shops here in Aus.

I have one in perfect condition sitting on my shelf gathering dust.
post #10 of 2468
what are the out of box dpi and polling rate and prediction levels of the 3.5g.

what does the sensitivity slider in the razer drivers do? does it override windows senstivity or does it add another layer of sensitvity?
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