Podcast #465 - Seasonic, BeQuiet! PSUs, Koolance, FSP coolers, IFA laptops and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2017 - 10:59 AM |
Tagged: podcast, ZenBook Flip S UX370, Switch 7, Seasonic PRIME, RX Vega 56, mining, logitech, Koolance, Intel Xeon Workstation, IFA 2017, hero, fsp, Fanatec, dell xps 13, CSL Elite Wheel P1 Alcantara, BeQuiet, b250, asus, acer, video

PC Perspective Podcast #465 - 08/31/17

Join us for continued discussion on Seasonic, BeQuiet! PSUs, Koolance, FSP coolers, IFA laptops 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!

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

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:28:57

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 1:12:25 Ryan: Logitech G613
    2. 1:16:05 Jeremy: Steam library growing in girth? 850 EVO 500GB
    3. 1:18:45 Josh: Damn nice keyboard
    4. 1:21:05 Allyn: My first game mod: Manifolds for Factorio (and 0.15 is stable)
  4. Closing/outro
 

Source:

Fanatec Releases CSL Elite Wheel P1 Alcantara

Subject: General Tech | August 28, 2017 - 08:04 PM |
Tagged: Fanatec, CSL, CSL Elite, ClubSport, Alcantara

A few weeks back I reviewed the Fanatec CSL Elite base/wheel/pedals.  While I gave overall generally high marks, the least impressive part had to have been the actual wheel itself.  The CSL Wheel P1 was a rubber coated wheel that had some very good characteristics (lightweight, rigid) it also was lacking in some areas (comfort/grip, shifter feedback).  Apparently these were not uncommon complaints about what was still a seriously affordable piece of kit from Fanatec.
 
wheel_01.jpg
 
Fanatec decided to add another option for the CSL Elite lineup that is still more affordable than many of their higher end wheel offerings that start at $200 and go up to $400 US.  The CSL Elite Wheel P1 is a thoroughly upgraded redesign of the P1 wheel.  It shares the overall weight of the wheel, but improves dramatically with the flexibility and ergonomics of the part.
 
The primary upgrade is of course the material used for the wheel.  Fanatec finishes it out with an Alcantara covering that looks hand stitched with a striking red thread.  Alcanatara is a fancy brand of "Ultrasuede" that is produced in Italy.  It feels great, it soaks up sweat yet still breathes, and is a durable covering that should last for many years to come.  It looks to be a much more pleasant surface to interact with as compared to the slightly tacky rubber-like texture of the original wheel.  I know for myself that I have really enjoyed the Thrustmaster 599XX EVO Alcantara Edition wheel as an upgrade, and I look forward to checking the Fanatec version eventually.
 
Fanatec does not stop with just the covering.  The shifters now feature a new activation switch that provides much more feedback and feel than the previous model.  The older wheel had a pretty anemic response when the user activates the shifter, so the experience just didn't feel quite right without the corresponding "thud" of a robust activation switch.
 
wheel_02.jpg
 
Finally Fanatec allows users to swap in and out the buttons on the wheel for either Xbox One use or for more customized setups using a pretty impressive number of buttons.  This is a functionality that I have yet to experience in other products from the major manufacturers.
The wheel still features the brushed aluminum front plate and spokes as well as the "not so quick" release feature.  The LCD and center light display are again present, but they need to have application support to be useful in game.
 
Fanatec is offering this unit for a fairly reasonable $159.  This is around the same price as the Thrustmaster add-on unit featuring the Alcantara covering.  This does look to be a major step up for users, but it does not break the bank as compared to other wheels that will fit on the Fanatec bases.
 
Fanatec has certainly been far more active in the past two years with their product stack than they have in a long time.  It is great to see PC and console racing becoming popular again and providing the impetus for manufacturers to release new and interesting products to fill the market.

Podcast #461 - AMD Ryzen 3, Threadripper, Logitech Powerplay, and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 3, 2017 - 12:00 PM |
Tagged: podcast, wolfenstein, wdc, Vibe, Vega Nano, Threadripper, ryzen 3, radeon rx vega, QLC, htc, Fanatec, Clubsport lite elite, BiCS3, amd, video

PC Perspective Podcast #461 - 08/03/17

Join us for AMD Ryzen 3, Threadripper, Logitech Powerplay, 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!

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

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:38:20

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 1:25:45 Ryan: Logitech G903
    2. 1:34:05 Allyn: Things I would have loved to grow up learning / playing (pixel kit): 1 2
  4. Closing/outro

Source:
Author:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Fanatec

Dropping Price Points for Wider Appeal

Fanatec needs little introduction for anyone that has seriously considered racing wheel and the corresponding components.  It is a German based company that produces high quality and authentic feeling gear for PC and console racers.  Their ClubSport products are their top end models which also commands a top level price.  Solid construction, high quality materials, and sharp looking designs have defined the company since its inception.

csl_01.jpg

Fanatec always features a classy design. The first portion of the 4-flap saying is on the top. Otherwise, a bit confusing if you didn't know that...

Last year I was given the chance to test out some of the latest, and highest end, Fanatec gear.  The ClubSport V2 base and pedals were fantastic performers.  The build quality, fit and finish, and functionality were all superior to anything that I had used before.  The unfortunate part of the setup was the corresponding price.  These parts were not inexpensive.  Thankfully, most people who are familiar with Fanatec know that they cater to a more discerning crowd where price constraints are not the driving factor for this gear.  Even though these parts are expensive, they are still far less than the direct-drive counterparts that typically cost two to three times more.

Like any company, Fanatec is looking to expand and attract new users.  Their biggest hurdle with the ClubSport series is obviously price.  To attract new customers Fanatec introduced a new, more cost effective design that provides much the same experience as the higher end ClubSport series, but at a more reasonable price tag.  The CSL Elite series (ClubSport Lite) is aimed to address this area with more reasonably priced units that promise the same build quality and attention to detail as the higher end products in the ClubSport realm.  Costs were cut throughout, but Fanatec hopes that the overall product will provide much the same gaming experience as their higher end products.

csl_02.jpg

The packing is always well designed and copious when it comes to materials.

Click here to read the entire review on Fanatec's CSL Elite Products!

Fanatec Releases ClubSport Wheel Base V2.5

Subject: General Tech | March 3, 2017 - 01:48 PM |
Tagged: xbox one, wheels, wheel base, rally, racing, PC, Fanatec, ClubSport V2.5, ClubSport V2

Today Fanatec announced the immediate availability of the ClubSport Wheel Base V2.5.  Some months ago I reviewed the original ClubSport V2 and I was highly impressed by its overall quality, build, feedback, and accuracy.  It is a monstrous unit that commanded an sizeable price.  Fanatec has built evolved and improved the V2 unit and rebranded it the V2.5.
 
While the V2.5 is not redesigned from the ground up, it has some greatly improved features from the last gen.  It has a new motor that promises better response and feedback force and feel.  They next updated the USB connection so that it has an update rate of 1000 Hz for greater driving accuracy and response time.
 
CSW-V2-5-Big1-1000x666.png
 
Perhaps the most impressive news about this release is the lowering of the price for the V2.5 base.  Fanatec claims that greater demand and efficiency in production has allowed them to lower the price of the new base vs. the old.  The new price is $499.95 which is quite a bit lower than the old price which I believe was in the $650 range.  Anyone that has pre-ordered the V2 units will be getting upgraded to the V2.5 parts.  I am unsure how Fanatec is handling possible refunds in these cases, but the assumption is that end users won't be ripped off.
 
This is a welcome surprise in terms of improvements and a lowering of price.  The V2 was a pretty spectacular part and it looks as though this one exceeds it in every way.  It still retains the all metal construction and features a new faceplate with the Fanatec logo etched in.  Certainly a lovely piece of gear for those that take racing seriously.

You can purchase it online from the Fanatec site!

Click to read the entire press release!

Source: Fanatec

Podcast #422 - Samsung 960 Pro, Acer Z850 Projector, Surface Studio and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 27, 2016 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: z850, x50, video, tegra, switch, surface studio, Samsung, qualcomm, podcast, Optane, nvidia, Nintendo, microsoft, Intel, gtx 1050, Fanatec, evga, acer, 960 PRO, 5G

PC Perspective Podcast #422 - 10/27/16

Join us this week as we discuss the Samsung 960 Pro, Fanatec racing gear, an Acer UltraWide projector, Optane leaks, MS Surface Studio 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!

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

Program length: 1:47:11

  1. Join our spam list to get notified when we go live!
  2. Patreon
  3. Fragging Frogs VLAN 14
  4. Week in Review:
    1. 0:06:00 Fanatec ClubSport V2 Ecosystem Review: What is Realism Worth?
    2. 0:25:20 Samsung 960 PRO 2TB M.2 NVMe SSD Full Review - Even Faster!
    3. 0:45:35 Acer Predator Z850 UltraWide 24:9 Gaming Projector Review
    4. 0:54:28 EVGA SuperNOVA 750W G2L Power Supply Review
  5. Today’s episode is brought to you by Harry’s! Use code PCPER at checkout!
  6. News items of interest:
    1. 1:00:50 GTX 1050 and 1050Ti
    2. 1:05:30 Intel Optane (XPoint) First Gen Product Specifications Leaked
    3. 1:11:20 Microsoft Introduces Surface Studio AiO Desktop PC
    4. 1:21:45 Microsoft Windows 10 Creators Update Formally Announced
    5. 1:25:25 Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon X50 5G Modem
    6. 1:31:55 NVIDIA Tegra SoC powers new Nintendo Switch gaming system
  7. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Ryan: Chewbacca Hoodie
    2. Jeremy: The Aimpad R5 is actually much cooler than I thought
    3. Josh: Solid for the price. Get on special!
    4. Allyn: Factorio
  8. http://pcper.com/podcast
  9. http://twitter.com/pcper
  10. Closing/Outro

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

Stepping Up the Simulation Game

I don’t exactly remember when I first heard about Fanatec, but it likely was sometime after the release of DiRT 2.  I was somewhat into racing games before that, but that particular title sold me on the genre and I have not looked back since.  Before then I used a Microsoft Sidewinder FFB stick for my racing, but it was D2 that convinced me to purchase a wheel for the full fledged experience.  The initial impression of Fanatec was of course “high priced, but really nice gear”.  These were products that I did not think I would ever see in any personal capacity as they were out of my price range and my driving passion was just not amped up enough to rationalize it.

fanatec_01.jpg

My dog is quite suspicious of the amount of boxes the set came in.

I know I probably talk about it too much, but the introduction of DiRT Rally really supercharged my interest in driving accessories due to the work they did on physics and Force Feedback effects.  My older Thrustmaster Ferrari F430 wheel featured a meager 270 degrees of rotation and clunky FFB that did not translate well with this particular title.  It may have done OK with older, more arcade based racers, but with the latest generation of sims that focus on accuracy in experience it just did not cut it.  Purchasing a Thrustmaster TX based unit was a night and day experience for these latest titles.

The next few months after that I spent time with multiple other wheels and accessories and provided a few reviews based on them.  My level of interest grew exponentially about what the industry offered.  I was able to contact Fanatec and they agreed to put together a bundle of products based on their latest ClubSport V2 products.  This would include the ClubSport V2 Base,  ClubSport Universal Hub for Xbox One, ClubSport Pedals V3, ClubSport Shifter SQ, and the desk mounting hardware for the units.

fanatec_02.jpg

Fanatec is not for the faint of heart when it comes to pricing.  The total package I received is worth 1800 Euro, or about $2016 US.  This is a pretty tremendous amount of money for racing gear, but it is about average for higher end products that exist in this market.  People will question why it costs so much, but after my experience with it I now know why.

Click here to read the rest of the Fanatec Review!

Podcast #415 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 Turbo, Intel SSD P3520, HUAWEI Mate 8, ASUS Strix X99, and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 1, 2016 - 02:57 PM |
Tagged: yoga, video, strix x99, ssd, Predator, podcast, P3520, Mate 8, Lenovo, Intel, Huawei, Fanatec, CSL Elite, asus, acer, 1060 turbo

PC Perspective Podcast #415 - 09/01/2016

Join us this week as we discuss the ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 Turbo, Intel SSD P3520, HUAWEI Mate 8, ASUS Strix X99, 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!

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

Program length: 1:49:46
 
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. 1:07:04 IFA 2016
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Allyn:
      1. Update your iOS devices (really bad root exploits finally fixed)!
      2. HTC Vive users - enable bluetooth and standby your beacons
  4. Closing/outro

Fanatec Releases New CSL Elite Products - Affordable Racing!

Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2016 - 02:46 PM |
Tagged: wheel base, Thrustmaster, T500RS, T300, steering wheel, pedals, Fanatec, CSL Elite, ClubSport V2

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.

Source: Fanatec
Author:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Thrustmaster

Build Your Own Setup

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