If you are into PC gaming, then it’s very likely that you’ve heard the term DPI being thrown around with regards to gaming mice.
In this guide, we are going to focus on understanding gaming mouse DPI since it’s one of those mouse specifications that causes a lot of confusion for gamers.
We’ll look at what DPI is, how DPI affects gaming, as well as the recommended DPI for gaming.
Let’s get started!
What Does DPI Mean On A Gaming Mouse?
The acronym DPI stands for Dots Per Inch. It is a linear measure of how far a cursor moves on the screen for every inch of mouse movement. In short, it is a measure of mouse sensitivity. The higher the DPI the more sensitive a mouse is, meaning you need less effort to move the cursor across the screen.
For example, if you move a mouse that is set to 400 DPI a distance of one inch, the cursor will move 400 pixels on the screen. And if you move a mouse that is set to 1600 DPI a distance of one inch, the cursor will move 1600 pixels on the screen.
Gaming Mouse DPI vs CPI
CPI stands for Counts Per Inch and is used to measure the number of steps a mouse registers when it is moved a distance of one inch. When it comes to gaming mice, CPI and DPI refer to the same thing. However, DPI is the most popular and preferred term.
Technically, CPI should be the correct nomenclature when talking about mouse sensitivity. The term DPI crossed over from the printing world where it was used to describe technical aspects of printers and later became an accepted term for referring to mouse sensitivity.
How Does Mouse DPI Affect Gaming?
A high DPI mouse setting makes turning game characters on the screen easier, however, it also makes aiming with precision (scoping), especially for First Person Shooter (FPS) games, difficult.
For Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games such as DOTA 2, League of Legends, and Heroes of the Storm, where fast character movement rather than precision is needed, having a high DPI mouse setting can be valuable.
It increases mouse sensitivity, thus allowing you to move game characters fast just by dragging your mouse a small distance on the mouse pad.
On the other hand, for FPS games, such as Counter-Strike (CS: GO), Call of Duty, and Overwatch where precise aiming is critical, for example, when trying to aim with a sniper rifle, a low mouse DPI setting works better.
Playing first shooter games with a high mouse DPI setting increases your chances of missing the target because you have less control over the crosshair.
What DPI should I use For Gaming?
While mouse DPI setting is a matter of preference, most gamers, including pro gamers, find that a good DPI setting for gaming is 400, 800, or 1600 DPI.
For games where a lot of fast movement is involved, such as Overwatch, the DPI should be set high, while for precision games such as PUBG it should be set to low.
Just because some gaming mice, such as the Razer DeathAdder can go up to 20,000 DPI doesn’t necessarily mean a very high DPI is good for gaming. In fact, a look at CS: GO pro settings shows that most pros have their mouse DPI set at 400 and 800.
A DPI setting of between 400 and 800 allows you to have good control over your character’s movement as well as have a high level of precision when aiming. This explains why many gamers use a low DPI on a high DPI mouse.
Is A High DPI Mouse Better For Gaming?
A gaming mouse with a very high DPI isn’t necessarily better for gaming. A high DPI has its benefits, but beyond 3000 DPI it becomes very difficult to control your character’s movement or aim with accuracy. In fact, most gamers have their DPI set at between 400 and 1600 DPI.
While gaming mice with very high DPI don’t make you more precise or accurate, they exist because technological advancements have allowed manufacturers to push the DPI number higher. This is usually done to separate themselves from other manufacturers and gain a competitive edge.
What Is eDPI?
eDPI stands for effective Dots Per Inch and is used to measure “true mouse sensitivity”. It accommodates the various gaming mice available in the market as well as how gamers choose to set them up, thus making it easy for gamers to compare mouse sensitivities.
You can calculate your eDPI using this formula:
Mouse DPI x In-game Sensitivity = eDPI
How Do I Change DPI On A Gaming Mouse?
Most gaming mice come with proprietary software that allows you to change the DPI. Alternatively, you can adjust mouse DPI settings manually using the DPI button(s) on your gaming mouse.
Some gaming mouse software allow you to configure your DPI within a range so that you can increase or decrease it in steps using the DPI buttons. Examples of gaming mouse software that allow you to adjust the DPI include:
- Razer Synapse
- Glorious Model 0
- Logitech G Hub
- Corsair iCue
- SteelSeries Engine
For non-gaming mice, DPI is usually fixed and can not be changed since it is dependent on a mouse’s hardware capabilities. However, you can change mouse speed or acceleration from your Windows mouse settings.
How Do I Get My Ideal DPI Setting?
The game you play, monitor resolution, body alignment, and physical dexterity all determine what DPI will work for you.
To get the mouse DPI setting that’s ideal for you’ll need to experiment playing with different DPI settings to find out what works best for you. You can start with a high DPI setting and work your way down until you find your sweet spot.
When trying to find your sweet spot, it’s good to disable mouse acceleration in your mouse software, in-game settings, and Windows. Also, enable raw input if your game has this setting.
This will allow your mouse cursor to react only to input taken directly from the mouse driver and ignore any other input from Windows, game settings, and mouse software.
How To Check Gaming Mouse DPI
You should be able to check your DPI from the software that came with your gaming mouse. Another way would be to visit the manufacturer’s website and check the listed DPI of your specific mouse model. You can also visit mouse-sensitivity.com and use their DPI analyzer tool.
Conclusion- Gaming Mouse DPI Explained
A high DPI isn’t always better for gaming especially for FPS games where you need to be able to aim within the range of a few pixels.
A very low DPI, on the other hand, would make moving characters on the screen difficult in games like Fortnite where a lot of both linear and sideways movement is required.
Your ideal DPI is one that allows you to play smoothly without much effort and with precision. When it comes to mouse DPI, there’s no one size fits all. You need to experiment with a few DPI settings to find out what will work best for you.