Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) is the granddaddy of multiplayer first-person shooters. Released in 2012 as the fourth title in the Counter-Strike series, CS: GO redefined team-based action and FPS mechanics. It’s even served as the basis for popular titles like Rainbow Six Siege, PUBG, and others.
If you’ve read any of our esports profiles, you’ve probably seen CS: GO pop up as the starting point for many professional players. Due to how often newer FPS titles adopt settings, control schemes, and game modes from the game, it acts as the perfect training ground. With its most recent transition to free-to-play, there’s never been a better time to jump in or refine your CS: GO skills — and, in turn, improve your potential in other titles.
To help you optimize your CS: GO gameplay, we’ve compiled the best PC mouse, keybinds, graphics, and audio settings for PC. Unlike other guides, CS: GO does not have a current console version (though there are Xbox 360 and PS3 iterations). We’ve stuck solely with PC settings as the professional community remains consistent on PC over previous console gens.
With that, let’s jump into the best settings for the original team-based shooter.
Best CS: GO PC Settings
CS: GO’s settings panel is more straightforward than other titles in the FPS genre due to the age of the game. The good news? Because of its simplicity, you’ll find more consistency between players, and a general consensus regarding what constitutes the best settings.
Best CS: GO Mouse Settings for PC
Let’s start with a look at the best CS: GO mouse settings.
DPI: 400 – 800
You’ll find that a majority of professional players opt for the lower DPI setting in CS: GO, with very few ever going beyond 800 DPI.
Start with a lower DPI, and slowly move up until you find what’s most comfortable. This will ensure greater accuracy without sacrificing responsiveness and reaction time.
Polling Rate: 1000Hz
Most professionals roll with the 1000Hz polling option, but this solely depends on your mouse and how consistent it works at the higher polling setting.
Reverse Mouse: Custom
Keep this off unless you like inverted mouse controls.
Duck Mode: Custom
This setting determines whether you crouch when holding the hotkey, or whether crouch is toggled on/off. It’s totally a matter of preference.
Walk Mode: Custom
Like duck mode above, this setting determines whether you hold to work or toggle walk on and off. Also a matter of preference.
Mouse Sensitivity: 2 – 4
For the most accuracy, keep the sensitivity lower to match your DPI settings. You’ll often see new players push for higher sensitivity, but this often leads to skipping and inconsistent movement. Starting lower is always a safer bet, and helps develop muscle memory around accuracy over speed.
Zoom Sensitivity: 1
If you love ruining everyone’s lives with the AWP sniper rifle, then you’ll want to pay attention to this setting. While it does affect any scoped-in loadout, the AWP benefits the most from the lower sensitivity.
Raw Input: On
Keeping this setting on assures that any external PC settings will not affect your game settings. Only turn it off if you want to mess with and align standard PC settings with in-game settings.
Mouse Acceleration: Off
Keeping mouse acceleration on can lead to inconsistencies due to the advanced movement based on mouse speed. Turn this off to help you retain accuracy and work on muscle memory.
Best CS: GO Keybinds for PC
CS: GO’s keybind settings work just like other popular FPS games. It’s well worth putting in a bit of effort here to make specific actions work with the simplest hand movement.
Best CS: GO Graphics Settings for PC
Back in the day, CS: GO required a high-end PC just to boot up. If you didn’t have one, you were SOL.
But as the game nears a decade old, it’s become much more accessible. Today, CS: GO can even run on entry-level processors with integrated graphics.
As you might expect, there’s a wide range of video settings to choose from, and the perfect configuration largely depends on your rig. If you’re rocking the latest and greatest graphics card, you can probably eke out maximum settings without much dip in performance (though it’s hardly necessary, unless you can’t get enough of those sweet decade-old visuals). However, if you’re on a mid or lower-tier setup, the difference between one visual setting can affect your performance by several FPS.
That’s why, to keep things simple, we’re showcasing the most commonly used settings across all devices. The following settings should work on most modern PCs just fine, from entry-level to pro gamer.
Let’s check ‘em out.
Main Menu Background Scenery: Custom
This setting covers the background video that plays while in the main menu. It all comes down to personal preference, though we think Phoenix Facility is clearly the coolest one.
Color Mode: Computer Monitor
Choose this option to retain more natural lighting and increase brightness in darker shaded areas.
Increase this setting to your desired intensity, assuring that you’ll be able to identify enemies in heavy shadows. There’s no exact value to aim for here, and your final setting depends solely on your PC setup and desired brightness.
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 or 16:9
We would typically recommend a 16:9 Aspect Ratio, but you’ll find that most pros utilize a 4:3 ratio. To make this decision easy, simply decide if you have or want to use a high performing PC to play. If so, go for 16:9. If not, set it to 4:3 instead to maximize frames.
Resolution: 1024 x 767 or 1920 x 1080
Your resolution relies solely on what you choose for your Aspect Ratio. Again, these decisions are meant to maximize frames and should be set according to the ratio you choose.
Display Mode: Fullscreen
Fullscreen mode is required to customize your video settings. And, it provides the best visuals possible.
Laptop Power Savings: Disabled
Keep this off to avoid losing out on frames due to your PC trying to retain battery power.
Advanced Video Settings
Global Shadow Quality: Low
To avoid losing massive amounts of frames, keep this setting on low. It will allow you to easily see shadowed areas while maintaining enough detail to prevent blurry visuals.
Model/Texture Detail: Low – Medium
This will add additional detail to in-game models. While it doesn’t drastically affect frame rate, it might still be worth keeping this lower to avoid any dips.
Texture Streaming: Enabled
Texture streaming is a relatively new setting in CS: GO designed to reduce the immediate graphical load on older PCs. It does so by deferring the loading of textures until they’re actually needed, then loading them in behind the scenes if and when they appear. While some players claim it doesn’t help their FPS, it shouldn’t ever hurt it, either. And you may well see a boost in your games. Recommended enabled.
Effect Detail: Low
There are no direct advantages to keeping this setting higher and should only be increased if you have a PC that can maintain it.
Shader Detail: Low
Similar to effect details, the shader detail is simply an aesthetic choice that should only be activated if you have power to spare.
Boost Player Contrast: Enabled
This setting, quite literally, boosts the contrast of enemy avatars, making them more visible against the background environment. A huge competitive advantage that you should never play without.
Multicore Rendering: Enabled
To allow your PC to run more than one core processor at a time, keep this setting on.
Multisampling Anti-Aliasing Mode: None
Anti-aliasing is only useful for smoothing out in-game asset edges. It’s a big drain on frame rate and should only be turned on if you have frames to spare.
FXAA Anti-Aliasing: Disabled
Keep this setting off to avoid extreme input lag.
Texture Filtering Mode: Bilinear
Keep this setting on bilinear for best results. Also note that due to the nominal difference between settings, you may be able to shift up without any dips in frame rate.
Wait for Vertical Sync: Disabled
While great for fixing screen tear, keeping this setting on can lead to a whole host of problems. Only decide to turn it on if you’re willing to risk lag to fix immense screen tearing.
Motion Blur: Disabled
Keep this off to remove the more realistic blur associated with scoped movement.
Triple Monitor Mode: Disabled
Keep this disabled unless you intend to play CS: GO across multiple monitors.
Use Uber Shaders: Disabled
While Valve recommends setting this to “auto” to reduce hitching and stutters, many players experience issues with it turned on. We recommend turning it off to start and adjusting as needed.
Best CS: GO Audio Settings for PC
Like most FPS titles, audio is vitally important for professional CS: GO play.
How can you make the most of in-game audio? By switching to headphones, to start. Just go into Speaker Configuration and choose Headphones from there. Switching to this setup will automatically make identifying footsteps and directional fire that much easier.
There are a variety of other settings to consider, and exact configurations may depend on your headphone type. Check out the following baseline settings and feel free to update and tweak based on how it sounds.
Putting it to Practice
Overall you’ll find that while the settings for CS: GO are relatively basic compared to modern FPS titles, there’s still plenty to optimize if you’re willing to dig in deeper and mess with the Developer Console Settings.
If you’re looking to refine your skills to bring them over to other shooters, starting with these settings can help you establish muscle memory that works across multiple titles. And if you decide that CS: GO is your jam, it doesn’t seem like it’ll be going away anytime soon.
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May 2021: Updated the video settings section with the latest new options from Valve.