Gaming Mouse Setup Guide

Gaming Mouse Setup Guide

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The quality of your mouse can make or break the gaming experience; this is something that avid gamers know all too well. Without a great quality mouse, you’re left in frustration as you lag behind your team during a ranked FPS match. In order to avoid the rage and up your gaming skills, you need to have a great gaming mouse.

But it doesn’t stop there. It’s not just about having a good mouse, it’s about knowing how to use it. Our recommendation? Set it up properly so you can optimize it for your gaming settings. Having a mouse without the proper setup is like having a sports car with no wheels. It’s a great piece of equipment that you likely spent a lot of money on, but it’s not really going anywhere!

That’s why we wrote this guide to help you understand everything there is to know about your gaming mouse. From sensitivity settings to DPI and polling rate, there are many individual factors that you can tweak to enhance your gaming experience. Trust us when we say it’s well worth it!

Get a Decent Mouse in Just a Few Minutes

Gaming Mouse Setup Guide

Don’t get overwhelmed by the list of details and instructions highlighted in this article – trust us, you’ll get the hang of it in just a few minutes! As one of your most important gaming peripherals, you’ll soon learn everything there is to know about the ins and outs of your gaming mouse. The right settings will make or break your entire experience, and you’ll catch on quick if you want to survive in your heavy combat matches with friends.

Before we get started, we feel obliged to state the obvious: If you don’t already have a somewhat decent gaming mouse, now is really the best time to invest in one. Take a look out our guide for the best gaming mice in 2019 for a quick glance at some of the best options available on the market today. Even if you don’t have a great budget to start out with, you can find some really great mice that won’t make you dump your entire savings account. So before reading this guide, go take a look at some great gaming mice available and get your hands on one so you can start playing around the right way.

An Overview of Windows Settings

It’s safe to assume that most PC gamers are using a Windows operating system. For those of you who play on a Mac, you can find that a lot of these settings and features are compatible or comparable to certain settings you’ll find on your own computer. But in this article we’ll be looking mostly at Windows options that pertain particularly to your gaming mouse. You are free to get in touch with us if you ever have any further questions or concerns!

Mouse Sensitivity Settings

Windows 10 has a specific setting for mouse sensitivity, and you can find it easily in the control panel. Our favorite way to find this is to simply hit the windows key, then type in “mouse settings” in the search bar. You should see “additional mouse options” pop up under the Related Settings tab.

Once you’re in this window, tab on over to “Pointer Options”. There is a motion table at the very top. You can use the slider to select the speed of your speed, and in this case it should be at 6 out of 11. There are 11 total notches between “Slow” and “Fast”, so keep sliding until you hit notch number 6.

Turning Off Mouse Acceleration

Before you leave this window, make sure that “Enhance pointer precision” is NOT clicked. Mouse acceleration allows like-for-like movements, meaning that if you move your mouse an inch on the mouse pad, it will move your character a whole inch on your screen. Anybody with gaming experience knows that this is terrible! It can make you lose control of your control, and it might move your character way further in the map than you intended. We find mouse acceleration to be more than a little buggy in most games, which is why we recommend that you just keep it turned off for now.

Getting to Know Your Mouse DPI Settings

Gaming Mouse Setup Guide

DPI is one of the most powerful components of your gaming mouse. DPI translates to mouse speed, and it is what will give you wizard-like powers and speeds when using your mouse in game. Right now, with an unformatted mouse in hand, it’s like you are standing at the train station. But after adjusting your DPI, it will be like you’ve finally boarded the bullet train to enhancement city.

The Deets About DPI

DPI means dots per inch. This dictates how quickly your mouse moves per dot, or per pixel on your screen. When you move the mouse, you are moving a lot of pixels around. The higher the DPI, the further the pointer will move on the screen, and at a more accelerated speed.

However – and this is super important to keep in mind – there is such a thing as too much DPI. Unfortunately, a lot of gaming mice companies try to boast extremely high DPI numbers to try to get you to buy their mice. It’s gotten to the point where the importance of DPI has been significantly inflated in the marketing would, and a higher DPI level doesn’t necessarily make for a better mouse. So don’t be fooled by a brand that boasts high DPI, it’s all about how precisely you can adjust the DPI of your mouse that truly makes the difference.

Gaming DPI Settings

When it comes to the right DPI for your mouse, unfortunately there is no magic number. It all depends on the types of games you play, and even the role you play within those games. For example, if you’re playing a game where you need to be ultra precise to land a skillshot, a lower DPI may be more advantageous to you. On the other hand, if you’re going to be running around a map raining bullets on everyone in sight like a madman, a higher DPI setting will get you to the chop of the PvP charts a lot more quickly.

We’ve tested a variety of different DPI settings over several different pro gaming mice, and it’s hard to come to a real conclusion. The best thing for you to do would be to start high and work your way down from there. Some gaming mice come with DPI settings as high as 1650 to start out with, but it’s rare that you will keep it that high. Just take it slow, adjust it as you go along, and eventually you’ll reach that happy spot. The improvements it will make to your gaming experience will surely be noticeable!

Is Screen Resolution Important When Factoring in DPI?

Screen resolution does actually play a contributing factor to how you want to adjust your DPI. Not a lot of people think about their monitors and mice being connected in that way, but remember that when it comes to gaming, it’s best to coordinate all of your specs to function as a singular awesome unit.

The higher the resolution of your monitor, the more pixels it has. Naturally, this means that you’ll want to have a higher mouse DPI setting for those higher-resolution monitors. Technically, it’s because you are moving through more pixels at once, so it just makes sense, right? Raise your DPI so your pointer can more easily navigate the vast sea of pixels taking up your monitor screen.

Configuring the Most Optimal Gaming Settings

Gaming Mouse Setup Guide

Again, while there is no magic number to create the perfectly optimized mouse, there are a lot of settings we can recommend you adjust to drastically improve your gaming performance. Everything takes a little bit of adjusting around, but ultimately you should be able to figure it out quite easily.

Most of the games you play will have available options in their settings menu. And while not all games universally have these settings, the ones you play likely do. Here’s how you can make sense of them and adjust them individually so that you can increase your efforts towards improvement in that particular game.

Mouse Acceleration

This is the same kind of mouse acceleration we discussed earlier in our Windows settings section. It’s bad! Don’t click on it! Turn mouse acceleration off in the games you play to avoid making the character move way further or way faster than you need to.

In-Game Sensitivity

Although you can adjust your mouse’s sensitivity through the UI of the manufacturer, such as through the Razer Synapse window, you may still need to adjust it individually within each of the games you play as well. All games react differently to different mouse settings, and while this can be frustrating when you’re rapidly switching in between games, it is also good to get into the habit of remembering your specific settings for each game.

With our years of gaming experience, we’ve found that typically the lower mouse sensitivities tend to work better than the higher sensitivities. On a base level, a higher sensitivity leads to faster movement. Lower sensitivities will allow for more precise movements. So again, it’s all about your playing style, your role in that game, and what feels best for you when you’re moving around on a map.

Raw Mouse Input

Another setting you might see come up on a lot of the games you play is “Raw Input”. What the heck is that, exactly?

This is an input taken directly from your mouse, rather than from the operating system itself. Remember that while windows comes with a lot of built-in mouse sensitivity and adjustment settings features, the mouse itself is still a foreign piece of hardware capable of sending and receiving its own unique data.

What raw input does is get rid of the potential for more lag. It cuts out the middleman of the operating system to get information directly from your mouse, which really blows lag potential out of the water. If the option exists to turn on raw input in your game, do it. Don’t hesitate!

It’s a general rule of thumb to remember that:

Mouse Acceleration = NO!

Raw Mouse Input = YES!

Remember this golden rule, and you’re already off to a good start! These are two important features that can help you see the real differences in your game. The only way to play with the pros is to adjust your mouse like one!

Polling Rate

Gaming Mouse Setup Guide

A final feature of the mouse that you’ll need to adjust is the polling rate. Understanding what polling rate is and what it does can make all the difference in your game.

The polling rate measures how often the clicks and movements of your mouse update your computer. This is typically measured in Hz. After doing some research, based on our numbers we’ve found that the highest rate typically rests at 1000Hz. Of course, this is another component of your gaming mouse that can be adjusted in your mouse’s settings window.

Finding the Best Polling Rate for Your Game

We wish we could offer a one-size-fits-all solution. But really, like the other settings mentioned here, it might take some adjustment to get it just right. The polling rate can directly affect the performance of your PC, especially if you have an older or less powerful rig. But if you’re confident in the performance capabilities of your tower, then by all means, crank up that polling rate!

Nowadays, there really is no real harm done when increasing the polling rate. It can help you be more efficient for your mouse, and like we mentioned, it only affects your computer if you are running games on a real potato. Any modern gaming PC with a decent amount of parts shouldn’t take issue to you having a higher polling rate.

Start by maxing out the polling rate on your mouse. If your computer still performs perfectly well with it, then feel free to leave it on that setting permanently! But if you are seeing a significant or even a slightly annoying drop in your computer’s frame rates, try slowly lowering the polling rate until the issue is fixed.

Factoring in Different Game Sensitivities

Gaming Mouse Setup Guide

In-game mouse sensitivity is typically a lot different from mouse sensitivity outside of your game. And furthermore, the game sensitivities between different games can vary too. This might make it seem difficult to find the Goldilocks setting, but we promise this is something you can resolve and get used to right away.

How Gaming Sensitivity is Different

In-game mouse sensitivity uses the unique set of gaming software included in its installation to up the amount of pixels used when you move your mouse. And the more movements you make, the more pixels there are. In a way this is good, because it can help you increase your movement speed in the game. However, it might cause you to have to sacrifice movement precision or accuracy, which can sometimes be worse than having a slow game speed.

You’ll likely experience varying results with the in-game mouse sensitivity. Sometimes, it may be perfect, and not bothersome at all. But in certain gaming situations, such as when you are suddenly in an MMORPG massive raid, you might need to quickly readjust the sensitivity to be more or less powerful when you’re playing.

Continuous Struggles with Gaming Sensitivity

If you are continuing to have constant issues with gaming sensitivity, there are a couple of solutions that you can employ. Before you give up, remember that it’s okay that your mouse takes some adjustment. And we understand how frustrating it can be to constantly have to fix the sensitivity settings. Apologies in advance if you find yourself having to read this particular section over and over. But we’re here to make this as easy of a fix as possible for you!

Here are some things you can do:

  • Raise your DPI as high as you possibly can. This works to counteract the sensitivity issues your particular game may be giving you.
  • Lower your in-game sensitivity to its lowest setting. This won’t cause you to lag, and it won’t completely freeze your character. But it’s good to start from the lowest rung to see what the actual problem is.
  • Slowly raise your sensitivity. After you’ve lowered it all the way, start raising it slowly to see if you can identify a threshold in which the problems start becoming more prominent.

Bottom Line: You’ll Get There!

After taking a look at the different mouse settings available, you can start toying around with them right away. Remember to take it one step at a time, and to remain consistent. Consistency is key across all of your gaming equipment. Plus, having a great gaming mouse and surface can help to resolve some of those sensitivity issues you might be having. Do you have any more questions about the settings of your gaming mouse? Do you have any advice or recommendation for us? We’d love to hear about your experiences below!

Andrew is one of three co-founders of BGFG, the parent company of PC Guide. A keen gamer and PC enthusiast, Andrew dabbles in a bit of writing sometimes - when he gets the chance to!