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Force RS Racing System

Package Contents (Wheel):

Force RS Racing Wheel
Gas/Brake Pedal Base
Force RS Engine System Cartridge
Power Supply
User Manual
Registration Card
Setup CD

Package Contents (Shifter):

RS Shifter Unit
Mounting Bracket
RS Shifter Engine Adapter
6-speed Shifter Plate
Legacy Mode Shifter Plate
User Manual

PC Gaming can be one very serious endeavor. Powerful PC's can bring a feeling of realism and excitement with the right configuration, and dedicated gamers are constantly on the lookout for new and innovative products. ACT LABS has listened closely and has issued a USB capable refresh of their Force RS Racing System that they hope will blow the roof off of the PC racing wheel market and give gamers the quality racing experience they so fervently crave. We'll let you know how well the Force RS performs and if it meets those high expectations in our latest hardware review.

Technical Specifications (as provided by Manufacturer):

The key measurements are (RS and Force RS):
Top of front of housing above desk surface: 7.5"
Top of rear of housing above desk surface: 3.5"
Depth (from front edge of desk): 9.75" with Force RS engine or shifter cartridge or sleeve)
Width: 15" Wheel Diameter: 10.5"
Wheel rim thickness (oval, approximately): 1.75"x1.25"
Clamps (center-center): 9.5" Clamps (width of arm): 1.75"
Desktop underside clearance needed back from front edge of desk: 3"
Desktop underside clearance needed below desk surface: 1.25"
Allowable mounting surface thickness (min-max): 0.75" to 1.75"

Key Features

Compact racing wheel with 280-degree turning radius
Immersion I-Force technology
Program custom force-feedback effects using our software
Unique Future-Proof RS Engine Technology
Analog gas/brake pedals
Solid pedal base prevents tipping and slipping
Bundled with EA's Need for Speed III
Effective clamping system with adjustable tension sliders (fits most tables)
F1-style gear shifters
Stick Shifter add-on

The Hardware

This is one very impressive package of hardware; it is built so solid that some may mistake it for a factory replacement wheel for their go-carts. The footprint is huge, the metal is heavy and the leather-wrapped steering wheel is a sight to behold. The three pictures below show the main racing wheel: The tri-spoke design is very sturdy and the wheel is extremely comfortable. The bottom is made of metal with metal clamps to hold it to the tabletop. Directly behind the wheel are two F1 style gear shifting levers that are within easy reach of the hands. It is almost hard to describe just how solid this thing feels -- it is heavy, strong and gives that "I mean business" feeling from the moment you get it out of the box.

The back of the driving wheel enclosure has a one cord plug-in and a slot that can accept a pre-programmed system cartridge. The cartridge system is aimed at providing maximum flexibility and compatibility to serious gamers. ACT LABS may provide cartridges for non-PC platforms such as the Nintendo or PlayStation, or in this case, a cartridge for force feedback effects. It is even possible to piggyback some of these cartridges to combine multiple functions or effects. This design helps ensure that your investment will not become obsolete any time soon.

The last key component of the core RS system is the brake and throttle assembly. The base is wide and flat, making tipping a non-issue; the metal plate and pedal support provide a very solid user experience. The throws feel plausible and the raised pedals seem to be just where we would expect them to be. The rough, textured plastic keeps the feet firmly in place and seems surprisingly sturdy.

The RS Shifter add-on is a nice little unit, though not quite as hardcore as the rest. It attaches via a metal bracket that holds it firmly in place on either side of the wheel. It should handle all but the most stringent of sims in its default configuration, but the system does come with extra plates that can be inserted to help simplify the gear configuration. The throw is not as tight as we might prefer, but it is accurate and quite usable.

The Software

The software consists of a couple of tabs in the Properties area of the Control Panel's Game Controller section. You can calibrate the wheel, set the pedals to behave separately or work together (the default), or adjust and test buttons within seconds. There really is no need to go into detail -- it is just that simple. No fancy screens are added -- ACT LABS sticks very close to the standard Windows provided control screens and anyone who has ever calibrated a simple joystick or gamepad from the Control Panel will be instantly at ease.


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