Sandboxgod's CSR Elite Beta Test

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by sandboxgod, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. sandboxgod

    sandboxgod

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    Below is my review of the CSR Elite wheel. I'll be updating this though as time progresses because I've only just gotten this amazing wheel this Saturday. I am currently using firmware 715 which has been amazing. I thank you GTP for electing me for this opportunity and also I thank Thomas once again for everything.

    But now it is time to get to business. :dopey:

    SandboxGod's CSR Elite Review: The FaceOff

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    Background

    I admit, the CSR Elite Wheel has completely taken me off guard. For a long time now I have been using my T500RS wheel. Well, it feels like a long time although it has not been out for very long in comparison to the infamous Logitech brand of wheels. Has the T500RS been dethroned? Well keep reading!


    Ergonomics

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    This wheel base is actually quite light which makes it a nice candidate for a wheel stand if that's the route you plan to go. I have no problem carrying this wheel around on the Rennsport Stand V2 Thomas was nice enough to send me to test with. This allows me to easily switch between the T500RS and CSR Elite.

    I like the feel of the material around the wheel. Unlike the T500RS GT rim, I do not feel it will be as easy to scratch the rim. This wheel rim feels a little smaller and perhaps a little more elegant in some ways. I would like to compare the CSR Elite rim to an LMP (prototype) car if I just had to pick a real life counterpart.

    I actually like the button arrangement with exception to the DPAD (which I'll cover later). Within bout an hour of practice with my trusty Riley Daytona Prototype I had all of regular functions bound and I was ready to hop into a race. I actually took a favorable standing in that race too (5th place) which was not bad at all for a guy that just switched from stationary paddles to attached paddles. Especially considering how many other cars was on the grid in that race and the fact I got rear ended early on in the race (so my car would not quite reach its' top speed)

    I love these paddles as well. However, I must admit I was really used to the big blades on the T500RS so at first I wanted these attached paddles to be a little bigger. But in a short period of time I have adjusted.


    Noise

    Being a T500RS owner I am used to a noisy wheel. Honestly, fan noises really don't bother me much however I know this is something that drives many other people crazy. Okay granted, my T500RS has made some scarry noises lately but then it quickly subsides. Anyway, after using this wheel non-stop for prolonged periods I would just leave the CSR Elite running. The goal was to determine if the wheel noise would approach T500rs levels. Thankfully it is very quiet so far. However, perhaps we will need to give this wheel more time on the field to see what happens further down the line. But so far it has been very silent. I could have sworn within a few days many Thrustmaster owners at GTP boards complained bout fan noise which gives this writer some confidence.


    Testing

    At the moment I have only had time to do some extensive testing in iRacing. I wanted to start off my testing there because it has laser scanned tracks which include road surface information. So you can feel every bump on the track in addition to fantastic other FFB effects. So you can really feel everything on a low suspension vehicle such as the Riley DP or Acura HPD ARX-01c. Hitting the wrong bump can mess up a shift or possibly send you off track. So this was my primary candidate for comparisons. I will definitely expand this section further with comparisons in GT5 which is also one of my favorite games along with Dirt 3 PS3 and CARS.

    Just going by feel- I must admit it is difficult to tell which wheel is hitting me harder with FFB. I think the CSR Elite is just as strong as the T500rs (or stronger) however the wheel is so smooth and refined, the resulting FFB just feels so accurate and precise. I've never felt anything like it. In comparison the T500rs just feels a bit more brutal and raw. So you will sharply get a totally different feel out of both wheels.

    I tried to do some time trial comparisons between the two wheels but first we must disclose obvious setbacks to this approach. The primary issue is that I am still developing in my career as a sim racer. This means I have not 'peaked' on any particular course (you know how you see the top racers hit a dead end and can't get any faster well that's not my problem). So over 20 laps or so my times will naturally improve. For my main comparisons though I used the Acura HPD ARX-01c. To get to the point, my times were quite a bit better with the CSR-E. I would like to attribute this to the attached paddles though primarily. The HPD doesn't need a Clutch to shift and being a high downforce car it can be driven with reckless abandon as you shift during a turn, etc. I'm not sure if I should give firm numbers but I will:

    T500RS: HPD ARX-01c at Lime Rock was bout a 42.4
    CSR-E: HPD at Lime Rock was a 41.7

    That's a huge disparity I know. Keep in mind when I tested with the T500RS I used the T500rs pedals. Normally I prefer the CSPs so that plays a factor. Although it shouldn't be a super huge one because in the Riley Daytona Prototype I've actually hit comparable times in the past with these great pedals. A big factor is most likely the attached paddles because I like to downshift when turning into T1 at Lime Rock for better or worse. So while the wheel is turned I am shifting. It is a shame I do not own the F1 rim for the T500RS at the moment. It would have made an interesting comparison. However, I wonder if the accuracy of this wheel is also playing a huge role. As suggested by others, I will make sure to do some comparisons on Ovals which demands very high accuracy.

    Split Screen

    I tested both of these wheels in tandem on the PS3 on Dirt 3 and GT5. I am pleased to say both wheels worked worked great together. So if you are planning on purchasing two CSR Elites or using the wheel with a different one then you can rest easier knowing this should work.

    [​IMG]

    Gaming

    So far I have played a lot of Forza 3 (Forza 4 is in transit from Amazon) along with GT5 & iRacing. In iRacing I have already done 3 online races. 2 of them were decent 50 minute length races in the Grand Am Rolex Series. I am currently waiting on my Forza 4 copy to arrive but probably won't get a chance to play with it much til next week. However, my main interest will be playing games both wheels can play in great detail because I am sure a few T500RS owners are interested in comparisons. I've read a few grumbling about wanting to tryout Forza 4, etc so perhaps this research can help my fellow T500Rs owners make their decision whether or not to fork out another $500+. So I plan to do more comparisons between these wheels in GT5. So far in GT5 this wheel has performed great and it feels very natural. I've had no issues traversing the menus or anything.

    Note I also have many other older Xbox titles so I look forward to trying those too just to see if the wheel works. I realize these older games will likely have much worse wheel support then Forza 3 but it will be fun just to get a new experience however briefly that will be.


    Cons / Pros

    My only complaint might be that I wish this wheel will automatically detect the platform it is on rather than go through the short ritual we have to do to get it recognized. This is a very minor nit I admit since getting it recognized only takes the press of 2 buttons in conjunction on the PS3. T500RS has the advantage of automatically working on both PS3/PC platforms seamlessly. Perhaps this is due to it primarily sticking to HID technology while Fanatec CSR-E has the ability to go XID (Xbox) and HID.

    Another con is the placement of the DPAD. Honestly I was fine with it during a race using it to look to my side before I get back on the track. But using it on the PS3 I really began to miss the DPAD placement on the T500RS. I kind of wish the DPAD could be positioned within thumb range more comfortably. It's just a minor nit, not a deal breaker. Another thing- I cannot find the PS3 button that one uses to access the ps3 dashboard. If it exists then I do not find it easy to find.

    Pros over the T500RS is obvious for the most part. The LED screen is totally pimp. I enjoy tweaking parameters on the wheel itself. Also, I enjoy the luxury of a power button. When I am done using it I simply turn it off. The T500Rs lacked that. Funny how one takes power buttons for granted because you surely notice the absence of it. The power up sequence looks very safe but not as inspiring as the T500RS sequence which hurls around at alarming speeds.

    I actually did not like the factory's default center. So other day I tweaked that easily. The manual included with the wheel is very sparse. So you'll find you will want to download the full one from the site. I can understand this perhaps allows Fanatec to interject new information into the PDF which might be really clever. However in comparison to the manual included with the T500RS it is lacking until you download the PDF.

    Final Conclusion

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    I love this wheel. It has a huge edge over the competition. The price is really quite reasonable considering the amazing quality of this wheel. It is very silent. The force feedback come through crisp, strong, and real. You will not feel any sort of chatter or grinding going on. It's just smooth with no interference from the internal mechanisms. I tested this wheel rigirously with firmware 715 however I look forward to doing more testing. If I had to choose between the T500RS and this wheel currently my opinion would be to choose this wheel even for just PS3/PC play. I am eager to see what people think about the CSW (Clubsport Wheel) when it comes out later. Right now the only serious criticisms I see is bout the CSR-Elite's wheel rim. The CSW will have a lot of quality rims to choose from. So that leaves me with the concern will the CSR-E see wheel rims to choose from as well? If so what is the pricing?

    Also I am concerned about the Clubsport Shifter's arrival date. I have already played the waiting game for Thrustmaster's shifter like many. So only time will tell when it is ready to be tested vigiorously by fans.


    [Update 1-14-12]

    I have been using firmware 720+ for quite awhile now. So here is an update.

    GT5

    I noticed on GT5 the CSR-Elite suffers the 'wobble' issue similar to Logitech wheels. So in order to smooth that out you have to turn up the deadzone. I believe this is due to the wheel having to emulate a Logitech wheel on GT5. Besides that issue, everything has been great

    rFactor

    I notice the steering resistance is really strong. So I ended up having to turn down the FFB on this sim to use the CSR-Elite. I am not sure if this a bug in the wheel or a side effect of having the FFB turned up very high. My T500RS isn't experiencing steering resistance forces like this with rFactor (unless I enable RealFeel and intentionally turn it up). Besides that the wheel has worked wonderfully. I haven't been playing this sim much lately though honestly. Since rFactor 2 is now upon us I will most likely give that a shot and give it a lot more playtime

    CARS

    CSR-Elite has worked great with this sim. I eagerly await laser scanned tracks for this promising title which should add a new dimension to the force feedback

    Netkar pro

    The CSR-E feels quite amazing in this sim. The physics are quite superb in this sim. I would say it's in the same ballpark with iRacing. The FFB feels quite real & accurate.

    iRacing

    After using this new firmware this wheel has really jumped up another notch. FFB is coming through much sharper now. You'll notice the wheel realistically vibrates as the car idles. Running over kerbs is quite an amazing experience as you can feel the wheel bounce off the surface. I have found this is one area you'll notice a lot of console racing games omit even though I play on the same track (Infineon / Spa, etc). iRacing's kerbs will contain proper elevation. The same track in Forza 4 / GT5 may feel perfectly smooth and the kerbs will be sterile, flat, and lifeless. It is obvious I have become quite spoiled by iRacing's laser scanned tracks and point cloud data.

    [edit] Btw, I know I promised to do some comparisons on Ovals but unfortunately iRacing has redone the physics on all the Oval cars I drove. So now I have become quite terrible and have switched to focus on Road racing for the time being

    Forza 4

    I played this title just tad bit before the firmware update but afterwards I have played it a lot more. As mentioned above, the kerbs feel much more flat than their real life counterparts should and the tracks are perfectly smooth which really removes a huge element in my opinion. But the cars themselves still communicate very nice force feedback and it comes through strong. Additionally, some tracks like Road Atlanta seems to stand out above some of the others. You can tell the devs took the time to try to emulate proper elevation in the kerbs, etc so you can feel a very nice little wheel bounce running over some of them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  2. Spagetti69

    Spagetti69 Premium

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    Nice objective views there Mr Sandbox.
    Thanks for that mate.
     
  3. Caz

    Caz

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    :tup: my friend
     
  4. bigbembem

    bigbembem

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    very good review:tup: Thanks
     
  5. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte Premium

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    Nice going, enjoyed this so far.
    Have to agree with many of your comments, do come back and give us more input from games.
    The power button is indeed a welcome feature great to see that added to "Retail Wheels"

    I would say that the wheel rim has grew on me more and Ive come to quite like it having used it now for over a month. Comfort wise it is nice, well for me the thumbstick is loose and some are finding it lacking a little. The rim is becoming the most criticised element of the wheel it seems.

    Thanks again SBG -
     
  6. Caz

    Caz

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    Quick question, maybe latte can answer better as he has had the wheel longer. In the review that was linked in another thread ( michael mains review ) it was mentioned that the plastic rim parts had a powdery feel. I hadnt seen that mentioned anywhere else yet. Have either of you noticed this? Mr latte, if you did, has it diminished with use? Im thinking it may just be the "new part" dust and residue leftover from final assembly. In thomas' china factory pics the assemblers are all wearing latex gloves which would leave a powdery residue on the parts.
     
  7. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte Premium

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    I need to leave some info for my own review, uhhhh.
    Having had the wheel longer allows me to maybe offer more in my own reports. As some have noticed I like my photos, it's how I will present most of my topics and comments in my own report. So yes I have discected the wheel for full photo analysis.

    I think the rim is the most objective part, opinions will vary just like how the T500RS rim was so heavily criticised as being rubber and at the wheels cost. Okay well I love the feel of this others maybe wont. The reason why is that it stays cool and I find during game menus between races its nice to hold particulary on longer gaming sessions. Helps prevent hands sweating. The rubber seems more scratch resistant than the rubber on the T500RS and it does have a nice silky feel to it. It's very grippy.

    Im less critical on the D-PAD position, as really well its a big improvement over their previous designs and positioning. Something Jonboy highlighted as well. Yet I agree it could of been better.
     
  8. Timppaq

    Timppaq Premium

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    Thanks for the review, for me it would be interesting to hear how this wheel compares directly to a G25 that I have. Never tried T500 or Fanatec wheels so how much better really these wheels are? Anyone is welcomed to answer if nobody minds.

    Edit, feel & performance wise most importantly.
     
  9. sandboxgod

    sandboxgod

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    Yeah I've never tried a G25.

    I suppose I could agree with Micheal's conclusion the rim may have a unique feel. I think it would be a love or hate cause it's so unusual. I love the texture but he obviously hates it through-and-through. I had to re-read his review in detail and give it lots of thought.

    Thanks guys
     
  10. Caz

    Caz

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    Thanks for the replies. Yeah i read his review a couple of times. Its not that bad and i cant see what the other guy is going on about in the vs thread?????
    Although, his review, being a community tester voted in like you guys, has made me appreciate our community here more. Everything posted by our community testers has been much more thorough than his imo.

    Sooooo, thanks guys ;)
    Mr latte, totally understand on waiting for your report. Figured I would ask. ;)
    Off to my weekly volunteer gig. Yeah 30 third graders for 3 hours!!!!! ;)
     
  11. Timppaq

    Timppaq Premium

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    Sounds amazing fun & quite relaxing :lol:
     
  12. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte Premium

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    SBG can you link me that review or is it available in PDF or something.
    PM is fine doesnt have to be here.

    Timppaq, I still have a G25 at home and a barely used DF-GT.
    This is a big jump up from the G25. I think for a lot of G25 owners the G27 wasnt really a worthwhile upgrade and for some neither was the Fanatec Porsche ranges.

    T500RS set wheels at a new level in performance and precision at this pricepoint.
    I honestly would say the jump in quality and performance in how the wheel responds and feels including the FFB just cant be discarded as a small gain.

    Going to CSRE coming from a G25 would give a user in your position more benefits in performance and qaulity than coming from a X360 or Logitec wheel going to G25/G27. I honestly believe in this as have been their myself.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  13. Timppaq

    Timppaq Premium

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    Thanks Latte, won't derail any more. Maybe need to figure out place to hear more comments on this.
     
  14. 12thgear

    12thgear Premium

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  15. LogiForce

    LogiForce Premium

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    I went up from a G25 to a T500 RS and I can say that that step alone for me was huge. Precision FFB, speed, strength and sensor accuracy we're all improved by a factor of 10. Even if I set my wheel at 60% (which is default in the drivers) it is still at least 3 or 4 times as powerful as the G25. Also compared to the G25 it's like you have to tame a wild beast though, so I am sure your arms will hurt if you don't go to the gym... at least mine did. What I read from the reviews is that the Elite is more tame and easier to handle. The FFB effect increase from 0-100% is more gradual then with the T500 I reckon. More damper effect by default maybe?

    Anyhow, the T500, CSR Elite and CSW are most definitely a step up and thus definitely an upgrade from the G25 (unlike from G25 to G27).
     
  16. sandboxgod

    sandboxgod

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    Sure Latte I could dig up the original word document when I get home but the pictures won't be in there. Is it easy to make a PDF? I can look into that
     
  17. Saidur_Ali

    Saidur_Ali

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    So this is the person who posted that video showing a "problem" with the wheel.

    Anyway just saw probably Thomas saying this on YouTube:

    I can confirm that DFGT performs much better in this scenario than how the CSR Elite performed in that video. It sounds like it has been fixed with the new firmware though.


    From reading the reviews, a consistent thing has emerged, people are finding it easier to go faster more naturally which is a very good positive.

    Look forward to hearing more impressions in regards to GT5 and also FM4 when you get it sandboxgod :tup:.
     
  18. WildRun

    WildRun

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    Sandboxgod, iRacing with HPD ARX-01c: you should try this config. with Ferrari F1 Wheel :tup:
    (definitively faster & stronger than GT wheel on this game with this car)
    [​IMG]
     
  19. Spagetti69

    Spagetti69 Premium

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    With regards to the infamous squeak the guy said after connecting to his PC it went away.
     
  20. Saidur_Ali

    Saidur_Ali

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    There is more information on that YouTube video.
    I will link to it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8wW20Ui8wk

    Thomas seems annoyed with it being referred to a problem but he should not mock the DFGT which does not have this problem. This might put off the potential customer by him further making things up IMO. The thing I find strange is that Thomas said that it should make that noise in that situation but Michael has said that he has yet to have this problem since updating the firmware so maybe it was not meant to make that noise and was just a one off problem with the old firmware.
     
  21. Spagetti69

    Spagetti69 Premium

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    I'm unaware of the full facts mate. Just interwebz goss.

    Last I heard the issue was resolved.
     
  22. Timppaq

    Timppaq Premium

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    Actually that review gave me much better impression than I anticipated.
     
  23. Saidur_Ali

    Saidur_Ali

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    It has been resolved through a firmware update. However a new issue has come up and that is between Thomas and Michael in regards to the word "problem" being used in the video title.
     
  24. Timppaq

    Timppaq Premium

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    Using a word is a case of personal opinion.
     
  25. sandboxgod

    sandboxgod

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    @Wildrun, unfortunately I have not purchased the f1 rim yet. I look forward to Logiforce getting his CSW so he can do a proper comparison between the f1 integral wheel vs CSW. Okay I think we all know what he will most likely prefer but only then can I rest easy the wheel was compared all the way
     
  26. LogiForce

    LogiForce Premium

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    Honestly, I think Thomas is more annoyed with Darin right now then anything else. The rest of the complaints just seem to add to making him more on edge. If it's fixed in a FW update then it was a glitch/bug in the programming. Since it is no more, let's just forget about it and move on. Everyone just needs to make sure that when they get a new wheel to update to the latest firmware.
     
  27. VWMasteR

    VWMasteR

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    I can see him being very stressed out right now. The thing is if nothing else we see him working so that gives me faith that the issues will be worked out.
     
  28. paskowitz

    paskowitz

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    The truth is, if you are any form of a "journalist", and you write a review of a product it is your job to be objective and state your honest opinion. Stating flaws in a product improves the quality of future products. Simple as that.

    In addition people need to keep in mind that just because vocal customers on the internet voice their complaints, does not mean those complaints are true for the majority of customers.
     
  29. LogiForce

    LogiForce Premium

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    Couldn't have said it better :tup:

    I am of the personal opinion that many reviewers out of there are not being objective anymore because of the incentives from the product makers. They in my opinion are just thinking "oh reviews... sure! (almost) FREE GOOD STUFF FOR ME!". After a while they go as far as putting fingers up the asses of people (who over stuff) to get more s-word out of there, if you know what I mean.

    ANYWAY!

    This is the review of Sandboxgod. I want to thank him for a great chance to be in the race with him for a CSR Elite, he won and I lost, but seriously... thanks. ;)
    Also that's a nice review, I can't wait for the extras that you still want to add. :tup:
     
  30. left888

    left888 Premium

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    Great review Sandbox, the Elite wheel does look promising and after your review it moves up my wish list a little more. As with any wheel it takes getting use to new button placements etc.. Now that you have used it a little more, how do you feel about the button placement now?

    This was the first time I have read about someone disliking the feel of the wheel and in fact said it felt cheap, did he get a bad wheel or does every other tester not have the same opinion? Also he said he lost the 900° rotation and developed a squeal that went away after he rebooted his PC, has anyone else heard of these anomalies?

    I think I will sit back a few months and she what happens after the tree is shook, so far my two T500's have worked flawlessly (knock on wood) I hope the Elite wheel does have lasting quality, they do look awesome.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2011