The New Corinthian Leather?
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.
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.
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!”
Subject: General Tech | November 11, 2015 - 06:39 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: wheel, tx f458, TX, Thrustmaster, T500, T300RS, t300 base, T300, 599XX Alcantara
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.
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.
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.