What is DPI, eDPI and how to find your PSA

When starting out gaming on a Personal Computer (PC), most people overlook one key thing about a very important part of their game play: their mouse.

Each mouse has different aspects to it, from its size and shape to its weight to how fast it polls in Hertz (Hz) – but today we’re focusing on its sensitivity, otherwise known to many as its DPI and eDPI. Keep in mind, not every mouse allows you to change DPI, and for many basic ones, you’re stuck with just working with in-game sensitivity.

What is DPI?

DPI, however, does not exactly mean that. DPI actually means Dots Per Inch, those dots actually (at least as of this article being written) are the pixels in your screen. So, it is how quickly your mouse (or pointer in this case) can travel across your screen per inch moved in real life.

Is a higher DPI better?

It depends on what you’re doing. If you’re playing a FPS, and you’re trying to make sure your cursor’s always tracking them properly as you move it, a lower DPI is probably better. If you’re needing to turn quickly in a game, then a higher DPI is better. If you’re needing to do both, then you should find a middle ground. We’ll get into that last point in a bit.

What is eDPI then?

eDPI is the term used for your mouse’s sensitivity (DPI) times the in-game sensitivity. This is the first step that people with a basic mouse should look at, and the second for those with changeable DPI.

With this, your mouse’s DPI can be at 400 or 800 or even 1200, but your game’s sensitivity can change how fast it moves along with those DPI. So if you had a DPI of 800, and you set your in-game sensitivity to 5, your eDPI is now 4000.

What’s the recommended eDPI?

Again, this depends on the game you play. Overwatch is generally from 800-1200 DPI and 4-6 IGS (in-game sensitivity). CS:GO is generally from 400-800 DPI and 1-2.9 IGS. Meanwhile, VALORANT is generally 400 DPI and from 0.18-0.78 IGS.

This feels horrible though, am I doing it right?

Changing up your sensitivity takes some getting used to. Finding your perfect sensitivity approximation (PSA) though will make things a lot easier for you.

How do I find my perfect sensitivity approximation or PSA?

Your PSA is customized to you because it’s based on your setup. The site I’d suggest finding this out on is JSCalc Blog’s PSA Method Calculator. Even there, they mention its complexity:

There is some debate as to how best find the perfect sensitivity, and with people varying so widely there is no one size fits all sensitivity level, but using the PSA method, you can calculate how well you utilize the three zones on your arm for aiming with your mouse and find the sensitivity level that will allow you to make the most of your arm, your wrist and your fingers to find your target, and hit your mark.

JSCalc Blog

It takes about an hour to do, and should be done fresh, meaning you wouldn’t have played any games that day. Some suggest doing it a few times over a couple of days to really nail down your numbers.

Anything else?

Just make sure to review your game’s optimal settings. Sometimes it feels right to go with what the pros use, but using a case like Overwatch, I’ll explain how that can cause issues.

If you use a DPI of 800 and a sensitivity of 5, with the default field of view set to 103, then you’re actually going to end up skipping over parts of the screen, meaning your aim will be off. You can check this over at Pyrolistical’s Github.

See those red highlighted ones? Those are the screen sizes that will end up with those skips. If you’re playing a tank like Reinhart, which doesn’t really require pinpoint accuracy, then this can be okay, but it’s not good for characters that need to be able to hit those shots accurately or over a long distance.

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