When it comes to purchasing one of the best gaming mice for your next setup, choosing the right one for your needs can be pretty overwhelming. There are a ton of features and specifications to consider on modern mice: including buttons, ergonomics, RGB, brand, build quality, and price. To add even more pressure to the consideration process, gamers now have to decide which DPI is best for their gaming needs as well.
In the following article, we’ll be taking a closer look at DPI, explaining exactly what DPI is, how it affects your gaming experience, and which is best for specific types of games.
So, with plenty to get through, let’s waste no further time and dive straight into it!
When referencing a gaming mouse, DPI stands for ‘Dots Per Linear Inch’ and is a measurement that tells us how many pixels the cursor will move in relation to 1 inch of physical mouse movement. So, if you have a mouse set to 400DPI, it will move 400 screen pixels for every 1 inch you move the actual mouse.
Some manufacturers may choose to reference this measurement as CPI (counts per inch), or even ‘Mickeys per second’ if you want to go back a’ways. Regardless of what you call it though, at the end of the day, all we’re talking about is mouse sensitivity.
Over the years, mouse technology has improved exponentially. Even looking at mice from a few years ago, the difference in technological advancements is pretty staggering. That being said, one of the big jumps in recent history for mice has been the DPI they offer.
Originally, many mice would only offer 1200 DPI. This was deemed the necessary sensitivity for both gaming and desktop usage. However, as technology moved forward, DPI continued to grow. In modern gaming mice, DPI can reach the dizzy heights of 16,000 – meaning for every inch you move the mouse, the cursor will move 16,000 pixels. That’s the equivalent of over 8 1080p monitors per inch of mouse movement – speedy.
If you’re new to the world of PC gaming, you would be forgiven for thinking that a higher DPI is always better. I mean, that’s how it’s flaunted by manufacturer marketing. Look at any new gaming mice, it will undoubtedly shout its DPI on the front of the box. However, using the logic from above, you can quickly start to understand how DPI has become a bit of a marketing ploy. I mean, who in their right mind needs a DPI of 16,000? Certainly not gamers playing on generic monitors.
So, all being said, what is the best DPI for gaming? Well, it all comes down to personal preference at the end of the day. I know, anti-climax! But it’s true. That being said, there are some general guidelines that we feel will help you along your path to finding the perfect mouse sensitivity. I mean, we all wanna be busting out multikills like s1mple don’t we?
Before we get started, if you’ve been playing games for a while, find out what DPI you’ve been using and stick to that. The muscle memory you’ve built up over time will be difficult to re-adjust if you make a wild change based on our recommendations. However, if you’re completely new to PC gaming, these will serve you pretty well.
For first-person shooters, you want to be aiming for 400-800 DPI. Whilst this seems low, games like CS:GO and Overwatch relies on precise accuracy – something that higher DPI simply doesn’t give. A lot of current pros utilize this DPI range as it provides the highest levels of precision and accuracy. The same DPI range is a great place to start for individuals playing MOBA games.
For those that are looking to play MMOs and RPGs, a higher 1000-1600 DPI is actually considered the norm. Unlike first-person shooters, you don’t require pinpoint accuracy and tracking when playing these titles. It’s actually advantageous to be able to quickly spin around and view the surrounding areas. The same can be said for Real-Time strategy games too. Because the only accuracy you need is physically clicking on stuff, you can get away with a higher DPI setting.
Remember, these are just guidelines – you can argue that some pros (very few) can use much higher/lower DPI settings than what we have here.
When trying to find your perfect gaming sensitivity, you might see the term EDPI used quite a bit. EDPI – or effective DPI – is a way of combining both your DPI and the in-game multiplier you use.
Whilst it is only relevant on a game-by-game metric, it’s still a much more accurate depiction of your sensitivity than just saying DPI or in-game sense.
The way you calculate EDPI is simple, take your in-game sensitivity and multiply it by the mouse’s DPI.
Below are some notable settings from various pros:
- 450 DPI
- 2.4 Sensitivity
- 1,080 eDPI
- 800 DPI
- 0.077 X Sensitivity
- 0.079 Y Sensitivity
- 62.4 eDPI
- 400 DPI
- 3.09 Sensitivity
- 1,236 eDPI
- 400 DPI
- 2.0 Sensitivity
- 800 eDPI
Alongside your DPI and in-game sensitivity, you also have your Windows’ sensitivity to worry about. This acts as a further multiplier to your gaming sensitivity – so it should definitely be considered before making any in-game changes.
For gamers, we recommend setting your Windows sensitivity to the 6th notch (from a possible 11) and forgetting about it.
Once you start to go above the 6th notch, you start to run a real risk of missing pixels when moving your mouse.
That being said, a lot of modern titles have raw input settings that actually ignore the Windows sensitivity completely. However, it’s better to have it set properly than not at all.
So, you understand what DPI is and you have a pretty good idea of what settings you should be using. However, you still aren’t fully sure how to check (and change) your mouses’ DPI. Unfortunately, there isn’t one definitive answer to this question – mainly because all mice are different. That being said, nine times out of ten, you’ll be able to check what DPI your mouse is set to via the proprietary software it comes equipped with.
Simply enter the software and navigate to the sensitivity and DPI settings. This will tell you exactly what your mouse DPI is set to.
Actually changing your mouse DPI can be done in a few different ways. Firstly, you can enter the brand software and alter it by hand in the relevant section. Alternatively, you can use the dedicated DPI buttons on a mouse – something almost every mouse now has. They are usually located under the mouse wheel and can be one or two buttons.
If you’re lucky, your peripheral software will actually notify you of any DPI changes – showcasing what your new settings are.
So, there you have it, everything you need to know about DPI and how it affects your gaming. Ultimately, DPI and mouse sensitivity is one of the most important things to consider as a gamer – regardless of what game you play. That being said, for FPS players, your mouse EDPI is absolutely critical in your development as a player – especially if you want to climb the ranks.
- For FPS (and MOBA) players, 400 – 800 DPI is the optimal range
- For MMO, RPG, and RTS players, 1000 – 1600 DPI offers you great speed for looking around wide landscapes
If you have any questions regarding the subject, feel free to drop us a comment in the section below. Better still, why not head on over to our Community Hub where you can discuss everything DPI and mouse sensitivity related.