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What Does DPI Mean For A Gaming Mouse?

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You might know DPI for printing. But what does DPI mean for a gaming mouse? Well since they use the same acronym, its meaning doesn’t change much.

If you want to take a detour and learn if a gaming mouse is worth buying, check out my relevant article.

What Does DPI Mean For A Gaming Mouse? – FAQ Part 1

First let’s take a peek at what DPI means for printing.

Question 1 – What Does DPI Mean In Printing?

DPI in printing means the number of dots that can be placed in a line that occupies 1 inch.

Question 2 – What Does DPI Mean For A Gaming Mouse?

DPI for a gaming mouse means how many pixels the mouse cursor will move on your monitor based on an inch of physical movement of the mouse.

Question 3 – Why Use DPI If It Isn’t Dots In Reality But Pixels?

Probably because the industry wanted people to learn it faster so they used an already known acronym even if it’s not technically accurate. A more technically accurate term is PPI (Pixels Per Inch).

Question 4 – Is CPI The Same As DPI?

Yes it is. It’s again Pixels Per Inch. Check out the quote from SteelSeries who uses this term mostly.

“Simply put, CPI is an acronym for Counts Per Inch, and often mislabeled as DPI, or Dots Per Inch. In other words, with a CPI setting of 800, a one-inch movement of your mouse moves your cursor 800 pixels. “


Question 5 – Does More CPI/ DPI Make A Better Gaming Mouse?

What Does DPI Mean For A Gaming Mouse - Dots

Not at all. Imagine for example the 16000 DPI Gaming Mice that exist nowadays. That means 16000 Pixels for an Inch of mouse movement.

Now let’s count some pixels. Let’s say you have the standard 1080p Monitor (1080 Pixels vertically and 1920 Horizontally). If you enable 16000 DPI you will move 16000 Pixels with an inch of mouse movement.

How many 1080p Monitors your cursor must travel. If you do the math (16000/ 1920 = 8.3 Monitors!). That would be cool if you had 8 Monitors and you had some domino effects so it looked cool haha.

So jokes aside, DPI after a point becomes non practical. But let’s count some pixels with the 4K Monitors that exist today. 4K Monitors have usually 4096 Horizontal Pixels.

So with 16000 DPI you still will travel 4 4K Monitors with an inch of mouse movement.

Question 6 – How Much DPI/CPI Is Ideal?

It depends on the monitor you have. For example, for a 1080p(FHD) which has 1920 Horizontal and 1080 Vertical Pixels, you won’t need more than 4000 DPI (and even that is quite high).

If you do the math, 4000 Pixels for an inch will move 2 1080p screens. You will only enable the 4000 DPI when playing games where you need to go from one end of the screen to the other. And 4000 might be high enough even for that.

Check the following Youtube video for a visual on how DPI affects the monitors (1080p).

DPI Difference Video On Youtube (On 1080p Monitor)

The usual DPI used in most cases is about 1000 – 1500 DPI.

So Why So Much DPI Exists If Not Used?

It’s used, but not very often. Maybe you have heard about 8K Tvs. In those cases 16000 can be useful. Also you might have heard or seen about multi screen setups.

If you have 4K multi screen setups for gaming, design or music production or anything else you might use the 16000 DPI. Having a mouse with 16000 DPI can be reassuring knowing that if you buy a more expensive gaming setup, the DPI won’t be a problem. Of course as the mouse holds it together.

Question 7 – So What About DPI Increments?

Cheap gaming mice usually have standard DPI Settings so you can’t change them. Medium budget to high budget gaming mice have software that enables you to program the DPI scales.

Most mice offer from 40 to 100 DPI Increments so it’s enough to customize it to your needs. One case I can think of is when you are zooming. You need less DPI then to make a more accurate shot.

What Does DPI Mean For A Gaming Mouse? – Music Lobby Part!

Here in this part we stay on the bench a bit and relax, pump the brain up with some noise, and we get to know each other better haha!.

Lyrics Here!

Then for some KPop madness haha!

Lyrics Here

I hope you like Lady Gaga because she is next. !


And this Cyber-Brain Cocktail will end with a futuristic tech song from a Swedish Power Metal Band, Amaranthe! Well not so futuristic if you ask me haha.


What Does DPI Mean For A Gaming Mouse? – Conclusion

With all the above said, there is not really much to worry about DPI. Just do the math (If you like math!) or you can have as a rule that 4000 DPI needed for an 1080p (or even a 1440p) monitor.

Check out Steam’s Survey On Hardware and Software for June 2019. 74.22% use Multi Monitor Resolution 3840 * 1080 (which is basically 2 1080p Monitors) and 64.5% 1080p as Primary Desktop Resolution.

If you wanna build this Multi Monitor Setup, you might want more than 4000 DPI – just for safety. You need to have “DPI air” because you may need that.

My Gaming Mouse Suggestions.

What Does DPI Mean For A Gaming Mouse - Affiliate Promotions

The following links point to reviews that contain affiliate links. If you purchase using these links, I will get commision based on the price you paid. The commision is not like a tax to you. The price is the same with or without my affiliate link.

Cheap But Good

If you don’t have much to spare, get Pictek T7 as it’s cheap and with 7200 Max DPI, you can use a Multi-Monitor Setup as well.

Medium Budget And Worth It (Not for MMOs)

If you have some budget but need to use it on something worth it, and you don’t play MMOs, get the Logitech G203 Prodigy. A well known mouse that you can play at the pro level. With its 8000 Max DPI, you can easily use it for a multi monitor setup.

Medium Budget For All Kinds Of Games

If you want a gaming mouse very popular across gamers that can play all kinds of games and is in the medium budget range, get Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse. With Maximum DPI of 8200, you can use it in Multi-Monitor Setups easy.

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10 thoughts on “What Does DPI Mean For A Gaming Mouse?”

  1. affiliate_ghost

    Hey George ๐Ÿ™‚ This is an informative post on what DPI means for a gaming mouse and I feel slightly embarrassed that as a gamer i didn’t know until now.

    I understand the concept as you have simplified it with your FAQ styled post and I sure would be showing off with this as i share this post. Thanks for the suggestions on a gaming mouse, I would definitely look at this post again before I replace it

    1. I’m glad you found this post informative. No need to be embarrased I learned about DPI details about 1-2 months ago. Before that I had a vague idea of what it is.

      FAQ style posts are helpful in a way that you can go directly to the question of your choice. If you want theory, you go to theoretical questions. If you want practical advice, you go to those questions.

      For example, Quora uses a question-answer format. And it’s a popular platform.

      If you think any question is missing, feel free to make a comment about it. I tried to think as many as possible but as you know, it’s never enough!

      Have fun and also a nice day.

  2. Dear George,

    To be very honest with you, I’m in a kind of information overload with the in-depth research you have come up with here. However, I have to congratulate you on this “Super Article”.

    I have recently started my gaming career and while doing some research online on gaming mouse, I came across your helpful and informative post. Since I have already read a few of your posts, I know you will provide great value on your post so read it immediately. Every single time I read an article of yours, I learn so much new stuff!

    I am not good at math, so I will go with the simple rule you shared 4000 DPI needed for a 1080p monitor.

    You answered all the questions we might have, which is awesome. I really enjoyed the content and in the manner that you presented. You left no stone up-turned in explaining all the information.

    Much Success!


    1. Thanks Paul for being honest. That’s what really is necessary. I don’t mind construstive criticism at all if someone chooses to do that. Since gaming is mostly practical, you must combine theory and practice to a degree that one helps understand the other.

      And I believe for everything there is a simple explanation even if it’s technical. There are already YouTube channels that explain difficult terms (or theories) in a simple way so I try to do the same.

      4000 Max DPI is adequate for 1080p or even for 1440p monitors. You only need to worry about DPI for multi monitor setups (or you want to buy a gaming mouse with that future update in mind).

      If you think any more questions, feel free to leave a comment. I just filled the article with questions that came up to my mind. Maybe there others as well!

      I wish you success on your gaming career and generally in whatever you choose to do. As for me, there is certainly a long road but that doesn’t bother me. There is always a long road else it would be boring!

      Have a nice day.

  3. I don’t know much about gaming mice, but I do game on my PS4.  Even though I don’t know much about gaming mice, I still found it very interesting and full of great information.  I do work with a guy who is big into gaming on his computer and found that maybe if I learnt a bit about it, I could use it as a conversation piece at least.  I am super techy, so that is the other reason that I found this super interesting.  Great job.

    1. Well, since you are techy, you can certainly benefit from this article. Well no one knows all and learning is never ending, so I’m glad you found this article useful even though you haven’t read about DPI.

      If you learn something more about DPI from your friend that is missing here, you can drop a comment here and tell me!

      Thanks for dropping by. Have a nice day.

  4. Richard Brennan

    Thanks, George

    I knew absolutely nothing about this until I read your very well informed and easy to follow article.

    You don’t get any info like this from the sales people at shop floor level, which surprises me as they could probably see people like me as ‘easy prey’ for an upsell! 

    When I go to upgrade at some time in the not too distant future, I’ll be armed with the information I need to save me from both the savvy salesman and from embarrassment about my lack of knowledge (Paul, I feel your pain!) in front of my 2 Sons who are getting more and more into gaming every day.

    1. Hello Richard. I’m glad you found this article easy to follow. That’s my aim of course – technical articles must be easy to read nowadays because when people think of technical terms they think them as “nightmare time”.

      Well some(a lot!) people want to make money as fast as possible and they will try selling you everything unfortunately.

      Well I was into gaming from age 6 or somewhere there so It’s good you are armed with the best information possible so you can make the best possible decisions for your sons.

      Feel free to leave a comment if you think something is missing. Have a nice day.

  5. Todd Matthews

    Hi, George, you definitely know DPI well and for a while I was confused as to why it was DPI and not PPI (Pixels Per Unit) until I read the part where they wanted a more familiar term for the masses, even if it wasn’t totally accurate, which makes sense, as many of us can relate to Dots Per Inch rather than Pixels Per Inch. I have gamed on the PC a while back, but haven’t done so in quite some time, but either way this article was still an interesting read and if I ever get back into it, I’ll keep the importance in having a good mouse in mind. 

    1. Hello Todd. It certainly confused me as well quite some time ago and me being a tech savvy person, it was about time I learned all I can learn about DPI (of course never is enough If I learn more I will add it to this post).

      With a bit of math you can little or less visualize how ti will play out (without having any prior experience). Gaming is gaming so even for consoles mice are used nowadays so the DPI information will be relevant enough.

      If you have a normal gaming setup you probably won’t have to worry too much about DPI. Make sure the mouse works for your hand and is durable as I guess you want it to last at least 2 years.

      Thanks for your useful comment. Have a nice day.

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