I love comparison tests. Before we get to the newest test, let me look back at other wheels I’ve had the opportunity to test back-to-back.
- Logitech Momo vs. Logitech G25 – If this was a comparison of food, it would be like comparing shit to a shit sandwich. At least the sandwich has some bread in it.
- Logitech G27 vs Logitech DFGT – Shit sandwich vs. shit hogie.
- Logitech G27 vs. Thrustmaster T150 – Shit sandwich vs. shit over rice.
- Logitech G29 vs. Thrustmaster TS-PC Racer – Shit sandwich vs. a decent burger.
- Accuforce vs Thrustmaster TS – gourmet burger tastes the same as decent burger.
The two products I am comparing today are the Thrustmaster TX and TS bases. The TX can be found in the “TX Servo Base” by itself or with wheels such as the “TX RW”. It appears to be the same product as the T300. The TX/T300 base is an older design than the TS, which comes in several flavors: “TX-PC Racer”, “TS-XW Racer”, “TS-PC Racer Ferrari 488 Challenge Edition”, or by itself “TS-PC Racer Servo Base”. The TX has a built in power supply while the TS has a separate one (which looks like a turbo snail). The most important difference is that the TX has about 4 nM torque while the TS has about 6 nM. For comparison, Logitech wheels and the Thrustmaster T150 have about 2 nM. From my experience, the torque is absolutely critical and more is generally better.
Driving the two wheels back-to-back is enlightening. The TX doesn’t have the same feel. I don’t feel as connected to the vehicle dynamics. It’s definitely harder for me to drive. It’s much harder to sense and correct oversteer when the wheel has low torque. If you rely on trail-braking to sense speed and rotate the car, you will be much better served by a high torque wheel. Spinning is frustrating. You will spin a lot less with a high torque wheel. That said, my lap times were about the same with these two wheels. Should you buy the more expensive TS for the higher torque motor? Yes. The higher torque makes driving more authentic and more enjoyable. Should you buy an even more powerful direct drive wheel with an even higher price tag? Maybe. If you are using sim racing for real-world training, and have enough money to buy actual racecar stuff, then I think you have enough money to buy a direct drive wheel. If you’re mainly into sim racing for the sake of sim racing, the TS is a very good wheel base. I love mine. If you’re on the arcade side of things, then Logitech might be fine. The TX is in an odd spot: clearly better than Logitech, but also clearly worse than TS. Personally, I wouldn’t buy one. But for someone mainly interested in sim racing I think it’s fine. What about Fanatec? They make a lot of wheels and I’ve only used one. It was very good.
Over the years, I have owned a variety of sim racing wheels. Since I’m a professor, I’ll give them grades in red ink.
- Logitech Momo – The force-feedback is just vibration and the pedals are crap. Still better than a hand controller. D-
- Logitech G25 – Durable and the pedals are built well. Swapping a load cell on the brake pedal makes them top-notch. C
- Logitech G27 – Very similar to the G25 but with a less good shifter. C-
- Logitech DFGT – Cheaper than the G25/G27 but essentially the same thing. C
- Logitech G29 – Wait, are they still making the same shit? Yes, but it costs more now. C-
- Thrustmaster T150 – Thrustmaster’s attempt to make something just as bad as Logitech. With a 2 nM wheel and shitty pedals, they succeeded. C-
- Thrustmaster TX – Almost good enough to recommend. Sometimes packaged with spring-based (crap) pedals. B-
- Thrustmaster TS – Acceptable. T-LCM load cell pedals are a good match. B+