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Is A Gaming Mouse Worth It?

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Is A Gaming Mouse Worth It? Even For The Casual Gamer?

Gaming mice nowadays are not so expensive. Their price is almost the same as normal mice.

If you are a casual gamer it might not worth it. If you are low on budget you better off without one. The features that you might need the most is the increased DPI (4000 DPI or more is good enough for an 1080p (FHD) monitor) and the ergonomics.

The RGB lightning is an extra feature that is visual and not helpful in getting better on a game.

The Polling Rate is not so important for a casual gamer that needs to play 1-2 hours per day to relax a bit.

The extra buttons won’t be of any use unless you are playing an MMO game.

But today there are cheap gaming mice that are at almost the same price at the normal ones.

For example Havit, Pictek, VersionTech has cheap gaming mice.

If you want a bit more expensive than that there is Logitech, Roccat, SteelSeries, UtechSmart, Redragon etc.

Razer gaming mice prices have a little higher starting point.

So the price between a normal mouse and a gaming mouse isn’t so far away.

Maybe in you mind when you thought about gaming mice you thought about Razer Naga, Logitech G502 Proteus or Hero, SteelSeries Rival 600, Corsair Scimitar Pro RGB etc.

Well there is no blame if you think like this because those are the most common gaming mice you read or hear about.

So it’s possible to find a good gaming mouse with 10$ that has good reviews. No need to give a fortune for a gaming mouse. Even expensive gaming mice can break quite fast.

I had my Razer Naga not working (the tracking) after about 18 months. It costed me then about 90$. During that time I had no problems playing with it (well coudn’t press the lower six lower side buttons without moving my thumb but that didn’t bother me much).

Below I will mention in detail what a gaming mouse is, what it differs from a normal mouse and as much information possible about each feature.

What A Gaming Mouse Is

A gaming mouse is a mouse which basically has features specifically designed for gaming needs. Those needs are :

  • Higher Sensitivity
  • More Buttons with customizable functions
  • Design for long hour usage
  • Flashy design to set it apart from normal mice

Of course you can use the gaming mouse for regular PC use. For gaming you might just tweak some settings that are more optimal for your game.

But to understand better what is a gaming mouse you need first to understand about mice in general.

Gaming Mouse VS Regular Mouse Video

If you understand the principles of mice in general, we can then build on what is better in gaming mice.

Sensors

Is A Gaming Mouse Worth It - Sensor

Sensor Movement Acquisition

The basic way a sensor operates is largely the same over all mice, though there are some rather large differences in how each sensor goes about acquiring movement data.

In traditional methods such as sensors manufactured by Avago Technologies, the image acquisition system (IAS) first captures the movement of the mouse, usually in many thousands of frames per second , which are then processed by the digital signal processor (DSP) of the sensor in order to determine the (delta) Δx/Δy values (through direction and magnitude of movement).

From here a microcontroller unit (MCU) translates this data into USB or PS/2 signals, which are then sent to the host controller (PC).

Well frames per second here means the sensor’s frames per second.

It’s the same type of metric but to a different device.

Philips Twin-Eye Laser Sensor

The Philips Twin-Eye laser sensors register movement quite differently than traditional image capture sensors using a “Doppler shift” method.

In PTE sensors, a photo diode detects fluctuations in the laser power and is output to a application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) which conditions and digitizes the signals.

The dual laser system is needed in this method in order to detect directional movement, and is done by analyzing changes in laser temperature and consequent modulation of the laser frequency.

PTE Laser Sensor Doppler Technology

As a result of the Doppler technology in PTE sensors they do not gather information in frames but are able to detect these laser fluctuations up to a certain speed, rated in m/s.

Next are some things you need to be careful about sensors.

More Sensor Details

Just because a specific sensor is used in a number of mice doesn’t mean that the performance for each of these mice will be the same (build quality, lenses, sensor implementation, and firmware can all influence performance), but it should mean that the general performance traits will be relatively similar. Unfortunately this also means that if there are tracking or hardware related errors that they may also carry over.

Another important consideration in looking at sensor performance is what surfaces work well with which mice and which ones will not, and finally whether a sensor is optical or laser, and how each of these types of sensors perform (laser sensors can detect surface imperfections at 20x the rate of optical sensors, this does not necessarily make them more accurate however).

But enough with the theory for now let’s see some relative YouTube videos.

YouTube Videos About Sensors

Acceleration

Is A Gaming Mouse Worth It - Mouse Acceleration

Acceleration is a function, sometimes referred to as pointer ballistics, that increases the mouse cursor speed based on the movement velocity of the mouse (the faster you move your mouse the more your cursor speed will increase).

This function can be either an operating system, driver, or in-game setting, where the OS function is the most common instance of the three.

Due to the number of places that these acceleration options can be found there can be as many as three different functions present at the same time, depending on the environment and if these features are enabled.

So the main question that is usually asked is, Is mouse acceleration bad? In a strictly theoretical sense I might say yes, though in a practical sense this becomes much more preferential, and not necessarily so.

It should be noted however that Quake 3 and Quake Live are in a slightly different category than most games as players have a much more immediate and finer control over how acceleration functions in this game when it is enabled (not OS based, see below).

Acceleration makes the mouse move very fast so it is more useful in situations where you need to move the mouse 360 degrees or more with a relatively small mouse movement.

Quake can use acceleration since it is a fast paced game and is required that you aim and shoot while jumping.

Practical Advice About Acceleration

For most scenarios, Acceleration should be disabled because the cursor will move differently if you move the mouse at different speeds.

YouTube Videos About Acceleration

That’s enough of mouse accel. Let’s see about Angle Snapping.

Angle Snapping

Is A Gaming Mouse Worth It - Angle Snapping

Angle snapping (the term used by Avago), drift control, prediction, or any other name that has been coined in the last decade or so are all terms used to describe a type of path correction algorithm that can be found in the SROM of the mouse sensor (in most cases).

The original purpose for including set amounts of moderate correction by many early sensor manufacturers such as Agilent (now Avago Technologies) was that by giving the sensor the ability to follow a path that the end-user could essentially be assisted in drawing straight lines.

It should be noted that when this algorithm was first introduced in the late 90’s (as an unlisted feature), that it was not included from a need to correct performance or stability issues.

Well this feature can be useful to drawing applications too.

Well below there is a good video that shows angle snapping (disabled and enabled).

YouTube Videos About Angle Snapping

Next is DPI(CPI).

CPI (DPI)

Is A Gaming Mouse Worth It - DPI-CPI

Often confused with the term DPI (a measure of spatial dot density used in printing), CPI or counts per inch is an expression of the number of units (known as counts) that will be reported by the mouse when it is moved one inch (also formerly known as PPI, or pulses per inch).

The higher the CPI, the higher the number of counts that will be reported in one inch and therefore the more movement of the mouse cursor that will take place. Additionally, the higher the maximum CPI of the sensor, the higher the maximum velocity that the sensor can report.

A good Youtube video is linked below.

YouTube Video About CPI(DPI)

CPI resolutions can be either native or interpolated, where interpolated settings are resolutions not native to the mouse sensor.

Practical Advice About DPI

For an FHD Monitor (1080p), 4000 DPI will be sufficient for everything, from playing games to content creation.

Don’t worry if you mouse supports more. Usually they do.

Is A Gaming Mouse Worth It? Music Break!

Don’t know if you like KPop, but I sure do!. Check the following song (if you want).

Lyrics Here!

Polling Rate

I’m sure you see in every mouse description the Polling Rate. These days the maximum polling rate a gaming mouse offers is 1ms (millisecond) or 1000Hz (The same thing).

1000Hz means 1000 cycles per second (in this case 1000 reports per second).

1ms equals 1 report with each millisecond.

One second (1 sec) has 1000 milliseconds.

That means in 1 sec (1000ms) there will be 1000 reports.

So the higher you raise the Hz (or decrease the ms), the more reports the mouse will send about its movement.

But the high Polling Rate doesn’t give you always a better gameplay. Check out the following video.

Polling Rate Video on YouTube

So as you can see, higher polling rate might mess up you aim.

These feature is pretty standard about mice so it’s not something groundbreaking.

If you can check what Polling Rates in between a mouse can give you, that will give you flexibility should the 1ms fail for you.

Many Programmable Buttons

A gaming mouse can have from 5 to maybe 20 or more buttons which are programmable through software.

Some gaming mice like the Logitech G600 have a Shift button that raises the functions of the buttons (by 2).

These kind of mice can not only be used for gaming but also to increase productivity (since you can register a function on each button).

Interpolation

Interpolation or frame skipping, occurs when the MCU (MicroController Unit) is forced to guess at the Δx/Δy values of the sensor instead of having the “real” Δx/Δy values. This can occur in one of two ways.

If the sensor tracks values that are greater than its default range (neutral range) the MCU will be forced to guess what the actual Δx/Δy values are.

Secondly, if the receiver clocks of the sensor and MCU are not in sync, or the service interval (known as frames in USB 2.0) returns an error, reset, or null data (through ESD events, invalid addresses, MCU firmware flaws, etc…), the MCU may again be forced to guess the Δx/Δy values.

The key word here is guess (or estimate or calculate).

CPI resolutions that are not native to the mouse sensor are commonly referred to as interpolated. Native resolutions are technically more precise, while interpolated resolutions could be nearly as precise, or very bad, depending on the implementation.

As an example, in Avago’s original 3080 sensor, the native CPI resolutions were 400 and 1600; often times 800 CPI (1600 halved) would be an interpolated resolution that the mouse manufacturer would additionally provide.

Laser sensors have a distinct advantage in having many more native settings over their optical counterparts. The ADNS-9500 for instance can reach up to 5700 CPI (depending on firmware and lens, default is 5670) but is scalable in steps of 90 CPI, all of which are native (90, 180, 270, etc…).

You can check the sensor manufacturers website (or datasheets) to ascertain if your CPI resolutions are native or interpolated.

Interpolation Example

Consider this example:

Let’s say we have a the given function:

x= 0 , f(0) = 0

x= 1, f(1) = 0.8415.

x= 2, f(2) = 0.9093.

x= 3, f(3) = 0.1411.

x= 4, f(4) = −0.7568.

x= 5, f(5) = −0.9589.

x= 6, f(6) = −0.2794.

Interpolation is the method that we use to calculate values that are not existent based on the values that we have available (for example 1.5, 2.5 etc).

Of course there are different methods of interpolation and there is no need to cover them.

The crucial thing is that interpolation might not be very accurate and that might cause unstable perfomance (well don’t think too unstable but for the player that plays on the detail it might have an effect).

YouTube Videos About Interpolation

Materials – Durability

Cheap Mice

Well as you might be able to guess, for a cheap mouse the materials are cheap as well so how well they will be able to “hold on their own” is a mystery.

You can always get a mouse with some kind of warranty so you can send it back if something occurs.

Expensive Mice

The materials for an expensive mouse are expensive as well, but unfortunately that doesn’t guarantee their durability.

If you did some research about gaming mice in general, you should know that expensive mice can break as easy as cheap ones.

Ergonomics

Ergonomics means that the mouse is designed for long hour usage without causing any harm or discomfort to your hand or fingers.

But beware that there are many types of hands and some mice might not be a fit for you. What’s the point of taking a gaming mouse if it can’t handle many hours of gaming (in your hand).

Warranty

From cheap to expensive mice there should be some kind of warranty. It’s always safer to go for a mouse with at least 1 year of warranty.

Well you can get a mouse with no warranty as long as it is very popular and won’t break.

Conclusion – Is A Gaming Mouse Worth It?

Hopefully the above information was good enough(in quality) and enough(in quantity) to help you “clear the clouds” about what a gaming mouse and how it differs from a regular mouse.

So is a gaming mouse worth it after all? The answer is yes. But you don’t need to go overboard. Buy the cheapest and best for that price range and you would be fine for a long time.

And if you get better in your game and feel the mouse won’t cut it anymore for you then you can get a more expensive one.

You walk the stairs one by one no need to rush. Unless you want to geek out and get the best just for the sake of it.

The YESes And The No

Yes because the price is not so different from a normal one.

Yes because your old one might not work and need the cheapest available.

Yes because you are a geek and you want one even if you are a casual gamer (casual gamer or not it doesn’t really matter. For everyone comes the time for better gear!).

Yes because you are not a casual gamer and need to get some ranks up!.

Yes because what is a gamer without a gaming mouse!. (That reminds me I need to get one too!).

Yes because your girlfriend or boyfriend has one and you need to get your pair too haha.

No if you have serious money problems.

My Gaming Mice Reviews

Note : Check out my Logitech G203 Prodigy Review if you want a cheap gaming mouse or if you want a more bulky one with more buttons, you can take a peek at my Logitech G402 Hyperion Fury Review.

Now if you want lots of buttons, good quality and durability you can check out my Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse Review.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpolation

https://www.overclock.net/forum/375-mice/1251156-overview-mouse-technology.html


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22 thoughts on “Is A Gaming Mouse Worth It?”

  1. I am not a gamer but my partner is. He usually tells me that he needs a “gaming mouse” and I would always tell him we already have a computer mouse! I really don’t understand why he needed this specific type of mouse. Hahaha now, I understand and I might buy him one soon as a gift. Do you have any brand recommendation? Thanks!

    1. Yes. i recommend getting Logitech G600 if you buy if from official site of authorized reseller it has 3 year warranty. It is the one with 12 side buttons. Razer is not popular with durability (at least as far as i searched and from personal experience).

  2. I am not a gamer, but I can relate to this article, because my three sons are a gamer. My youngest son, one time ask me to buy a new mouse for his game, and I told him. Why? We have already a very good mouse to use. Now, I understand that there is really a specific mouse that is design only for gaming. This article would be a big help for all gamers.

    1. Hello Raquel. Young kids may want the gaming mouse mainly because it has lights(RGB) and more flashy design. But even cheap gaming mice have more buttons and a good DPI (if you have seen some of the videos 4000 DPI is pretty good for most scenarios). After being comfortable in my hand for long periods of time, the next thing i try to figure out is if the mouse will not break after a while. Especially if i pay a lot for it.

  3. For someone who has been playing WOW for a really long time, this post is spot on. You hit all the points. I can’t emphasise enough the difference a good gaming mouse makes when you are playing and on raids.

    1. Gaming is practical. Of course as with all things you need the theory but always it must come with an application or use in action. Thanks for your comment

  4. George….although I’m really not into gaming and most of what you discussed is over my head, I can still appreciate the excellent job you did of covering all the specifics and advantages of why you absolutely need a gaming mouse, if you want to play games. Thanks.

    1. Thanks for taking your time to read this article. What matters most here is that information is presented in a way that is understood. If you are not into gaming and you find benefit or better understanding of a gaming mouse, that’s a very pleasant thing to hear. Feel free to drop any suggestion about the article form or flow.

  5. Babsie Wagner

    Oh thank you thank you thank you for this article.  I’m not going to pretend I know a lot of the technical stuff about gaming mice, but wow, you really went over it well and gave me a much better understanding.  What I do know is that my son games (and sometimes he even makes money from his hobby) and I do hear him complain about his mouse, lol.  That’s what got me looking around.  I know Christmas is a ways off, but I shop all year long (I have four children, so I really have to), and I thought maybe a new mouse might make him a fantastic gift.  Looking at the optical vs. the laser, I really think I’m going with the laser.  I mean the accuracy is much better, they can be used on any surface, and there’s just not that much price difference.  What do you think?

    1. Hello Babsie. Very happy to hear about your son. Making money out of your hobby is cool. These days kids are ahead of us all haha.

      Since your son makes money, he must be good. So a good laser mouse will be perfect since the sensitivity is higher.

  6. Dear George,

    Thanks for the insightful article, I must say I found your article highly uplifting and educational. I can tell you I have taken some great insights from this article.

    Very recently I am into my gaming adventure and my friend advised me to buy mechanical keyboard and gaming mouse. So I was doing some research online and found your helpful article. The videos you embedded are very useful.

    After reading your article I am aware of the importance of gaming mouse and for sure it will improve my gaming experience. I will go with Logitech G600. This article is so thorough it opened my eyes to all sorts of information I wasn’t aware of!

    Much Success!

    Paul

    1. Thanks a lot Paul. Whatever question you have or an improvement suggestion feel free to comment here or contact me. Take care.

  7. Being a gamer myself, I could relate so well with your post. I can’t just tell enough how much difference is between a mouse and a gaming mouse. It is not just the same thing. Gaming mouse are more sophisticated, higher responsiveness and very cool constructed. You covered virtually everything about it. Actually, I am on a lookout for a better gaming mouse because the one I make use of presently is at the brim of getting spoilt. Any suggestions please?

    1. If you want something cheap, Steelseries Rival 110 is a great mouse. Or if you want something more expensive, you could buy Logitech G502 Hero. Both are great mice for their money.

  8. Wow I didn’t know that you could even buy a gaming mouse. This is really quite fascinating. How you can increase the speed and use it to spin around 360. Big time gamers will really find a great product here. I do game, so I will be looking in to this and I may have to get myself one.

    Great job.

    1. The speed can be increased from the software that the mouse comes with. Also changing the DPI setting is like changing the speed.

      The spinning around is usually used by testers. This requires a specific setup. Take a look into this link.

      Or if you mean something else, you can be more specific.

  9. Posts about gaming gadgets and games generally gets me very excited. And your post about gaming mouse is simply all in all because it covered everything there is about faming mouse. I actually make use of Logitech G502 and seriously, its one of the best I have use. Gaming mouse cannot be compared to just a mouse because its way too cool, handy, filled with lights and very handy coupled with lots of click rates. Its just awesome and I like them.

    1. I’m a fan of Logitech too. But SteelSeries is a good brand. My next buy probably will be the SteelSeries Rival 110 because i need something cheap (It was the Rival 110 or the Logitech G203 but i did a research recently and i will go for the Rival 110).

      Logitech G502 is very nice mouse too. What i have now is a non gaming Logitech mouse (RX 250) and it doesn’t do justice for the game i play (LoL) as it misses some clicks and the DPI is low. But it’s a very old mouse, over 10 years.

      If you want, you can tell us how long you have the G502 and what problems have occured so far. That would be cool. Cheers.

  10. Marios Tofarides

    Hey there,

    I guess gaming mice is a subcategory of mice with extra functionality and better features, making them great for gaming. I wonder whether a gaming mouse can be used not only for gaming (or regular Windows use) but also for demanding use such as photo and video editing, graphics design, video rendering, etc. I think that the programmable keys can be used for these activities.

    Regards,

    Marios 

    1. Yes, a gaming mouse can work for video editing, graphics design and generally everything. It is created for gaming mostly to provide fast and smooth movements, comfort and accuracy. These features are required for other programs apart from games, so it can be used for them too.

    1. If you want for MOBA, FPS, you can get a Logitech G203. The link is from walmart(US) as there is the cheapest at the moment. If you want lots of buttons for an MMO, you can get the Logitech G600 (price is the same on Amazon and Walmart).
      Well as you can see I’m a Logitech fan but not a blind(fanatic) one (I had bad luck with a Razer Naga). The next mouse I will probably get for myself is the G203 as I don’t need lots of buttons (don’t play MMOs). Well it’s quite similar in design to my current Logitech RX 250.
      Hope my answer was useful. Have a nice day.

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