This guide will help you understand your gaming mouse settings and how to change mouse DPI, sensitivity, acceleration and polling rate to be a better gamer. The best gaming mouse in the world is not going to help if you don’t have it configured correctly. Our in depth guide walks you through the setup process Step-by-Step. In a few minutes you’ll have your mouse configured like a pro gamer.
Before we begin, if you don’t have a half decent gaming mouse, made within the last few years. Then it probably makes sense to invest in one, we have built a massive buyers guide to help you find the best gaming mouse and specific guides for MMO & FPS mice. The rest of this guide assumes you have a half decent gaming mouse. However if you don’t, you can and will, benefit from a lot of the Windows and game related settings tweaks. But, if your serious about gaming, we highly recommend you invest in a gaming mouse.
A quick high level overview of this entire process Step-by-Step, if you already understand it, don’t have time to read this page, or if you’re optimizing your gaming mouse again.
- Step 1: Windows Mouse Settings for Gaming
- Step 2: Turn off Mouse Acceleration Everywhere
- Step 3: Set Polling Rate to Maximum
- Step 4: In Game Settings
- Step 5: Get a Gaming Mouse Mat
- Step 6: Cable Drag
Related: Are you looking for the right color mouse to match your setup? Check out our white gaming mouse review with the Top 5 white mice (not the rodent kind!) for 2019.
Windows Mouse Settings for Gaming
The first step is to correctly configure the Windows mouse settings, even if you have 3rd party mouse software installed like Synapse, you should complete this step.
How To Change Mouse Sensitivity Windows 10
You can find the Windows mouse sensitivity settings in the control panel, or optionally on Windows 10 by hitting the windows key then typing “mouse settings” and clicking on “additional mouse options” under “Related settings”.
Go to the third tab over, “Pointer Options” and within the “Motion” section set the “Select a pointer speed” setting to the middle setting 6/11 (yes you’ll have to count those little dashes!).
How To Turn Off Mouse Acceleration Windows 10
Make sure the setting underneath “Enhance pointer precision” is not ticked, this is what Windows calls mouse acceleration. If you don’t know what mouse acceleration is, I’ve explained it below along with why it sucks for gaming.
Typically, mouse acceleration sucks for gaming.ICONTROLPAD
What is Mouse Acceleration?
If mouse acceleration is disabled your movements are like for like. Meaning, when you move your mouse two inches on the mouse pad, it will move the same distance on the screen, if you move your mouse a distance of 5 inches on the mouse pad, it will move a distance of 5 inches on the screen.
When mouse acceleration is disabled, no matter how hard or fast you move your mouse the movements will be like for like.
If you have mouse acceleration enabled, the distance the mouse pointer travels on the screen is dictated by how fast you move the mouse in that direction.
With mouse acceleration on if you move the mouse in one direction fast for a distance of 2 inches, it will move a completely different distance than if you moved it slowly for 2 inches.
As you can imagine, having a mouse that moves different distances based on mouse speed is going to add extra layers of complexity for your brain to process and become accustomed. Theoretically, it’s possible to master this but it’s highly unlikely and it will almost definitely take you longer than learning to use your mouse without mouse acceleration.
Additionally, with mouse acceleration on, if you want to make a precise movement you HAVE to do it slower to get the like for like accuracy. Making it pretty much useless for FPS players who require accurate movements with like for like accuracy at FAST speeds.
So, don’t make life harder than it needs to be and Turn off Mouse Acceleration!
Personally I don’t use mouse acceleration in any form in or out of games and I even turn it off on non gaming mice.
Windows Mouse Settings:
- Go to control panel and select the middle setting, number 6 for mouse sensitivity
- Make sure “Enhanced pointer precision” is not ticked
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How To Change Mouse DPI
The next step on your journey to unlocking Jedi like mouse movements requires you to setup your mouse software settings and change the mouse DPI (mouse speed).
What is Mouse DPI
In short, DPI adjusts your mouse pointer speed.
DPI stands for dots per inch. You probably know that your screen is made up of pixels, every pixel is a dot. The mouse DPI setting adjusts how many of those pixels the mouse pointer moves when you move the mouse on your mouse pad, the higher the DPI the further the mouse pointer will move on the screen.
A Quick Note About Mouse DPI
Mouse DPI has become a bit of a marketing fad, with gaming mice boasting insanely high DPI’s of 1600+. While DPI is important it does not necessarily make for a better mouse better than one with a lower DPI, and the chances are you’ll lower the DPI level any way. Other factors are much more important than mice DPI such as sensor accuracy, how precisely you can adjust the mouse DPI (Razer Synapse is awesome for this!), button positioning and how it fits your hand.
What’s the Best Mouse DPI for Gaming?
There is no best mouse DPI for gaming. It’s really down to personal preference, screen resolution, mouse type and the game you’re playing. For example, if you play a sniper on battlefield (or any other FPS game) a lower mouse DPI will likely benefit your game as it will allow you to make slow accurate movements. Where as if you run around spamming everyone down with a P90 on CSGO you’ll likely benefit from a higher mouse DPI setting.
But, as a general rule of thumb I say start high and work your way back down to what feels comfortable, I also recommend setting your in game settings low and your mouse DPI higher (more on this below!).
Screen Resolution vs Mouse DPI?
Screen resolution matters also, as a general rule, the higher your screen resolution the higher you’ll want your mouse DPI setting.
Mouse Polling Rate
What is Mouse Polling Rate?
Polling rate is how often your mouse updates your computer with your movements or clicks. Polling rate is measured in Hz and gaming mice go up to 1000hz, you can usually adjust it in your mouse settings.
What is the Best Mouse Polling Rate?
Set the polling rate to maximum, there is no disadvantage to using a higher polling rate. In the olden days, a high polling rate would affect your game play by causing the PC to drop frames and cause stuttering. But on modern PC’s this should not cause an issue, so go ahead and max it out.
Optimal Game Settings
Lets first address some general game settings that “a lot” of games have in the options menu.
What is Raw Mouse Input
Raw input takes the input directly from the mouse instead of the operating system, removing any additional lag or the potential for the operating system to interfere with the mouse input. You’ll want to turn this on if your game as the option.
Turn it off for all the reasons we previously discussed above.
In-game Mouse Sensitivity
This setting affects how you turn or move in game, higher = faster movements.
The lower you set the in game mouse sensitivity the better. Lower in game sensitivity will give you more precise movements at a slower like for like rate.
The Problem with in Game Sensitivity
In game mouse sensitivity uses software to increase the amount of pixels it essentially “jumps” when you move your mouse, if you increase the sensitivity to speed up the turning circle / movements of your character you’re increasing the amount of pixels your mouse is jumping when you move. This increases the speed you move at but removes the precision of the mouse movements.
You will notice the effects of in-game mouse sensitivity more at range. If you try and aim at a small dot in the distance and try to move your mouse you’ll notice your tiny movements are not precise enough to accurately aim where you are instructing with your mouse. It’s frustrating and it feels like the cross hair is hopping either side of the target and feels very inaccurate. I liken the feeling to that of playing FPS with a game console controller. When you make a movement it often skips over the target, as the controller lacks the required precision.
The Solution to in Game Sensitivity
Cheer up, I have a solution. Your expensive gaming mouse has a high quality sensor inside that is the solution to all your in game sensitivity problems!
Follow the simple Step-by-Step methodology below:
- Lower your in game sensitivity as LOW as POSSIBLE
- Increase your mouse settings DPI as high as possible
- IF it’s still too slow, nudge up the in game sensitivity a bit
Mouse Pads or Mats
Your gaming surface has a big effect on your gaming accuracy, if you don’t have a gaming mouse mat and are using it straight on the desk *shudders*, then you defiantly NEED to read this section!
Reflective Surfaces are Your Enemy
Optical mice track really badly on reflective surfaces. The sensor inside is optical, so light bouncing off the surface affects their tracking ability and tracking ability affects your in game accuracy. Laser mice are a bit better, but your still at a disadvantage using a reflective surface over a matte mouse pad.
Consistency is Key
Get yourself a large gaming mat (I use a Razer Goliathus) and use it on a large flat surface. Gaming on a large flat consistent surface helps your muscle memory understand the resistance required to move and stop the mouse on the pad, you can check out our best gaming mouse pad review here.
Keep the Pad Clean!
A little story I’ll share with you. A few months back my mouse started tracking badly and kept jumping about on screen. I tried a number of the usual troubleshooting steps, long story short, the pad was dirty. To be more precise, the pad was covered in dried coffee from where I’d spilt some the day before. If your mouse pad is old chuck it in the washing machine on the lowest temperature. I’ve done it with my razer mouse mat a number of times of the years and it comes out like new.
Matching Gaming Mouse / Pad – Does it Matter?
It certainly does for Razer mice as within Synapse you can set the mouse pad within the driver settings. Personally I’ve noticed a significant improvement when I have the mouse mat configured within Synapse settings.
Speed vs Accuracy
Manufactures sell a number of gaming mouse pads, with different surface types. In short it works like this, mats with a tighter more fine surface detail will provide more accuracy. The optical sensor in your mouse can track better and the smaller details on the mouse pad help with accuracy.
You’re Using Your Mouse Wrong!
Chances are you have your keyboard in line with your monitor and your mouse off to the side, this is WRONG.
Your mouse should be in the center of the screen, and your gaming chair should be adjusted so that your arm is it at a right angle to the mouse. Avoid bending into awkward positions and if your mouse hand is aching, it could be that you’re “over gripping”. Over gripping is a natural reaction people do all the time during sports and other activities, it’s a survival reaction. If you can feel yourself hanging on too tight, adjust your grip. You don’t need to be hanging on for dear life during your FPS battles.
Laser VS Optical
Historically, laser always suffered with acceleration issues, but modern laser mice have overcome this. Personally, I still go for optical but if you can’t make up your mind you don’t have too as some mice now come with two sensors and you can switch between them.
If you have your mouse cable dangling down to your PC when you move your mouse you’ll be pulling against the weight of the cable, and at different positions on your mouse mat you’ll experience different amounts of cable weight giving you an inconsistent environment.
Re-position your cables so there is less weight, or you can use a gaming mouse bungee. A gaming bungee is a device that holds your gaming mouse cable up, providing less cable weight or lag.
Cable stiffness, a lot of people dislike braided cables if you have a braided cable and you think it’s restricting your mouse movements in most cases you can “Strip it” and remove the cable braiding.
If you found this guide helpful or you have any questions I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, I do my best to get back to everyone who comments.
Happy headshots, and remember to come back and thank me when you’re top of the server!