Welcome to Sim Racing Explained and today we are talking wheel and pedal resolution. Anytime you look up a wheel or pedal, one of the specs you’ll see listed is resolution in “bit” and/or “steps/values”. Resolution is the measurement for wheel and pedal accuracy.
For example, 2 bit would be 2^2 – the power is the bit – which equals 4 steps of resolution.
This is what 2 bit / 4 steps look like. In this – simplified – example, the game will only register the wheel at four different positions. No matter if you move the wheel to the 2 o’clock or 10 o’clock position, the game will still think you’re at the 12 o’clock position. That’s not very good.
So let’s up it to 6-bit. 2^6 = 64 steps of resolution. Now this looks much more accurate. But while 6-bit looks much more accurate than 2 – and it is – 64 steps of resolution would still feel awkward to drive with a lot of wheel inputs not registering in game.
This is why manufacturers use 12 and 16-bits in their wheels. At that bit, there are so many steps – too many to visually show you – that virtually none of the driver inputs are missed. There’s always going to be some loss of input, but it’s such a small amount that we the drivers can’t recognize it.
Thankfully, all modern wheels use at least 12-bit resolution, which is plenty. While 16-bit resolution is 4x the number of steps as 12-bit, it’s at the point where the difference isn’t noticeable.
The resolution of pedals is very similar. 2-bit of resolution only yields 4 steps through the entire distance that the pedal travels, which is highly inaccurate. The game is missing a lot of data.
And while 7-bit / 128 steps of resolution looks pretty accurate, it could be better. From our testing, we find the threshold to be 10-bit or 1024 steps. At 10-bit or higher, you can’t notice any loss of information to the game. But 8-bit is a different story. 8-bit or 256 steps – 4x less steps than 10-bit – is noticeable.
So there you go. 12-bits or higher on the wheel is good. 10-bits or higher on the pedals is good.