When you’re putting together a gaming PC, there is a lot of components and equipment that you need to get your head around. You’ll need to pick out the perfect components to build your PC, a decent monitor, or even purchase a decent pre-built gaming PC. This is all before you even look at the tools you’ll actually be using to interact with the game, your mouse and keyboard. In a lot of ad-copy, there’s the implication that you need a high-end gaming mouse. So what exactly is the difference between a gaming mouse? And beyond the hyperbole, which comes out on top in gaming mouse vs normal mouse?
There are actually some important differences between a gaming mouse or a normal mouse. A gaming mouse can be more responsive, easier to use, and generally better designed for gaming. However, most gaming mice also contain some extra features which aren’t entirely necessary. The main difference between the two is how responsive a gaming mouse is and the level of which your inputs are quickly and accurately translated into the game.
This is what you need to know about the difference between a gaming mouse and a normal mouse. Why your choice of gaming mice matters, and if you actually need one to complete your gaming PC.
Gaming Mouse Vs Normal Mouse
A gaming mouse is essentially a term just used for a mouse that is built and (importantly) marketed to gamers. It doesn’t inherently mean anything. There isn’t some industry body that regulates what is and is not a gaming mouse. So if you don’t do much research, you could end up with a cheap mouse by a different label. Once you narrow things down to the actual gaming out there though, the difference is a lot clearer. There are some key features that are common in all decent gaming mice.
The primary difference is how accurate and quick the mouse is in terms of reporting your exact movements. When you’re playing a competitive game like Warzone or Valorant, you’re going to need an exact and delicate aim.
A gaming mouse can look very similar to a normal mouse. Although, a good deal of them look significantly different with extra flair and styling. The cosmetic difference isn’t really what is important for gaming mouse vs normal mouse. In fact, some of the most popular mice with professional players look pretty plain. This is what you need to know about the difference between the two.
DPI – Gaming Mouse Vs Normal Mouse
The DPI and eDPI of your mouse is kind of a big deal for gaming. This is how many dots in an inch, (hence dots per inch, dpi) that your mouse has registered. If your mouse has a DPI of 10, then moving it by an inch will register as moving between 10 points. A mouse of 400 will register it between 400, and so on. What does this actually mean for gaming though?
A mouse with a high DPI will be able to register even the slightest movement. This means you can make very subtle adjustments and rely on that actually being translated into the game. A mouse with a low DPI is going to make your mouse janky and erratic. If its DPI is particularly low, it might even use mouse smoothing to simulate what you might be doing, taking away control entirely.
Most gaming mice have an adjustable DPI and can go up to a pretty high level. A normal mouse won’t have that high DPI, because you don’t really need it to navigate the internet and Microsoft Office. The kind of instant reflexes that PC gamers rely on for a competitive edge just isn’t needed outside of that world.
Buttons – Gaming Mouse vs Normal Mouse
A typical gaming mouse will feature extra buttons. The exact amount and positioning is going to depend on the mouse that you get. Ideally, you want a few extras, just like with adding paddles on controllers. Like with controllers that have too many buttons though, there’s a balance.
Why are buttons better for gaming? More keybinds and more options. Different players have different key binds and layouts for how they like to press buttons. However, the general thought behind the extra buttons is to make it easier to hit all of your inputs without repositioning your hand. This allows you to keep your hands on the vital control like aiming, shooting, or in Fortnite building. However, you still have all the extra buttons accessible.
The amount that is deal for a player is going to vary depending on their preference, but they do make a big difference.
Your polling rate is another factor in how sensitive your aim can be with a gaming mouse or normal mouse. The polling rate is how often your mouse reports its position and movement. If your mouse has a high DPI but a low polling rate, then it can judge how far you’ve moved easily but it won’t send that information to the PC. If you have a high polling rate, your PC will frequently get updates on the new position of the mouse. A high DPI and polling rate means exact movement and speedy reporting of the movement.
Most mice have pretty high polling rates. However, in a comparison like gaming mouse vs normal mouse high and very high is a big difference. In games where frames per second really matters a high polling rate is pretty much a necessity. You can’t get the most out of an increased FPS unless your mouse is updating your inputs to the game at the same high speed. This may all sound like overkill, but the end result is to limit your reactions in-game only to your physical reaction time and ping.
Ergonomics – Gaming Mouse vs Normal Mouse
People who play video games can do so for a long period of time. A lot of gaming mice are designed for pros or those who play on a similar level. They’re made specifically to be comfortable to use over long periods. This makes a real difference to the health of your hands and being comfy for longer periods.
An ergonomic gaming mouse can be a little strangely shaped. However, the best of them take a shape that is natural and allows for comfort, even with the extra buttons.
Gaming Mouse Vs Normal Mouse – Which is Right for You?
If you’re building a set-up specifically for gaming, then a gaming mouse or high-end mouse is going to be important for getting the most out of it. However, the best gaming mouse doesn’t have to be some brightly colored, LED encrusted thing. A lot of great gaming mice look fairly ordinary, they just have great tech inside and high specs.
Our guides to gaming mice used by the pros, and the best gaming mouse to use for Fortnite or general best gaming mouse can help you find the right one for you. A great gaming mouse doesn’t actually cost all that much, if you’re just looking for high performance then you can get one for roughly the same price as a decent ordinary mouse.
Our other guides to using the best settings for games can be helpful if you’re looking to improve your technical skill with the set up you already have: