Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (or CS:GO, as most people call it) is one of the most popular games on the planet. The easy to understand concept coupled with an insanely high skill ceiling and a large amount of avenues to better yourself keeps drawing people in, both as players and spectators.
Something that’s pretty unique to the game is just how many options there are to tweak the game to your own liking. Contrary to most other games you’ll see a ton of different resolutions being used by the pros, for example. With so many options to tweak, it’s understandable that some people can’t really see the forest for the trees, and that’s where we come in.
This guide gathers average values and interesting outliers from our CS:GO Pro Settings and Gear list to give you a starting point to find the best settings for CS:GO. We’ve analyzed the sensitivity, DPI & eDPI, resolution, monitor refresh rates (in Hz) and much more and distilled all of that into this guide for you to use. In the second part of this guide we’ll give you the best ingame settings to get the most FPS out of your PC.
Best Mouse Settings for CS:GO
After you have chosen which mouse you are going to use (check out our recommended mice for CS:GO here) you might be wondering which ingame settings you’re supposed to pick.
There are a couple mouse settings that have to be configured optimally. You might have already heard about terms like sensitivity, raw input or mouse acceleration. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know.
The most relevant value when controlling your mouse is called eDPI. You can calculate that by multiplying your mouse’s DPI (Dots Per Inch) and your ingame sensitivity, and it allows us to compare the actual sensitivity of different players regardless of their hardware settings.
Something you might notice is that CS:GO pros have a rather low overall sensitivity compared to most ‘casual gamers’. The CS:GO pros aren’t alone in that. Pretty much every professional shooter player has an overall sensitivity that requires a large mousepad to accommodate for their large swipes. This looks (and feels) weird to many beginning shooter players but having a lower overall sensitivity allows for much more precise aiming, and there’s definitely a point where your sensitivity can be so high that you can’t reliably control your spray or make micro adjustments.
If you find that your eDPI is a lot higher than what the pros are using we definitely recommend lowering it. There really is a reason why not a single professional is using an overall sensitivity that only requires a couple of millimeters for a 360.
As we mentioned, eDPI (effective Dots Per Inch, sometimes referred to as ‘true sensitivity’) is the easiest way to compare sensitivities. We’ve got an article about this concept if you want to read more but we’ll give a brief rundown here too.
Simply put, DPI is the hardware part and sensitivity is the software part of the equation. There’s a ton of different mice out there and there can even be differences in DPI between different mice and players (since pretty much every gaming mouse allows you to choose the DPI setting that you want to use) so in order to find a value that you can compare with the pros and your peers you need the combination of the sensitivity that’s set on the hardware (DPI) and the sensitivity that’s set in the game itself (‘sensitivity’).
Calculating eDPI is easy. It’s done by multiplying the DPI with the sensitivity:
Example: s1mple is using a DPI of 400 and a sensitivity of 2.5 Formula: Sensitivity * DPI = eDPI Answer: 400*2.5 = 1000
What’s interesting when looking at the eDPIs of CS:GO players is that AWP players generally have a higher eDPI than riflers. This could be because pinpoint precision isn’t as important with an AWP (a body shot results in a kill as well) and because they want to be a bit more mobile with their aim but of course we’re just theorizing here.
DPI has always been something that mouse manufacturers use to advertise just how advanced their newest sensor is. This is a marketing tactic though, as it’s extremely rare to see a pro player in any of our analyzed games using a DPI higher than 3200. Looking at the stats, CS:GO pros even prefer very low DPI settings. That’s partially due to them being used to these lower values but also because there’s just no need to go for an insanely high DPI value; if you want to get a higher overall sensitivity you can just raise the sensitivity in the game itself.
Very high DPI values can cause issues with the sensor (such as smoothing) too and while that’s less of an issue with today’s sensors it remains a fact that there’s no real need to use a super high DPI in any case. If you want to know how to find your DPI you can read about that here.
Most Used DPI Levels
Sensitivity simply refers to the the actual ingame sensitivity value that you set, called ‘Mouse Sensitivity’ in CS:GO. On its own, this ingame sensitivity value is virtually useless for comparison’s sake since it doesn’t really influence performance, as can be the case with a high DPI in combination with an older sensor. Of course it’s important to know the ingame sensitivity to calculate eDPI but aside from that there’s nothing really interesting to be distilled from this setting.
Zoom Sensitivity refers to how fast you aim while being zoomed in using scoped rifles. This value is obviously important for AWPers but everyone should spend a bit of time here since you don’t want to be like a deer in headlights if you’ve picked up your teammate’s AWP to save, for example.
It seems to be the case that most players are comfortable around the default setting, which is 1, but there are certainly some arguments to be made for using other values.
Average Zoom Sens
Mouse HZ, Mouse Acceleration, and Raw Input
The polling rate (in Hz) of your mouse determines how often the device sends information to your PC. Most mice have several options you can choose from.
With a polling rate of 125Hz the mouse position will be updated every 8 milliseconds, for example. 500Hz updates every 2 milliseconds and 1000Hz updates every millisecond. The difference between 125Hz and 500Hz is quite significant, as you can probably tell.
The difference between 500Hz and 1000Hz is a bit less pronounced, which is why you see some pros on 500Hz despite 1000Hz being objectively better. It’s important to note that for some people 500Hz feels different than 1000Hz so you can definitely experiment with this a bit. How to change the polling rate depends on what mouse you’re using but for most you can change it in the software or on the mouse itself. Since some brands have started offering 4000Hz polling rates in their mice we see those popping up a bit more here and there. Do bear in mind that using 4KHz polling rates will drain your system quite a bit more, so you’ll need a beefy CPU in order to handle this.
About mouse acceleration: in general, turning this on is considered a bad idea. If you turn it on, your cursor will travel further based on how fast you move your mouse. This hinders your ability to develop consistent aim in high-stress situation such as when flicking. Only a handful of CS:GO pros turn this setting on and we advise you to keep it off.
If you turn on raw input, which we highly recommend, CS:GO ignores every input that comes from outside of the game like drivers and Windows. We generally don’t want any interference. Some pros keep their Raw Input off because there might be packet loss caused by it. If you keep it off, your windows sensitivity is an active factor in determining your eDPI. Please refer to our Pro Settings and Gear List to compare your settings in that case.
Best CS:GO Resolution, Aspect Ratio, and Video Settings
The best video settings for CS:GO will vastly depend on the individual you’re asking. It’s something that’s pretty much unique to this game, but there are dozens of resolution and aspect ratio combinations that are actively being used by professionals at any given point in time.
All of these combinations come with their own advantages and disadvantages (some are arguably more of a placebo effect than others, but if it works for you it works) so while we’ll go over all of those it’s important to note that it’s best to use what you find to be the most comfortable.
Our main goal with the video settings is to configure the game in the least demanding way possible to have the highest framerate possible without making the game look blurred or difficult to look at.
Most Used Resolutions
Best Resolution and Aspect Ratio for CS:GO
Resolution and aspect ratio might be the most obviously noticeable changes that you can make to your configuration. These can have a severe impact on both your framerate and your overall gameplay so it’s important to consider the upsides and downsides to each approach.
If you are not playing at 16:9 (which is the native aspect ratio for pretty much all gaming monitors) you can choose between different scaling modes, namely black bars and stretched.
As you can see in our data, most pros play with an aspect ratio of 4:3. Whether this is down to them just being used to it from the old days or because it’s objectively better is a topic of great debate on many online forums.
In general, it is strongly advised to play with a 16:9 aspect ratio. This fills your screen completely and allows you to see the most of the battlefield in front of you; other aspect ratios can cut off a part of the image in order to help the image fit on your screen.
If you are not able to reach the competitive FPS standards of 240 frames per second, reducing the resolution can increase your fps tremendously, and there’s an argument to be made that you want to absolutely maximize your framerate even if you’re pulling frames well above your monitor’s refresh rate.
A common argument for reducing your aspect ratio is that it can help you ‘focus’ more on the important part of your screen (the middle) or makes enemies appear bigger and thus easier to hit (with stretched scaling) but this is completely down to personal preference and isn’t objectively proven to be better so it’s up to you to make a decision on this matter.
In summary, keep the resolution and aspect ratio low if you aren’t reaching enough frames. If you get enough frames we would recommend starting at 16:9 though.
Best Refresh Rate for CS:GO
People who’ve been in the scene for a while know this: high refresh rates are the name of the game for competitive shooter games. In fact, not a single professional player is using a regular 60Hz monitor. That’s not a surprise at all: gaming at high refresh rates gives you a myriad of advantages.
The first (and most obvious) one is the fact that everything in the game just flows a lot smoother: being able to smoothly track how your enemies are moving can mean the difference between a missed shot and a hit shot, and we all know how important hitting your shots is in a game such as CS:GO.
It doesn’t end there, however. Even if you don’t have a high refresh rate monitor (which is something that we thoroughly recommend for this game; check out our monitor guide for more info on the subject) there are advantages to reaching the highest framerates possible, which is why you see pro players do everything to max out the amount of frames that they’re getting even though their PC is already pushing way above 240 frames each second.
There’s the input latency, for example. If you’re pushing around 60 frames per second the input latency will be between 55 and 75 milliseconds, at 240 frames per second it goes down to values between 20 and 35 milliseconds. So if you were ever wondering why pro players sometimes seem to go crazy when their game drops to ‘just’ 250 frames per second instead of the usual 300+ you now know why.
Luckily CS:GO is a very easy game to run so you don’t need the absolute best GPU out there in order to reach at least 240 frames per second (which we consider to be the competitive minimum) so you can get away with a more budget-oriented GPU.
Of course it’s also important to note that your GPU (or ‘graphics card’) isn’t the only factor in reaching these framerates. Always make sure to have a balanced system. It makes no sense to have a state of the art 360Hz monitor coupled with a the latest graphics card if you’re just going to be running it through a 10 year old processor and 8GB of RAM. In any case, though: given that over 90% of professionals are on 240Hz systems we consider that the competitive standard, with 360Hz on the horizon to take the crown.
Quick Tip – Brightness Levels and Aspect Ratio in Windows Settings
First of all you want to check if you have turned your refresh rate up as high as your monitor can (144hz):
Nvidia: Right click on your desktop -> Nvidia Control Panel -> Adjust desktop size and position -> Refresh rate. In this section you can also change the scaling mode to either: aspect ratio for black bars or full-screen for stretched. After that we click on: Adjust desktop color settings. We also want to change the brightness. Click on adjust desktop color settings in the Nvidia color settings and then set the Digital Brightness Slider to 70-100% depending on how bright you want your game to be. This helps immensely with spotting enemies in darker places.
AMD: Right click on your Desktop -> AMD Radeon Graphics -> My Digital Flatpanels -> Custom Resolutions -> Refresh Rate. For stretched or fullscreen you want to stay in My Digital Flatpanels -> Properties. To change your brightness you go on Display Color and change the saturation slider to your liking.
A lot of pros are using increased saturation settings as well as this can help enemies stand out in the otherwise bland color scheme of the game. This is something that you might want to try for yourself. Many gaming monitors allow you to adjust this on the monitor itself, though there’s also software to increase the color vibrance.
Most Used Refresh Rates
Best CS:GO Video Settings
- Brightness: Increase this to spot enemies in darker places. The exact value depends on your monitor and windows settings. Feel free to use a setting that you personally feel most comfortable with. A good spot to check your brightness levels is the dark corner on bomb spot B on de_inferno.
- Color Mode: Use Computer Monitor here. It looks more natural and makes the game brighter dark corners.
- Laptop Power Savings: Keep this disabled or your FPS will take a massive hit.
- Global Shadow Quality: This one is debatable, but since this can be a real FPS hog and you still see shadows of enemy players perfectly fine on low we recommend setting this to low. If you’ve got FPS to spare you can set this higher to see crisper looking shadows.
- Model/Texture Detail: This basically does exactly what it says, it increases the detail of the textures in the game. This doesn’t have a major impact on FPS so you can probably afford to set it a bit higher, but since there’s not a whole lot of visual difference we like to keep it at low.
- Texture Streaming: If you experience frequent stuttering or you’re on low end hardware you can experiment with turning this on, but otherwise having this on doesn’t seem to yield very different results as far as framerate goes so we recommend leaving it disabled.
- Effect Detail: Having effect detail higher than low has no advantages other than seeing better through molotovs. Only up it if your PC can handle a big FPS hit.
- Shader Detail: From a competitive point of view there is no upside to keeping this any higher than low, though the higher modes do allow certain textures like the Doppler patterns on knives to look a lot better. We want frames per second so we set it to low, but the performance hit is rather minimal so if you want some more eye candy when looking at your skins you can set this higher.
- Boost Player Contrast: This introduces a number of things to make player models stand out more from the ingame world. Whether you like this or not kind of depends on personal preference, so we recommend playing with this a bit. If you want to learn more about this feature you can read about it here.
- Multicore Rendering: Keep this enabled to allow CS to use more than one core of your processor.
- Multisampling Anti-Aliasing Mode: This smoothes out the edges of objects and models in the game, which results in the game looking better. Keeping this to none will save you a lot of FPS, so only turn this on if you really have FPS to spare.
- FXAA Anti-Aliasing: Causes input lag and makes the game not look as crisp and clear. We keep this disabled for better FPS.
- Texture Filtering Mode: Removes blur from textures that are far away. You can use a higher texture filtering mode if you don’t have any FPS issues at all. The difference in visibility is negligible however, so in most cases it’s best to keep it at bilinear.
- Wait for Vertical Sync: Vertical Sync helps with screen tearing issues but adds input lag if turned on due to applying some form of buffer. Also locks your fps to the refresh rate of your monitor. Keep this disabled.
- Motion Blur: Adds a blur motion to you fast movements in the game, which restricts your ability to notice enemies. Keep it disabled.
- Triple Monitor Mode: Disable this, unless you’re playing on a triple monitor setup.
- Use Uber Shaders: If you’re using Intel integrated graphics or a very old GPU you might consider switching this off, but otherwise we recommend leaving this at auto as it will make the game feel much smoother.
Best Keyboard Settings for CS:GO
Having a good mechanical keyboard will not only increase your comfort but it’ll also allow for more precise and reliable inputs. This is important in game where movement is of such importance so if you haven’t yet invested in a mechanical keyboard you can always check out our guide.
CS:GO is a highly configurable game so we definitely recommend you to change some binds here and there. The default way of choosing a grenade, for example, just isn’t reliable. If you’re being rushed by five enemies you don’t want to be frantically scrolling through your nades until you get to your incendiary, so at the very least we recommend you to make binds for your nades.
Buy binds can also be made; these will allow you to buy a certain weapon (or even an entire loadout) by pressing just a single button. This can be handy on those last second ‘drop me a weapon’ decisions, as being late to a site can mean the difference between dying and getting the frag.
You can read our guide where we explain how to create your own config but if you don’t want to do all that you can just copy paste these example grenade binds in your console.
bind "f" "buy flashbang; use weapon_knife; use weapon_flashbang" bind "t" "buy smokegrenade; use weapon_knife; use weapon_smokegrenade" bind "q" "buy hegrenade; use weapon_knife; use weapon_hegrenade" bind "r" "buy incgrenade; buy molotov; use weapon_knife; use weapon_molotov; use weapon_incgrenade" bind "c" "buy decoy; use weapon_knife; use weapon_decoy"
By using these binds, you will be able to throw grenades way faster, since the knife breaks your grenade throw animation.
Best Audio Settings for CS:GO
Players in all sorts of games often neglect audio but that is a massive mistake. Audio cues can help immensely in figuring out where enemies are (coming from) and in a game where one bullet can kill you you’d be handicapping yourself by using a subpar headset or, God forbid, speakers.
In the CS:GO community it’s kind of a meme to say that blatant cheaters ‘just have really good headsets.’ That’s of course a joke but there is some truth to it. A good headset (or pair of headphones) can definitely help you win battles; it’s not uncommon for pros to start spraying just a bit before an enemy rounds the corner because they can hear them approach, for example.
For the best audio experience we recommend setting the audio profile in the game to ‘Stereo Headphones’. It’s also recommended to turn off all music since that only serves as a distraction and doesn’t help you perform in any way, except for the ten second warning. We recommend leaving that on (albeit on a lower volume so you can still hear enemies defusing and what not) so that you’ve got an audio cue when the bomb is ten seconds from detonating. This can help with deciding to stick that defuse or not.
Aside from this audio settings are different from headset to headset and personal noise tolerance varies so you’ll have to do some tweaking yourself when it comes to master volume. Just make sure you’re able to hear important things such as footsteps without destroying your ears.
The next settings are our personal recommendation so please feel free to add them to your config:
volume "0.2" voice_enable "1" voice_scale "1" windows_speaker_config "1" snd_musicvolume "0.04" snd_tensecondwarning_volume "1" snd_menumusic_volume "0" snd_roundend_volume "0" snd_roundstart_volume "0" snd_deathcamera_volume "0" snd_mapobjective_volume "0"
Best Radar Settings for CS:GO
The radar in CS:GO is an incredibly important piece of information but the default settings are way too zoomed in to be useful. For the best experience you want to be able to see the entire map (or most of the map) so that you can see things like spotted enemies at all times without having to rely on verbal information from your teammates. We recommend the following settings:
cl_hud_radar_scale "0.9" cl_radar_scale "0.4" cl_radar_always_centered "0"
These are the basic settings to have the full overview in your minimap.
It’s important to note that every player has their own preferences here but the majority of professional players at least zoom out their radar. In a game where info is so important you’d be handicapping yourself by obscuring large parts of the map, after all.
If you see a pro streaming and you like how their radar looks or you just want to see how your favorite pro does it you might want to consider downloading a config from our Player Database.
Best Crosshair Settings for CS:GO
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with using the default crosshair it is definitely something that most players change immediately once they get into the game.
The default crosshair can be a bit confusing with all the moving parts, and while it’s definitely good to get to grips with the movement system in the game you might want to consider upgrading in the future. A lot of pros change their crosshair all the time so feel free to experiment with this!
We have an entire article dedicated to CS:GO crosshairs that you can check out, but if you want to get a crosshair that’s based on the averages of what all the pros are using you can always use this one:
You can find the crosshair settings of our analyzed pros (if those settings are available) on their player pages. Just copy them to your config (or in the console) and you’re good to go!
Launch Options and Config
Launch options used to have significant impact on your game, but these days that’s no longer the case apart from perhaps ‘-novid’ which basically just turns off the intro of the game. A config is still a great tool to have in your arsenal, however. A config is a list of commands that executes once you start your game. Using these settings will make your game run as smoothly as possible.
To set your launch options go into your steam library, right click on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive -> properties -> set launch options and copy paste the following:
-console -novid -tickrate 128
After that we go here: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\userdata\YOURSTEAMID\730\local\cfg – this is where you place your config/autoexec.
Another great option is to use our Player Database to download the config of your favorite pro. In case you’re interested we have a complete guide on how to install a config and create your own autoexec in our library.
CS:GO Best Settings and Options – Conclusion
Tinkering with your settings and options is something that everyone has to do at some point. Things like resolution or sensitivity are very personal and subjective values, so there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ type of config that will work for everyone. With this guide we wanted to give you a general direction, but of course it’s important that you use whatever settings match your personal preferences, so we do recommend trying out a couple of things.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us!