The Thrustmaster TH8 RS PlayStation 3/PC transmission is a separate seven speed + reverse transmission module, available on the electronic-game accessories market since November 2011. For this reason and due to its tempting design we were very eager unwrapping and setting it up. First of all, it is a heavy solid unit, which from the very first moment you see live, you are aware is going to last for a long time. Looks quite promising! It has a stable clamping mechanism, yet mounting it on a desk regardless of having coupled it to a driving wheel or not, hardly is a good idea. The lever itself is 13 centimeters tall, so even if you are at Dennis Rodman's height you will still feel uncomfortable operating it. Chances are it will either be too high or too low, unless you have a custom-made TH8 RS-desk. To avoid such an inconvenience and actually ensure that the TH8 RS gearbox is to fulfill its purpose (and it perfectly does, as you are to see downwards), you should place it on a game seat. Of course a solid one with gear-shifter mounting module. Obtaining a separate shift mount module, either way is a secure indicator that you aim at improved racing realism and engagement, so we consider it a rather reasonable suggestion. This is the one thing left to actually get yourself closest to a real super sport car's cockpit. During the mounting process of the TH8 RS, you will see the knob of the lever is a real-size car removable one. So, superb layout individualization is provided. There are also an Allen wrench and a sturdy plastic plate provided in the package as well. The Allen wrench is to be used in case you want to switch to sequential shifting, another option provided by Thrustmaster. Not a difficult exercise - you just need to change the plates and you are all set. Installing the Thrustmaster TH8 RS gearbox is as easy as pie on your Windows PC - no software whatsoever, you just plug it into an USB-port. The latter is somewhat of a disadvantage for PlayStation 3-only gamers, due to the PlayStation 3 limited (two to four) USB-port availability. For an additional charge, expanders are available on market. To cash even the professional racers' dreams, there is an extensive Advanced Calibration fine tuning software included. Installing it you are to access exhaustive customized settings of deadzone, gearstroke, etc. What's more, the transmission unit has internal memory, making all these settings usable on a PlayStation 3. There is even an extensive Calibration paper manual for the game players ready to take some extra time to learn how to get the most of their racing delight. To reach it, you should also add a matching racing wheel system with a clutch and a gaming seat. Then any rally or car-racing event you are to see or visit is to look pretty familiar to your personal experience, of course - closest alternative to purchasing a racing car or having the funds to pay extensive personal three-dimensional trainings in fact. Even so, you will still need some simulator training time. So far so good, how about the in-game performance of the Thrustmaster TH8 RS transmission.
Using the Thrustmaster TH8 RS PlayStation 3/PC gearbox in games is a great fun! Shifting is smooth, whereas the resistance is both software and hardware adjustable. Use the wrench included and tighten the bolts, in order to drive a muscle-car style on the NFS exotic races. Or ensure smoother shifting for your simulator games requiring much more shifting and split of an eye response, such as: classic rFactor computer racing simulator, online iRacing or any of the Dirt-series. The sequential shifter option is also very quick in its response and overall perfectly functional. For the manual mode, there is a sweet confirming click every time you shift. This is the positive click you are to hear every single switch from one gear to another, serving as an instant feedback by the gearbox that you have properly arrived into the desired gear. As an unadvertised bonus, playing a rally simulator like Dirt 3 or Richard Burns Rally, there is even a further option ready for use. Doing so, you will most likely use the paddle-shifting on your best matching Thrustmaster T500 RS video game racing wheel - note the TH8 RS was actually announced at the same time, being the separate matching transmission module but delayed and released some ten months later. Or any different PC video game racing wheel with paddles, of course. Thus, you can set your gear stick block as a handbrake. Making it the least expensive analog simulator handbrake on market and because of its plates 360-degrees rotation a pretty decent one. Even on the outside the 90% metal Thrustmaster TH8 RS transmission looks way ahead of Logitech G27 racing wheel's tiny plastic shifter. But there's even more - the technology used during the production is abbreviated as H.E.A.R.T. or Hall Effect Accurate, the very same used in the T500 RS. It uses only contact-less magnetic sensors, leaving aside any actual switches or wearing out parts. So, high durability is guaranteed. Or at least the highest available as of present moment.
Like any other PlayStation 3 or computer electronic racing accessory, the Thrustmaster TH8 RS gearbox also has its flaws. The first one is directly related to the PlayStation 3 game play- being compatible with the T500 RS is not that much of an issue neither is the one-title (Gran Turismo 5) support as of present moment. Hardcore Gran Turismo players represent a separate target since PlayStation 2's release of Gran Turismo 2 in 2000, arguably since the very first part of the series was released for Sony PlayStation 1 in 1997. Playing the Gran Turismo 5 on your PS3 with your own Thrustmaster T500 RS and suitable gaming seat, there is still a downgrade which depending on your driving style can be quite annoying. No 'flat shift' is possible, which means that you will not be able to change a gear if you have your foot on the accelerator pedal. This may cause you to lose precious seconds on lap times and positioning. We do also regard as a flaw the lack of direct digital action programming buttons - such could enhance your driving experience even more. A minor downgrade is the sequential shifter plate which is made of firm black-coloured plastic, in difference between the metal H-pattern one. Finally, back to the PlayStation 3 support - being compatible to a single racing wheel, the Thrustmaster TH8 RS gearbox module would be best not to have a separate must-connect USB cable. Still, our test team unanimously arrived at the conclusion that all the disadvantages are definitely outweighed by the pros.
The current price of the Thrustmaster TH8 RS gearbox varies. It is available for £122.83 at Mr. Tronics. The price at the Conrad UK is £126.99. After continuous research we believe that we've sorted out the best deal - you can purchase the Thrustmaster TH8 RS transmission at the total price of merely £110.00 from the OpenWheeler's UK store. On the same place the bundle price of Thrustmaster TH8 RS gearbox + Thrustmaster T500 RS driving wheel set is £470.00 (incl. 20% UK VAT*), saving you an additional £20.00 you can spend on your favourite simulator game. All the taxes are included, and there's even free next business day shipping for UK-customers.
Having read the review so far and probably double-checked every single detail mentioned (the way we do, prior to and after performing the tests), it is very likely those of you who are keen on simulators and car-racing games to be at least a little curious about the Thrustmaster TH8 RS PlayStation 3/PC gearbox's performance. As a matter of fact, it will be an excellent addition not only to keen gamers, but with a little practice, to all the real car driving fans out there. Those who for whatever the reason, do like to race every once in a while on a weekly basis, yet lack the time to do so in the real world. No doubt, ordering the Thrustmaster TH8 RS transmission will provide you long hours of high-adrenaline virtual driving pleasure. Especially if you pair this classic 80's Ferrari and Lamborghini-like metal work of art to the not that classic, despite very stylish and quality -built Thrusmaster T500 RS racing wheel. Even to the Thrustmaster Ferrari F430, in order to stick to the black horse line, though at the price of significantly less functional video game racing wheel set. However, whether you are to drive on the computer in your study, in the living room or in a specially-fit game room for your PlayStation 3 and a 50+ inches wide TV set, there is just one more component you need. It is the vital ergonomic support to your back and shoulders during extensive races - the gaming seat. We are happy to present you the OpenWheeler+ gaming seat. As compared to the numerous alternatives on the market, we do honestly think it is a prime proposition, still in the middle price range. In order to ideally fit the tall, realistic gear lever of the Thrustmaster TH8 RS gearbox, a special gear shifter mounting module is included. In this way, you will always have comfortable leveling forgetting all about any related inconveniences. The seat itself is covered with finest-quality black and red long-wearing 100% polyester fabric. Naturally, all materials used are 100% guaranteed of having passed all the quality tests and being safe. It is also fully foldable, so that storage in any standard cabinet is possible. It is suitable for gamers of any size, due to its durable metal rails sliding mechanism. Pedals distance and wheel height are adjustable. Last but not least, there are in-built front wheels for easily moving it and hard floor protectors, so that no kind of floor surface is ever to be damaged by it. Thanks to all this, combining the Thrustmaster TH8 RS Playstation 3/PC gearbox with the Thrustmaster T500 RS and the OpenWheeler+ gaming seat will result into building a breathtakingly realistic racing car's cockpit any place you'd like.
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