Gaming Mouse DPI: Is it Important?

Gaming Mouse DPI: Is it Important?

Picture of Gaming Mouse with High DPI


What is DPI?

DPI stands for “dots per inch” or pixels per inch. DPI will determine how far the cursor moves per inch of mouse movement. For example, 1600 DPI means that for every inch of mouse movement, the cursor moves 1600 pixels. The lower the DPI, the less sensitive the mouse is. This means that if you’re working with a higher DPI mouse, even moving your mouse even a little bit will move the cursor a large distance across your screen.


The average mouse these days have a DPI of 1600, and gaming mice tend to have 4000 DPI or more. 


DPI is different from the typical mouse sensitivity setting. DPI refers to a mouse’s hardware capabilities, while sensitivity is just a software setting. 


While closely related, DPI and a mouse’s sensitivity aren’t the same thing. DPI refers to the physical mouse’s capabilities, and sensitivity is a software setting. A low quality mouse set to a high sensitivity would only make your movement rough and inaccurate. 


Conversely, a mouse with a high DPI paired with a low sensitivity setting will result in accurate, smooth movement.


High DPI mice come in handy when dealing with a high-resolution monitor. Low resolution screens don’t require a mouse with high DPI. If for example, you’re playing on a high resolution screen, a high DPI mouse would allow you to smoothly move your cursor across the screen without having to move your mouse to the extremes of your mousepad or desk.



Why is DPI Important?

Although a higher DPI is useful to a certain extent, it isn’t always better. While you want your mouse moving quickly and accurately, you don’t want your mouse flying away across the screen or out of view. 


In the instance that you’re playing a first-person shooter game, zooming in and aiming with a sniper rifle would be much easier with a higher DPI because it would allow you to make small movements with your mouse while accurately aiming at your target. If you’re in a situation where aiming a rifle for max accuracy isn’t the goal, a high DPI may be too sensitive. That’s why investing in a high quality gaming mouse is a great idea. The buttons will allow you to tweak and switch between DPI settings at a moment’s notice.


Don’t be swayed by advertisements of gaming mice with crazy high DPI counts, as in most cases, a DPI setting higher than 1600 isn’t needed. If sensitivity is the issue, you can always increase your ingame sensitivity. 


That being said, there really is no “perfect” DPI setting.  Most professional first-person shooter players buy a large mousepad and set their mouse DPI to anywhere between 800 and 1200 because a lower DPI gives you precision. The “ideal” DPI setting will have more to do with what kind of game you’re playing, your monitor’s resolution and your gaming style. Pick a setting that is most comfortable for you and your gaming style depending on what game you’re playing at the moment. 


How do you find out your Mouse’s DPI?

The main way to find out how much DPI your mouse has is by checking the mouse maker’s specs either on the manual or when you buy it. In general a lower quality mouse in the 2000s had about 800 DPI and in the 2010’s they have about 1200 - 1600 DPI.


How to Change your DPI Setting?

Ways of changing your mouse’s DPI varies from mouse to mouse but generally speaking there are two standard ways to change your mouse’s DPI. One way is through a software or a button on your gaming mouse dedicated to changing DPI settings.


What is eDPI?

Since gamers like to compare settings, gear, and so forth, and comparing raw sensitivity and DPI can get confusing we use eDPI when comparing ‘true sensitivities.’ eDPI stands for “Effective Dots Per Inch”, and it’s calculated by multiplying the mouse DPI with the ingame sensitivity. This gives gamers a way of comparing the true sensitivity of different players, regardless of their hardware or software settings.


 eDPI stands for “effective Dots Per Inch”. This measurement gives gamers a method of comparing “true sensitivity” of different players no matter what their hardware or software settings are. eDPI is calculated by multiplying the mouse DPI by the ingame sensitivity. For example


Player A has a DPI of 1200, and an ingame sensitivity of 4.

Player B has a DPI of 800, and an ingame sensitivity of 6.

Player A's eDPI = 4800 (1200 X 4)

Player B's eDPI = 4800 (800 X 6)

As you can see, even though both player’s DPI and ingame sensitivity differs, the both have the same true sensitivity or eDPI.


What are Polling Rates?

A mouse’s polling rate is how often it reports it’s position to your computer. Polling rates are measured in hertz. A mouse with a 125 Hz polling rate reports its position to the computer 125 times per second or every 8 milliseconds. A 250 Hz rate would mean the mouse is reporting its position to the computer every 4 milliseconds. 


A high polling rate can decrease lag time between when you move your mouse and when the cursor responds on your screen. At the same time, a higher polling rate will use more CPU power since the CPU would have to search for the mouse’s position more often.


A mouse built for supporting a higher polling rate will tend to allow you to select a polling rate from the control panel. Some mice also have buttons that allow you to adjust their polling rate at your discretion.



Pro DPI Settings

If you spend some time looking around, you’ll notice that most pros use a DPI between 400 and 800 when gaming. 


  • NiKo - 400 DPI / 1.55 Sensitivity (CS:GO) / 620 eDPI
  • Tfue - 400 DPI / 30% Sensitivity (Fortnite) / 1,236 eDPI
  • Shroud - 450 DPI / 2.4 Sensitivity (CS:GO) / 1,080 eDPI
  • Coldzera - 800 DPI / 1.00 Sensitivity (CS:GO) / 800 eDPI
  • Ninja - 800 DPI / 0.077 X Sensitivity (Fortnite) / 0.079 Y Sensitivity (Fortnite) / 62.4 eDPI
  • Cloak - 400 DPI / 0.11 X Sensitivity (Fortnite) / 0.11 Y Sensitivity (Fortnite) / 44 eDPI
  • Taimou - 800 DPI / 5 Sensitivity (Overwatch) / 4,000 eDPI
  • MrSavage - 1450 DPI / 8.1% Sensitivity X (Fortnite) / 8.1% Sensitivity Y (Fortnite) / 117.45 eDPI
  • Bugha - 400 DPI / 0.13 X Sensitivity (Fortnite) / 0.13 Y Sensitivity (Fortnite) / 52 eDPI
  • Stewie2k - 720 DPI / 1.80 Sensitivity (CS:GO) / 720 eDPI
  • dev1ce - 400 DPI / 1.90 Sensitivity (Astralis) / 760 eDPI
  • S1mple - 400 DPI / 3.09 Sensitivity (CS:GO) / 1,236 eDPI
  • ZywOo - 400 DPI / 2.0 Sensitivity (CS:GO) / 800 eDPI
  • Mongraal - 800 DPI / 5.8% X Sensitivity / 5.8% Y Sensitivity / 43.2 eDPI
  • benjfishy - 800 DPI / 10% X Sensitivity / 10? Y Sensitivity / 112 eDPI


Improve your Aiming

Now that we all understand that there’s no “best” DPI, here’s how to get better at aiming at a high level.


Since there is no “perfect” DPI, how would you make sure you play your best? Improve your skills at aiming.

  1. Do your research. Buy a good quality mouse. We have a great selection to choose from!
  2. Make sure your mouse has a nice ergonomic design and fits your hand comfortably. 
  3. Make sure your mouse has a good sensor.
  4. Be conscious of your DPI settings and start to build your muscle memory.
  5. Decide what kind of gamer you want to be. You can either choose sens or high sens. Either way works, but people usually aim to be low sense because it’s easier to aim.
  6. Depending on your experience and natural skill level, you might need to work up to a certain DPI setting. Making big leaps in your eDPI settings could be discouraging.


In Summary

Once you’ve decided to invest in gaming, choosing the perfect mouse is absolutely integral to your success. Although DPI and polling rate are important, they’re not everything. Invest in a gaming mouse that fits your goals, game preference and gaming style. Build your skills and be the best gamer you can be! For all your gaming needs, Patriot Memory is here for you!

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