Long gone are the days when a mouse had a little ball that would constantly get dirty as you glide it over the desk. Now mice use optical or lasers and with that comes a few different terms that help describe the capability of the mouse. The two most common are polling rate and DPI ( Dots per inch). Understanding these will better help you pick out a gaming mouse and be able to compare between mice to make the right purchasing decision.
What is polling Rate?
Polling rate in basic terms is how often your mouse reports its position to the computer. This is measured in Hertz (Hz). For example, If your mouse has a polling rate of 500 Hz. It will report its position 500 times every second or every two milliseconds. Your computer will process this information and move the cursor off of the input. The higher the Hz will result in more information being sent to your computer for processing.
Let’s break down the polling rate a little bit. When you are gaming you want your mouse to be able to respond to your movements. There shouldn’t be any lag between the mouse and the computer. Even if you are just a quarter of a second off it will cause a noticeable while you are playing games. Most modern gaming mice tend to offer 125, 250, 500, and 1000 Hz. As these are the standard polling rates but they can go as high as 8000 Hz on the new generation of mouses. The more information you are able to send will
How does polling rate affect your game
As I have mentioned above polling rate is the number of times your mouse tells its position to the computer. But how does this affect your in-game performance? A general mouse connected through USB tends to offer 125 Hz which is an 8 MS delay. Obviously the higher the Hz the lower the delay will be. Gaming Mice tend to offer higher polling rates than a standard mouse. Also, they give you the ability to adjust the polling of your mouse.
|Polling Rate||Total Delay|
|125 Hz||8 ms|
|250 Hz||4 ms|
|500 Hz||2 ms|
|1000 Hz||1 ms|
|4000 Hz||0.25 ms|
|8000 Hz||0.125 ms|
As you can see from the above table a standard mouse. Will have a polling rate of 125 Hz which equates to an 8 MS delay. Gaming Mice on the other hand can go all the way up to 8000 Hz with a 0.125 MS delay. Now when your mouse communicates more with your PC it uses up more resources slowing down your computer. So by having a high polling rate will slow down your computer. Most Gaming PC will be able to handle this amount of Hz with no problem. But is something to keep in mind if you notice your computer is slowing down when using a high polling rate. Especially when using older machines.
The majority of professional gamers tend to use a polling rate of either 500 or 1000. 8000 Polling rates are rather new to the gaming mice and haven’t made their way to the professional scene just yet. 8000 polling rate will have just a 0.125 of an ms delay whole 1000 has a 1 ms delay making this nearly impossible to notice.
What is DPI
Now we are moving on to DPI. DPI stands for “Dot per Inch”. Which is a measurement of the physical distance traveled by the mouse over a surface. This is also referred to as a CPI which stands for “Counts per Inch” and is a more accurate term as there are no dots counted in this process. But for gaming mice, it is commonly referred to as DPI. With increased DPI there are more counts per inch
How Does DPI affect your Game.
DPI measures the speed of your movement across a mouse mat and in return produces the speed of your cursor on the screen. A mouse with a higher DPI setting will react to smaller movements because it is counting more counts per inch. Making your curse move faster and further as the DPI increases. For example if you move your cursor one inch on a low DPI setting then increase the DPI and move an inch again the increased DPI will make the cursor go further even though you are moving it the same amount of distance.
Now a higher polling rate will decrease the amount of lag between your mouse and the computer. While a high DPI setting will increase the counts per inch giving you a higher sensitivity. Having a high DPI doesn’t make your mouse any better this is more of a personal preference based on the type of games that you play. You don’t want a DPI setting so high that even the slightest movement sends your cursor across the screen. While on the other hand, you don’t want it to be below where you run out of desk space.
DPI and Sensitivity
With increased DPI comes a higher sensitivity for your mouse. It is easy to think that your mouse’s sensitivity settings are the same as the DPI settings. Essentially they are the same because they have a similar effect. But as mention above DPI is a measurement of the movement across your mouse mate. This is done by using the mouse’s hardware. Sensitive on the other hand is a software adjustment either done in-game or through your operating system.
To get the most out of your mouse you will need to have a higher DPI setting while keeping your sensitivity lower. This is a personal preference at the end of the day on how to set up your sensitivity and DPI settings leaving room for debate on which is best.