Gaming Mouse and DPI: Why do pro gamers use low DPI?

Gaming Mouse and DPI: Why do pro gamers use low DPI?

Razer, Logitech, Corsair, they all make gaming mice, and they all boast about how high their DPI is. Isn’t it ironic then that most pro gamers prefer to use a low DPI setting?

Pro gamers use low DPI because this gives them ultimate precision when aiming. Pro FPS players use huge mouse mats, and they use their whole forearm to move the mouse. This combined with a DPI of 400 – 800 gives them accurate aim.

Logitech gaming mouse with 16000 DPI
Image: screenshot from

What is DPI? And Why does it matter to gamers?

DPI stands for “Dot per Inch”, and it says something about how sensitive and accurate a mouse is.  

Let’s take a mouse with 1000 DPI for example. When you move this mouse 1 inch, or 2,54 cm, the cursor on your screen will move 1000 pixels. Most PC monitors have a maximum resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, meaning you would have to move the mouse 5 cm (2 inches) to go from one edge of the screen to the other. On a 4K monitor this distance would be doubled.

Now with a higher DPI you can move the mouse just a tiny bit, and the cursor will go across the monitor. This is good for turning around quickly, or moving across the map on a strategy game. But when you’re trying to aim at someone far away you’re better off with using lower DPI.

Higher DPI means better mouse right?

According to producers of gaming mice it does. The idea is that while it’s nearly impossible to game at 16000 DPI (see video below), having a high DPI mouse and using a lower DPI setting, like 1600, will increase the precision of the mouse.

This makes sense, in theory. The problem is that in order to deliver 16000 DPI, these high end mice have to split pixels into 4 or more virtual pixels. This results in noice which again results in less precision. 

Which games are most affected by DPI?

It should come as no surprise that FPS gamers are the most concerned with DPI. This is obviously because in those games it’s important to be able to aim and turn quickly using the mouse. 

You would think then that higher dpi is better. But for pro gamers in games like CS:GO the one thing that is more important than aiming quickly is aiming precisely. 

While most of us just use our wrist to move the mouse around on a small mouse mat, professional gamers use their elbow to move the mouse, especially when aiming. This is why they use low DPI and large mouse mats. They have to move the mouse further to reach the target, but using their whole arm they can do it quickly. That way, with a lot of practice, their aiming is both quick and precise.

Pro gamer using large mouse mat and low dpi

FPS players are not the only ones concerned with DPI though. Professional Starcraft players prefer a DPI of 5000 to 8000 so they can move around the map faster. 

What DPI should I use for gaming?

The DPI you should use depends on a lot of things: 

  • What games you play
  • The resolution of your monitor
  • The size of your mouse mat
  • Your Windows mouse settings
  • Personal preference

The last bullet point here is by far the most important one. You should always test and find out what best suits your style of playing. 

Below we have compiled a list of the recommended DPI in some of the most popular games.

TitleGenreRecommended DPI
CS:GOFPS520 – 1600
OverwatchFPS400 – 1000
ForniteBattle Royale400 – 1000
Apex Legends Battle Royale 400 – 800
Starcraft 2
4000 – 8000

Do I need a gaming mouse to adjust DPI?

Yes you do. If you have a regular mouse it’s most likely 1200 or 1600 DPI. Unless it’s a really old mouse.

It may sound weird, but there is actually no simple way to check the DPI of your mouse. Except to study the manual or the producers homepage. It is possible though to measure the DPI of a mouse using certain tools.

While you can not adjust the dpi of a regular mouse, you can adjust ‘Mouse Sensitivity’. It’s not the same as dpi, but it gives similar results.

To change mouse sensitivity in Windows 10 go to Control Panel and click on mouse. Or just type “mouse” into the search field on the task bar. Then click “additional mouse settings” on the right. In the new window that opens, go to the “Pointer Options” pane and you can select a pointer speed.

Change mouse sensitivity
Change mouse sensitivity

How do I change DPI for my mouse?

Most gaming mice have a button for changing the DPI. This can be very convenient if you need to change the DPI in the middle of a game. But normally you only have the ability to change between a few preset DPI values.

So to change the DPI to some other value you have to use the manufacturer’s own software. For Logitech mice it can be found here. If you have a Razer gaming mouse, go here.

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