Mouse and gaming mouse sensor settings

Gaming mice are a huge world of peripherals that are interesting in their own way: it surprises with technical records, new developments and the constant development of ergonomics. Despite the large amount of materials on this topic, not much attention is paid to sensors. That is why today we will talk only about sensors.

An optical LED mouse is most often chosen for work – it is the most frequent guest in offices. The optical laser mouse is the choice of professional gamers. In general, the main difference between a gaming mouse and a simple one is not in the unique design and not even in the type of sensor, but in the characteristics of the device.

Today on sale you can find devices with a maximum sensor resolution from 300 to 24000 dpi, but most mice have a maximum resolution that does not exceed 5000 dpi. Why is this happening? Let’s figure it out.

The principle of operation, we understand the intricacies
The heart of any computer mouse is the sensor. To date, the most common are two types of devices – optical LED and optical laser mouse. The first type of devices is based on a standard LED, in the second case, an infrared emitter (laser).

Infrared Laser Optical Laser Mouse

Gaming mice are most often equipped with an infrared laser emitter – such devices are characterized by the highest accuracy and maximum response speed. The resolution of the sensor in gaming mice can reach record values.
Part of the optical sensor of the LED mouse is visible

As for optical LED mice, they are characterized by moderate accuracy, work relatively quickly, without delays and are quite justified for their purposes.

Optical LED sensor
In budget devices, optical sensors with red diodes are used, since such emitters are the most affordable in production. The diode-emitter, at a special angle, emits light that forms shadows on the surface of the table / rug. The sensor is equipped with a low-resolution camera that captures shadows in microroughness frame by frame. Each received frame is converted into a coordinate system that allows you to accurately reproduce the location of the mouse in space.

How Optical LED Mouse Sensor Works
For those who are interested in the process of the sensor in more detail, consider it in more detail. A CMOS camera at high speed (several thousand shots per second, depending on the manufacturer and model of the mouse) takes pictures of small areas of the rug or other surface. The resulting frame is divided into squares – each of them is assigned an average brightness value. For example: from 0 to 70 units, where 0 is black and 70 is the brightest white area. At the same time, a kind of mosaic is formed, which consists of a huge number of such squares.


The work surface in the view of the mouse processor

One such square is the same count or reading, which is indicated as a unit of measure for the resolution of the sensor. All read images are superimposed on each other, but with an offset. Processing of captured frames is carried out by the processor of the device. How exactly the processing takes place depends on the mouse manufacturer – the algorithms are closed and patented.

All received frames are compared with each other – as a result, the mouse CPU identifies the amount / vector of movement of the device. Then all the data is transformed into a coordinate system, calculated and transferred to the computer system.

Mouse with optical sensor. The light from the red emitter is clearly visible

Laser infrared diode
A laser-infrared diode is used in mice with a laser sensor. By transmitting the beam directly to the processor (illustration below), the highest measurement accuracy is achieved. Infrared radiation is more accurately focused on planes that contain a large number of irregularities.

The scheme of operation of the optical LED and optical laser mouse

The laser mouse interacts effectively with any type of surface, including glossy, glass, bases. In addition, mice with a laser sensor are characterized by low power consumption.

The laser mouse is practically insensitive to the type of surface

What is interpolation
Interpolation is frame skipping. Interpolation is activated when the microcontroller is forced to guess the values ​​of the sensor in the coordinate axis, instead of having the “real” values ​​of the position of the mouse in space. Dropping frames occurs in two cases.

The first is if the sensor is monitoring values ​​that exceed its default range (neutral range).

The second case is if the data of the receiver-sensor and the microcontroller are not synchronized, or if the service interval returns an error, reset or null data. The latter occurs when ESD events contain invalid addresses, for example, in the event of a microcontroller failure.

Basic parameters of sensors
The main parameters of the sensors include: resolution, response time, maximum acceleration.

Mouse sensor – it is this component that determines the accuracy and tracking.

Sensor resolution is referred to as DPI or CPI – these abbreviations are used to indicate the number of dots per inch. The higher the resolution of the sensor, the longer the distance that the cursor will travel on the screen, in relation to the path of the mouse on the working base.

Wired mouse Logitech Gaming Mouse G403 HERO black [910-005632] 4 999 *
G403 – ultimate accuracy and speed in games. Highest resolution delivered by HERO 16K laser sensor

The mouse sensor determines the accuracy and tracking. The main parameters of the sensors include resolution and response time.

How the resolution changes: modern gaming mice allow you to change the resolution not only programmatically, but also using the buttons on the device. The latter method is preferable, since the resolution can be changed on the fly – in a matter of seconds, which is especially true in games. You can programmatically change the resolution using specialized utilities or by using various macros.

How it’s measured: The resolution of a sensor is measured in DPI or CPI, which are used to refer to dots per inch and reads per inch, respectively. To be scrupulous and more accurate, then you need to measure the resolution of the sensor only in CPI, since we measure the number of readings, and not the number of points.

Affects: The resolution determines the movement of the device on the working surface. The maximum resolution value allows you to understand what is the minimum mouse movement that will be recorded and read by the device itself.

Mouse wireless/wired Logitech G PRO Wireless black [910-005272] 10 999 *
G PRO is one of the kings of gaming peripherals. At the core is the same HERO 16K. The mouse captures a number of points in the range from 100 to 16000 dpi. The perfect choice for professional gamers

The polling rate, or response time , is another important parameter for gaming mice. The shorter the response time, the faster the mouse will “respond” to the player’s actions, for example – in dynamic shooters. Modern gaming mice have response times that vary in the millisecond range. The polling rate, or response time, is a measure of how often the device controller compares the current location data with the original location.

The higher the polling frequency, the smoother the mouse cursor will move on the screen. The polling frequency is measured in Hertz. To make it clearer how this characteristic affects the response, let’s give an example: with a polling rate of 500 Hz, the response will be about two milliseconds, with a polling of 1000 Hz, it will be already about one millisecond. Therefore, at a polling rate of 500 Hz, the mouse will feel sharper, and at 1000 Hz, it will feel smoother.

Thus, the polling frequency is a characteristic that shows how often the processor polls the matrix (or, in other words, how often it takes a photo of the substrate).

Which brands are most trusted
In the conditions of the highest competition, modern sensors practically do not differ – it is already impractical to increase, for example, the same power. Even if the manufacturer uses some of its own developments – custom lenses or upgraded firmware, even an experienced gamer will not be able to notice this without specialized tests.

The sensors of modern gaming mice are made by many manufacturers. It is better to choose sensors from trusted brands. These include sensor modules from the following manufacturers:

● Pixart;
● TrueMove3;
● Mercury.

Model lines of sensors from significant brands
The above sensors are used in the production of many popular gaming mice. So Pixart sensors (series 3389, 3390, 3391, 3366, 3361, 3367 3360, 3310, 3330, 3988) are used to create Razer mice, including Naga Trinity, DeathAdder Elite. Pixart sensors are also used in Lancehead, Pulsefire FPS Pro, Corsair IronClaw RGB, Asus ROG Gladuis, SteelSeries Rival 300 devices. In general, most gaming mice are equipped with Pixart sensors.

Wired mouse Razer DeathAdder Essential black 1 999 *
The DeathAdder is based on the eponymous sensor with a resolution of 6400 DPI. Budget, but practical option for any game

Mercury sensors are used in the creation of Logitech G102 mice. HERO sensors are used in the G502 HERO, G Pro Wireless, and G502 mice. TrueMove3 sensors have found their way into Rival devices, including the 650 Wireless and Rival 310, 710, 600 wired mice. SteelSeries’ Sensei 310 mouse is also equipped with TrueMove sensors.

Today, the capabilities of gaming mice are almost equal. The difference can only be felt between LED and laser devices. For a modern gaming mouse, the main characteristic is speed and acceleration. Sensor resolution has already faded into the background. When choosing a gaming mouse, you need to pay attention to the manufacturer of the sensor – it is better to choose devices based on the proven developments of Pixart, TrueMove3 and HERO.