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Old August 18, 2008, 11:59 PM
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Default Sensitivity vs DPI

Hey all,

I am just in an arguments with my friends who disagree with me. They believe that turning up DPI on a mouse to its max (say 1600 or 2000 DPI) and turning down the sensitivity is better than having lower DPI setting and higher sensitivity. They believe this because they say it is "smoother " and has better "traction." I beg to differ.

So my question is, who is right, and why!
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Old August 19, 2008, 12:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kassela View Post
Hey all,

I am just in an arguments with my friends who disagree with me. They believe that turning up DPI on a mouse to its max (say 1600 or 2000 DPI) and turning down the sensitivity is better than having lower DPI setting and higher sensitivity. They believe this because they say it is "smoother " and has better "traction." I beg to differ.

So my question is, who is right, and why!
Increasing DPI increases sensitivity.

Turning down sensitivity in a game means you'll need to increase the DPI of your mouse.
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Old August 19, 2008, 12:32 AM
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Yes, DPI means dots per inch. If the mouse is calculating more dots per inch then it is more precise. A bump in sensitivity is just a change in how the mouse interperets the jump between dots. So, low sensitivity with High DPI wont be any faster or slower, but it will technically be picking up more precise tracking. However see this as you will, cause some will argue the more calculations the mouse needs to make, the more room for lag.... Personally I play with medium DPI (2000) and low in-game sensitivity (1.3 in CS source.)
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Old August 19, 2008, 01:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cptn Vortex View Post
Yes, DPI means dots per inch. If the mouse is calculating more dots per inch then it is more precise. A bump in sensitivity is just a change in how the mouse interperets the jump between dots. So, low sensitivity with High DPI wont be any faster or slower, but it will technically be picking up more precise tracking. However see this as you will, cause some will argue the more calculations the mouse needs to make, the more room for lag.... Personally I play with medium DPI (2000) and low in-game sensitivity (1.3 in CS source.)
Well I was going to type something along these lines so I'm just going to say that if you turn up the DPI it will feel like you've upped the sensitivity while DPI is actually the resolution of the mouse. So I would tend to agree with Cptn_Vortex, and keep the sensitivity down, with medium to high dpi... depending on the resolution of your monitor.
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Old August 19, 2008, 12:22 PM
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Well its more complicated. For the most part DPI is just a meaningless marketing tool. At a certain point DPI gets too high to be useful even if you lower the sensitivity of the in game mouse settings. DPI is a total crock since it isn't even DPI, its CPI - counts per inch. DPI is incorrect popularized vernacular but not actually accurate.

Secondly the DPI doesn't help do anything except give you a hardware control over the sensitivity of the mouse, like having a volume control on your keyboard. Does that keyboard button improve the quality of the sound? Nope. It just makes it handier to change. Counts per inch isn't an improvement of the actual accuracy of the mouse's laser or optic, its just a software interpretation of what that movement means to the mouse pointer. As far as I know DPI is all software, not hardware.

If you want to improve the actual accuracy of your mouse's readings off the surface of your mouse pad or whatever its reflecting off of then you want to increase your polling rate. Polling rate is how many times a second the mouse checks the information the mouse is receiving from its tracking device and the more often you check it the more accurate your movements are going to be reported to the computer. It is a hardware reading on the movements of the mouse. Imagine a radar set sending out a constant signal. The polling rate is analogous to how often the receiver checks the signal. Changing the polling rate can be achieved either by hacking the drivers for your mouse or in the case of my Logitech G5, just going into the advanced settings. For all intents and purposes 500Mhz is good. I can turn mine up to 1000.

So in short DPI is just a hardware-side control over the sensitivity of the mouse, a factor of how much you move the pointer for how much you move the mouse, while polling rate is an actual alteration to how the mouse reads the physical changes of the mouse's real world position.

DPI is not much different from altering the sensitivity slider in game, but Polling Rate is actually relevant to the accuracy of your movements of the mouse.

Explanation of Polling Rate: OCZ Equalizer 2500 DPI Laser Gaming Mouse
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Old August 19, 2008, 04:16 PM
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Hmmmm, So I am getting mixed answers. The article that is linked agrees with the first couple of posts regarding accuracy, but I am still unsure lol
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Old August 20, 2008, 04:08 AM
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Well I think just using the term 'accuracy' is very arbitrary. I believe that what you're looking for is a more accurate reading of your movements by the mouse's hardware. Simply changing the DPI isn't going to make you more accurate. DPI does nothing but exactly the same as changing the mouse sensitivity. Its just another threshold for you to toy with. Like balancing the windows volume control with the one that you have in the game settings.

If you were to turn down your mouse sensitivity but turn up DPI you wouldn't be changing anything. Sensitivity basically alters the same thing as DPI. How much, how much distance the mouse traverses, for every inch you move it.

I believe that when the article I linked said that DPI makes you more accurate it meant that you attenuate the mouse to respond to your way of playing and using the mouse. If sensitivity is too low then you can't get the mouse where you need it in one move. However if its too fast then it gets unusable. Turning up DPI to max is just like turning sensitivity to max. They both likely are too much. They're basically the same thing.

However the polling rate determines how accurate the mouse records your movements and relays that information to the computer. Fact is that you may not be putting the mouse where you want it if you don't tweak your sensitivity/DPI to the right settings but thats you, not the mouse. However if the polling rate is too low then the mouse isn't recording enough of the movement and as such the way you move it and the way the mouse thinks you're moving it can be different. Like lag or not recording all your subtle movements.

You could also try to think of it this way. DPI has to do with how your stereo receives the signal from the CD. The quality varies based on how well made it is. But if you get bad sound then it could just be your receiver. But if the laser reading the CD isn't reading it as well then you can get skips. Or if a needle on a turntable isn't catching the sounds correctly.

There are many layers to the interface. surface to mouse optic->mouse optic to internal mouse software->internal mouse software to proprietary desktop software->proprietary software to windows->windows to game

Anywhere in between there are settings to tweak. DPI only affects how the final product comes out. The Polling rate is the beginning of the process and ultimately tells you how accurate your mouse if reading your movements. Thats accuracy of the mouse. DPI is to do with accuracy of the person using it.

Subtle difference. However the claim that higher DPI helps you game better is a fallacy. Its just a repackaging of standard mouse sensitivity. Software related.
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Old August 20, 2008, 02:17 PM
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Wow, great answer. Thank you!
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