Yes, of course, I got it, it took me a while, but it’s here, currently one of the cheapest direct drive wheels on the market – Fanatec’s CSL DD. I say currently, as competition is slowly, really slowly, creeping in. Yeah, I’m thinking of Thrustmaster here, which just recently teased their cheap direct drive model, let’s just hope it doesn’t flop like their TG-T II. We need some competition in this field.
Anyhow, I’m here to give you an answer to burning questions that are probably running through your mind right one – should I get the 5 Nm or 8 Nm CSL DD wheel? To newt or no to newt (spins the rachet), is the 40-50, almost 60% more torque really what you’re after with this Boost kit or should you stick with the base model? Is this bigger power brick worth that 150€ extra over this smaller power brick?
Comparing The 5 and 8 Nm CSL DD
OK, let’s get back to the topic at hand – do you NEED the 8 Nm power adapter? Honestly, no, because it won’t make you faster, but will it make your experience more immersive? Yes, yes, it will. Here’s how I came to this conclusion.
Just prior to trying out the CSL DD I was driving this 1500€ 25 Nm SimuCube 2 Pro direct drive wheel for the last 6 months, feel free to check out my review of it later, so this transition ended up being rather interesting as it represented a huge step back in going to a much lower torque figure of 5 Nm, which is what I started off with. I’ve purposely decided to go that route, instead of hopping right on to the 8 Nm, because, the thing is, it’s not all about the strength, but rather of the fidelity of the feedback, and this is where CSL DD shines.
Thankfully, as it’s common with the Fanatec’s wheelbase and wheel line-up, the CSL DD also has quick a release option, so I could just easily swap them around while I was trying different setups, cars and sim racing games in order to have a better understanding what does 8 Nm bring over the 5 Nm. In this instance, I’ve mostly used their McLaren GT3 V2 wheel and WRC rally wheel, as they both cover a wide range of use cases.
So, collecting this back and forward experience for a while now, I will just simply put it like this. The 5 Nm variant is equally capable of transcribing what is happening with the car. That raw jump in the power of the 8 Nm model is present, don’t get me wrong, but I haven’t noticed anything different other than having to put a “harder fight” with the 8 Nm. It won’t make you drive faster around the track, but of course, yeah, it will bump that level of imersivness that you’ll receive from a wheel that gives your forearms a bit more workout.
Final Verdict – CSL DD is a Winner Either way
What’s most important is that in that regards it’s miles better compared to the belt-driven or hybrid systems, even with similar torque, like for example, Thrustmaster TS-XW wheelbase. Be sure to subscribe because I’ll be doing a couple of more comparisons with them too, as well as this big LG gaming TV behind me.
One thing I wanted to check out is how much power does the 8 Nm actually use over the 5 Nm version. Although the power brick itself is declared to 180W for the stronger one, I’ve seen it pulling much lower than that at highest feedback settings and heavier loads, as you can see here, and the same goes for the 5 Nm power brick, which is rated at 90W of output.
And this is where I can draw the line between these two variations of the CSL DD wheelbase – what it will ask of you when it comes to handling it. Yes, it adds that final sprinkle of realism, last 10-20% of what you need so your brain can go “wow, this really feels like I’m really driving a car”. I would like to put that emphasis on that “feels like driving a car”, and not is like driving, because what makes it an “is like driving a car” is the range of details you get when you start losing traction due to tire wear when you feel that transition grip level going from asphalt to the curve when you get bumped by a low safety rating fellow in an iRacing open lobby race and so on.
Generally speaking, I’m always up for having some leeway and I would personally lean toward having that 8 Nm as an option, after all, you can use Fanatec’s software to set up everything to you linking in case you want to move those sliders around to get a more wholesome set up for a particular game, but if that’s worth 150€, or would you for that price difference rather get a better set of pedals or a different wheel rim, that’s still up to you.