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Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel Ferrari 458 Italia Edition review

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Jari Vinnari, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel Ferrari 458 Italia Edition

    Well...im old...ancient someone would say. My first contact with simracing was Geoff Crammond´s excellent Formula One Grand Prix in 1990´s and since then I have driven numerous driving games with Assetto Corsa being the latest one. I have owned and destroyed several wheels from manufacturer´s like Microsoft, Logitech and Fanatec so I would call myself as a experienced driver with average driving skills.
    I have been relatively happy with my Fanatec CSR wheel and Clubsport V1 setup but sometimes you just want to try something new and hopefully better. Fanatec Clubsport Wheel would have been one good choice but it was just too pricey and possible future warranty issues made me look elsewhere. Thrustmaster T500 RS is nice but the newer design, brushless motor and better belt system convinced me to buy 458 Italia wheel. Having owned and destroyed a Logitech G25 in my previous life the newly released Thrustmaster TX 458 for 300 Euro´s was the only real choice for me. Luckily it was Christmas so Santa Claus helped me get this wheel. Thanks Santa, I owe you one...or two. :)

    First impression & some numbers:
    "What the .... Why in earth did I buy this piece of toy wheel" was my first thought after opening the box and lifting the unattached wheel. The two things that really striked out badly was the yellow Ferrari logo and the 2-way Manettino switch which really makes the wheel look cheap. The wheel rim building material looks and feels almost the same as found in early 90´s Nissan dashboard´s. Luckily appearances can sometimes be deceptive as the wheel "quality" will grow on you.
    The wheel rim weight is approximately 730 gramms and its 28 cm in diameter. The power supply is inside of the base unit which weight is about 3,9 kg compared to Fanatec´s 2,9kg including the wheel but without the external power supply. In PC-mode you have total 13 buttons and a D-pad in your disposal.


    Gas and brake pedals are made of metal,base from light plastic and the total weight is approximately 1,36kg. Brake has progressive resistance and the gas pedal feels quite stiff. Pedals connects directly to wheel base and they are not USB compatible.


    Wheel can be attached to table/cockpit with good clamping system or more permanently with built-in screw threads. After attaching the steering wheel and making the required firmware update for PC I was ready to Rock´n Roll.

    Driving impression´s:
    I could feel big difference between the CSR and Thrustmaster TX as soon as I accelerated out of the pits with my rFactor 2 Corvette.In straight line the 458 Italia will give you much more information about the car suspension movement and the bumps on the road. In corners I could feel the change in grip much more clearly and earlier stage than I did with Fanatec CSR. Steering response feels faster, more direct and FFB in whole felt much better. CSR has small FFB deadzone where you dont feel any feedback but with TX you feel the FFB almost whole range of wheels turning range.

    With Assetto Corsa the difference between the wheels was smaller but Thrustmaster still feels superior of these two. Again the Thrusmaster feels so accurate,direct and fast to react drivers every steering input. Driving BMW Z4 GT3 with CSR feel´s just little bit boring but the TX wheel made the car more enjoyable and exciting to drive.
    Gear leavers are made of strong metal and have nice solid feel to them. They are quite short to allow easy access to back buttons so I needed some time finding right position for my hands and fingers. That ugly Manettino switch works but they really shoud have used better quality switch in that one. Other buttons feel OK but for me the Fanatec has better buttons and the wheel rim in whole feels better. Pedals look and feel quite cheap but surprisingly they work much better than their appearance might suggest.

    Conclusion: Connect the dots
    FFB quality and the base unit are definitely the best part of this wheel . Driving with this wheel is true pleasure because FFB is strong, detailed and fast. Thrustmaster really should have used better quality materials with the rim and the pedals. Luckily you can always use Thrustmaster T500 RS add-on wheels and pedals or use USB pedals from another manufacturer. Thrustmaster plans to release improved T3PA pedals which includes a clutch pedal. I think this package is OK starting point for newcomer but I would definitely buy new pedals if I was serious about simracing. Im relatively happy with the rim so currently I have no plans to buy the 100€ Ferrari 458 GTE wheel add-on which should be much better in quality wise.

    The GOOD:
    + FFB is very good
    + Base is made of strong, good quality plastic
    + Many buttons, even behind the wheel
    + Accurate and reacts fast to drivers input
    + Good clamp that will stop the base from moving.
    + Gear leavers are made of thick metal and changing gear feels quite good
    + Ability to use add-on wheels and pedals

    The BAD:
    - Pedals are light weight,looks and feels cheap. Surprisingly they do work moderately well
    - Wheel rim looks cheap and the build quality should have been better. It does work & feels better than first impression might suggest
    - Loud fan under stress
    - No power switch
    - USB cable can't be removed
    - No clutch pedal

    [​IMG] [​IMG]



    05.02.2014 UPDATE:

    My Thrustmaster TX is dead so rest in peace my friend...you will be sorely missed.:(
    But luckily his twin brother has arrived. ;)

    One morning about 10 days ago my wheel went completely dead, no lights or any wheel movement at all so the electronics must have failed.
    I contacted my local dealer and they replaced my wheel in 10 days . Whole process could have been 2-3 days shorter but they didnt have the wheel on stock so Im very happy how fast they replaced my wheel. I also e-mailed Thustmaster twice and both time they replied in 24 hours so no complaints about their reply speed.
    According to my local dealer over 10% TX wheels have been returned back for warranty repairs. Other users have also experienced wheel failures so there seems to be slight quality problem with first batch of the TX Wheel.

    I still like the wheel very much. :)
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
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  2. The BAD: the price..!
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  3. Kjell Eilertsen

    Kjell Eilertsen
    Premium Member

    I'm slightly piqued by this wheel, I'd love to hear a comparison between this and the T500, if it matches the T500 in performance it might win me over.

    Ohh and thanks for a excellent review @Jari Vinnari !
  4. Nice interview. To bad they skimped a bit on the pedals. Wonder if you could do the basher mod on them like on the T500RS. Do Thrustmaster offer the pedals with a similar plate that come with the stiff brake mod for T500RS? With that mod I truly felt the T500RS pedals went toe to toe with my Clubsports V2. Surpassing in brake feel wheras the Clubsports had just a hair smoother throttle.

    I am also curious about how it actually compare to the T500RS.
  5. ISR will review this wheel "soon" so they will give more information how TX compares to other wheels in market.
  6. Mark Reynolds

    Mark Reynolds
    Physics & AI Programmer

    The standard rim is a total joke........

    Easily fixed tho :)

    2013-12-31 00.00.28.jpg
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  7. Got myself a Logitech G27 last week, excellent wheel and paddles, and fixes almost everything you posted as bad, and that is that the USB cable can't be removed.
  8. In think g25/27 is good durable package. It has better pedals than TX and the quality of wheel rim is better but i have started to like the TX's default "bad" quality rim. I was after better and stronger FFB which TX certainly delivers. I have Clubsport V1 pedals so the pedals are not a issue with me.
    In my oppinion the Thrustmaster TX base is foundation for a very good or even great wheel package if you are willing to spend more money on it. FFB is something that is very difficult to improve by amateur DIY.
    I will buy USB hub with on/off switch to power off the wheel.
  9. Mark Reynolds

    Mark Reynolds
    Physics & AI Programmer

    I just use the quick disconnect on the supplied USB lead once I have powered down the Xbox, worked fine for now.

    G25/27 pedals are about the best you can get for the price point IMHO, I did not love my T500 pedals all that much after many years of enjoying ownership of the Logitech stuff, however I had to admit after replacing a couple of pots and setting up the springs etc the T500 pedals have been every bit as nice to use and better in some respects than the Logitechs, I am using the custom spring pack and hard brake pedal thing, works just great, and even more so when you can simply plug into the new TX, not even tried the std TX pedals so cannot comment :)

    Really feel TM dropped a small ball with the 458 wheel fitted to the TX, it is a sub £80 wheel by all accounts, feels every bit as nasty and cheap as you would find on the budget end wheels, slightly disappointed by that at least with the TX, not everyone has the bits to make a half decent wheel out of it and get the full enjoyment potential, the standard GT rim from the T500 for example is more than twice the quality in feel and function for me.
  10. Necramonium my G27 fix absolutely none of the BAD issues compared to the T500RS. They play in different leagues I feel :) My G27 is a lot louder with ffb activated then the T500RS with fan going I would never buy a cog driven wheel if stealth is important. It is to me I have neighbours.

    As for TX sounds like the wheel base really have to deliver seeing it now cost more then the T500RS and you must buy separate pedals. But T500RS pedals is maybe not to hard to come buy for a good price since many go for the loadcell thing and clubsports instead :).

    The only stock rim I tried is the F1 integral. It´s plastic but do it´s job though it´s certainly not a looker but neither is the T500RS wheel base honestly. If I was going buy design I would have a CSW and pay twice the money even though I am not sure it would perform better for me particularly since I can´t choose my own rims :). The thing I would want from it is the smoothness and less bulk which is what I would imagine the TX could also bring but perhaps sacrificing less ffb with the TX then going to the CSW? Would love to see comparisons here as well.

    I am using after market rims also and I think it´s the way to go. There is cheaper ways then sli plates for hundreds of dollars to get buttons on the rim if you don´t mind ghetto mods.

    I am just planning for the day my T500RS die on me I am perfectly happy as is.
  11. Kjell Eilertsen

    Kjell Eilertsen
    Premium Member

    The TX is more expensive where? The cheapest I can find a T500 at from a reputable reseller in Sweden is about 5000 SEK (approx €562) while the TX costs 3800 SEK (approx €427) at the same shop.
  12. Here in Finland TX is just under 300€ and cheapest T500 RS is 449€.
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  13. So if I understand correctly, the T500 pedals an GT rim fit on the TX?
    What about the fixed shift paddles, do they fit also on the TX wheel base?
  14. Nice review Jari and good to see Finns here. I must say this wheel looks toy I can't compare it with other Thrustmaster wheels like GTE and F1 addon. Only good thing is ffb. All other plastic parts are not good thing but acceptable if this's Thrustmaster's way on future. I'm little bit worried.
  15. 3700 SEK at pixmania.com it´s a known reseller. If you are looking for repairs it´s Thrustmaster you deal with.
  16. Kjell Eilertsen

    Kjell Eilertsen
    Premium Member

    I said reputable, not known ;)
    But are you sure Thrustmaster takes care of support? Usually they send you to the reseller the first year or two.
  17. Reputable is a personal opinion ;). I would say Pixmania is reputable enough I have been able to rma gear by them no problem.

    As for Thrustmaster yes and no. They did send me the new fan so yes. As for the TH8 RS they didn´t want to help me even though it was nowhere to be found. But that was perhaps the reason they have no stock of it. I got a refund from the reseller though so all is well.
  18. Kjell Eilertsen

    Kjell Eilertsen
    Premium Member

    I have no personal experience with them, but reading a lot of the reviews of them over at prisjakt.nu makes me take extreme care and won't be shopping there for sure. But that's neither here nor there in relation to the OP :p
  19. Pixmania is good place. I have ordered my all Thrustmaster products there, but GTE addon was not their's selection.
  20. Mark Reynolds

    Mark Reynolds
    Physics & AI Programmer

    Yes, the F1 Rim, GTE Rim and T500 pedals all plug straight into and work perfectly with the TX.

    The T500 paddle shifts bolt directly into the TX base unit with no modification (which was essential as my addon Sparco Mugello doesn't have shifters built in), however, you need to provide those shifters with a signal as there is nowhere to simply plug them into the TX sadly, I stripped down my GTE and soldered a couple of wires to the main board of the GTE to provide my shifter paddles a signal.

    All works perfect.
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