Getting Started in Sim Racing – Why I Recommend PC

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Sim Racing is one of the greatest ways to get the thrill of wheel-to-wheel racing, with less of an impact to your wallet (and less risk of death). Now, it’s starting to become more accessible than ever. However, I wanted to make a quick argument for those getting into Sim Racing that PC racing is the way to go.

PC SIM RACING IS INCREDIBLY VERSATILE IN REGARDS TO HARDWARE

Console Sim Racing has a lot of “Limitations” in place. You can’t upgrade the console’s hardware, you can’t use triple screens/ultrawide monitors, and only a very select few PS4 games support Virtual Reality via the PSVR. Also, you can’t mix and match hardware, unless you purchase a third party adapter.

For PC Sim Racing, the sky’s the limit. You can start racing in an older title with an older PC, or you could go all out and build a top-of-the-line rig. You can go with Triples, Ultrawide, High Refresh Rate monitors, or with VR (which is officially supported by a majority of racing sims that came out after 2013). You can also mix-and-match hardware brands. A popular combination is a Thrustmaster Wheel, paired with Fanatec Pedals. Easy on PC, unofficially supported on consoles via an adapter. I currently have 5 USB devices plugged into my setup, something that simply can’t be handled on a console.

PC IS KING WHEN IT COMES TO BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY

In this day and age of Gaming, Backwards compatibility is being more and more phased out. Favorites from the previous generations are either remastered/ported, or left to dry. The only exception this generation right now is the Xbox One, which has select titles supported.

PC doesn’t have to really worry about that! Almost all of the previous racing titles, spanning back to even the early 90s, are able to be played on modern PCs! Fan favorites, such as Live for Speed, NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, Richard Burns Rally, Grand Prix Legends, and many more, are able to be run on Windows 10 systems, with current generation hardware (some may need third party patches).

Sim Racing DFGTAlso, the backwards compatibility stretches back to hardware (to an extent). A Logitech Driving Force GT (A wheel released over TEN YEARS AGO) is still a fan favorite on the PC racing side of things, for being a solid wheel and being near bulletproof (though I recommend upgrading the pedals 😉 ). That wheel was the official wheel of Gran Turismo 5: Prologue on the Playstation 3, but that compatibility did not carry over to the Playstation 4.

Note that hardware compatibility will only go so far. Odds are, you’re not going to use an Thrustmaster T1, which used the old GamePort connecter, on a Windows 10 system, but most of the post-2000 USB wheels will work on modern systems.

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST – PC HAS THE MOST ADVANCED TITLES

PC Sim Racing has the luxury of featuring hardware that is usually more powerful than rival consoles. Most notable, is the fact that this generation of Consoles seem to feature less powerful CPUs, in favor of very powerful GPUs. While this makes things look pretty, it leads to consoles struggling in terms of simulations.

Sim Racing titles can take quite a toll on the CPU, especially when setting up full-grid races up against the AI. Simulating elements such as dynamic tire wear, track buildup, weather, etc. can take quite a bit of horsepower.

PC Sim titles can take this quite in stride, and we see many high fidelity titles, such as rFactor 2, Automobilista, RaceRoom Racing Experience, iRacing, and so on. Sure, sometimes titles like Assetto Corsa, Project CARS 2, or Richard Burns Rally will have console counterparts, but they tend to not be on the same level as the PC version. That could be either a result of poor optimization, or too high CPU usage, or both.

Sure, PC can have their own crappy ports (for example, how Forza Horizon 3 was at launch), but generally, PC provides a superior experience.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

If you are looking to get into Sim Racing, or if you’ve been playing console racing games for a while, then I’d highly recommend you look into PC Sim Racing! I’m not saying “Run out, blow a couple grand on a top-of-the-line setup (espeically with the Cryptocurrency craze jacking up prices). You can get a decent entry-level PC build for even less than $500. Or look secondhand, Craigslist can sometimes have great deals!

I’ll be doing some more videos in the near future, and I’ll also soon be kicking off a series, providing tips and tricks to become a better Sim Racer.