DPI is the measurement of how sensitive a mouse is. When your DPI is high, you can move the cursor across your monitor farther with minimal drag across your table. When your DPI is low, your cursor will move slower, taking up less space.
An ultra-high DPI doesn't necessarily mean it's better since it would be too sensitive to move.
The best type of DPI is one that suits you and what feels most comfortable.
What DPI Should I Use For Gaming?
Let us start with the basics.
DPI is an acronym that stands for dots per inch. Each dot correlates to one pixel on the screen.
DP = Device-independent pixel - The unit of length used when calculating DPI.
If you've got a 1080p monitor and a mouse with a DP of 1,000 pixels if you were to move your mouse vertically exactly 1 inch from the bottom of the screen, you will reach the top.
If you had a DP of 2,000 pixels, it would take you 1/2 an inch to reach the top.
If you had a DP of 10,000, it would take you 1/10 of an inch to reach the top.
See where I'm going with this?
The DP determines how sensitive the mouse sensor is.
Here's The Thing About DPI...
In reality, there's no 1 size fits all when choosing a DPI.
In fact, there's a lot of information about DPI and sensitivity that you don't need to know about choosing the best DPI.
At the end of the day, it's about how you feel. How comfortable you are with the speed at which your mouse can travel...
Or in FPS games, how comfortable you are with the speed at which your crosshair can travel.
If you really just want a baseline to work off, use the following:
400 DPI if you're playing on a low resolution
800 DPI if you're playing on a resolution that's native to your monitor
I would recommend starting off with these options for reasons I will explain when we get to the 'CSGO pros' section. I had personally switched from a DPI of 1200 to 800 and my aim felt like it became 10x smoother.
If you feel as if it's still too low - adjust your settings in-game, not your DPI.
You want your aim to feel smooth, responsive, and accurate - and usually, a lower DPI would make this easier since.
You want to focus on is practicingyour aim.
The Best Way To Test Your DPI Options
You can change your DPI at any time, and if you have a gaming mouse, you most likely have a DPI button that changes your settings.
So the best way to test the different options is to go into your game of choice and get a feel of each option.
Take into account these variables:
You want your mouse to stay on your mouse pad at all times, especially when doing flick shots when turning, or doing any sort of normal movement.
If you don't have a mouse pad, get a mousepad, it will smoothen your aim, and make moving your mouse on the table feel like you're spreading some butter on pancakes. The current mousepad I'm using is a full-desk RGB mousepad.
You want to ensure that when you're switching targets that your precision is on point and isn't compromised.
If you have a wired mouse, you want to ensure that your cord doesn't get caught, and you have the freedom to move it wherever you want. If your mouse cord keeps getting caught in awkward places, get this bungee.
You want to ensure when you're moving your mouse that your body position doesn't have to move with you. You want to stay in the same spot so you can focus on your mouse and keyboard movements.
Alongside DPI, there's another option you should be aware of...
DPI is referred to how sensitive you can make your mouse.
Sensitivity is referring to how sensitive you want your mouse to be in-game.
Each game is built on different engines, has different variables, and therefore performs differently.
It's not uncommon to see different sensitivities in different games that feel the same.
For example, my sensitivity in CS:GO can be 1.5, whereas, in Rainbow 6 Siege, it's at 1.8...
This is because the graphics, the mouse sensitivity, feels different, and my R6S POV is wider than when I'm in CSGO.
Merely testing your DPI and sensitivity in-game will allow you to make these adjustments since you will feel the feedbackin real-time.
I can immediately tell if my sensitivity is off within the first 15 seconds of starting up a game, and you should be able to as well.
You don't want to keep changing your DPI and sensitivity all the time; your aim gets better as your body builds up the habits.
So for best practice:
Find a DPI and in-game mouse sensitivity that you're comfortable with, and get used to it.
If you want to change your sensitivity, pick a different in-game sensitivity, not your DPI.
To get better at aiming, you need to work off a DPI and mouse sensitivity that you're already used to, so if you want to improve your aim and you play different games, look at how you can duplicate your mouse options, so it's consistent.
Why Do CSGO Pros Use A 400 DPI?
Upon doing research for this article, I stumbled across an interesting trend when looking at the mouse settings of the top 10 greatest CSGO players according to Ginx.tv.
The reason why 400 DPI is widely amongst this group of pro players is because of a couple of reason:
400 DPI was the only option to choose from in many gaming mice back in the CS 1.6 days (the version of Counter-Strike that put Valve on the map).
400 DPI gives you more options to play with when you're testing out different in-game sensitivity.
Many of the pros play on 'Black Bars' which is an aspect ration of 4:3 which makes the resolution much lower than your usual 1920x1080, and as I stated above under the 'baseline' DPI guidelines, using a 400 DPI is best if you play at a low resolution.
Lower DPI = Cursor not adding any additional micro-movements; hence it becomes easier to aim - especially at the head.
Personally, I can't hack using 400 DPI because when using the mouse for other tasks other than gaming, it feels way too slow.
So if you want to follow what the CSGO pros, either:
Play on a lower resolution (4:3 aspect ration with black bars), and use 400 DPI.
If you're like me and play on 1920x1080 ratio, use 800 DPI.
Again, I must insist that these are recommendations, use what you're most comfortable with.
If you're already using a high DPI and don't want to make the switch, that's perfectly fine.
Even Shroud said it himself:
Why You Need A Gaming Mouse For DPI
Unfortunately, DPI options don't come with regular mice.
Most mice are set to 800 DPI (which is still good), but lack the customization that's needed when optimizing your sensitivity for games.
Gaming mice are superior in the sense that they are tailor made to fit your grip style, and have addition buttons to make gaming easier.
So my recommendation is, even if you aren't a gamer, opting for a gaming mouse would still be a great choice.
For example, the Logitech G502 HERO has an 'unlimited scroll' feature, which makes scrolling long web pages (like this) more efficient.
Just a little feature that can add a slight increase in productivity. Features like this go a long way.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some commonly asked questions about DPI.
What's The Best DPI For FPS Games?
If you've read up till this point, then you know that the best DPI is the DPI you have gotten comfortable with, but if you need a baseline to start off from - use either 400 or 800.
What really matters is your in-game sensitivity, setting your DPI to 400 allows you to have a range of options when you're going through your trial and error period.
Just remember, everyone's preferred eDPI is different, and it really comes down to what you enjoy using the most.
Once you're settled on a DPI setting, ensure you clone your mouse settings so it's consistent over every game.
All games are different, so you will need to test these in-game and adjust accordingly.
Some games have the same engine - so cloning your mouse settings would give you the same result.
In other games, you can use the same mouse settings, and through trial and error find what feels most comfortable.
You will be able to feel if your sensitivity is off within the first 15 seconds of playing.
If you want to test out different DPI and mouse options, try using the same mouse settings as some eSports professionals.
Check out this list of pro/known Fortnite players.
Where Can I Adjust My Mouse DPI Settings?
There are a couple of ways you can do this:
Most mice come with a DPI button that you can press to cycle through the 5 options. Usually, you can differentiate them by moving your mouse on your screen or through the different lighting colors it shows.
You can download the accompanied software that a lot of gaming mice have now. In the software, there should be an option to change the DPI manually. The best way to find this is to search "name of your mousesoftware."
If you're unsure if your mouse has any of these 2, search up "how to change name of your mouseDPI" on google.
Since the age of 6, Lorenzo has enjoyed gaming on computers. Having grown up in the digital age, the technology revolves around him. He enjoyed growing up gaming throughout his high school years and is now a young adult who does most of his work on his computer. Lorenzo's mission is to make buying products and building PC's an easy and fun experience for all.