DPI settings have been a hot topic in gaming circles for years.
So you may be wondering how important your PPE is in the grand scheme of things.
Don’t worry. In this article, we will:
- Explain what DPI is and how it relates to CPI, sensitivity, and EDPI
- Show best DPI for game options
- Guide through mouse DPI control
Let’s dive in!
What is DPI in a mouse?
DPI stands for dots per inch.
It’s actually a misnomer, but we’ll talk about that later. However, even a bit of a misnomer, the name says it all. Your mouse’s DPI measures how many pixels (“points”) the cursor can move on the screen per one inch of your hand movement.
In other words, it is a measure of the relationship between the distance the cursor moves on the screen and the distance the mouse moves on the surface.
Here is an example.
So let’s say your DPI is 800. This means that if you move the mouse one inch, the mouse cursor will move 800 pixels on the screen.
Or let’s take higher DPI levels, like 1600. Again, move your hand one inch, but now your mouse cursor will move 1600 pixels of the screen! Although his hand movement remained the same, his mouse moved more around the screen.
What is the main point of this high vs low DPI comparison?
It’s all about mouse sensitivity.
You’ve probably noticed how manufacturers have tried to compare themselves to each other when it comes to gaming mouse DPI. Much of the marketing strategy seems to be based on impressive numbers, even exceeding 20,000!
But, in this case, does bigger equal better?
Here’s a secret:
They’re not here. As you might have guessed, it’s all just part of a marketing ploy designed to surprise you with big numbers.
You have to find the best mouse sensitivity for maximum utility. So nothing too low and not even absurdly high.
Lucky for you, we’ve done the research.
What is the best DPI for gaming?
This is a loaded question.
That is why we suggest some starting points. They will lead you to your great discovery of what is the best DPI for gaming.
Starting from the beginning:
Sensitivity does not equal accuracy!
Let’s say you’re trying to play your usual CS:GO, but with a much higher mouse sensitivity than you’re used to. You’ll pop out of the 360-degree screen like a confused helicopter. You’ll feel like you’re aiming with a slippery bar of soap. Unpleasant!
This is because gaming mouse DPI is only part of the picture. Your experience also depends on:
- Native sensitivity and in-game sensitivity (which varies from game to game!)
- Resolution and screen ratio
- Your style of play and muscle memory
- The type of game you play.
Let’s talk a little about each of these.
Native and game sensitivity
Windows and game sensitivity are also taken into account as they act as multipliers. We will talk more about this in the next section.
For now, let’s take a quick look.
Always keep pointer precision or mouse acceleration unchecked as it can seriously affect game DPI.
In-game sensitivity setting values are different for each game. So if you tried to use the same mouse settings to play Overwatch, say, Apex, you wouldn’t get the same sensitivity!
This also means that the best DPI for Apex Legends will not be the best when used in any other game. Fortunately, there are many calculator tools online that address this issue and convert your setup from one game to another.
Resolution and screen ratio
Let’s say you switch from a 22″ 1080p monitor to a 27″ 1440p monitor. It’s likely to affect mouse sensitivity and you’ll need to increase it to go with the larger screen. With a larger screen and the same old DPI levels, you’ll feel like you have to move your hand a lot more to get the pointer across the screen. And that feeling will only intensify with ultrawide curved monitors or dual monitors.
Bottom line: more pixels = more sensitivity needed.
Playing style and muscle memory
Each has their own distinctive style of play and moves. Some people like higher DPI settings because they like to do everything with a slight flick of the wrist (watch out for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, though). Others like to play at lower DPI levels on a large playmat, with more arm and shoulder movement.
But that is not all!
It also depends on the muscle memory you have developed for the game. If you change the long-standing mouse settings for the game, most automatic movements will no longer work. That’s why it’s best to quickly find out what works for you and stick with it.
types of games
It makes sense that what counts as good DPI for FPS might not work for RTS, right? Take the following tips with a grain of salt. What works for some people won’t necessarily work for you.
In general, whenever someone talks about the best PPE for the game, treat it with a fair amount of skepticism.
For FPS shooting accuracy, the recommended DPI for gaming is between 400 and 800. There is no widely accepted optimal range for MOBA games, but this might also be your sweet spot for more control in your clicks.
It’s a different story for MMOs and RPGs, as it will rely more on a wider range of movement on maps than accuracy. For those games, the best DPI is in the higher range of 1000-1600. So, nothing too crazy. The same setup is perhaps even more true for RTS games, where you’ll have to strategically overlook everything that’s going on.
You may have noticed that we haven’t mentioned insanely high DPI settings, not even once. And that’s because you really don’t need it!
Of course, there are always people on Reddit talking about their weird 10,000+ DPI game settings, which they claim is the best DPI for League of Legends. But you don’t need much to get the most out of it.
CPI vs DPI vs Sensitivity vs EDPI
There is a set of terms that are often used in conjunction with PPE, sometimes even interchangeably. And we’ve already said that the term DPI is technically a misnomer.
IPC vs. DPI
CPI stands for counts per inch. “Accounts” are the basic units of mouse sensors. So if you have a mouse with 1000 CPI, that means it registers 1000 counts when you move it an inch. The higher the CPI, the more sensitive the mouse is.
So what’s the deal with DPI then?
DPI actually stands for printer dots per inch, which refers to the printers output resolution. The name stuck to the mice.
CPI and DPI are basically the same thing. It’s just that CPI is technically the best term to measure mouse sensitivity, but DPI is the most popular.
There is also another cuter term that is used: Mickey by the second.
DPI vs. Sensitivity
You might be wondering why we’re talking about sensitivity, again. Remember how we mentioned native and game sensitivity earlier? Along with DPI (or rather CPI), they all act as sensitivity multipliers.
So if you want to set the best mouse sensitivity, you will need to pay attention to the Windows and game settings.
Let’s take a closer look.
When you check your Windows mouse sensitivity settings, you’ll see a slider with 11 notches, all different sensitivity multipliers
You need to set the multiplier to the sixth notch. Any other mouse settings for the game can cause pixel jumps.
So remember: 6/11 is the magic number!
And the sensitivity within the game?
It differs from game to game.
Many gamers like to play at higher DPI levels which are “diluted” with reduced game sensitivity. The only problem is that if you want to play with very high DPI, the game options are probably not low enough.
IPR vs. EDPI
EDPI stands for effective dots per inch. Every time you play with your game sensitivity, you are actually changing your EDPI.
This is because your EDPI is your “simple” game DPI multiplied by the game sensitivity.
So, it’s something like this:
Gaming sensitivity of 600 DPI x 2 = 1200 EDPI
The result is your true gaming mouse DPI, which is why it’s called “effective”. Again, your EDPI value depends on the game you play.
How to check mouse DPI
Ok, it all makes sense, but what is the DPI of my mouse right now?
We’ll help you find out.
Let’s start with an easy one: your mouse specs.
You can look at your box (if you still have it) or just look up the model online. Your mouse’s DPI range (or highest point) should be there.
Another way to do this is with mouse drivers.
Go to the manufacturer’s website and search for the appropriate driver software for your model. When you install it, look for the pointer settings. From there, finding your DPI settings should be easy. The nice thing is that you can customize what each of your fancy sensitivity level buttons does.
Finally, if all else fails, you can use the old reliable online DPI Analyzer to determine your current DPI levels.
Here is the process, step by step:
- Take a sheet of paper with lines drawn in inches/cm (to use as a mouse pad) or just a ruler. You’ll need them to measure how far you move the mouse when you move the pointer from the left edge of the screen to the right.
- Write that distance as Target Distance on the analyzer.
- Carefully click and drag the red crosshair down, move it the same distance you specified as the target distance, and then release it.
- And voila! Now you know the DPI of your mouse. You will see your actual DPI value appear in the box.
For this to work properly, deselect native pointer precision and keep the sensitivity setting 6/11.
In the end, we can say that gaming DPI as a concept is a bit overrated. Sure, it’s important, but it’s not a matter of life and death, as some mouse manufacturers might lead you to believe.
There is no universal best DPI for gaming. It’s just a matter of trying different combinations because your DPI is not an isolated value. In fact, the DPI setting only makes sense as part of a larger context, which is a combination of:
- screen resolution
- Windows sensitivity settings and games
- Different styles of play
- types of games
As the ancient Greek proverb says, “Know yourself and know the size of your PPE.” So grab your mouse and keyboard and start experimenting!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS.
Is higher DPI better for gaming?
Not necessarily! Don’t buy into the idea that “higher” equals “better.” Depending on the type of game you play, a good DPI might even be on the low end for those accurate headshots!
Is 1000 DPI good for FPS?
Probably not, since the best DPI for FPS is 400-800. This is by no means set in stone, so why not try 1000 DPI and see for yourself?
Is 1200 DPI good for gaming?
It could be a good DPI for gaming. if you are playing MMO, RPG and RTS. Its recommended DPI range is 1000-1600. And again, there is no best DPI for gaming, you have to make your own discoveries.
What DPI do pro-FPS gamers use?
Interestingly, most professional FPS gamers use the same 400-800 DPI, As mentioned before. Of course, everyone adjusts it to their liking with the game’s sensitivity settings.