DPI or dots per inch is a measure of mouse sensitivity. There are a lot of misconceptions about what this means for mice and what it should be if you want to generate performance increases. A lot of new mice come out advertising higher DPI settings and, much like cameras with megapixels, it’s mostly become a marketing strategy that’s designed to generate hype around the product. The real questions we’ll answer are whether or not these settings actually improve the mouse and whether or not you should have low sensitivities like many of the pros in CS:GO.
First thing’s first: You should always be wary of mice advertising high DPI settings. To simplify a very technical explanation, dots per inch is basically seeing how many times you can fit a pixel into an inch. At higher DPIs, this becomes a matter of dividing those pixels into smaller images, and this isn’t always good for the actual accuracy of the mouse. In fact, at some ridiculously high DPIs, mice begin to report inaccurate movements and suffer from things like cursor ripple and acceleration. Having a mouse with something crazy like 8000 DPI doesn’t mean it’s more accurate or better designed than any of its competitors.
As far as your sensitivity is concerned, it usually comes down to comfort. Many pros start out at higher sensitivities and end up adjusting them to be lower later down the line. If you have a lot of desk space and use more of your arm to whip the mouse around, you may favor lower sensitivities. If you prefer smaller movements with your wrist and have a smaller mousepad, higher sensitivities could be preferable. Overall, you get the best results when you adjust based on the game you’re playing and what feels the most natural to you.
Incidentally, this is another thing that makes a gaming mouse superior to a regular mouse. Many gaming mice come with software that allows you to fine-tune multiple aspects of the sensitivity and cursor behavior to your liking, especially DPI. This is usually adjusted in intervals of 50 or 100, which varies depending on how good the sensor in the mouse is (better sensor = lower capable intervals of adjustment). For those who are curious, the Logitech G502 is the mouse with the highest DPI in the world at 12,000, tracking at 300 inches per second.
If you have a gaming mouse or are even just interested in testing the feel of your sensitivity settings, we highly recommend Aimbooster. In Aimbooster, your goal is to hit the targets before they vanish for as long as you possibly can without missing. If you miss three targets, you lose the game and have to restart. I often use this to test my own DPI settings and see how far I can get in the game relative to past settings, as it’s a great measure of accuracy and consistency. There are other games for testing your mouse accuracy as well, with Osu! and even Curveball being decent respective choices.