Thrustmaster Introduces Xbox One Compatible TMX Wheel

Subject: General Tech | April 12, 2016 - 02:33 PM |
Tagged: Thrustmaster, TMX, T300, tx f458, force feedback, wheels, racing pedals, DiRT Rally, project cars, Assetto Corsa, xbox one

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.
Source: Thrustmaster
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.

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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

Thrustmaster Offers T300 Servo Base as a Standalone Product

Subject: General Tech | November 11, 2015 - 06:39 PM |
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.

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.

 

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

Fully Featured Wheel for $200 US

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.

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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!

Podcast #368 - full GTX 980s in notebooks, Samsung's NVMe 950 Pro, Jim Keller leaving AMD and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 24, 2015 - 03:22 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, amd, Jim Keller, Zen, Samsung, 950 PRO, NVMe, M.2, vnand, Thrustmaster, tx f458, Lenovo, Thinkpad, x1 carbon, x250, t450s, helix

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!

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