There are several important accessories that computer gamers will often consider for their setups, and one that should not be glossed over is the mousepad. While today’s modern mouse options for computers have improved in numerous and exponential ways over those from even a decade ago, including some that have rendered previous mousepad needs less important, there are still several vital areas where mousepads play a major role in computer operations, especially for gaming computer setups.
At Xidax, we’re happy to not only offer a huge range of gaming desktops, gaming laptops and other custom gaming computer options, but also to provide our clients with expertise on all the potential accessories or related items they might need or desire for their setup. What is the role of a mousepad for a modern PC setup, and what are some of the specific value-add areas found here for gamers? Here’s a breakdown of mousepads for computers today, plus some tips on important selection areas if you’re looking to purchase one.
Modern Mice and Sensors
As we noted above, today’s mice are very different from those you may have dealt with even a decade ago. In their original format, mice used older “trackball” technology that actually involved a physical roller inside the item, one that had to be cleaned and kept free of dust or other dirt that might impact its basic functions.
Today, however, this trackball technology is no longer used. Rather, mice have moved to laser and optical sensors, the kind that will generally work on basically any surface. For this reason, past concerns like uneven surfaces or those that the trackball wouldn’t flow well over are no longer present – and some may feel this means there’s no longer a need for a mousepad anymore. However, as we’ll discuss in our next two sections, mousepad technology has also improved over this period of time, and a quality mousepad still holds major value, especially for gamers and others with a top need for precision.
More Than a Surface
As we just touched on, the primary purpose for mousepads years ago – allowing for a smooth, stable surface – is no longer as vital. However, today’s mousepads are custom-designed for several purposes, from improver user accuracy to a few others. Most come with proprietary surface textures, designed specifically for optimal performance within gaming or other areas of need.
Uses for Gaming
There are three primary factors that are often considered by gamers, factors that tend to lead them toward the purchase of a quality mousepad for their setup. Here are these factors:
- Resistance: Mousepads specifically designed for gaming will provide not only a smooth surface, but also one that allows for quality resistance. This means the mouse can stop exactly when you want it to, often a very important factor for gamers. When you compare this to older mousepads that might have been made of hard plastic, for instance, you can see the massive difference in terms of resistance and ability to hold the mouse steady at all times.
- Stability: Especially for those who upgrade to a full-length mousepad that covers not only the mouse, but also the monitor, keyboard and more, the stability benefits here are fantastic. Items will not shake or move around at all when they’re being used; the monitor, for instance, will sit motionless instead of being susceptible to vibrations or movement.
- Cable abrasion: If you use a mouse with today’s modern braided cable format, older mousepads may not do well here. They will experience what’s known as cable drag, or when the mousepad edge and the braided cable come into contact and create friction. This wears down both the mousepad and the cable itself, which will diminish your accuracy and performance over time. However, a modern mousepad is built to deal with basic cable abrasion without any damaging results.
Our next several sections will go over some of the important areas to consider if you’re looking into buying a mousepad for your gaming setup.
As we noted earlier, modern mousepads are built with several different texture options available, and all of these have different uses or purposes. The texture is specifically meant to define how the mousepad will interact with the mouse being used, particularly the “feet” of the mouse.
What we’re talking about here is the presence of anywhere from two to five plastic “feet.” These are the actual pieces that come into contact with the mousepad itself, and this is where texture on the mousepad is important. Your mousepad might have a hard plastic coating that’s designed specifically to maximize speed and reaction time; in other settings, you might opt for a tight weave with a soft finish that’s ideal for accuracy (this is more common among gamers today). No matter what your needs, finding the ideal surface texture for the mousepad is a very important factor.
Mousepad Edge Factors
The mousepad edge is also very important, in part due to the need to avoid abrasion risks we went over above. Most modern mousepad edges are designed with thick stitching, and you may need to use a bungee or some other protector to stop mouse cord abrasion risks from taking place, as this can alter mouse movements or slow your gaming experience down. There are also some mousepads, however, that offer edgeless design to remove any abrasion risks, but these are generally hard plastic and give back some benefits in terms of accuracy.
Mousepad Size Selection
Finally, what size mousepad should you choose? The average here has definitely increased over the last decade, both for accuracy improvements and because, as we noted above, more people are using mousepads for their entire computing setup, not just the mouse itself. If you’re a gamer who uses low-sensitivity themes regularly, you generally need a larger mousepad or even a full-length desk mat.
For more on choosing an ideal mousepad for your gaming computer, or to learn about any of our gaming computers, workstation setups or other services, speak to the staff at Xidax today.