Thrustmaster TS-PC Wheel Review: A Genuine Leap
Overshadowing the Previous Gen
To say that sim racing has had a banner year is perhaps an understatement. We have an amazingly robust ecosystem of titles and hardware that help accentuate the other to provide outstanding experiences for those who wish to invest. This past year has seen titles such as Project CARS 2, Forza 7, DiRT 4, and F1 2017 released as well as stalwarts such as iRacing getting major (and consistent) updates. We also have seen the rise of esports with racing titles, most recently with the F1 series and the WRC games. These have become flashy affairs with big sponsors and some significant prizes.
Racing has always had a niche in PCs, but titles such as Forza on Xbox and Gran Turismo on Playstation have ruled the roost. The joy of PC racing is the huge amount of accessories that can be applied to the platform without having to pay expensive licenses to the console guys. We have really seen the rise of guys like Thrustmaster and Fanatec through the past decade providing a lot of focus and support to the PC world.
This past year has seen a pretty impressive lineup of new products addressing racing on both PC and console. One of the first big releases is what I will be covering today. It has been a while since Thrustmaster released the TS-PC wheel set, but it has set itself up to be the product to beat in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Out With the Old…
The TS-PC Racer is a brand new design that differs significantly from the previous high end offering, the T500RS. This is not a simple upgrade of the T500RS and it is not a redesign of the very popular T300/TX series. It is a top to bottom new product that implements a host of new technologies that categorically improves every aspect of the wheel and base.
Everything is nicely packed and organized. Shipping damage is highly unlikely.
There are quite a few features that are carried on with the TS-PC. It still uses the Hall Effect technology to give 65K values for wheel position. It is a 1080 degree rotation that can be adjusted through software down to 270 degrees. It features the same “quick release” hub to allow users to swap out different wheels.
The base does not come with a pedal set at all. Users will have to determine how much they want to spend and pick one of three options. I used the T3PA-Pro set with this particular base. It does come with a wheel that was specially designed for the TS-PC. This is an open wheel model with brightly colored buttons and ultra-suede covered grips. This is the same material as “Alcantara”, it just isn’t as expensive and not made in Italy. The paddles are metal and there are 6 buttons and a rotary selector on it. What I found nice about this open wheel is that the buttons are actually numbered. That is very rare on most wheels. You have to usually guess what is what and then memorize which is actually “button 6” or whatever. If you swap out wheels, then often the button positions change and it is relearning time. It is a minor annoyance, but one nonetheless.
The base unit is snugly fit in and protected by a significant amount of packing.
Previously Fanatec was well known for having far stronger motors in their servo base, and apparently Thrustmaster felt this was an area that needed immediate attention. The TS-PC features a 40 watt brushless motor that features high velocity (increased torque and response) motion. This gives it around the same force as the latest Fanatec CSL Elite base which provides around 6nm of force. Thrustmaster has also introduced a new cooling system for this motor that they creatively called “Motor Cooling Embedded System”. This is a cooling system which features greater thermal density as compared to previous servo bases. This gives the cooling the ability to keep the fan at low RPMs, making the base much more quiet overall than even the previous T300R/TX bases. The fan essentially runs at a single speed no matter the load and the cooling system is able to dissipate heat in a more consistent manner so when peak usage hits, the base does not see the extreme ramping of the cooling fan.
To handle this new motor, Thrustmaster also has introduced a new power supply. One initially would think that a 40 watt motor wouldn’t need much more than a 40 to 50 watt power supply. This is incorrect. In fast transitions and heavy load, the power supply can provide up to 400 watts peak power. The motor will utilize this power for very short periods of time to give the desired force and effect. Some people will love or hate the design as it looks like a turbo charger. The toroidal design will be more efficient at dissipating heat as compared to the typical block power supply, or a power supply that is located within the servo base itself.
The design is pretty minimalist in terms of styling, but looks really do not count for much...
Thrustmaster licenses force feedback software from Immersion Corp. This is a company that has been around for some 20 years perfecting force feed back and tactile solutions in software for a variety of uses and industries. Thrustmaster seemingly has spared no expense for what is one of its top products.
For a while this was the top end Thrustmaster servo base and the price reflected it. It was introduced at $499.99 US and could be found for around $540 when available. Since last year stock has improved and Thrustmaster lowered the price on the original TS-PC to a much more palatable $399.99. This still is not exactly cheap, especially considering that it does not come with pedals of any kind.
There are aesthetic touches with the two tone design and stenciling. It is still a sharp looking product.
|Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
|How product was obtained:||The product is on loan from Thrustmaster for the purpose of this review.|
|What happens to product after review:||The product remains the property of Thrustmaster but is on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.|
|Company involvement:||Thrustmaster had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.|
|PC Perspective Compensation:||Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by Thrustmaster for this review.|
|Advertising Disclosure:||Thrustmaster has not purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.|
|Affiliate links:||This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases through those links.|
|Consulting Disclosure:||Thrustmaster is not a current client of Shrout Research for products or services related to this review.|