CPI vs DPI: What is the Difference

by Karen Jones

Nowadays, playing games is one of the essential activities through which we can enjoy our leisure time and prevent every sense of boredom that awaits us anytime we are in a state of rest. When you decide on the game you want to play, you need some important gaming tools that will make you enjoy every aspect of the game. These tools must be in perfect working condition if you want to enjoy the gameplay. One of these tools is the mouse. The gaming mouse has a lot of influences on the speed, sensitivity, and acceleration while playing the game. The mouse is of different types. Gamers often choose a mouse that can best fit their playing style. Each mouse has its features that make them stand out. All you need to do to become perfect in any game you choose is to identify the type of mouse that has the features you desire. Two terms are often used to describe the sensitivity of the mouse by gamers. These terms are the CPI (Count Per Inch) and DPI (Dots Per Inch). The two terms have a lot of features that are often considered before gamers decide on the type of mouse the wish to buy.

Basics of CPI vs DPI

Basics of CPI vs DPI
Basics of CPI vs DPI

The table below summarizes the difference between the CPI and DPI

Differential Terms CPI DPI
Full meaning1. Count per Inch1. Dots per Inch
  1. 1. It determines the sensitivity and speed of the mouse.
  2. 2. The number of counts determines the extent of sensitivity of the mouse.
  1. 1. It is a measure of the resolution of the printer.
  2. 2. It is a measure of the dots on a printed document.
Where it is relevant1. It is relevant to games.1. It is relevant to the printer, photo, and video.
Camera movement1. It has a relationship with the camera movement.1. It has nothing to do with camera movement.
Windows settings1. It can be set on the Windows OS.1. It has nothing to do with the PC.

CPI Versus DPI

Today, I will be discussing the features of the CPI and DPI extensively and also elucidate the difference between the two terms.

CPI (Count Per Inch)

CPI, also known as Count Per Inch, is the base unit in which a mouse is programmed to work with. The working efficiency and sensitivity of the CPI depend on its number of counts. Therefore, the higher the number of counts, the higher the sensitivity of the mouse. The CPI has a unique way of describing the number of counts in the gaming mouse. All you need to do is to move the mouse's sensor by one inch. This process is more like setting the CMOS sensor of the digital camera. For instance, you can set the mice to count to CPI to 800. When you move the mouse by one inch, it will automatically give you 800 counts.

Recently, it was discovered that gamers could have up to 20,000 CPI. The implication of this is that 20,000 counts can be recorded per inch. Manufacturers have made the increment in the number of counts more flexible in that gamers can increase the number of counts by 100 depending on how they want it. Usually, the single count is first registered before the mouse processes it. The processed count is transferred to the gaming PC before the PC's operating system can interpret it.

CPI Windows Sensitivity

I have previously introduced the CPI and how it can be estimated. In this section, I will be discussing the Windows sensitivity to CPI. The desktop usually presents gamers with a 2D working environment. When you move the cursor along the 2D plane, some boundaries are clear and visible. The cursor will no longer move when it reaches the edge of the screen even though you keep moving mouse. However, the Windows OS has the operating system cursor settings feature where you can adjust the sensitivity between 1-11 levels. When the game mode is set to multiplayer, some of the counts are omitted. If it is higher than one, the counts will become doubled, and this will lead to an increase in the cursor sensitivity.

The CPI Sensitivity Settings

Just as the CPI is essential and contributes to the speed of your gaming skills, specific settings can be done to either improve or reduce its sensitivity in the gaming PC. The CPI is not the same as the standard sensitivity settings of the mouse. The CPI is all encompassed in the mouse hardware, while the sensitivity is a software setting. The Windows OS has a mouse sensitivity settings. The sensitivity settings of the Windows OS should be set and maintained at 6 out of the 11 levels. If you decide to increase it beyond six, the pixel on the cursor will begin to skip when the mouse is moved.

Most gaming PC have set the sensitivity to a particular level. You can do well to check the level before commencing your gameplay. Every game you install in your PC has its sensitivity settings. You need to check and set it to your desired level and save it. You can also use the mouse sensitivity calculator to be able to convert the sensitivity settings from the game you are familiar with another. The settings of the CPI also depends on the resolution of your gaming PC. If the resolution is low, you don't need a mouse with high CPI. However, if the resolution of the PC is high, you can increase the CPI as this will let you move the cursor quickly without dragging the mouse excessively on the desk before it responds.

The 3D Game Environment

The 3D game environment is a gaming environment that eliminates the danger of getting a skipping pixel during gameplay. The 3D gaming concept works contrary to the principle of recording video or taking pictures. When the recording of the video is done, or the photo is snapped, the camera is moved around. But this principle does not apply in 3D gaming. In the 3D gaming environment, the camera is fixed, and the world is moved. This is called the "inverted world." The movement of the camera can be referred to as rotation. Radian or degree can be used to measure rotation. For games, the radial unit is equivalent to one count. Therefore, for each count recorded by the mouse, the camera will be moved. Then the number specified by the radial unit is multiplied by the sensitivity. Using the FPS games as a case study, the radial unit for the X-axis is called "yaw," while that of the Y-axis is called "pitch," and it can be measured as 0.022°.

When a count is registered from the mouse, the radial unit will be measured at 0.022°. Then, the sensitivity will become one. If the radial unit recorded by the camera is 0.044°, the sensitivity will become increased to two. However, the sensitivity will be 0.5 when the radial unit recorded for the camera movement is 0.011.

How the Equation Applies to CPI

Bearing in mind that the amount of radial unit recorded for the camera movement corresponds to the number of counts. This implies that when you set one inch of your mouse movement to become equivalent to 1600 CPI, the camera movement will be shifted by 35.2°. This value is obtained by multiplying the base radial unit by CPI and the number of counts.

Furthermore, the relationship between sensitivity and the number of counts is inverted. This means you can get a lower CPI when the sensitivity is high and a higher CPI when the sensitivity is low.

DPI (Dots Per Inch)

The DPI, also known as Dots Per Inch, is a measure of the resolution of the printer. The word "DPI" is often used in place of CPI. Dots per Inch is a word that is widely used in the video, photo, and the printing industry. It is a number of dots that can occupy a line within just one inch. Technically, the word can be used as a Dot per Inch produced by a printer. The only term that is closely related to DPI is the PPI (Pixel per Inch).

DPI is a word that deals with all you need to know about the printer, its output, and how clearer the document printed with it can be. Even though the DPI is needed to be higher to be able to get a quality output on your printed materials, it does not in any way relate to games, mouse, or the CPI. The DPI has its own measurement, which does not in any way relate to mouse or CPI.

Visit the video below for more information about DPI

Wrap Up

Playing games is interesting when you have a mouse that has a high sensitivity. The sensitivity of the mouse enhances the speed of the cursor on the PC gaming screen. This helps you to enjoy your gameplay. The DPI is a word that has been widely misused in place of the CPI. It does not correlate with games or mouse. Hence, most people have been misled with the use of DPI. It is thought to mean the speed and sensitivity of the mouse, whereas it is not so. The content above has elucidated the meaning of the CPI and DPI. Also, it has differentiated them in the simplest way you can easily understand them.

About Karen Jones

Karen Jones has always been a writer at heart. As a freelance writer and social media marketing consultant for the last decade, she's honed her skills in crafting catchy and interesting articles that reel in readers. She also enjoys traveling, which is where she gets most of her ideas for her writing. In fact, if you can't find Karen around her friends and family, it's likely because she's holed up in her home office working on refining her writing composition and printing press!

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