Everything You Need to Create a Racing Simulator — Micro Center

Everything You Need to Create a Racing Simulator

TSIanLTSIanL admin
edited May 19 in Help Choosing Parts
It all started with a desk. 

I consider myself pretty passionate about sim racing as I have been doing it for nearly 10 years so I figured I would share the setup I use, it's not your typical racing setup and you don't need the same parts or equipment as me to have a great time racing. However, my setup has taken over a standard all-purpose computer desk over time.  I would call my setup a mix of everyday use and racing use. I have a standard wooden desk that I have used forever for anything computer related and it doesn't work too bad for a racing wheel. Of course, there is still equipment I wish I had, but my desk setup does the job for me. I just use the standard screw-in clamp to attach the wheel to my desk whenever I'm ready to go.

The main sims/games I play are iRacing and Automobilista 2, which is currently an early access release and just came out to the public in March. On top of that, although they're not racing, I do enjoy either American or Euro Truck Simulator when I'm in the mood for it, and have played Dirt Rally and other games prior.

Here is what my setup looks like:

The main part of my setup that stands out is the Samsung 49" Ultrawide monitor
This monitor can be found at: https://www.microcenter.com/product/480793/samsung-c49hg90-49-dfhd-144hz-hdmi-dp-freesync-hdr-curved-led-gaming-monitor 

This monitor is tied for #1 with my pedals as the most important part of my set up. This offers an incredible field of view (FOV) for racing and works pretty well for other games/tasks outside of racing, so that's a plus. While some will have a triple monitor setup, I personally prefer the 32:9 resolution ultrawide, for its ease of setup, and its a bit easier pixel-wise for a graphics card to handle as well. It also doubles as the ultimate multitasking monitor. Its view is a bit lower on the sides of a car than a triple screen setup, it is bezel-less which is a nice bonus over triple monitor setups. 

The other piece tied for #1 in my setup is the Fanatec CSL Elite Pedals w/ Load Cell that I have. 
These can be viewed on Fanatec's site at: https://fanatec.com/us-en/pedals/csl-elite-pedals-lc

While the wheel I have came with pedals, I upgraded to this set a couple years ago and was very pleased. The pedals are  very high quality, have a good bit of flexibility for setup, and the load cell brake is the key to braking accuracy which is quite important. A load cell will better replicate a real brake pedal as it measures force applied to the pedal, rather than a potentiometer (found in some pedals) which will measure distance traveled. This allows for better consistency on the brakes, which is a major upgrade for consistency and muscle memory alone. The pedals also include removable rubber faceplates for each pedal.

Finally the wheel I have came separate from the base of my original purchase which was a https://www.microcenter.com/product/468722/thrustmaster-t300-rs-gt-edition 
The wheel I have attached is a larger size and is from Thrustmaster (the maker of the wheel and wheel base) directly: http://www.thrustmaster.com/en_US/products/599xx-evo-30-wheel-add-alcantara-edition
Along with its larger size than the default rim included, it has 7 programmable buttons on the wheel itself, a marker for the center point of the wheel and a dial for adjustments on the wheel which can get used quite often for various adjustments, in-game settings, and voice chat. This wheel was purchased for more of a comfort thing for me as it was just larger than what came by default and had more buttons. On the back of the wheel are two paddle shifters which have held up well despite thousands and thousands of presses.

Lastly, you would need a good PC to run it all. Typically racing games will require a decent processor, 16GB of RAM and a solid video card. An i5-9400 or better (for Intel), or a Ryzen 2600 or better would be the starting place I would recommend for a processor. For video card, a GTX 1660 / RX 580 or better would be a good starting point. Keep in mind the more monitors you have, or higher resolution of your monitor would be a bigger draw for the video card.

So that would be the essentials to my racing setup. Essentially, you need a monitor, PC (unless on console), a racing wheel & pedals. I enjoy everything I have here and honestly right now I am very happy with what I have. What I have works for me and I am comfortable with everything as-is, no complaints.

I would say wish list items for me would be an actual rig or wheel stand + monitor mount, but I don't have a specific one in mind.  An example of a wheel stand would be https://www.microcenter.com/product/483968/next-level-racing-folding-racing-wheel-stand. An example of an actual racing rig would be something such as https://www.microcenter.com/product/610759/next-level-racing-f-gt-dual-position-simulator. It would be a big bonus for overall stability and placement of my items but what I have going now allows for an easy changeover to non-racing tasks. Of course better pedals are out there but those can get quite pricey and would for sure require me to hard mount them to a racing rig setup, but there's always room on the wish list for that.

Now just for a brief overview items that would be great to get into sim racing, prices will vary by tier:

Racing wheel + pedal sets: 
Tier 1Tier 2
Tier 3 (Direct drive / wheels & bases only - no pedals)

Separate pedals (pedals only):




Extras (Shifters/handbrakes etc.):


What sort of equipment do you use for your racing rig? Let us know in the comments below!
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