Gaming mouse setup guide featured image

Gaming Mouse Setup Guide

This guide will help you understand your mouse settings and how to change mouse sensitivity, DPI, acceleration and polling rate to be a better gamer. The best gaming mouse in the world is not going to help if you don't have it configured correctly. Our in depth guide walks you through the setup process Step-by-Step. In a few minutes you'll have your mouse configured like a pro gamer.

CSGO Sniper Aiming with his Elite Mouse Setting Precision

Before we begin, if you don't have a half decent gaming mouse, made within the last few years. Then it probably makes sense to invest in one, we have built a massive buyers guide to help you find the best gaming mouse for 2017. The rest of this guide assumes you have a half decent gaming mouse. However if you don't, you can and will, benefit from a lot of the Windows and game related settings tweaks. But if your serious about gaming, I highly recommend you invest in a gaming mouse.

Gaming Mouse Settings Overview

A quick high level overview of this entire process Step-by-Step, if you already understand it, don't have time to read this page, or if you're optimizing your gaming mouse ​again.

Step 1: Windows Mouse Settings for Gaming

Step 2: Turn off Mouse Acceleration Everywhere

Step 3: Set Polling Rate to Maximum

Step 4: In Game Settings

Step 5: Get a Gaming Mouse Mat

Step 6: Cable Drag

Windows Mouse Settings for Gaming

The first step is to correctly configure the Windows mouse settings, even if you have 3rd party mouse software installed like Synapse, you should complete this step. 

How To Change Mouse Sensitivity Windows 10

You can find the Windows mouse sensitivity settings in the control panel, or optionally on Windows 10 by hitting the windows key then typing "mouse settings" and clicking on "additional mouse options" under "Related settings"​.

​Go to the third tab over, "Pointer Options" and within the "Motion" section set the "Select a pointer speed" setting to the middle setting 6/11 (yes you'll have to count those little dashes!).

An image of the Windows 10 mouse settings for gaming

How To Turn Off Mouse Acceleration Windows 10

Make sure the setting underneath "Enhance pointer precision" is not ticked, this is what Windows calls mouse acceleration. If you don't know what mouse acceleration is, I've explained it below along with why it sucks for gaming.

What is Mouse Acceleration?

Typically, mouse acceleration sucks for gaming. - BlizzGC.com 2017

If mouse acceleration is disabled your movements are like for like. Meaning, when you move your mouse two inches on the mouse pad, it will move the same distance on the screen, if you move your mouse a distance of 5 inches on the mouse pad, it will move a distance of 5 inches on the screen.

When mouse acceleration is disabled, no matter how hard or fast you move your mouse the movements will be like for like.

If you have mouse acceleration enabled, the distance the mouse pointer travels on the screen is dictated by how fast you move the mouse in that direction.

With mouse acceleration on if you move the mouse in one direction fast for a distance of 2 inches, it will move a completely different distance than if you moved it slowly for 2 inches.

As you can imagine, having a mouse that moves different distances based on mouse speed is going to add extra layers of complexity for your brain to process and become accustomed. Theoretically, it's possible to master this but it's highly unlikely and it will almost definitely take you longer than learning to use your mouse without mouse acceleration.

Additionally, with mouse acceleration on, if you want to make a precise movement you HAVE to do it slower to get the like for like accuracy. Making it pretty much useless for FPS players who require accurate movements with like for like accuracy at FAST speeds.

So, don't make life harder than it needs to be and Turn off Mouse Acceleration!

Personally I don't use mouse acceleration in any form in or out of games and I even turn it off on non gaming mice.

Windows Gaming Mouse Settings Summary

  1. ​Go to control panel and select the middle setting, number 6 for mouse sensitivity
  2. Make sure "Enhanced pointer precision" is not ticked


How To Change Mouse DPI

The next step on your journey to unlocking Jedi like mouse movements requires you to setup your mouse software settings and change the mouse DPI (mouse speed).

Image of the razer synapse mouse DPI settings options

What is Mouse DPI

In short, DPI adjusts your mouse pointer speed.

DPI stands for dots per inch. You probably know that your screen is made up of pixels, every pixel is a dot. The mouse DPI setting adjusts how many of those pixels the mouse pointer moves when you move the mouse on your mouse pad, the higher the DPI the further the mouse pointer will move on the screen.

A Quick Note About Mouse DPI

Mouse DPI has become a bit of a marketing fad, with gaming mice boasting insanely high DPI's of 1600+. While DPI is important it does not necessarily make for a better mouse better than one with a lower DPI, and the chances are you'll lower the DPI level any way. Other factors are much more important than mice DPI such as sensor accuracy, how precisely you can adjust the mouse DPI (Razer Synapse is awesome for this!), button positioning and how it fits your hand.

What's the best DPI for Gaming?​

​There is no best DPI for gaming. It's really down to personal preference, screen resolution, mouse type and the game you're playing. For example, if you play a sniper on battlefield (or any other FPS game) a lower mouse DPI will likely benefit your game as it will allow you to make slow accurate movements. Where as if you run around spamming everyone down with a P90 on CSGO you'll likely benefit from a higher mouse DPI setting.

But, as a general rule of thumb I say start high and work your way back down to what feels comfortable, I also recommend setting your in game settings low and your mouse DPI higher (more on this below!).

Screen Resolution vs Mouse DPI?

Screen resolution matters also, as a general rule, the higher your screen resolution the higher you'll want your mouse DPI setting.

Mouse Polling Rate

What is Mouse Polling Rate?

Polling rate is how often your mouse updates your computer with your movements or clicks. Polling rate is measured in Hz and gaming mice go up to 1000hz, you can usually adjust it in your mouse settings. 

What is the Best Mouse Polling Rate?

Set the polling rate to maximum, there is no disadvantage to using a higher polling rate. In the olden days, a high polling rate would affect your game play by causing the PC to drop frames and cause stuttering. But on modern PC's this should not cause an issue, so go ahead and max it out.


Optimal Game Settings

Lets first address some general game settings that "a lot" of games have in the options menu.

An image showing the best gaming mouse settings for CSGO

Raw Input

Raw input takes the input directly from the mouse instead of the operating system, removing any additional lag or the potential for the operating system to interfere with the mouse input. ​You'll want to turn this on if your game as the option.

Mouse Acceleration

Turn it off for all the reasons we previously discussed above.

In-game Mouse Sensitivity

This setting affects how you turn or move in game, higher = faster movements.

The lower you set the in game mouse sensitivity the better. Lower in game sensitivity will give you more precise movements at a slower like for like rate.

The Problem with in Game Sensitivity

In game mouse sensitivity uses software to increase the amount of pixels it essentially "jumps" when you move your mouse, if you increase the sensitivity to speed up the turning circle / movements of your character you're increasing the amount of pixels your mouse is jumping when you move. This increases the speed you move at but removes the precision of the mouse movements.

You will notice the effects of in-game mouse sensitivity more at range. If you try and aim at a small dot in the distance and try to move your mouse you'll notice your tiny movements are not precise enough to accurately aim where you are instructing with your mouse. It's frustrating and it feels like the cross hair is hopping either side of the target and feels very inaccurate. I liken the feeling to that of playing FPS with a game console controller. When you make a movement it often skips over the target, as the controller lacks the required precision.

The Solution to in Game Sensitivity

Cheer up, I have a solution. Your expensive gaming mouse has a high quality sensor inside that is the solution to all your in game sensitivity problems!

Follow the simple Step-by-Step methodology below:

  1. Lower your in game sensitivity as LOW as POSSIBLE​
  2. Increase your mouse settings DPI as high as possible
  3. IF it's still too slow, nudge up the in game sensitivity a bit

Mouse Pads or Mats

Your gaming surface has a big effect on your gaming accuracy, if you don't have a gaming mouse mat and are using it straight on the desk *shudders*, then you defiantly NEED to read this section!

​Reflective Surfaces are Your Enemy

Optical mice track really badly on reflective surfaces. The sensor inside is optical, so light bouncing off the surface affects their tracking ability and tracking ability affects your in game accuracy. Laser mice are a bit better, but your still at a disadvantage using a reflective surface over a matte mouse pad.

Consistency is Key

Get yourself a large gaming mat (I use a Razer Goliathus) and use it on a large flat surface. Gaming on a large flat consistent surface helps your muscle memory understand the resistance required to move and stop the mouse on the pad.

Keep the Pad Clean!

A little story I'll share with you. A few months back my mouse started tracking badly and kept jumping about on screen. I tried a number of the usual troubleshooting steps, long story short, the pad was dirty. To be more precise, the pad was covered in dried coffee from where I'd spilt some the day before. If your mouse pad is old chuck it in the washing machine on the lowest temperature. I've done it with my razer mouse mat a number of times of the years and it comes out like new.  

Matching Gaming Mouse / Pad - Does it Matter?

It certainly does for Razer mice as within Synapse you can set the mouse pad within the driver settings. Personally I've noticed a significant improvement when I have the mouse mat configured within Synapse settings.

Image of gaming mouse mats in razer synapse

Speed vs Accuracy

Manufactures sell a number mouse pads, with different surface types. In short it works like this, mats with a tighter more fine surface detail will provide more accuracy. The optical sensor in your mouse can track better and the smaller details on the mouse pad help with accuracy.

You're Using Your Mouse Wrong!

Chances are you have your keyboard in line with your monitor and your mouse off to the side, this is WRONG. 

Your mouse should be in the center of the screen, and your gaming chair should be adjusted so that your arm is it at a right angle to the mouse. Avoid bending into awkward positions and if your mouse hand is aching, it could be that you're "over gripping". Over gripping is a natural reaction people do all the time during sports and other activities, it's a survival reaction. If you can feel yourself hanging on too tight, adjust your grip. You don't need to be hanging on for dear life during your FPS battles.


Laser VS Optical

Historically, laser always suffered with acceleration issues, but modern laser mice have overcome this. Personally, I still go for optical but if you can't make up your mind you don't have too as some mice now come with two sensors and you can switch between them.

Cable Drag

I'll Leave You with One Last Tip

If you have your mouse cable dangling down to your PC when you move your mouse you'll be pulling against the weight of the cable, and at different positions on your mouse mat you'll experience different amounts of cable weight giving you an inconsistent environment.

Re-position your cables so there is less weight, or you can use a gaming mouse bungee. A gaming bungee is a device that holds your gaming mouse cable up, providing less cable weight or lag.

Cable stiffness, a lot of people dislike braided cables if you have a braided cable and you think it's restricting your mouse movements in most cases you can "Strip it" and remove the cable braiding.

If you found this guide helpful or you have any questions I'd love to hear from you in the comments below, I do my best to get back to everyone who comments.

Happy headshots, and remember to come back and thank me when you're top of the server.