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PC Perspective

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    I remember very distinctly the first racing game I had ever played and where.  It was in the basement of a hotel in Billings, MT where I first put a couple of quarters through the ATARI Night Driver arcade machine.  It was a very basic simulator with white dots coming at you as if they were reflectors on poles.  The game had a wheel and four gears available through a shifter.  It had an accelerator and no brake.  It was the simplest racing game a person could play.  I was pretty young, so it was not as fun to me because I did not do well actually playing it.  Like most kids that age, fun is in the anticipation of playing and putting the quarter in rather than learning the intricacies of a game.

    icon.jpg

    Throughout the years there were distinct improvements.  I played Pole Position and Enduro on the ATARI 2600, I had my first PC racer with Test Drive (the Ferrari Testarossa was my favorite vehicle) using only the keyboard.  I took a break for a few years and did not get back into racing games until I attended the 3dfx T-buffer demo when I saw the latest NFS 4 (High Stakes) played at 1024x768 with AA enabled.  Sure, it looked like the cars were covered in baby oil, but that was not a bad thing at the time.

    One of the real breakthrough titles for me was NFS: Porsche Unleashed.  EA worked with Porsche to create a game that was much closer to a simulation than the previous arcade racers.  It was not perfect, but it was one of the first titles to support Force Feedback in racing.  I purchased a Microsoft Sidewinder Force Feedback 2 joystick.  The addition of FFB was a tremendous improvement in the game as I could feel the tires start to slip and experience the increased resistance to turns.  This was my first real attempt at a racing game and actually completing it.  I still have fond memories and it would be great to get a remastered version with better graphics and physics, while still retaining the simulation roots.

    After PU I again stopped playing racers.  The release of Project Gotham racing for the XBox rekindled that a bit, but I soon tired of the feel of the controller and the rumble rather than real FFB effects.  Fast forward to Quakecon 2009 when I saw the first gameplay videos of the upcoming DiRT 2.  This title was one of the first to adopt DX11 that would push the HD 5800 and GTX 480 video cards for all they were worth.  This re-ignited my desire to race.  I purchased DiRT 2 as soon as it was available for the PC and played with the aging (but still solid) Sidewinder FFB P2.

    josh.jpg

    The box was a little beat up when it got to me, but everything was intact.

    Something was missing though.  I really wanted more out of my racing game.  The last time I had used a wheel on a racing game was probably an Outrun arcade machine in the late 80s.  I did some shopping around and decided on the Thrustmaster F430 Ferrari FFB wheel.  It was on sale at the time for a low, low price of $76.  It had a 270 degree rotation which is more apt for arcade racers than sims, but it was a solid wheel for not a whole lot of money.  It was a fantastic buy for the time and helped turn me into a racing enthusiast.

    During this time I purchased my kids a couple of low end wheels that use the bungee cord centering mechanism.  These of course lack any FFB features, but the Genius one I acquired was supposed to have some basic feedback and rumble effects: it never worked as such.  So, my experience to this point has been joysticks, bungee wheels, and a 270 degree F430 wheel.  This does not make me an expert, but it does provide an interesting background for the jump to a higher level of product.

    Click here to continue reading the Thrustmaster TX F458 Italia Edition Review!

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    PC Perspective Podcast #368 - 09/24/2015

    Join us this week as we discuss full GTX 980s in notebooks, Samsung's NVMe 950 Pro, Jim Keller leaving AMD and more!

    You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

    The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

    • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
    • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
    • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

    Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Morry Teitelman

    Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

     

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    Gaming wheels are a pretty interesting subset of the hardware world.  It seems the vast majority of gamers out there are keyboard and mouse players, or skew towards console controllers which are relatively inexpensive as compared to joysticks or wheels.  For those that are serious about their racing games, a wheel is a must.  Sure, there are plenty of people that are good with a console controller, but that does not provide the same experience.  In fact, racing games do quite a bit of compensation when it comes to steering, acceleration, and braking when it detects a console controller.

    t150_01.jpg

    Thrustmaster echoes the Playstation blue with their PS3/PS4/PC based T150 wheel.

    This makes quite a bit of sense when we consider how many degrees of travel a thumbstick has as compared to a wheel.  Or how much travel a button has as compared to a set of pedals.  I have talked to a developer about this and they admit to giving a hand to keyboard and console controller users, otherwise cars in these games are nigh uncontrollable.  A wheel and pedal set will give much more granular control over a car in a simulation, which is crazy to think about since we use a wheel and pedal set for our daily driving…

    The very basic wheels are typically small units that have a bungie or spring system to center the wheel.  They also feature a pretty limited rotation, going about 270 degrees at max.  These products might reach to the $100 level at max, but they are pretty basic when it comes to the driving experience.  There is then a huge jump to the $300 MSRP level where users can purchase the older Logitech G27 or the still current Thrustmaster TX series.

    This was not always the case.  Microsoft years back had offered their Sidewinder FFB Wheel around the $200 level.  Thrustmaster also addressed this market with their now discontinued Ferrari F430 FFB wheel which had an initial MSRP of around $200.  This particular wheel was popular with the entry level gamers, but it had a pretty big drawback; the wheel was limited to 270 degrees of rotation.  This may be fine for some arcade style racers, but for those looking to expand into more sim territory had to set their sights on higher priced products.

    Click here to continue reading about the Thrustmaster T150 FFB Wheel!

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    PC Perspective Podcast #374 - 11/05/2015

    Join us this week as we discuss cases for the R9 Nano, Thrustmaster T150, The End of AMD Catalyst and more!

    You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

    The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

    • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
    • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
    • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

    Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano

    Program length: 1:21:59

    1. Week in Review:
    2. 0:35:50 This episode of PC Perspective Podcast is brought to you by Braintree. Even the best mobile app won’t work without the right payments API. That’s where the Braintree v.0 SDK comes in. One amazingly simple integration gives you every way to pay. Try out the sandbox and see for yourself at braintree­payments.com/pcper
    3. News item of interest:
    4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
      1. Ryan:Coin 2.0
      2. Jeremy:Rebel Galaxy… soon to be on sale
      3. Allyn:Key Ring(stop carrying around bar codes)
    5. Closing/outro

      Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

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      Seems we have been on a bit of a Thrustmaster kick as of late?  We are not really complaining as there are certainly some interesting products that the company offers.  The latest product is not new, but how it is presented is.  Thrustmaster has traditionally bundled all of the different parts of the wheel together, but for the past few years they have worked on expanding the wheel ecosystem so users can upgrade certain pieces at will.

      T300 Servo Base.png

      This is all well and good, but users might find that they are throwing their money away by not recycling or reselling the parts they were upgrading.  Bought the TX F458 and want to purchase the shifter?  Go for it, but you need to buy the 3 pedal unit as the F458 kit only includes a two pedal unit.  Upgrade to the leather GT wheel or the new 599XX Alcantara edition?  Might as well throw the stock wheel in the closet, never to be seen again.

      Choice is a good thing, so Thrustmaster is now offering its more moderately priced base unit, the T300, as a standalone part.  This will allow users to purchase a good quality base all the while picking and choosing what other components to use.  The base price is $249 US.

      The T300 base unit features a strong brushless motor with the dual belt pulley system.  This base unit is an upgrade from the TX base that is included with my previously reviewed TX F458 Italia Edition wheel set.  It features the full 1080 degrees of rotation vs. the TX’s 900 degrees.  The motor also looks to be larger and stronger than the TX.  The base unit is compatible with the PS3/PS4, and the PC.  It also features the H.E.A.R.T sensor that utilizes the Hall Effect to provide a contact-less sensor that should last nearly forever.  It features the 16 bit sensor giving over 65,000 values around the axis.  Xbox 1 users will have to rely on the TX base unit as the T300 is not compatible with that system.

      T300 Servo Base Ecosystem.jpg

      Thrustmaster's competitor Fanatec has been selling the base units by themselves for quite some time, so it is nice to see Thrustmaster offer customers the same flexibility.  One thing must be noted though, the T300 is significantly less expensive than the lowest priced Fanatec base units that are currently available.

      Click here to read the entire press release.

       

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      PC Perspective Podcast #375 - 11/12/2015

      Join us this week as we discuss the Snapdragon 820, Lenovo Yoga 900, R9 380X and more!

      You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

      The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

      • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
      • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
      • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

      Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Sebastian Peak

      Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

       

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      Who would have thought that racing wheels would be so much fun?  I have mentioned this before, but until recently my experience with these products has been pretty limited.  I used a joystick for at least a decade after I started into PC racing, and then some five years ago I purchased a pretty basic FFB wheel with the Thrustmaster F430.  I was not entirely sure that a more expensive wheel would give me a better experience.  After having played DiRT Rally, a sim that leans heavily on wheels with a greater than 270 degrees of rotation, I knew that I was missing something.

      t300_01.jpg

      The packaging looks nice and conveys the information needed for the purchaser.

      I purchased the Thrustmaster TX F458 wheel and my eyes were opened to the light.  The more expensive wheel with a 900 degree rotation made driving a much better experience for those titles that are more than arcade racers.  DiRT Rally became a totally different game and my understanding of the handling and physics was enhanced dramatically with the more advanced wheel.  This is not to mention how huge of a difference such a wheel is as compared to the products in the $50 to $100 range which offer no force feedback and rely on bungie cords to center the steering.

      The TX wheel does have some limitations and a couple downsides.  The first is that it is limited to 900 degrees vs. other products that feature a full 1080 degrees.  It is compatible with PC and Xbox One.  It does not support the PS3 or PS4.  It comes with a two pedal stand as well as the Ferrari inspired wheel that is constructed entirely of plastic and a rubberized material on the wheel surface.  It is not a luxury item and I would not expect as such for $294 US.  It is also the least expensive “full” setup of the more professional line of dual pulley FFB servos.

      t300_02.jpg

      This is a diagram of the dual pulley system that makes the T300 as smooth as it is.

      Over the past few years Thrustmaster has expanded their lineup to include higher end accessories for the wheel setups with three pedal stands (the T3PA and T3PA-Pro), a solid shifter (TH8A), as well as a variety of interchangeable wheels that fit the Thrustmaster Quick Release system (TX, T300, and T500).  These include leather wrapped wheels, a F1 inspired wheel, and finally a newly introduced Alcantara wheel that apparently feels fantastic.

      It seems a waste to buy an entire set and then replace pieces with upgraded parts.  Obviously Thrustmaster figured this out and decided to start offering just the servo bases as standalone products and allow the user to pick and choose what type of pedals and wheels they want to use.  This also allows those who are more frugal to buy secondhand parts off eBay and other outlets.  Believe me, there are more than a few F458 wheels and 2 pedal sets out there for pretty good prices.  The T300 Servo Base is the second standalone offering from Thrustmaster with the Xbox One focused TX being the first.

      Click to continue reading the Thrustmaster T300 Servo Base Review

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      PC Perspective Podcast #379 - 12/17/2015

      Join us this week as we discuss the Snapdragon 820, AMD's GPUOpen, Thrustmaster T300 and more!

      You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

      The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

      • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
      • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
      • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

      Hosts: Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano, and Sebastian Peak

      Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

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      Did you miss the live stream for yesterday racing action? No worries, catch up on the replay right here!

      On Thursday, January 28th at 5:30 PM ET we will be hosting a livestream featuing some racing by several of our writers.  We welcome our readers to join up and race with us!  None of us are professionals, so there is a very good chance that anyone that joins can easily outrace us!

      t150_productpedalset_packshot_us.jpg

      We have teamed up with Thrustmaster to give away the TM T150 Racing Wheel!  The MSRP on this number is $199.99, but we are giving it away for free.  This was reviewed a few months ago and the results were very good for the price point.  You can read that entire review here!

      We will be playing multiple games throughout the livestream, so get those Steam clients fired up and updated.

      DiRT Rally

      DiRT-Rally-WRX-672x372.jpg

      We will be racing through the Rallycross portion of DR.  These are fun races and fairly quick.  Don't forget the Joker lap!

       

      Project CARS

      project-cars-pc.jpg

      This is another favorite and features a ton of tracks and cars with some interesting tire (tyre) physics thrown in for good measure!

       

      Assetto Corsa

      abarth-4.jpg

      Another fan favorite with lovely graphics and handling/physics that match the best games out there.

       

      We will be announcing how to join up in the contest during the livestream!  Be sure to tune in!

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      Some months ago I had the chance to review the PS3/4 and PC compatible Thrustmaster T150.  This turned out to be a solid little wheel with full functionality that would not break the bank.  The force feedback was not as strong or as nuanced as what I had found with the higher end TX F458 and T300 products, but it provided a wholly satisfactory experience that was around one half the price of the higher end products.
       
      TMXproduct-1.png
       
      Something missing from the lineup was a budget/entry level product for the Xbox One.  The TX F458 provides support for that platform, but it is anywhere from $300 to $400 US in price.  Essentially the same price as the console itself.  This comes at a pretty good time as a whole slew of racing games are being released on consoles these days (or soon).  Products such as DiRT Rally, Project Cars, and the upcoming console release of Assetto Corsa have injected new life into racing titles on consoles.  Add in Microsoft's continued development of the Forza series, console users have a good excuse to purchase racing inspired gear for their products.
       
      In speaking with the DiRT developers, they admitted that they have to adjust the difficulty of the games to make them playable on game pads.  This makes sense as there are not nearly enough degrees of movement from either a turning or throttle/braking standpoint.  There is maybe a 30 degree movement in total with the thumbpads as well as not very many gradiations when using the triggers on the gamepad for braking and throttle control.  To get the most out of racing games a wheel is very necessary.  It provides the accuracy needed to drive very fast without the application helping a user out by decreasing the realism of the driving experience.
       
      Zoom3.jpg
       
      The Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback wheel is very similar in build and size to the earlier T150.  The primary differences are of course the Xbox One compatibility as well as a 900 degree rotation.  The T150 had the full 1080 degrees, but it seems like the 900 number is a hard limit on the Xbox.  The wheel can be programmed to handle rotations as low as 270 degrees as well as up to 900.  It is a hybrid pulley/geared unit with solid force feedback strength.  It features a metal axle and metal ball bearings so the wear will be minimal over the lifetime of the product.  It also features the same 12 bit optical tracking mechanism that the T150 utilizes that gives 4096 values for each 360 degrees of rotation of the wheel.
       
      PictosPedalesTMX.jpg
       
      No specialty drivers or software are needed for use with the Xbox One, but drivers are needed for the PC.  The firmware in the wheel contains all the necessary software to run successfully on the Xbox One, so it is simply plug and play for that platform.  The wheel comes with the wide 2 pedal unit which also allows users to remove the pads and adjust their position to their own liking.  The paddle shifters are also made of metal so that they will not break after extended use and wear.  While the actual wheel itself cannot be swapped out like with the TX and T300 bases, the TMX does support the Thrustmaster ecosystem of add-in parts.  It is compatible with the T3PA and T3PA-Pro bedals and the TH8A manual shifter (that can also be configured as a sequential shifter).
       
      EcosystemTMX.jpg
       
      $199.99 is not inexpensive, but it is a reasonable price for a product of this nature.  It looks to be a very good introductory wheel of the Xbox One platform that will last years.  It could also act as a gateway drug to more expensive purchases in the future, such as the pro pedals, a new base, and a fancy Alcantara based wheel.  The TMX should be available by next month at major retailers around the world.

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      PC Perspective Podcast #395 - 04/14/2016

      Join us this week as we discuss AMD Driver Quality, New Intel and Micron SSDs, Corsair's SPEC-ALPHA and more!

      You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

      The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

      This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is sponsored by Lenovo!

      Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Sebastian Peak

      Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

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      I really do not know what happened to me, but I used to hate racing games.  I mean, really hate them.  I played old, old racing games on Atari.  I had some of the first ones available on PC.  They did not appeal to me in the least.  Instant buyer’s remorse for the most part.  Then something strange happened.  3D graphics technology changed that opinion.  Not only did hardware accelerated 3D help me get over my dislike, but the improvements in physical simulations also allowed a greater depth of experience.  Throw in getting my first force feedback device and NFS: Porsche Unleashed and I was hooked from then on out.

      tm_alc_01.jpg

      The front of the box shows the lovely Ferrari 599XX supercar with the wheel in the foreground.

      The itch to improve the driving experience only grows as time goes on.  More and more flashy looking titles are released, some of which actually improve upon the simulation with complex physics rewrites, all of which consume more horsepower from the CPU and GPU.  This then leads to more hardware upgrades.  The next thing a person knows they are ordering multiple monitors so they can just experience racing in Surround/Eyefinity (probably the best overall usage for the technology).

      One bad thing about having a passion for something is that itch to improve the experience never goes away.  DiRT 2 inspired me to purchase my first FFB wheel, the TM Ferrari F420 model.  Several games later and my disappointment for the F420’s 270 degree steering had me pursue my next purchase which was a TX F458 Ferrari Edition racing wheel.  This featured the TX base, the stock/plastic Ferrari wheel, and the two pedal set.  This was a tremendous upgrade from the older TM F420 and the improvement to 900 degrees of rotation and far better FFB effects was tremendous.  Not only that, but the TX platform could be upgradeable.  The gate leading to madness was now open.

      The TX base can fit a variety of 2 and 3 pedal systems, but the big push is towards the actual wheel itself.  Thrustmaster has several products that fit the base that feature a materials such as plastic, rubber, and leather.  These products go from $120 on up to around $150.  These are comprised of three GT style wheels and one F1 wheel.  All of them look pretty interesting and are a big step up from the bundled F458 replica that comes standard with the TX set.

      tm_alc_02.jpg

      The rear shows the rim itself at actual size.

      I honestly had not thought about upgrading to any of these units as I was pleased with the feel and performance of the stock wheel.  It seemed to have fit my needs.  Then it happened.  Thrustmaster announced the Ferrari 599XX EVO wheel with honest-to-goodness Alcantara ™ construction.  The more I read about this wheel, the more I wanted it.  The only problem in my mind is that it is priced at a rather dramatic $179.  I had purchased the entire TX F458 setup on sale for only $280 some months before!  Was the purchase of the 599XX worth it?  Would it dramatically change my gaming experience?  I guess there is only one way to find out.  I hid the credit card statement and told my wife, “Hey, look what I got in for review!”

      Click here to read the entire Thrusmaster 599XX EVO Alcantara Edition Wheel Review!

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      PC Perspective Podcast #407 - 07/07/2016

      Join us this week as we discuss RX 480 Power Concerns, X1 Yoga, Thrustmaster, Micron 9100 MAX, and more!

      You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

      The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

      This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is sponsored by Kaspersky! (promo code pcper)

      Hosts:  Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Josh Walrath

      Program length: 1:47:16
      1. Week in Review:
      2. AD BREAK
      3. News items of interest:
      4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
        1. Jeremy: Canuck with no patience? Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 G1 Gaming
      5. Closing/outro

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      This past Summer I was introduced to Fanatec products for the first time.  Before that I had only handled some lower end Genius products, as well as low end and midrange Thrustmaster units.  My review of the Fanatec setup will be posted here this next week, but my overall impressions of what Fanatec offers is overwhelmingly positive.  The only issue, and it is a glaring one, is the lack of an affordable setup based on their designs.  This past Friday Fanatec introduced a new series of products that aims to make their setups far more affordable than what we have seen so far.

      CSL-Elite-Wheel-Base_02.jpg

      The new CSL Elite Series of products offer many of the same features of the higher end ClubSport series of products, but at a much more affordable price range.  This does not mean that they are skimping out on features and quality construction.  The CSL Elite Pedals with Loadcell Kit offer a full aluminum build with a three pedal setup and the load cell on the brake pedal.  This allows increasing resistance during braking that other spring loaded pedals may not offer.  Fanatec claims that up to 90kg of pressure can be applied to the load cell.  Having used their upper end ClubSport pedals, I can attest to what a difference such a load cell and a heavy aluminum base can do for the racing experience.  Fanatec includes three different types of anti-skid pads that can be swapped out on the pedals.

      CSL-Elite-Pedale-Loadcell-Kit_03.jpg

      The CSL Elite Wheel Base offers 6NM of force to the wheel.  This is more than the ClubSport V1 base, but slightly less than the V2.  In violent crashes, the wheel certainly can break the grip of the user’s hands.  The base accepts a wide variety of wheels from Fanatec, but the bundle comes with the CSL Steering Wheel P1 for Xbox One.  The base comes with the automotive grade quick release unit that easily swaps in and out wheels.  The base also includes an RPM LED display on the base that is not included in the ClubSport series.  The base also includes a built-in table clamp that is a $50 accessory for the ClubSport V2 setup.

      CSL-Steering-Wheel-P1-forXboxOne_01.jpg

      The smaller motor, single belt design, and plastic construction of the wheel base allows Fanatec to shave a big portion of the price off of this part.  It still features the metal drive shaft and metal quick release mechanism (something that Thrustmaster doesn’t have even on their high end T500RS base).  The base still allows the connections for the optional shifter and e-brake.

      CSL-Elite-Wheel-Base_07.jpg

      Fanatec offers the bundle with a full version of Assetto Corsa for Xbox One for $639.85.  This is a tremendous price point that puts it in range of the T500RS.  Fanatec products have never been this reasonable for PC and Xbox One racers.  It is still a chunk of change, but it is nowhere near the $1800 range where a full ClubSport V2 setup can be bought for.

      CSL-Elite-Wheel-Base_15.jpg

      The base can be upgraded with options such as a static paddle shifters.

      I’m looking forward to seeing reviews of these parts and how they stack up to the V2 and other setups from competitors.

      Click here to read the entire release and pricing.

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      Seems we have been on a bit of a Thrustmaster kick as of late?  We are not really complaining as there are certainly some interesting products that the company offers.  The latest product is not new, but how it is presented is.  Thrustmaster has traditionally bundled all of the different parts of the wheel together, but for the past few years they have worked on expanding the wheel ecosystem so users can upgrade certain pieces at will.

      T300 Servo Base.png

      This is all well and good, but users might find that they are throwing their money away by not recycling or reselling the parts they were upgrading.  Bought the TX F458 and want to purchase the shifter?  Go for it, but you need to buy the 3 pedal unit as the F458 kit only includes a two pedal unit.  Upgrade to the leather GT wheel or the new 599XX Alcantara edition?  Might as well throw the stock wheel in the closet, never to be seen again.

      Choice is a good thing, so Thrustmaster is now offering its more moderately priced base unit, the T300, as a standalone part.  This will allow users to purchase a good quality base all the while picking and choosing what other components to use.  The base price is $249 US.

      The T300 base unit features a strong brushless motor with the dual belt pulley system.  This base unit is an upgrade from the TX base that is included with my previously reviewed TX F458 Italia Edition wheel set.  It features the full 1080 degrees of rotation vs. the TX’s 900 degrees.  The motor also looks to be larger and stronger than the TX.  The base unit is compatible with the PS3/PS4, and the PC.  It also features the H.E.A.R.T sensor that utilizes the Hall Effect to provide a contact-less sensor that should last nearly forever.  It features the 16 bit sensor giving over 65,000 values around the axis.  Xbox 1 users will have to rely on the TX base unit as the T300 is not compatible with that system.

      T300 Servo Base Ecosystem.jpg

      Thrustmaster's competitor Fanatec has been selling the base units by themselves for quite some time, so it is nice to see Thrustmaster offer customers the same flexibility.  One thing must be noted though, the T300 is significantly less expensive than the lowest priced Fanatec base units that are currently available.

      Click here to read the entire press release.

       

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      PC Perspective Podcast #375 - 11/12/2015

      Join us this week as we discuss the Snapdragon 820, Lenovo Yoga 900, R9 380X and more!

      You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

      The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

      • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
      • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
      • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

      Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Sebastian Peak

      Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

       

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      Who would have thought that racing wheels would be so much fun?  I have mentioned this before, but until recently my experience with these products has been pretty limited.  I used a joystick for at least a decade after I started into PC racing, and then some five years ago I purchased a pretty basic FFB wheel with the Thrustmaster F430.  I was not entirely sure that a more expensive wheel would give me a better experience.  After having played DiRT Rally, a sim that leans heavily on wheels with a greater than 270 degrees of rotation, I knew that I was missing something.

      t300_01.jpg

      The packaging looks nice and conveys the information needed for the purchaser.

      I purchased the Thrustmaster TX F458 wheel and my eyes were opened to the light.  The more expensive wheel with a 900 degree rotation made driving a much better experience for those titles that are more than arcade racers.  DiRT Rally became a totally different game and my understanding of the handling and physics was enhanced dramatically with the more advanced wheel.  This is not to mention how huge of a difference such a wheel is as compared to the products in the $50 to $100 range which offer no force feedback and rely on bungie cords to center the steering.

      The TX wheel does have some limitations and a couple downsides.  The first is that it is limited to 900 degrees vs. other products that feature a full 1080 degrees.  It is compatible with PC and Xbox One.  It does not support the PS3 or PS4.  It comes with a two pedal stand as well as the Ferrari inspired wheel that is constructed entirely of plastic and a rubberized material on the wheel surface.  It is not a luxury item and I would not expect as such for $294 US.  It is also the least expensive “full” setup of the more professional line of dual pulley FFB servos.

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      This is a diagram of the dual pulley system that makes the T300 as smooth as it is.

      Over the past few years Thrustmaster has expanded their lineup to include higher end accessories for the wheel setups with three pedal stands (the T3PA and T3PA-Pro), a solid shifter (TH8A), as well as a variety of interchangeable wheels that fit the Thrustmaster Quick Release system (TX, T300, and T500).  These include leather wrapped wheels, a F1 inspired wheel, and finally a newly introduced Alcantara wheel that apparently feels fantastic.

      It seems a waste to buy an entire set and then replace pieces with upgraded parts.  Obviously Thrustmaster figured this out and decided to start offering just the servo bases as standalone products and allow the user to pick and choose what type of pedals and wheels they want to use.  This also allows those who are more frugal to buy secondhand parts off eBay and other outlets.  Believe me, there are more than a few F458 wheels and 2 pedal sets out there for pretty good prices.  The T300 Servo Base is the second standalone offering from Thrustmaster with the Xbox One focused TX being the first.

      Click to continue reading the Thrustmaster T300 Servo Base Review

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      PC Perspective Podcast #379 - 12/17/2015

      Join us this week as we discuss the Snapdragon 820, AMD's GPUOpen, Thrustmaster T300 and more!

      You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

      The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

      • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
      • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
      • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

      Hosts: Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano, and Sebastian Peak

      Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

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      Did you miss the live stream for yesterday racing action? No worries, catch up on the replay right here!

      On Thursday, January 28th at 5:30 PM ET we will be hosting a livestream featuing some racing by several of our writers.  We welcome our readers to join up and race with us!  None of us are professionals, so there is a very good chance that anyone that joins can easily outrace us!

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      We have teamed up with Thrustmaster to give away the TM T150 Racing Wheel!  The MSRP on this number is $199.99, but we are giving it away for free.  This was reviewed a few months ago and the results were very good for the price point.  You can read that entire review here!

      We will be playing multiple games throughout the livestream, so get those Steam clients fired up and updated.

      DiRT Rally

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      We will be racing through the Rallycross portion of DR.  These are fun races and fairly quick.  Don't forget the Joker lap!

       

      Project CARS

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      This is another favorite and features a ton of tracks and cars with some interesting tire (tyre) physics thrown in for good measure!

       

      Assetto Corsa

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      Another fan favorite with lovely graphics and handling/physics that match the best games out there.

       

      We will be announcing how to join up in the contest during the livestream!  Be sure to tune in!

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      Some months ago I had the chance to review the PS3/4 and PC compatible Thrustmaster T150.  This turned out to be a solid little wheel with full functionality that would not break the bank.  The force feedback was not as strong or as nuanced as what I had found with the higher end TX F458 and T300 products, but it provided a wholly satisfactory experience that was around one half the price of the higher end products.
       
      TMXproduct-1.png
       
      Something missing from the lineup was a budget/entry level product for the Xbox One.  The TX F458 provides support for that platform, but it is anywhere from $300 to $400 US in price.  Essentially the same price as the console itself.  This comes at a pretty good time as a whole slew of racing games are being released on consoles these days (or soon).  Products such as DiRT Rally, Project Cars, and the upcoming console release of Assetto Corsa have injected new life into racing titles on consoles.  Add in Microsoft's continued development of the Forza series, console users have a good excuse to purchase racing inspired gear for their products.
       
      In speaking with the DiRT developers, they admitted that they have to adjust the difficulty of the games to make them playable on game pads.  This makes sense as there are not nearly enough degrees of movement from either a turning or throttle/braking standpoint.  There is maybe a 30 degree movement in total with the thumbpads as well as not very many gradiations when using the triggers on the gamepad for braking and throttle control.  To get the most out of racing games a wheel is very necessary.  It provides the accuracy needed to drive very fast without the application helping a user out by decreasing the realism of the driving experience.
       
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      The Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback wheel is very similar in build and size to the earlier T150.  The primary differences are of course the Xbox One compatibility as well as a 900 degree rotation.  The T150 had the full 1080 degrees, but it seems like the 900 number is a hard limit on the Xbox.  The wheel can be programmed to handle rotations as low as 270 degrees as well as up to 900.  It is a hybrid pulley/geared unit with solid force feedback strength.  It features a metal axle and metal ball bearings so the wear will be minimal over the lifetime of the product.  It also features the same 12 bit optical tracking mechanism that the T150 utilizes that gives 4096 values for each 360 degrees of rotation of the wheel.
       
      PictosPedalesTMX.jpg
       
      No specialty drivers or software are needed for use with the Xbox One, but drivers are needed for the PC.  The firmware in the wheel contains all the necessary software to run successfully on the Xbox One, so it is simply plug and play for that platform.  The wheel comes with the wide 2 pedal unit which also allows users to remove the pads and adjust their position to their own liking.  The paddle shifters are also made of metal so that they will not break after extended use and wear.  While the actual wheel itself cannot be swapped out like with the TX and T300 bases, the TMX does support the Thrustmaster ecosystem of add-in parts.  It is compatible with the T3PA and T3PA-Pro bedals and the TH8A manual shifter (that can also be configured as a sequential shifter).
       
      EcosystemTMX.jpg
       
      $199.99 is not inexpensive, but it is a reasonable price for a product of this nature.  It looks to be a very good introductory wheel of the Xbox One platform that will last years.  It could also act as a gateway drug to more expensive purchases in the future, such as the pro pedals, a new base, and a fancy Alcantara based wheel.  The TMX should be available by next month at major retailers around the world.

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