a quick guide to everything a mouse is

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Jun 3, 2011
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]i've seen tons of threads in this section asking for recommendations for a gaming mouse; although the recommendation itself is easy (since there's about 8 mice worth considering on the market today), i thought i'd write a little something so kids can learn to understand mice for themselves. so, here it is:
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]the *simple* mouse explanation [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]do you want to buy a "gaming" mouse? [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]are you confused about some feature (like 8000DPI) or worse, do you *think* you understand a feature?[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]here is the simple mouse explanation and buying guide; no lies, no exageration, just the truth.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]a mouse can be many things; it can do many things. but as for being a mouse - moving the cursor around the screen as you move your hand - it can never, ever [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]do better than "1:1".[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]what we call 1:1 is a mouse that replicates perfectly the movements you do with your hand.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]and, once a mouse does 1:1, it can never do "better".(but, see later)[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]now, perfection in mouse movements was something of a dream for many years; the first mouse to do that was the Windows Mouse Optical (WMO), and *only* when a hack was applied to raise the USB ports polling rate to 500hz (from the standard 125hz); please keep this in mind since modern mice have 500hz or 1.000hz (1khz) polling rate.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]and even today, you can buy some mice that are absolutely shit. for example, the gigabyte gm500, a mouse i actually own and use for work due to the comfort of [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]its big size, can aim very well if you move your mouse very slowly - but as soon as you move it fast, the sensor curls up and dies, as it cannot handle as [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]much information as it gets when you move it very fast.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]this is due to the sensor. there are many sensors on the market, some are good, some are very bad, and for different reasons.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]now, these reasons are as follow: (note that just about all of these have the sensor to blame, but i will also include other reasons why mice can be bad)[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]jitter - the mouse receives very small impulses when you move it that make it think you are also doing some additional movement; in practice, it jumps [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]slightly and doesn't move correctly in a straight line. most often due to the surface used.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]prediction, also known as angle snapping - a mouse sensor created to draw on a pc; in software such as autocad, if it was trying to recreate perfectly, 1:1 [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]what you are doing with your hand, would *never* be able to draw a straight line, since your own hand can't do that. [/FONT]
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some sensors were designed to straighten out small deviations when the mouse thinks you are trying to draw a straight line.
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]to be honest, while this might be the worst thing ever in games such as quake, which require wild angle movements and minute adjustments, it's actually not [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]that bad in more modern shooters, where things tend to be somewhat more realistic than robots rocket-jumping sixty feet into the air.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]still, you want to avoid any sensor known for anything more than really tiny angle snapping.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]negative acceleration - after a certain speed (moving the mouse faster than so much) you get less pixels than you should. some mice sensors can dramatically [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]drop in capability after a certain speed, meaning that if you try to very quickly turn around to shoot someone behind you, the mouse just won't do it, [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]stopping before you want it to.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]acceleration - the opposite, after a certain speed (or acceleration, depending on the type of sensor) your mouse moves more than it should. you try to turn [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]around, and you end up doing almost a full circle.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]tracking - the ability to perform equally well on different surfaces, not faster on one and slower on another. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]polling stability and refresh rate - a mouse that polls at 500hz should poll at 500hz, not 420hz and then 511hz and then 514hz and the 481hz and .. [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]the more the difference in speed between each poll, the worse the movement. the space between each poll is a defect, now the electronics will compensate for [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]that, just as long as the "holes" are always the same size.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]maximum speed - a (made up, but much used in the community) stat derived from the stats above, it tells me how fast i can move my hand before the mouse [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]sensor starts throwing out errors, independently of how tiny or how horrible these errors are.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]DPI - the poison of modern mice. the amount of "dots", or "counts", that the mouse sees per every inch of movement, under ideal conditions.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]mouse drivers - software which makes stuff work on the mouse. some mice can work almost to full functionality without drivers, others are practically a brick [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]without them, some perform bad without them, some perform *better* without them (the deathadder).[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]ergonomics - how well the mouse fits your hand AND your grip style, how easy it is to move it, the placement of the sensor, placement of buttons, and the [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]weight of the mouse.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]build quality - the reactivity of the button switches, the size, shape and placement of the mouse feet, the surface finish, the cord attached to the mouse, [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]and why not, the looks too.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]let's talk about these things for a sec and dispel some evil myths. some very basic math needed.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]★polling at 125hz is kinda slow; you don't want to wait 8ms between polls as your hand can move quite a bit in between; more with unstable refres rates. but [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]500hz is 2ms between polls, and with stable polling, that's practically nothing. most modern mice poll at 1khz or 500hz at least; stability is a different [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]matter though, and it often depends on the mouse drivers.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]★as for tracking, it would be ok if your mouse doesn't want to work on some odd surfaces, as long as you don't plan to use those. generally a GOOD mousepad [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]will solve 100% of any tracking issue you might have. still, we tend to buy mice that don't have any tracking issues, since that's generally an indication [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]that the sensor is less than perfect.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]★acceleration, both negative and "positive", is something you do NOT want.[/FONT][FONT=Arial, sans-serif]now, i all truth, many high class pro players use acceleration, but from ingame settings, and they grow accustomed to it; also, many sensors which have [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]inbuilt, non-removable acceleration (like laser sensors) tend to have so little of it that it's negligible. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]you should keep in mind that many mice "defects" can be so small that nobody but a genuine gaming professional athlete would notice them. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]★maximum speed is as i said, made up from the other sensor stats, but its a good measure of how fast you can respond ingame while still keeping 100% accuracy [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif](from the mouse, your own skill is another matter). there are plenty of mice you can buy which have a maximum speed far higher than you will ever manage to [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]use. [/FONT]
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most professional players use very low sensitivity settings and very large playing surfaces, meaning they need to move their arms (not hands or wrists,
[/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]but whole elbows and arms) much more to do the same movement as a casual player's sensitivity allows. this is because they can do very small movements which a casual cannot, because for casuals 1mm of movement is far more difficult than 10mm for someone who has 1/10 of the sensitivity.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]★DPI, also known (correctly) as CPI, is a measure of how minute a movement the mouse can detect. HOWEVER, even 400 DPI is many, many dots and very, very small movement.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]if a mouse only did 10 DPI, it would mean it wouldn't be possible to make small adjustments. you could see the (imaginary) dots with the naked eye and [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]anything smaller than the distance between two dots, cannot be a movement - the pointer would stand still.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]but even 400DPI is enough to do perfect 1:1 movement for the human hand. and like we said before, once the mouse can do "perfect", it doesn't need to do [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]better. you can't have "more perfect".[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]now, most sensors today have multiple DPI settings, but in most cases, they have a "native" setting, or in plainspeek, "the one setting where the sensor [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]works really well and the others when it doesn't".[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]also, in a game, the amount of movement your cursor or crosshair does onscreen is simply [sensitivity X DPI]. [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]when a sensor starts to get over 2000DPI you have problems with getting a good value, because most games don't let you (like quake does) have a sensitivity of say, 0.642; rather, its a choice (this is a fictional example) between 6 or 7 on a slider, and one is too slow and the other too fast.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]so, too high DPI becomes unpractical.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]having too many DPI is like having too many coats of paint on your car; after the 6th or so coat, you can't tell if there are more because you can't see the [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]metal anymore, AND it might make your car weight more. not totally perfect comparison, but i mean that enough DPI is enough. having a sensitivity of 2 and [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]1600 dpi is *exactly* like having a sensitivity of 4 and 800 dpi.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]So, in some games, having a low DPI count is actually better :p[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]also speaking of DPI, the idea of a button on the mouse which changes your DPI on the fly is not bad, let's say, if you pick up a sniper in the middle of a firefight and suddenly need a slower moving crosshair;[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]in practice, a button that makes your DPI shoot between 1600 and 3200 (twice as much) is completely useless.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]If they made a button which made the mouse go between two DPI values chosen by the user, say, between 800 and 1000, that would be useful.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]★mouse drivers have ruined many decent mice, first and foremost a number of razer products, and logitech isn't much better either. having a great sensor which [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]depends on a shoddy driver to perform well can bring on many problems, some were really bad in the past when computers were crap, less today but you still [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]need to consider that its like having bloatware always on for some brands.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]★ergonomics can be a MASSIVE factor in determining how well you do with your new mouse.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]first off, you always need to get accustomed to a new mouse. not strictly relevant, but just so you don't throw away that g400s you just bought just because [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]"it doesn't feel right" the first day.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]a heavy mouse makes it easier to make small movements (like setting up a headshot) but harder to react faster and more difficult to stop the mouse in the [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]right spot after a big movement, like turning around. you do get quite accustomed to this however.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]light mice tend to "track" (follow a dodging enemy) better but have a harder time going for tiny movements. they also tend to get moved by the cord unless [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]you secure it very carefully, and by involuntary movements. lighter:quicker, heavier:more accurate, but this is a very, very generic way of putting things [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]and don't go thinking it's a genuine deciding factor. [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]well, it is, but don't use it as your first reference.. first of all you want good 1:1. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]anyway, ergonomics - or how you grip your mouse - is very important, because while you might be very accurate when you are relaxed, such as in practice games, under stress you will tend to clench your hand, push the mouse into the mousepad (increasing friction and thus making it harder to move fluidly), and in general are much less accurate. [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]the way you hold the mouse, and how the shape fits your hand will determine a lot of how well you do.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]i won't lie to you - there is only one way to know this: buy a mouse. you buy it, and if the shape sucks for you, you sell it on ebay or you gift it to a friend. suck it, there is no way to avoid this expense.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif](i have owned abyssus, g400, g400s, deathadder, zowie, WMO, gm500, IME 3.0, all looking for the perfect shape. the WMO for example has a combination of [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]lightness, 1:1 and shape perfection that makes it really hard to beat, even though its such an old mouse) [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]sensor placement is a difficult subject; lets say that even when moving your elbow to aim, your wrist is still a pivot. if the sensor is central to the [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]mouse, it will move less, if it is up in front, it will move more. you can subconsciously use this to do finer aiming, but what you gain from that you lose [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]in control when making big sweeping movements. most mice have a central sensor anyway, and if they have some "sideways" sensor, just throw them in the bin.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]mice also don't have two sensors for the same reason that you don't have two hearts - even if just one breaks, you are fucked.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]button placement follows hand placement, you want to feel comfortable when you click. again, i can't explain "feeling", you need to buy and try.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]★regarding build quality, a good shell surface means you can grip the mouse with less effort. [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]good quality switches, cord weight and rigidity (some people love [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]braided cords, i hate them), how long before your mouse breaks, how smooth the scroll wheel is, how easy to use the side buttons, all should be considered, [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]AFTER you know you have a 1:1 mouse and the ergonomics are fine. the Abyssus is awesome but the build quality is shit, it breaks every 3 months.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]mouse feet can make a very tiny difference, but they can be replaced for cheap - just make sure to not buy a mouse with really weirdly shaped feet, like the [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]gm500.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]and that's it. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]an introduction to gaming mice.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]as you can see, there are many things that marketing departments everywhere try to sell you a mouse on, and even though they aren't completely lies, they are [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]nothing compared to the real issues one faces when buying a mouse. [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]I hope this little guide will help you understand what you are reading when you get a good mouse review.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]And finally, I have to add, that even some not-so-great mice are still perfectly fine for many players who don't use ridiculously low sensitivity settings and don't play cup-level counter strike.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]for a recap, [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]1) make sure the mouse you are considering is 1:1 (or nearly)[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]2) find out if the ergonomics suit you.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]3) do you have to live with bloatware, picky surface choices, excessive weight extremes, or other non-fundamental issues?[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]4) check prices and pick a color.[/FONT]
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Platinum Member
Jun 14, 2009
You do not need to have Razer drivers running or even installed for the mouse to function perfectly; set it up and uninstall. A lot of pros don't really know a lot about the hardware itself but are able to spread huge misinformation because people listen to them. If stuff that conclusive get misrepresented by them, I have a hard time trusting them for the more ambiguous information such as if a mouse truly has 1:1.
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Jun 3, 2011
people who buy mice for MMORPGS, or for desktop applications, do not need advice for gaming mice - and would not be asking on these forums about them.


Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2013
Ah, so in your mind Gaming mouse = FPS mouse. Got it. Didn't know I've been incorrectly calling myself a gamer for over a decade now.


Aug 23, 2007
Typical anti-DPI drivel. I use 3200 dpi and I turn it down to 1600 or 800 for precision movements when editing photos. We don't need to dumb mouse DPI down to the lowest common denominator so I really wish low-dexterity folks would stop insisting that 400 or 800 dpi is "enough".
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