What is a gaming mouse

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

  • 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 just enable the functionality to make it faster and smoother.

But to understand better about gaming mice you need first to understand about mice in general.

what is a gaming mouse - cat chasing mouse in cave

Gaming mice are just an enchanced version of mice.

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


what is a gaming mouse - sensor 2

“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.

“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. 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.

“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.


what is a gaming mouse - mouse acceleration 2

“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.

Let’s see some Youtube video relative to acceleration.

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

Angle Snapping

what is a gaming mouse - angle snapping 2

“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. “


The video with the 5 mice above tests about angle snapping too.

Well this feature can be useful to drawing applications too.

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

Well , you can always visit the links to learn more details. Next in line is CPI (DPI).


what is a gaming mouse - DPI CPI - confused

“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.

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


Next and last is Interpolation.

There are more metrics of course to consider.

But in this post we look at the most important that can affect the decision when buying a gaming mouse (or simple mouse).


what is a gaming mouse - interpolation 2

“Interpolation or frame skipping, occurs when the MCU 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. “


I found a relatively good Youtube video that can show visually what interpolation is.

The video covers other things too, relative to animation but didn’t find other videos that don’t have boards and formulas and blah blah blah!!.

Final Words

The above metrics are the most important about a mouse. What a gaming mouse differs from a normal mouse is that it has higher DPI (many gaming mice have switches to change DPI dynamically), more buttons that are programmable with software, better aesthetic features to look more like a gaming mouse and not a boring one (RGB lights), and better ergonomics (basically design oriented for longer mouse usage , i’m sure you have about some mice have adjustable weights.).

In the future, this article might cover different types of grips. The work never ends. Feel free to drop some comments and/or suggestions/recommendation. Take care.

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  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!

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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. 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?

    • 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!


    • 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?

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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. 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.



    • 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.

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