Gaming as a hobby has exploded in the last couple of decades – what started out as something seen as ‘nerdy’ by the mainstream went on to become mainstream itself. And with the evolution of e-sports and the rising number of competitive multiplayer games coming out, it’s becoming more and more important for every gamer to make sure that their entire setup is up to snuff. After all, with more players in the game, the skill ceiling keeps becoming higher and higher, and you’ll want to do whatever you can in order to remain competitive. Whether you’re gaming on a PC or a console using a mouse (such as an Xbox), setting the sensitivity and DPI of your mouse is integral to your success.

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What is mouse DPI?

Great question – let’s get straight into it. DPI, or dots per linear inch, is the standard used to measure the mouse sensitivity that a device can detect. Changing your DPI allows for an instant adjustment of your pointer speed – so you can switch between different tasks on the fly and have your device work as quickly (or slowly) as you want it to. So, for example, if you wanted your mouse to work slower while in-game for precision movements and tracking while aiming, you could choose a lower DPI number. Conversely, if you wanted your pointer to move more quickly in your desktop environment, you’d want to go with a larger DPI number.

How do I change the DPI I’m currently using?

Fortunately, changing your DPI is a rather simple process, regardless of the mouse you’re using. If you’re using a gaming mouse that has DPI on-the-fly buttons, such as the Logitech G502, you can change your DPI by simply pressing the on-the-fly button. The aforementioned mouse also has in-built memory, so you can create profiles with different DPI values and key bindings.

On the other hand, if your mouse does not have on-the-fly buttons for DPI swapping, or you don’t wish to use them, you’ll need to change your DPI using a more old-fashioned way.

In order to change the speed of a mouse that doesn’t have dedicated on-the-fly DPI buttons, follow the steps below:

  • Open the Start Menu
  • Type in ‘Mouse settings’ and click on the outlined menu item
  • Locate the ‘Additional mouse options’ link, which can be found in the right corner of the window that just popped up; click on it
  • Click on ‘Pointer Options’
  • Move the slider in order to change the speed of your mouse; moving it to the right will make it move faster, and moving it to the left will slow it down

After you’re done with this process, click on ‘Apply’ and then ‘Ok’ in order to save your changes and enjoy the newly adjusted mouse speed.

Does a higher DPI value mean the mouse is better?

To answer this right off the bat is simple – as the answer to the question is a resounding no. Mouse manufacturers love to use extremely high DPI values in their marketing campaigns, throwing around numbers such as even 32000 DPI. The reality, though, is that you’ll (most likely) never see a use for such an extremely high DPI value – using a value such as this will simply make you get dizzy due to the insane speed at which the pointer would move. In-game, your character would probably end up spinning in circles from the slightest movements of your mouse.

How do I choose between a high or low DPI value?

A lot of this will come down to personal preference; after all, everyone is different and what suits another person may not necessarily fit you too. However, sticking to a value of 1600 DPI or lower is recommended for FPS games, as any higher values will make your aim go all over the place, making tracking while aiming a nightmare. Of course, there’s a physical factor to consider when it comes to DPI as well: your mouse pad. In order to take advantage of a low DPI value (which lets you make surgically precise movements while aiming), you’ll absolutely need a large mouse pad. Otherwise, you’ll be struggling to use the mouse properly, as you’ll need to keep resetting its position back on top of the pad and then moving it all the way along it again.

There’s one more thing to consider when it comes to choosing between high and low DPI values, and it’s a factor that hasn’t been considered much until recently. There’s been an uptick in gamers choosing to use a higher DPI value due to one simple reason – there appears to be a correlation between higher DPI values and lower input lag. In other words, if you use a higher DPI value, your input latency will also be lower, meaning your system will react to your clicks quicker. In games where the time it takes to eliminate an opposing player is measured in milliseconds, any advantage can and should be considered. There are, of course, diminishing returns when it comes to this – values over 1600 DPI reduce the input lag less and less until a ceiling is reached. If you’re curious as to how and why this works the way it does, here’s a video that goes in-depth on this topic:

What DPI value should I choose for which game?

When it comes to the speed and accuracy of your mouse, DPI isn’t everything. Along with the DPI value, every game has its own sensitivity, which can be measured in different ways, depending on the developer’s preference and the engine that the game is developed in. This means that, for example, a sensitivity value of 2 and a DPI value of 800 might not feel the same way in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive as it would in another game like Call of Duty Warzone.

Now, we all know that keeping your aim consistent is one of the most important factors when it comes to how you perform in first (or third) person shooters, so having your settings remain consistent over multiple games is of utmost importance. You may be wondering how you can go about keeping your settings consistent if every game measures sensitivity differently – and that’s a legitimate concern. Thankfully, there’s a way for you to calculate the sensitivity and DPI you want to use for each game – making consistency more achievable (and don’t worry, we promise there’s not too much maths involved!).

You can use an online tool in order to calculate your sensitivity between games (taking into account your DPI for both games, as well). Simply pick the game you’re converting your sensitivity from, and the game you want to set your sensitivity in, type in your current sensitivity and DPI, as well as the DPI you intend to use in the new game, and you’ll get the results you want. Here’s an example of how it looks:

Quick, simple, and most importantly, math free – what more could one want?

Which DPI value should I choose?

Ultimately, as mentioned previously, this comes down to personal preference. The best way to choose a DPI value for you is to simply go out there and test different values out and see what sticks. Give each value an hour or two to adjust, and see what felt the best for you. Once again, we do advise keeping the value up to a reasonable amount, such as 1600, as you may experience trouble in shooter games if you go higher. But then again – there are people out there demolishing their lobbies using values such as 3200, so feel free to try that out as well.

If you’d like to know which DPI values professional players use as a point of reference, take a look at the cheat sheet below:

PlayerDPISensitivityeDPI
Shroud4502.4 (CS:GO)1080
Taimou8005 (Overwatch)4000
S1mple4003.09 (CS:GO)1236
ZywOo4002.0 (CS:GO)800
Cloak4000.11X, 0.11Y (FN)44

As you can see, the professional players prefer to keep their DPI values quite low – ranging from 400 to 800. This is likely due to the fact that having a lower DPI value allows them to make more precise movements while aiming, which in turn makes tracking opponents much easier.

Now, you may have noticed that one of these columns says ‘eDPI’. We haven’t mentioned this value yet, but we’ll get into it now. Remember when we mentioned that DPI isn’t everything, and that games use sensitivity in tandem with your DPI in order to decide how your mouse will act? Well, the ‘eDPI’ value stands for effective DPI – and, as you may have noticed from looking at the table above, it’s calculated by multiplying your current DPI value by your current sensitivity value. Here’s a quick example:

800 DPI, 2 sensitivity in-game = 1600 eDPI

As mentioned previously, though, every game measures sensitivity a bit differently, so you’ll likely want to use an online tool in order to calculate the values you need for a specific game.

AimLab

We also felt compelled to mention AimLab in this article. AimLab is a fantastic tool for anyone looking to fiddle around with their sensitivity and DPI, as it allows you to practice your aim using DPI and sensitivity values set up to simulate your favorite games. In other words, this tool allows you to set your desired DPI and sensitivity, choose the game you wish to warm up for, and then practice your aim for as much as you’d like using the settings you like. You can even switch between different games seamlessly, which makes this a great one-stop shop for you if you play multiple games and wish to practice (or simply have a warmup tool) for all of them. The tool has multiple different types of tests, including reflex tests, tracking tests, memory tests, and more. It’ll track your performance throughout your practice, and will give you tips in regards to what you should focus on more in order to improve. Oh, and the best part of all? It’s completely free for everyone.

So, whether you want to practice for that next competitive match, or fiddle with your DPI and sensitivity for multiple games at once, you can hop on to AimLab and make sure your aim is tuned to perfection.

You should now have everything you need in order to go out there and decimate your opponents using your newly tuned DPI and sensitivity settings. Good luck and have fun!

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