Although consoles may have brought the first-person shooter genre into the living room (and are now working on doing the same thing to real-time strategy games), that doesn’t mean the PC is in any danger of running out of excellent fast-paced games to play. And while you may be able to hook up your Xbox 360 controller to your PC and use it to play those games, most PC gamers will want to find a trusty mouse and keyboard combo for the most precise gaming experience.
Luckily, there are plenty of mice on the market that are dedicated to gaming. The past few months have seen a number of strong gaming mice released. With features like macro recording, interchangeable mouse feet, and the ever-important glowing LEDs, these mice all have a boatload of features that will hopefully improve your gaming experience. Unfortunately, most of these mice are also going to be fairly expensive, so GameSpot’s editors took the time to get our hands on four of the latest and greatest gaming mice and give each of them a whirl.
We’re not going to give these mice a rating; instead, this roundup is intended to give you an overview of the different features and ergonomics of each mouse. Just keep in mind that it’s worth tracking down a mouse to try for yourself before plunking down a Benjamin on it; most big-box electronic stores should have these mice in stock and will hopefully have display models out so that you can go hands-on with them yourself.
Terminology and Features
Every mouse will have certain technologies in common with the others, which makes it relatively easy to compare them based on their specifications. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell what all the terminology on a mouse’s specifications sheet means, so feel free to read this section if you’re clueless about what dpi is or what an inches-per-second rating means. We’ll also describe some of the common features that you may want or need in a gaming mouse.
Dots Per Inch (DPI): This term originated in the world of printers. Some companies use the term “counts per inch” instead, which is probably more accurate, but the two terms are interchangeable when it comes to mice. What it refers to is the fact that modern optical or laser mice use sensors that take an incredibly large number of pictures of the mousing surface underneath the mouse as it’s moved; the comparisons between these pictures will let the mouse know in which direction it’s moving and how quickly. A higher dpi setting will enable greater precision in your mouse and will also let you move the mouse cursor more quickly without moving the actual mouse a large distance.
If a mouse is rated at 400dpi, for instance, moving it one inch will cause the sensor to register 400 images, which will in turn move the mouse cursor 400 pixels across your screen. Turning that same mouse up to 4,000dpi will increase the number of images and in turn move the mouse 4,000 pixels across the screen.
Although early optical mice featured maximum settings of around 400 or 800 dots per inch, most current gaming mice will feature dpi settings of 3,200 or more. While higher is usually better, you’re not going to want to set your default dpi too high; anything above 2,000 or so will make your cursor move very quickly based on small inputs, which makes precision control rather difficult. (Many professional Counter-Strike gamers will use dpi settings of between 400 and 800 to ensure maximum precision with ranged weapons, for instance.)
All of the gaming mice in this roundup feature on-the-fly dpi switching, allowing you to flip a switch on the mouse to alternate between various dpi settings. For FPS games, you usually want to have a high dpi setting for using assault rifles or submachine guns, since they’re used at close range and you’ll need to track fast-moving targets. If you use sniper rifles, though, your targets are going to be farther away and probably moving less quickly across your screen; a low dpi setting will let you increase your precision and move the mouse less while you line up your shot.
Inches Per Second (IPS): Mice with optical or laser sensors will have a maximum speed at which they can be moved before their sensors lose their ability to track the movement. If you exceed the inches-per-second rating, your mouse cursor will begin to exhibit jerky movement or will simply skip across the screen. A high inches-per-second setting is especially important if you like to play with a low mouse sensitivity, because you’ll usually be moving your mouse very rapidly. Higher is better, but none of these mice should exhibit any problems based on their inches per second, except in cases where you’re moving the mouse extremely fast. Also keep in mind that your inches-per-second rating will usually depend on what kind of surface you mouse on.
Polling: Polling refers to the interaction between your computer’s operating system and the mouse. For the mouse’s movements to be converted into movement on your computer screen, the operating system needs to know that the mouse is moving. It does this by polling the mouse to see if any input is incoming. Most mice will send data back to the operating system at 500 hertz, or 500 times per second, but gaming mice will often have their polling rates set even higher, to 1,000 hertz. Higher is better, but you won’t always notice a huge difference between a 500 hertz mouse and one that runs at 1,000 hertz.
Onboard Profile Memory: Many gaming mice will have onboard memory. This is important if you tend to use a mouse on multiple computers, such as if you’re heading to a LAN party. Onboard memory will let you save your favorite settings, such as dpi and button bindings, on the mouse itself, allowing you to plug the mouse into a new computer and use those settings without having to reinstall the mouse software. If you use your mouse at a single computer, however, this feature won’t be very important to you, unless multiple people use the same mouse for gaming.
Weights: Some mice offer a weight system, where you can load various weights into a tray that slides into the mouse. This lets you customize the way the mouse feels when you move it around on your mousing surface. Some gamers no doubt find this to be a handy way to change the way a mouse feels if it’s uncomfortably light out of the box, but in most cases you should be able to adjust your mousing habits to the feel of a mouse whether or not it incorporates a weighting system. This may be an important feature if multiple people will be gaming on the same system and have different mousing preferences, however.
Source: http://www.gamespot.com – check this site for any gaming regarded questions