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What to buy to get into Sim Racing

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by SpykerV, May 14, 2012.

  1. First, I'm still very new to all this, I apologize in advanced if I'm breaking some code of conduct as to where to post. I may not have read the Terms of Service properly. If these type of posts do not belong on this subforum, or on Racedepartment at all, I apologize for the inconvenience.

    Again, sorry if this is an unorthodox post or doesn't belong on this forum. Apologies in advance for reading this.

    Well, I was recommended to this forum by a member on my main forum, Overclock.net.
    I'm interested in playing racing games again, and transitioning from arcade to simulation. I want a proper starter setup for arcade style: Grid, TDU 1/2, F1 2011 and Simulation racing: Race07/GTR Evolution, rFactor 2 (a bit afterwards, maybe in Beta, will purchase a years subscription) and iRacing when the time comes and I'm a bit better and more accustomed to all this, and don't suck.

    Budget: up to $700

    Parts to think of:
    I was talking to said member, who is extremely helpful and prominent on my computing forum, and we went over a list of possible options for wheels. After much debate and reading and advising, I've decided on the time tested Logitech g27. For the pedals, I'm picking up the Fanatec CSRe, rather than waiting for the v2 of the CSP. Keeping stock shifter from the g27.

    Thoughts on Fanatec: I like to think of fanatec now (as opposed to mid 2010 - early 2011) as an IF company. They're components are of Ultra high quality, and they only work on wheels. Their prices are also very affordable. But they seem to be overpressured often, and heres the if, IF I get a lemon for whatever reason, I have to ship all the way back to Germany, wait for however long the company takes (and even to this day, from seeing such sites as 911wheel.de to gtplanet.com to SRT's forum) can be awhile before I get my wheel back, and this is assuming there are no problems a second time around. I rather not have this chance happen. Logitech, problem with wheel, they respond and ship back very quickly, good warranty option too. For Fanatec I was thinking of just getting the CSRe Pedals which have less chance of having problems, most rectifiable with little hassle. Their pedals are top notch and don't cost much for the amount they deliver. The wheels worry me though. I was interested in the GTR3 v2 Elites package.

    Thoughts on Thrustmaster: No doubt is the t500rs an amazing wheel. But, A) the T8rs cost $150, B) weighs a ton C) has no load cell. I like to think of their current revision (I'm guessin v1) of the t500rs as a WHEN wheel, to take from an amazon review I read (though this could be garbage). When as in, most of their component selection is top notch, their build quality and QC apparently is appalling. It is a matter of time before it breaks down and one must ship the wheel to FRANCE. Not sure if I want that hassle. Again I don't want to believe everything I read, but I did read this and it has put me down to not want that.

    Thoughts on higher end companies like ECCI: Hahahahaha, can't afford that kind of setup.

    Next we have the cockpit or stand dilemma. I read a Tweaktown review of a cockpit (http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/4158/gt_omega_racing_simulator_review/index8.html)

    Now, here the reviewer stated that going from Couch Racing to cockpit racing was a great and welcome change. The reviewer specified the angle of the pedals. Now, it will take some convincing for my parents ( I am a commuter college kid who doesn't rent an apartment yet) to let me take up more of their living room space with a large and immobile cockpit that also costs $350+

    But for $150, I can get the GT Omega Wheel stand with a right shifter arm, and later get their keyboard and mouse arms when they release (an email from them said it will release soon for the stand). Now that sounds like a sweet deal, considering only Gamepod and Fanatec sell Wheel stands aside from their cockpits, and Playseat and Rseat sell only cockpits. GT Omega gives the price of the Rennsport stand with the utilities of the Gamepod GT1, and seeing as I don't need to pay $20 for a beverage holder , the GT1 is pricy for upgraded materials, but at what cost.

    Most importantly the GT Omega Wheel Stand comes with adjustable pedal plate mount. Woo, perfect for my arm chair / office chair racing.

    Do you guys think it is worth getting a wheel stand over a cockpit? or is the experience just that much more true to life with the cockpit vs with a wheel stand?

    Clarifications about what Ill be using: Gaming computer (i7 930, 6970 crossfire) with a true 120hz 1080p Led TV. I may at a later date get 3x, though I've used eyefinity before for FPS, not a big fan. I've got a fantastic eIPS panel (u2311h) to use with 3x, but this is years from now.

    Finally, There's the question of the Buttkicker series. There was a post on here about them, and how they enhance the gaming experience.

    So it really boils down to:
    - Logitech G27 = $220
    - Fanatec CSR-Elite Pedals (no inversion kit): $150
    - GT Omega Wheel Stand Pre-order with Right arm mount for shifter: $160
    - Buttkicker Simulation kit: $180

    Is that a good setup?
  2. I think that makes a great starter setup.

    Nothing wrong with the G27, except maybe the pedals but you have solved that problem with the CRE-Elite pedals.

    Wheel stand looks solid, depends on your personal preference of course but if you can't get a full cockpit this wheel stand looks like a good starting point. Maybe you can buy a separate racing seat which makes it easier to put everything away?
    Something like this gaming base: http://www.corbeau.com/products/accessories/gaming_base/

    The buttkicker is a real nice addition, couldn't drive without mine anymore
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Whoa! Thank you for the seat addition! I bookmarked it and will purchase the seat in coming months! Really appreciate the help and feedbacks, thanks again for the link!

    Hmm interesting, buttkicker really makes some good products. I wish I could pickup the LFE edition, but the kit is $400, that's well over half my budget. I've heard various complaints about the gamer2, most said it was not powerful enough for their tastes. The simulation kit seems to be their cheapest plate mounted system that provides quite a kick.
  4. I use the Gamer 2, mounted right under my seat. And for my likings it has more then enough power.

    You can also buy the gaming base separate and look for a cheaper chair.
  5. Don't waste your money on Fanatec pedals. They are cheaply made and problematic. I had a set that only lasted a year and I had nothing but trouble the entire time I had them. You will have to disassemble them very often and for every race the load cell wins you, the problems with spiky hall sensors, sticky brake plug and dodgy clutch will take away.

    Either get a G27 and do a Nixim mod on the brake or get a T500 RS and do the included brake stiffness mod. I had a G25 and I was always happy with it (I had it for 5 years) and I moved over to my current T500 RS (I started using the T500 pedals once the Fanatec pedals finally had one problem too many and I gave up) and I have been very happy with the pedals. You can get a Lightning SST shifter instead of the Thrustmaster shifter too- look it up and see which would work best for you. I still use my G25 shifter with an adapter.

    Instead of a Buttkicker, get a Shift Light Indicator- they are very helpful (if you get a G27, it comes with a SLI built in so you won't have to worry about it)
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Hmm, this is the first time I've ever heard problems with the CSR-Elite pedals, but you've used I'm guessing either the CSPs or the CSREs for a year. Darn that puts a real damper on things I guess.

    The G27 has the APelectrix Load Cell mod, with a bodnoar box. But that voids warrant, which is a reason why I didn't want to use it on my g27.

    Also, what do you think of the T500 RS? EVERYONE says its a truly fantastic wheel set, but the QC is appalling? Do you find this to be true? Have you had any issues with customer support?

    Ahh here it is "IMPORTANT
    Opening the pedal set will invalidate your Logitech Warranty." That is from the Nixim brake page. I was trying to avoid any warrant hassles, as if I have to get the wheel fixed, would I have to ship back the whole unit and then Logitech would state that they can't fix it?
  7. Dino Paolini

    Dino Paolini

    I know you write that into every related topic that you find on every forum.
    But to give another side to that; I never had any problems with mine and I'm not the only one I'm sure :)
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Dino you are not alone, my CSP´s áre also trouble free for the time i own them (roughly 3months), The only time i had to disassemble them, was when i changed the brake pedals to the stiffer setting.
  9. Yup, I do. But there's always 2 sides to every story and when you read somethign online you always read about the people who had a bad experience- rarely about those with a good experience. Mine is a common story from Fanatec however. The company has become somewhat infamous.

    QC for the Thrustmaster has been fine. I've only had mine a few months but it's been great aside from one minor problem with double downshifting. TM sent me a new shifter unit to fix it. The customer support was OK- they got back to me within a couple days. I had the shifter unit within about 2 weeks (I was slow getting back to them).

    tic toc..... :poop:

    j/k- I hope they stay problem-free for you. :p

    I had issues almost from the very beginning. Fanatec wouldn't replace them either, they just kept telling me to tighten everything and sending me hall sensors (that all went bad) :rolleyes:
  10. I am not a big Fanatec fan myself. But that has mainly to do with how Thomas (Big boss of Fanatec) does his communication and business. (saw some questionable discussions on the iRacing forums)

    But I have a set of CSP for over a year now and don't have any problems with them, I also haven't heard anything bad about the CSR-E pedals for the moment.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Thanks again for all the input guys, but I'm becoming increasingly confused and unsure of what to purchase still. There are so many opinions that it is quite the read. But I definitely want to buy things in the right time, and I'm waiting until end of this week (after finals are over) before even thinking of a purchase, as then I'll only have my job to do and tons of time to race, so still time to decide.

    Well, anyways, I'm still confused as to what to buy. I'm sure I don't want a Fanatec wheel whatever the case. But the g27 is used by SOO many people, huge modding community, lasts a long time, great warranty. The T500RS verges on the realistic/luxury class of wheels for sim racing, But then I have less to buy at this point in time.

    I think I won't purchase a wheel stand after talking to Brian Clancy about it, such a helpful member. I've decided to go for a cockpit, and ditch the Buttkicker (for Now). I'll either get a GT Omega Cockpit, or the Playseat cockpit, which is on sale for $350, relative bargain I suppose. I'm really looking for something that is elevated to match the same height as the lip of my office chair (37 cm from the carpet) and at an angle, sort of like the real race experience, but I see no work arounds for that except the Gamepod GT1, and at that price point, I might as well get the cockpit. I didn't realize how much Shipping will be, and I'll probably pickup a PlaySeat Evolution. Great price, 0.00 for shipping here in the US.

    Pedals, pedals, pedals. With Fanatec, I'm pretty set, and there are mixed reviews, though they are generally much more lauded than they were in 2011 from what I've been told. But they're a small company, that is overworked. What shocks me still is they don't have a basic driver page, and Fanatec.de and .com are not conclusive for company info, for that you have to go to their blog, sort of unacceptable in my opinion. The T500RS, has a mammoth all alu/metal slab that weighs about 1/2 ton (sarcasm), but there wouldn't be any fiddling necessary with that. My concern with getting the Bodnar Cable, Nixim (or any spring) mod, and paying $75 for the APelectrix load cell, is that I void warranty. Now I have no idea how Logitech's warranty works, but if they require the whole unit to be shipped back or I ever have problems with the pedals, well there goes that warranty. Which of course is one of the major reasons I'm going for logitech over others, they're a large corporation with large resources and good CS for these types of things. I've hardly ever had a hassle with any tech product I buy, but I just like to know that IF there ever was a problem, the company I purchased from can be relied on to correct the problem, within a reasonable time frame. I'm not going to wait more than a month including shipping to get my product back, that I find is unacceptable.

    From simracinghardware the SLI stuff looks interesting. I have no idea what the purpose of the button boxes or anything are, but I could ask Mr. Clancy about that. The SLI-M kit and Pro Kit cost over $100 which isn't bad, not sure how necessary it is for me at this point in time.

    Sorry for the long and drawn out post guys, I appreciate the help though and thank you all for the advice you're giving. I'm very new to this, I still haven't grasped the Do's and Don'ts of Sim Racing Hardware.
  12. One thing no one's addressed is that if you haven't driven any sims, you may not know what you are in for. You are talking about going all-in and spending $1000 on a hobby (you don't play a game with sims- it's a full blown hobby) you aren't sure you will like.

    Being that you are new to sims, let me give you advice. Buy a G27 and ONLY a G27. Don't get a load cell mod because it will not help you. Bolt it onto your desk and LEARN TO DRIVE. When you first start sim racing you suck. You will suck for the next few years and you will be on the back of the grid for the next year or so. Going from arcade racers to sims is like going from flying balsa wood wind up planes to flying a F14.

    When you first start out, the last thing you want to do is to mess around with a load cell mod- you don't want to worry and mess with hardware when your primary concern HAS to be learning to drive. You won't be able to take advantage of a load cell and it will only hamper your development. When starting out, your best purchase will be some books.

    Start out getting Going Faster which is the course book for the Skip Barber driving school. Get it off Amazon. Some guys will tell you just practice and you will get better. I say BS. Practice does NOT make perfect- PERFECT practice makes perfect.
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Devil_Dog

    I walk the line.

    I call BS to this statement.

    I totally disagree with this. If a person is just starting out how will a load cell hamper a persons development in learning how to drive. If your using a brake with or without a load cell it would make no difference. You are still learning either way. So it should be irrelevant.

    Now I do agree with not going out and spending a small fortune when just getting started. If you loose interest or find out that it's not your cup of tea then the start up offset will not be that much and you can recoup a fair amount of your initial investment.

    The G27 is a great wheel and if you decide to stick with it the wheel will still produce for years to come. I just recently upgraded from a G25 to a T500. I still love my G25 and have used it for the past few years and have not regrets. The pedals on the other hand have sat for the past couple of years and I have been using CSP's.
    • Like Like x 2
  14. Hiroshi Awazu

    Hiroshi Awazu
    Off Topic Moderator

    Lets not start off replies like this please. It may offend people then more often than not, thread becomes a Flame War.
  15. Devil_Dog

    I walk the line.

    Noted but I stand by my opinion of the statement.;) No pun intended to the above member.:thumbsup:
    • Like Like x 2
  16. Duly noted advice. I'll check out that book, and I've picked up two samples of other racing books (both on technique and not car centric, but driver based).

    I don't intend for this to be a flame war of any sort, just trying to gather advice to make a decision.

    I've never played sim racing, but I've played A LOT of arcade, both overview of the car, and cockpit view, with a controller. They're my favorite genre.

    I am of the philosophy of doing things correctly, and to take time to do things correctly. If it seems like 700 is not sufficient then I will save more up and read more and purchase a proper setup. If that means that I won't race this year, or until next year, so be it.

    As stated in the OP, I certainly don't intend on being a "pro" or any semblance of doing well for a long time, if at all. I'm in it for the fun, but to play it often, and for the stress filled rush racing gives, can not seem to match that in First Person Shooters, at least I have not been able to.

    A bit of background, a few years back when I started in the realm of computing, I sold my xbox 360 and saved up around 1k USD for a monitor and computer (and peripherals). I was never truly happy with the parts that I bought. It took me years to fix that mistake, to what I actually wanted, and I'm still not done. Computing since then and has for over 3 years been my hobby, primarily. It consumed me so much so that I'm in electrical engineering right now (also doing finance as a second major/concentration). Now, whenever I look back on the situation, I always think how I should have waited longer, and read more and asked more questions instead of jumping ship as quickly as I did. Was I happy? Sure. Could I have maximized the situation though had I waited another 6-8 months, of course. But, I've come back to a gaming genre that I've largely ignored since my console days, for I've been too preoccupied with finishing my Primary/High School education, and starting college work. Now that I am far more settled down, and especially since I'm taking no courses over summer semester and only have a job to work in, I was hoping to get back into racing, but the right way.

    Hence why I started asking around, found a veteran member on my site who is extremely knowledgeable and helped me out a lot, and recommended me to this site. I'm really glad I found him, he was able to save me many hours of reading with his advice and guidance.

    I should clarify, I've used wheels before, but not for extensive periods of time. Like at Consumer Electronic Show (CES 2012) and over a friends house. The Nvidia and LG showcase had some insane sim rigs, and I really liked the feel of the wheels, and I had never EVER raced like that before, it really was a whole different experience.

    So this is why I'm taking the time and effort to purchase the right equipment NOW, so that I don't have to fix things over years of time. I like to get things right from the get go.

    I'd like to once again thank everyone for their valuable feedback here. This community, the relatively short time I've spent here, has been impressive to say the least. Everyone is quite helpful, no one is rude and everyone seems quite knowledgeable. So thanks for a warm welcome, and for all the free advice that I would otherwise not have access to.

    Edit: Similar story. When I was getting into audiophile equipment, I took about 3 weeks to do some constant reading, and asked quite a few members about their audio equipment, even registered on Head-Fi.org. I spent the time to get a pretty decent setup and I haven't regretted my purchase even once.
  17. Mike, just saw the 965 + Crosshair V combo. If I wasn't waiting on Piledriver/haswell and getting into sim racing, I might have checked that combo out. Really nice price! GLWS.
  18. **Sorry for the triple post***​
    Thanks for all your help everyone, looks like I'm going to reaffirm everything, and I think for right now I'll ditch the seat until I can pickup a Play Seat, and instead for right now I'll focus on just the G27 + the CSRe. I thought of the Nixim clutch mod, Load Cell brake, bodnar cable and PTR pedal combination, but I'll go against modding my G27, do not want warranty hassles of any kind. Instead, I'll just get the CSRe's which do everything above, plus are made of aluminum, have warranty for when the Load Cell wears out, and is really good for fine tuning unlike the G27 pedals.

    Thanks for the help guys, I learned a lot and I'm more secure in my future investments.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Rupe Wilson

    Rupe Wilson
    Senior HistorX club driver Staff Premium

    Hi, ive looked so many times at upgrading my cockpit, but ive found i could end up spending hundreds of paper bills for a better look not necessarily a quicker time round the track.... this was achieved by racing in the right environment..
    no distractions
    the correct lighting
    no other sounds but that of my sim (surround headphones, hear what the car is doing...)
    this is not good when you have friends round ..
    the TV is the correct distance and height for my view and with the fov
    the pedals and wheel are in the correct position for me ( after half a hour of racing you realise how important this is )
    And also being relaxed...(i think this is the most important for me)
    • Like Like x 1
  20. I'm worried about the position of the pedals. I'll make a CAD drawing, and a 3D render on AD Inventor, but I'd like to make a pedal stand. That worries me most, feet getting tired, even on the lowest setting of my office chair.

    I intend on being a nice and peaceful environment when I race, usually late nights. Can't wait to use my headphones and get down to racing.

    One thing I was worried about with the G27's is because of its popularity, was it a lower quality product (for whatever reason). Really, the G27 as I've come to find it, is a very respectable wheel for it's price point, and a good wheel in general, that everyone in general likes using. Definitely look forward to this.
    • Like Like x 2