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Thrustmaster Tx 458 Italia Community Reviews and Impressions

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After some messy travel on Sunday (thanks to the weather in the NE) I finally made it back home and thought I would post up some first impressions of my new setup...

 
First a little background: I consider myself new to sim racing so take everything I say with a grain of salt. I only found this website 2 weeks ago but the tx review convinced me to buy it now instead of waiting to see what else comes out. My only real previous experience was with GranTurismo 1 & 3 (not sure why I skipped 2). I did have a Mad Catz Dual Force Racing Wheel for the PS1 but rarely used it. About 18 months ago I decided I wanted a full racing setup but decided to wait for the next generation as compatibilty with existing hardware was unknown.
 
As of yesterday the last of my racing gear arrived.
 
- Xbox One
- Forza 5 (VIP)
- Thrustmaster TX (v45 firmware)
- CNT Racing Sim cockpit
 
Playing on:
- 85" Projector screen (seated approximately 6 ft from the screen)
- 720p LED projector (next to be upgraded!)
- 7.1 channel surround sound
 
I have been playing Forza 5 since release with the controller to unlock some cars and get the drift of things. Last night was my first run with the TX wheel and cockpit. It was rough going at first but I eventually found a post where someone suggested setting steering dead-zone outside to 65%. This made driving with the wheel at least possible, but something still seems off. Maybe it's just my inexperience but it seems as though the car will often wildly spin out of control even when I am driving in a straight line. For now I am  back to playing with TCS/STM/ABS on as it seems more manageable. Note that I have tinkered with just about every combination of assists and degrees of rotation. 
 
I saw some posts of folks reporting the wheel not returning to center and wonder if this might be part of my issue. When in the menu if I spin the wheel hard left it tends to return to 1o' and if I turn it hard right it tends to return to 11o', does this seem normal? Also is everyone elses wheel noisy? Mine seems to make a humming/grinding noise whenever it has power, even if sitting idle.
 
As for the TX, the FFB seems good to me running at about %50 in game. Pedals are sufficient but I will likely look to upgrade once the clutch set is released. The wheel does work fine but feels slightly cheap. I would love to hear a comparison on the GTE F458 wheel as I am contemplating swapping it out for this one. For the cost I have to say I expected slightly better craftmanship. Assumming my steering issues get worked out I can always replace the wheel/pedals. 
 
Forza 5 is not without it's bugs either. It looks and sounds great but there are some menu issues that need to be worked out. I find it extremely annoying that there is no easy way to see the max class allowed for a given series. Hopefully this can be addressed in a future update. That and I along with just about everyone else w/ VIP have been missing tokens/cars/etc. but this seems to be getting slowly resolved.
 
If anyone has any suggested game/wheel settings please post them up... In the meantime I'll keep reading the forums and honing my driving skills.

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hmmm, not sure I feel a hum as you describe... I feel some vibration at all times but I was assuming this is to stimulate the feeling of the car running.

 

Thanks a lot cruz, I wasn't sure what to make of it at all.

 

I've owned a few wheels in the past and never had it before, hopefully the heavier GTE rim will absorb some of the effect.

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Hmm my wheel is returning to center just fine.  There is certainly a decent adjustment/learning curve going from a controller to a wheel.  I have found I like the 270 Deg setting on the wheel best as I have more control and can post better times.  I don't hear or feel a hum unless your meaning the feel of the force while driving.  When not in use the wheel is either silent or has the fans running to cool it after a long race but that is a very slight noise that is not very audible.  In fact I can feel the air moving out of it but not really hear it unless I lean up close to it.  

 

I'm still very impressed with this wheel.  The only gripe I have at all is the Stock rim feels a bit cheap but that is completely alleviated when I put on the F1 rim.  Will be picking up the 458 GTE rim shortly and I think that will have me set switching between the F1 and GTE.  

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Just wanted to post an update that things have improved for me some what in the wheel department.

 

Not sure if it was the Xbox update or my driving skills slightly improving with the wheel but things are getting better. I'm finding that some of the RWD cars I was running are just very hard to control with the wheel (still experimenting with various tunes and assists). FWD/AWD is much more manageable for me at this stage. One other thing I found last night is that I need to power on my Xbox1 from the box itself prior to connecting the wheels USB cable. When I power up in this order the wheel calibrates but then returns center upon launch of Forza5. Actually discovered this on the thrustmaster site after I spent a solid hour last night getting the xbox to recognize my wheel as a controller.

 

Still hoping to hear a comparison from some of you who upgraded to the GTE wheel.

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When not in use the wheel is either silent or has the fans running to cool it after a long race but that is a very slight noise that is not very audible.  In fact I can feel the air moving out of it but not really hear it unless I lean up close to it.

This comment worries me, I got mine a couple of days ago, when idle it is silent as you say, currently I have it set at 100% in the PC settings though I may turn it down, but when the fan kicks in after a few minutes racing it is far from quiet, it's rather annoyingly loud in fact, could hear it outside my room, no need to lean in to hear it. Thought it was because of the industrial strength motor, but I'm still not happy about it.

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This comment worries me, I got mine a couple of days ago, when idle it is silent as you say, currently I have it set at 100% in the PC settings though I may turn it down, but when the fan kicks in after a few minutes racing it is far from quiet, it's rather annoyingly loud in fact, could hear it outside my room, no need to lean in to hear it. Thought it was because of the industrial strength motor, but I'm still not happy about it.

I'm sorry to hear that. Mine is definitely not that loud.

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So, my TX wheel arrived yesterday, and overall I like it a lot.
 
I only had time to play for about an hour or so last night after getting the firmware updated and setting it up on my wheel stand, but it was definitely a good hour. This wheel is replacing my old Fanatec gear -- a CSR wheel, CSR Elite Pedals, and a CSR shifter set -- and by and large it compares quite favorably.
 
First, the low points: 
 
As pictures indicate, it's definitely very plastic and toylike in appearance, which is a big downgrade from the very classy look and feel of my Fanatec gear (well, everything but the Fantatec shifters, which were jarringly plastic and toylike next to the wheel and pedals). That said, it does NOT feel cheap or flimsy -- while there is a lot of plastic, it's good, solid plastic and it feels well constructed and durable.
 
Also, the fact that there isn't even the most tentative of pricing or availability information for the 3 pedal set and H-shifter addons is definitely a frustration. Yes, these things actually make most kinds of driving a lot more challenging, but they also just make it more fun, and I'll be a lot happier with the wheel overall when I have the option of using them. As I said earlier, please, Thrustmaster, hurry up and take more of my money!
 
Now, onto the good stuff:
 
While the rim is definitely the biggest offender in the "looks like a toy" category, it does feel quite good. While I prefer the feel of the suede grips on the CSR wheel, the texturized rubber is high quality, comfortable, and grippy. Also, the button quality and layout are excellent. Every button is well built: they have good positive click responses when pressed, and feel very sturdy and (as with everything about the wheel) durable, which definitely couldn't be said about many of the face buttons on my CSR wheel. That is also true of the shifter paddles -- very hefty metal construction, nice positive click, and an appropriate amount of travel. Of course, the CSR also had very nice paddles, and it's hard to say which I prefer since I no longer have the CSR for direct comparison., but these are definitely good. 
 
As for the layout, while it is a bit odd at first that the X, Y, B, and A buttons aren't in the standard cross formation, I was actually sold pretty quickly once I used the wheel. Their large size and smart positioning mean that as with every other button on the wheel (except maybe the "manettino" switch on the lower right) they can quickly and easily be pressed with your thumbs without looking with your hands still holding the wheel. Also worth noting is that the rim actually features essentially three extra buttons compared to a normal xbox controller (or to the CSR), and the base has one more still.  Currently these extra buttons just duplicate existing functions in Forza (as do two that should be the stick click, I think), but documentation on the Thrustmaster support site seems to indicate that the next title update for Forza might include additional mapping options to take advantage of these extra buttons (and, obviously, the buttons are all immediately usable if you are connecting the wheel to a PC). 
 
Especially exciting to me was that there are actually two buttons hidden away on either side of the back of the rim, right where your ring finger naturally rests if you have your index and middle fingers on the paddles.  Currently they double for the paddle functions, and presumably they are meant to map to the left and right stick clicks, but the positioning could be quite useful if they were opened up and freely mappable. 
 
And then there is the wheel base itself. The CSR had good force feedback for sure, but this is much, much better. It's smooth, consistent, and crazy powerful -- in fact, it's so strong that when I took a very hard turn, the torque loosened the swivel on the post of my wheel stand. Obviously I've not used the T500, but this definitely feels in the ballpark of the crazy force I've seen demonstrated from that wheel in videos -- which again lends credence to the theory that this is essentially a T500 base modified to work with the Xbox One. Anyway, it feels really, really great driving Forza out of the box without any tweaking of settings, but again, there is documentation that seems to indicate that an upcoming title update in Forza will include improvements to their force feedback implementation and to the available configuration options (including the ability to set the degrees of rotation, which is currently locked at 900).
 
Finally, the pedals. As with the rest of the set, while they are certainly plastic, they are a very solid plastic, and the metal pedal faces definitely give them a bit of extra credibility. Much more importantly, they have a much better feel than I was expecting. They have a good travel distance and nice resistance, with the brake being appropriately stiffer and shorter than the gas. While none of that is adjustable in any way, they're essentially how I would want them anyway -- but each person's mileage will certainly vary on that count. Also, it remains to be seen how long they will retain this excellent feel, but something tells me they will at least hold out until whenever the 3 pedal set becomes available, at which time they will go in the closet and serve as a capable backup set.
 
Again, since I no longer have my Fanatec gear it's hard to give a precise comparison to my old CSR Elite pedals, but clutch pedal aside, I certainly don't feel like it's a huge downgrade, as I expected I would. The CSR-E pedals are obviously highly adjustable, and just about every aspect of pedal positioning, stiffness, throw, etc can be tweaked and dialed in to match the user's preference, which is extremely valuable, but again, these pedals feel well tuned for my tastes out of the gate.  Also, the CSR-E brake pedal uses a load cell to measure braking pressure which makes them much more accurate in theory, but at least in the short time I had to play with these I didn't feel terribly hampered by that distance -- braking was plenty smooth, clean, and accurate for my (admittedly low) skill level.
 
Anyway, that's my initial thoughts on the TX wheel.  It's the only game in town until February if you want a wheel for Forza 5 and the Xbox One, but it's a damn good game at least at first blush (and it doesn't hurt that it's also a pretty decent wheel for PC use as well).  I have no idea how it would feel to someone coming from a CSR Elite wheel, or a Clubsport Wheel, or even a G27 or T500, but coming from the standard CSR wheel it feels like a nice upgrade to me, with the exception of the cosmetic appearance. 

 

WOW great review, just what i needed since i want to upgrade from exactly the same CSR combo to thrustmaster TX!, can you tell me the difference in dimensions (approximately) between the CSR base and the TX base, it's crucial for me..

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My Tx's force feed back just died on me tonight. I found it was also very loose on the shaft as well but couldn't get the hex head screws any tighter. Looks like ill be returning it to Ebgames tomorrow and hope they have another to swap. When it was working it was good. Not as good as my T500 but still very good. I don't think my internal fan was working so that might have had something to do with the problem.

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My Tx's force feed back just died on me tonight. I found it was also very loose on the shaft as well but couldn't get the hex head screws any tighter. Looks like ill be returning it to Ebgames tomorrow and hope they have another to swap. When it was working it was good. Not as good as my T500 but still very good. I don't think my internal fan was working so that might have had something to do with the problem.

 

OK, now i am start to be sceptical, i have already read 2-3 cases of FFB death in TX...

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My Tx's force feed back just died on me tonight. I found it was also very loose on the shaft as well but couldn't get the hex head screws any tighter. Looks like ill be returning it to Ebgames tomorrow and hope they have another to swap. When it was working it was good. Not as good as my T500 but still very good. I don't think my internal fan was working so that might have had something to do with the problem.

 

If you have a loose wheel shaft, you need to do more than just tighten the hex head screws -- check out this thread for more info:

 

Link:  http://isrtv.com/forums/topic/2669-t500rs-loose-wheelsteering-shaft/?p=59170

 

That post shows the screws you SHOULD check first, the post right above it has a video showing how to get to them.  I'm not even sure what hex screws you're talking about -- those screws are standard phillips head screws on the T500, not hex screws.

 

Sorry about the FFB problem though  -- that sucks.  :(

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If you have a loose wheel shaft, you need to do more than just tighten the hex head screws -- check out this thread for more info:

Link: http://isrtv.com/forums/topic/2669-t500rs-loose-wheelsteering-shaft/?p=59170

That post shows the screws you SHOULD check first, the post right above it has a video showing how to get to them. I'm not even sure what hex screws you're talking about -- those screws are standard phillips head screws on the T500, not hex screws.

Sorry about the FFB problem though -- that sucks. :(

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I received my Thrustmaster TX wheel and pedal set last night.  I also received a Thrustmaster GTE rim.  I previously had bought a Thrustmaster F1 rim.  Here are my thoughts after a couple of hours of setting it up and running it.
 
First, I ordered the TX from Beach Audio via their ebay store.  Total was $348, with free shipping.  Well, free it was.  I won't complain about the 10 days from the time I ordered until the time I received my wheel.  With the holidays, it could have been worse.  What I will complain about is the fact that they shipped the wheel in the Thrustmaster box, with no outer box, like I have always seen with my Fanatec stuff.  Whats up with that?   :twisted:   By the time I got the wheel, the Thrustmaster box was totaled.  It has a huge rip on one side.  I know they gave me a great price, but at least they could have put the wheel in an outer cardboard box to better take the rigors that come with shipment.  Lucky for me, the wheel sustained no apparent damage.
 
As far as initial impressions go, the base is indeed smaller than the T500 base, which is a good thing for my small home office.  The pedals appear better than I have read.  Yes, they are plastic, but they are not light, and the pedals have metal faces, with at least some resistance.  The rim is completely plastic and is quite small, IMO too small.  It also feels light and to be candid, cheap.  The GTE rim feels much better.  It is mostly metal, heavier than the stock rim and it has a good quality rubber coating on the exterior, much like the stock rim with the T500.
 
Set up was cake, but to be fair, I have owned a Thrustmaster wheel and pedal set for a while now, the T500, and so I was familiar with the process of installing the driver, connecting the wheel and then updating the firmware.  I also read the firmware installation instructions ahead of time just in case there were quirks.  The process went fine.  I installed the driver on my gaming PC, connected the wheel when prompted and then I updated the firmware.  Easy peasy.  If you follow the directions, and your wheel and PC are working correctly, the set up should be easy.
 
So, once the wheel was ready to rock and roll, I connected it to my Xbox One.  I am currently using the T500 pedals with the Basherboards brake mod.  I only used the wheel with Forza 5 on my Xbox One.  This weekend I will try the wheel on my PC with iRacing.  I will also try out the stock pedals.  I will post some follow up comments this weekend.
 
The stock rim was a quick turn off and so I quickly changed to the much higher end and better feeling GTE rim.  I did some adjustments to the settings, as recommended in some posts and threads over at fm.net.  I basically got rid of all inside deadzone.  I also played with the FFB setting and ultimately settled on 95 out of 100.  That is probably too high for most folks, but I like a lot of force feedback.  I also played with the degrees of rotation ("DOR") settings.  The wheel allows for on wheel DOR adjustment.  You simply press the d pad to the left and at the same time hit the "mode" button.  The key is the flashing of a red light next to the mode button.  One flash = 270 degrees, two flashes = 360 degrees, three flashes = 540 degrees and four flashes = 900 degrees.  Very simple.  
 
As far as FFB in Forza 5, the wheel is amazing.  The FFB is powerful and smooth.  It is as smooth, if not more smooth than any other wheel I have ever used.  It also is diverse.  I can feel when the wheels get loose, I can detect rough road surface, including the cobblestone parts of Prague and I am even able to counter-steer.  The FFB is different from car to car, the Abarth feels very different than the Camaro, which feels very different than the class McLaren F1 car.  That makes perfect sense.  The FFB reveals that Forza 5 physics are really quite good.  To get the best feeling FFB, I needed to adjust the DOR to be more accurate for the car.  Lets just say that 900 DOR is not good for the class F1 car.  Rather, I needed to adjust it to 270.  For you PC sim racers, I would say that FFB and physics with this wheel and Forza 5 are comparable to Assetto Corsa.
 
The T500 pedals work perfectly.  I just connected them to the pedal port on the TX and away we went.  It is interesting to me that the pedal set for the official wheel of Gran Turismo, the T500RS, works with the official wheel for Forza 5.  :cool:
 
Overall, I can heartily recommend this wheel to any Forza 5 fan.  I know there are reliability issues and if history is my guide, my wheel will crap out when I get home tonight and fire it up.  But, while its working, and particularly if you add the GTE rim and either T500 or upcoming T3PA pedals, it is as good as any other moderately priced wheel option out there.
 
I will post some additional comments once I play with the wheel on the PC in iRacing and once I hook up the stock pedals and take them for a spin.  I also will try out the F1 rim on it and give some thoughts about how that feels with the F1 and IndyCars in Forza 5.

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So, I have spent many more hours since Friday morning with my TX wheel.  Here are some additional thoughts, mostly good, but a few not so good.
 
First, I spent a lot of time this weekend with the F1 rim.  This works very well, although as I note below under some not so good thoughts, I wonder whether the rim changes cause some problems that will hopefully be addressed in a future firmware update and/or game update.  Anyway, with regard to the good, I was able to use the F1 rim for several open wheelers, including the Lotus F1 car and the IndyCar.  There is a feature on wheel that allows you to change the degrees of rotation and I was able to do that.  270 works perfectly for the F1, 360 for the Indycar and prototypes.  The FFB is amazing and definitely on par with the FFB and physics in F1 2013 for PC.  The control was so sharp that I was able to best a rivals time from one of the fastest Forza 5 racers in my Forza racing group, 2Old4Forza.  In sum, if open wheel is your thing, the F1 rim is a required option.
 
I also tried the stock pedals.  They are adequate.  I found that left foot braking was required, so that the pedal set would not move around as much.  The brake pedal has more resistance than the stock pedal set with the M$ wireless racing wheel, but it still lacks the progressive resistance you get with the Clubsport pedals or the T500RS pedals with a mod, such as the excellent Basherboards mod.  The stock pedals are not comparable to the Clubsports or the T500RS pedals.  Use them if you must.
 
I also hooked up the wheel and did more iRacing.  The FFB in iRacing is quite good, but not as powerful as the FFB generated by the Clubsport wheel, CSR Elite or the T500RS.  I could not feel the rumble strips in iRacing as much as I expected.  I was able to feel when the wheels would break loose and there is nice FFB on the turns, particularly the sharper turns.  For the money, the TX is a very good option, particularly with the GTE rim, but I hesitate to recommend it over the T500RS.  If you have the choice and iRacing is your thing, go with the T500RS.  
 
Finishing with the other good, I will say that the TX wheel is obviously fine tuned for Forza 5. The FFB and physics in Forza 5 with the TX wheel are some of the best in all of sim racing.  Its too bad that the TX has such widespread reliability issues, since it performs so well in Forza 5 when it is working.  I honestly believe that Turn 10 and M$ has developed some sort of "next gen" FFB system in the TX.  It feels that good.  The TX performs better in Forza 5 than iRacing, but that is to be expected, just as the T500RS performs better in GT6 than it does in iRacing IMO.  I am buying the marketing regarding the "official" wheels for Forza 5 and GT5 and GT6.  
 
The bad news is that I have experienced some instances where the wheel would not calibrate after I turn it off, change a rim and then turn it back on.  It seems to be related to rim changes, some of which I tried while still in game.  I experienced two instances where the wheel would not calibrate at all where it essentially was "bricked".  I unhooked it and let it sit for a while and it fired up later.  My speculation is that this is either related to rim changes, or possibly the controller incompatibility issue.  For now, it seems to not occur if I exit the game, power down the wheel, disconnect the wheel, change the rim and then re-connect and fire the wheel back up.
 
My advice is that if you are going to use this as your primary wheel, wait until Thrustmaster does some more firmware updating.  I knew going in that there were some issues with the wheel and so the problems did not cause me any significant consternation.  If you are OK with some troubleshooting, then go ahead and essentially "beta test" this wheel along with me and the other TX owners out there.  The experience in Forza 5 when the wheel is working, particularly with modded T500RS pedals, will make the hassle more than worth it.
 
Let me know if you have any follow up questions.  I hope these comments are helpful.

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I don't think the TM wheels support any kind of "hot swapping" so that might be the origin of your rim swap issues. Always power all the way off before doing a rim swap.

 

Yeah, I have a T500 as well and am aware that neither wheel supports hot swaps.  I powered down the wheel and disconnected it from the Xbox One's USB port, but I did not exit out of Forza 5.  My speculation is that was the issue.  When I power down the wheel AND exit Forza 5, the issue does not seem to occur.

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Hmm interesting. I've been swapping wheels between my GTE and F1 rims frequently between games without issues. I just unscrew the set screw swap the wheel and go without turning the wheel power off or exiting and reentering the game.

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