Every piece of gaming gear you have makes a huge difference in how well you play, especially if you want to compete professionally or become a streamer. Since some pieces of equipment matter more than others, it’s imperative to know the pieces whose quality you cannot compromise, starting with the gaming mouse.
There are a lot of features, such as a good DPI range, that combine to form a quality gaming mouse. Even if your mouse comes with a wide DPI range, you still need to know the suitable settings for your performance to be great.
However, is DPI significant, and if so, what are the best settings to enforce? That is the purpose of this article.
DPI is an acronym that stands for ‘linear dots per inch.’ In simple terms, it’s used to describe the number of pixels your cursor will travel through per every inch of mouse movement.
For context, if your mouse has a DPI of 600, it will mean that the cursor will move across 600 pixels every time you move the mouse an inch. For that reason, if the mouse has a low DPI, you will need to move it for more inches than someone whose mouse has a high DPI.
While this may sound like a great idea, avid gamers know a high DPI is not always the best setting.
Essential Factors That Influence the DPI
The market is full of options when it comes to quality gaming mice. This makes it easy for you only to consider catchy features instead of what matters.
For example, most gamers only focus on checking the DPI range. However, it’s imperative also to check the standings of other features that ensure the DPI settings translate smoothly to your gaming experience.
Some of the features/settings in question include:
Before buying a gaming mouse or adjusting the mouse to a high or lower DPI, you will need to consider your monitor’s resolution. For context, assume the two scenarios below are real life.
Display resolution is 1000p, and you have set your mouse to a DPI of 500. Therefore, you will only need to move the mouse two inches for it to move from the top to the bottom of your screen.
Your monitor has a 4K resolution, and the mouse has a DPI of 500. Therefore, you will need to move your mouse for 4 inches for the cursor to travel across all linear pixels lined up from the top to the bottom of the screen or vice versa.
Considering the two examples above, the person in scenario two will need to move their mouse 4x the distance that the person in scenario A has moved to achieve the same results. Therefore, they can get by with a high DPI as it won’t make the cursor ungovernable.
If the person in scenario one tries to use the same high DPI settings as the other person, they will struggle because the cursor will be moving faster than most gamers can handle.
The polling rate is the number of times per second that a mouse reports back to the display. Typically, polling rates are counted in hertz. So, if your mouse has a polling rate of 500 hertz, it will report the cursor’s position back to the display 500 times per minute.
As per the above explanation, it is in your best interest to ensure that the mouse has/ is set to a high enough polling rate before deciding on the DPI standings. This is because it will be no use if you can move your cursor across a high distance in a few minutes, but it takes the display a bit more time to react.
However, a high polling rate isn’t always the best option especially if you have a wireless mouse. This is because it will drain your battery faster, which can be quite inconvenient.
Sensitivity is one of the most critical DPI multipliers. As the name suggests, sensitivity is basically how sensitive your mouse is to touch. However, unlike DPI which is mostly determined by hardware, sensitivity depends on the settings you have personally enforced.
For perspective, when you open your display and click on Windows mouse sensitivity settings, you will see a sensitivity slider with 11 notches, and the ideal setting is 6, which is also the default.Altering the default settings will mean that you will give windows the power over your mouse acceleration and pointer speed.
By having control of mouse acceleration, I mean that irrespective of your DPI, the cursor speed will depend on how fast you move the mouse. So if the DPI settings dictate that it should have moved across 500 pixels, you will find the cursor only moved across 450 pixels.
On the other hand, precision will depend on the average distance the computer thinks you would want the cursor to land, depending on your patterns.Therefore, altering the default settings will lead to inconsistencies which will, in turn, hinder your performance.
Every game will require you to employ different skills; therefore, you will need to alter the DPI settings accordingly. No two games will offer you the same performance rate using the same settings.
Some games ignore the windows mouse settings and set their own to level the field. In contrast, other video games allow you to employ your desired settings combination.
And finally, some gaming mice allow you to switch from one DPI setting to another by clicking one button while in the middle of the game. The aforementioned setting will put you in a vantage position, especially if you are playing a game that requires a different set of skills at each turn.
Rarely will a newbie gamer come into the scene and defeat the people who have been perfecting their craft. Therefore, to decide on the best DPI settings, you need to strongly consider improving your muscle memory.
Due to preference, there are three different ways professional games hold their mice and where you fall on the list will influence the best DPI setting. So assume that you grip the mouse with the palm, you will benefit from having a low DPI setting, as it will offer you more accuracy which is important when aiming at targets.
On the other hand, if you grip the mouse with your claws/fingertips, you will benefit from a high DPI, as you need precision and speed to aim correctly. Of course, the settings you settle for will depend entirely on what the game consists of, but the point is to factor in your skills before deciding the ideal DPI settings.
In as much as no two gamers can produce the same performance using the same DPI settings, people still like to compare their metrics regardless of how different their hardware is. This is especially common for professional players who want to compete or newbies looking for a suitable range to build from.
For this reason, there is a suitable comparable metric known as EDPI, an acronym for ‘effective dots per inch.’ To calculate your EDPI, you need to multiply your in-game sensitivity by your DPI.
So, assume you are player one and are trying to gauge the difference of the EDPI of your felow gamers; here is how to go about it.
Player 1: 500 DPI x 2 in-game sensitivity = 1000 DPI
Player 2: 250 DPI x 4 in-game sensitivity = 1000 DPI
Player 3: 1000 DPI x 2 in-game sensitivity = 2000 DPI
As per the settings used by players one and two, both will have a somewhat similar feel and precision level, even though they don’t have the exact setting. So if the three players were in a league together, player three would need to adjust their settings to be closer to the other players.
Sadly, no specific DPI setting is considered the best for gaming. While it all boils down to preference and muscle memory, other factors, such as hardware, contribute to the overall result. Therefore, it makes more sense to find out in what settings you perform the best and improve from there.
Luckily, technology has significantly advanced over the years, so almost all gaming mice in the market come fitted with a DPI range that is suitable for anyone to work around. Therefore, try not to fall for the trick marketers who will convince you to buy an expensive mouse just because it offers a large DPI range, as it will not count in the grand scheme.
If your mouse offers a DPI of 800 and above, chances are that is all you will need. However, considering a high DPI means you can move your cursor from one point to another in record time, people assume it’s the better option which isn’t true.
A high DPI with a low sensitivity rate is an excellent setting if you are playing a game requiring sudden reflexes, for example, running from a crossfire. This is because you can make your move quickly, and since the character doesn’t need to turn at an exact degree, you can get away with extremely high DPI settings (with ample practice).
With that said, this setting is perfect for RPG and MMO games which require you to move the camera quickly, among other things.
In specific scenarios, you need a low DPI and high sensitivity setting. For example, if you are playing a game that requires you to aim and shoot characters, you need to be able to adequately focus on your target, which is best done on a low DPI.
However, please note that if the DPI is too low, it will take you longer than necessary to aim and shoot, which then negates the purpose of the whole setting.
With that said, this setting works best for FOMO and other similar games.
If you are wondering how and where to go check and alter your mouse DPI setting, you are lucky, as the process is often easy to follow. Even though all gaming mice are different, most modern ones are equipped with software for adjusting your preferred settings.
All you need to do is open the proprietary software in question, navigate the Sensitivity and DPI settings, and adjust accordingly. Alternatively, some mice allow you to alter the DPI settings by toggling the roller button according to your preference.
As you toggle the DPI setting, a scale will appear on your display to inform you of the changes you are making. Typically, toggling the button forward will increase the DPI, while toggling it back will reduce it.
As stated in the sections above, no one correct DPI setting will work for everyone, let alone for every game. As an avid gamer, you will need to keep adjusting the DPI and in-game sensitivity accordingly until you find a combination that works perfectly for you.
However, one thing is certain: if the DPI is too high or too low, you will find it difficult to control your cursor completely. Also, the DPI setting only makes sense when considered in a broader context because certain aspects, such as screen resolution and in-game sensitivity, significantly affect the DPI settings’ performance.
While all gamers prefer different settings combinations, most oscillate around the 400-800 DPI range.
Yes, it is. A DPI range of 1000 – 1600 is ideal for MMOs, RTGs, and RTS games. However, you will still have to tweak it until it suits your gaming style and skill set.
Everyone will benefit from different things, but you should start with low DPI and high in-game sensitivity. In this scenario, you will have more control over aim and the slow cursor movement reduces your chances of missing the target.