Thrustmaster T300 Servo Base Review: The Foundation
Racing Impressions and Conclusion
The T300 is very similar in overall feel to the TX base that I had previously used. I believe much of the same components internally are the same, with the major difference being the full 1080 degree support. The firmware had to be updated, but that is a very easy procedure. The upgrade software is installed with the driver/control panel. That program is selected, it gets the latest firmware from the Thrustmaster servers, and then flashes the base unit. I would suggest making sure that the flashing is done from the native AMD/Intel USB controllers, as some have had flashing failures from 3rd party USB 3.0 and 3.1 controllers.
The base is not small, but it is not overly large either. The "Mode" button allows the user to adjust the degrees rotation in game by pressing that button and the D-pad on the wheel.
The FFB is strong when it needs to be, yet can still be very subtle about small changes to the surface that the car is racing on. There is a very nice amount of feedback from the unit depending on the racing title. Some titles are better than others in conveying those feelings, but for really dialed in games the effects are quite compelling.
The base again has some good heft, so when things get a little crazy with the effects it feels very solid and gives a good impression of actually transferring those forces. The mounting mechanism also greatly contributes to this, as it would be a bad day if the servo unit shook itself off of the mount and off the desk. Driving from a lap mount does not work so well.
The build quality seems good for the time I have used this. Previously I have been using the TX wheel for around five months and I had no complaints with the build or wear and tear on the servo. All products will be slightly different and there are defective units that come out of Thrustmaster. So far, I have been fortunate in that every single one of my Thrustmaster products have worked as intended for a significant amount of time. Mileage will of course vary and we have seen anecdotes of people having nothing but trouble with the company and their products. In my case, it has always been positive.
We see the rear ports: pedals, shifter, and power. The USB cable is not removable.
It is not a noisy unit in the least. The motor does not growl, the gearing and pulleys are very quiet, and when things heat up and 100% FFB is set then the internal cooling fan kicks in and provides only a small increase in ambient sound. It does produce sound, so it is not entirely silent. Users will hear the whir and buzz of turning the wheel sharply and having the FFB engage. Hopefully, the sound from the users’ speakers will drown out this noise and they can focus on their game. I honestly have not had the noise from the wheel distract me from my driving.
I really love racing. I do. It is not an all encompassing passion that requires me to invest in a full motion simulator with massive triple screens and a PC to push it all, but I love it all the same. I guess for me it pushes away the urge to purchase a “Mid-Life Chrysler” or some other sporty model of car. When I feel like going fast, hitting some corners, or improving my times, I attach the wheel to my desk and fire up the racing application of choice.
The big center hole is for the included clamp. It is a beefy thing. The other holes allow users to mount the base on most racing stands.
The T300 servo base seems to be an excellent foundation for a racing career (on the PC or PS3/4 that is). It will allow users to either mix and match parts from Thrustmaster, or purchase the basic pedal and wheel units from eBay. This will save the user money either way they choose. If they get the urge to upgrade their unit, they don’t have to worry about wasting the stock wheel and pedals of the TX or T300 combos. A perfect combo for me would be this base, the Alcantara wheel, and the T3PA-Pro pedals. Sure, that is a pricey proposition, but I have what I want with no extra pedal or wheel sets sitting around.
I had a very good experience with this servo base. FFB is consistent and strong. I had no issues with the wheel losing precision or not centering correctly after extended gaming periods. The base did not overheat at any time during gaming, but I usually don’t run at 100% strength all the time. For users that run into that issue, TM issued a firmware upgrade that allows the fan to be run all the time to prevent overheating in these scenarios. I do not have a PS3 or PS4 to test this on, so it is a totally PC-centric review. I have read on some forums and comments that these servo bases may have some problems there, but I cannot confirm that for myself. Perhaps much of that is there are 7 billion people on this Earth and invariably someone is going to buy a lemon. I can only speak from my experience that Thrustmaster has made a consistently good product that I have used over the past five years.
The T300 (left) and TX (right) are pretty much identical except for button placement, the Kinnect sensor on the top of the TX, and the degrees rotation.
For any user looking to get into racing this is a good place to start. They can mix and match their peripherals at a price point significantly lower than the basic Fanatec parts. $260 US is still a chunk of change to pay considering that a user can get a TX F458 wheel with pedals for only $30 more. If a user is perfectly content with a 900 degree rotation with a lower end wheel and 2 pedal system, then the TX is the better bet for their needs. For those wanting the flexibility to use what they want to fit their needs PLUS have the full 1080 degrees of rotation, then this servo base is the best solution.