Best PC gaming controller in 2020?

Discussion in 'PC Gaming & Hardware' started by biggles, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. Krenum

    Krenum [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The Xbox Elite controller is pretty awesome, I like that you can add "Paddle shifter" buttons to the bottom, its very comfortable. But $120 is a very steep price for a controller.


    My vote goes to 8Bitdo
    https://www.8bitdo.com/sn30-pro-plus/
     
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  2. gamerk2

    gamerk2 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yeah, still using a wired 360 controller. It does the job and you know it's going to work.
     
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  3. J3RK

    J3RK [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The 360 pads are great, provided you don't need a better D-Pad for say technical 2D games or things like that. I prefer the XBOne pads for things like that, or as mentioned before the 8BitDo SN30 series or Retro-Bit+Sega pads. The 360 pad is an excellent all around controller.
     
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  4. Domingo

    Domingo [H]ard as it Gets

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    I think Microsoft is quietly trying to sunset the 360 pads on the down low. While the Xbox One pads have slightly better analog sticks and d-pads (at least IMO), the 360 controllers are otherwise better in nearly every way. They're definitely way more durable at the very least.

    However in looking through the Steam help forums, it seems like the people that have issues with games not correctly detecting their pads are mostly on 360 controllers. Especially wirelessly. In other cases the wired pad will show up as a generic pad so that the prompts and buttons aren't always right. Ditto with the PS4 pads, although that's more understandable. That stuff basically never happens with the XB1 pads.
     
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  5. DSmithz

    DSmithz n00b

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    Xbox360 controller is quite good, I use one when I need a controller and not yet hit any compatibility issues. Had a Logitech for a long time and towards the end started having comparability issues. I can't speak for the ones which can switch between input types, maybe they have better comparability.

    Anyways I always try to use wired ones. Wireless items are better now than they were, however unless there is a real reason for a wireless the batteries or charging, and drivers and poor connection have always been turn offs.

    I am also interested in steam controller.. I was reading the review here https://www.reviewsed.com/steam-controller-review/ Does Steam has innovated the standard controllers by replacing the thumbsticks with innovative gamepads?
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
  6. J3RK

    J3RK [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The switchable Logitech F710s are pretty good in XInput mode, but yes, I also started noticing some mapping issues with the older ones that my kids were using. I just swapped all of their controllers out with XBOne pads where needed. Zero issues there, and Steam automatically loads profiles for a lot of games transparently I've noticed, and I've never seen an issue.

    Side Note: If anyone is interested, here are the 8BitDo ones I use (though I use the wired ones for my MiSTer setup) - https://www.8bitdo.com/sn30-pro-g-classic-or-sn30-pro-sn/

    Also, here are those Retro-Bit + Sega ones I use as well. They're quite good if you preferred Sega pads way back when to SNES pads - http://retro-bit.com/sega-collaboration

    One last item, and this is leaning toward the obscure :D these things work great for really old stuff - http://www.2600-daptor.com I use these to adapt old Bally Astrocade pistol-grip controllers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  7. grambo

    grambo [H]ard|Gawd

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    I have a Steam Controller (and Steam Link for TV) but only really used it for Witcher 3. It is great in games that support it well/Steam big picture but I don't like the faffing around trying to make it work in non-Steam stuff. I ended up getting an Xbox One controller to play Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order and NFS Heat this past holiday season. Worth it on a black friday sale IMO, it just works well in those games that support it natively. I use KB/M for shooters of course.
     
  8. SOAREVERSOR

    SOAREVERSOR Limp Gawd

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    FYI I have 4 of those 8bitdo's in wireless (one of each color combo) and two wired along with two of their SEGA ones. They're all really solid but they can get wonky when using multiple of them wirelessly, firmware issues have fixed this largely but be aware. Also both their SN30 pro+ and their SEGA style ones are due to come out in wired format.
     
  9. bpizzle1

    bpizzle1 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Cooler Master makes one already—MK850.

    Cooler Master MK850 Gaming Mechanical Keyboard with Cherry MX Switches, Aimpad Technology, Precision Wheels, and RGB Illumination https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N4B53PQ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_J0MgEb9RXF7R6
     
  10. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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    No I think they meant analog buttons in a sense that they respond differently to different amounts of force (eg have a range of 0-255 or 0-1024) more force means a higher value. Unless I am missing something about that keyboard.
     
  11. bpizzle1

    bpizzle1 [H]ardness Supreme

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    The WASD area + a few surrounding keys on the keyboard are all “aim pad” keys. Basically, they are all able to act as analog inputs.
     
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  12. SOAREVERSOR

    SOAREVERSOR Limp Gawd

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    https://wooting.io/ for analogue keyboards, though analogue keyboards have always been more of a miss trhan a hit
     
  13. Youn

    Youn [H]ardness Supreme

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    According to this, PS4 bluetooth has lowest input lag among popular choices. Is it true?

     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
  14. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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    It will depend. The bluetooth stack has overhead, the question is how much of the stack the drivers can circumvent. Also different bluetooth receivers use different drivers/stack elements
     
  15. Flogger23m

    Flogger23m [H]ardForum Junkie

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    No experience with the Elite Controller, but I think the price is fair. Maybe a bit steep for the Pro, but not too far off. Mose gaming mice are made of inferior materials than the Xbox controllers. Most brands (Zowie, Logitech, Razer) are cheap and flimsy feeling. They work good enough, but go back to an older generation controller and compare it to the 360/One controller. Night and day difference in build quality. The PS2 controller feels super cheap compared to it.

    Even my $135 X52 Pro HOTAS plastic is melting now... different topic altogether, but some company needs to come out with a better more modern HOTAS in the same price range with better build quality.
     
  16. Youn

    Youn [H]ardness Supreme

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    makes sense. Are we anywhere near old school serial connections/interupts in terms of latency? I must be really sensitive to lag as I still have the old crt-based consoles and nothing seems to feel as responsive (but I haven't tried nearly all options)
     
  17. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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    The best will be controllers with custom receivers, their drivers will circumvent the Bluetooth stack
     
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  18. Youn

    Youn [H]ardness Supreme

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    So something like logitech f710 should be better than all the ones listed in the video above? Is there a good comparison list showing more controllers? Do people just not care that much about it?
     
  19. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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    I would suggest the Xbox one controller with PC dongle (cause Microsoft has more of those deployed than Logitech has with theirs), if that isn’t fast enough you can plug it into USB and try it that way.
     
  20. defaultluser

    defaultluser [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I use my Xbox One S controller for everything. The Dpad is pretty impressive for basic emulation, and for Steam game it's always been excellent.

    I have to use it wired because there's ten feet between me and my PC, and a metal coffee table.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  21. SOAREVERSOR

    SOAREVERSOR Limp Gawd

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    All bluetooth controllers have lag, even the dedicated wireless dongle for an XBOX One controller has lag. However it's much better than it used to be. Serious console gamers for genres where that is the prefered competitive platform (see stuff like fighting games) use wired connections for that reason among others.

    Though really just about any controller you want to use either comes with a way to plug it in directly (see xbox, 8bitdo), or doesn't offer wireless to start with.
     
  22. Youn

    Youn [H]ardness Supreme

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    That's what I always thought too. So I guess that video is kinda bogus
     
  23. J3RK

    J3RK [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The Logitech F710s are great, but they can have range issues if your house is like mine with signals bouncing all over the place. (kids, multiple wireless networks, etc.) If you're close to the receiver, they're great. Further away, you start getting dropped inputs, and a bit of latency.

    I also would say the XBOne pads are great overall. Probably better with the receiver, but I use a pair of Bluetooth and they feel good.

    For lowest latency (like if you're using FPGA hardware for retro games) I still fully recommend wired.
     
  24. SOAREVERSOR

    SOAREVERSOR Limp Gawd

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    Part of the problem is when using anything there's driver and other overhead, and then there are often other programs you run through, these aren't all created equal. So there are a lot of factors being thrown in here. As far as the raw connection goes wired > wireless > blue tooth.
     
  25. UnknownSouljer

    UnknownSouljer [H]ardness Supreme

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    What wireless controllers use a protocol other than bluetooth? What protocol are they using for wireless?
     
  26. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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    Oh man, the Bluetooth specification describes a number of different layers of communication (page 85: https://www.mouser.it/pdfdocs/bluetooth-Core-v50.pdf)

    When you have a limited number of devices that communicate (eg controllers only, vs speakers/audio, cameras, fitness devices... etc) you don’t need all of the layers to be complete. You only need the minimum set of radio features.

    You can use the same hardware, just layer on less with the support software.
     
  27. Youn

    Youn [H]ardness Supreme

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    Of course there are protocols other than bluetooth.
    Logitech F710 uses "wifi" as do many others like xbox with wifi adapters. That basically means it's the manufactures own protocol. There are also things like rf, ir, zigbee, probably others too but they aren't as commonly used or almost never used now for gamepads due to the popularity of bt and custom "wifi" solutions. Correct me if I'm wrong guys....
     
  28. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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    you’re wrong: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi-Fi

    Wifi is a set of standards governing particular network stacks and hardware.

    Wireless hardware, or the physical layer, in these controllers (typically) uses the 2.4 ghz band, which is the same as wifi and Bluetooth, however that is where the similarity stops.

    They could use different frequencies in the band, they could use different modulation, they could use different packet handling, they certainly have different drivers and there are other variables too. all of this is bespoke.

    With Logitech specifically, I would suggest that the same wireless design they use for their keyboards they also use for their mouses and wireless controllers.

    In contrast, Microsoft just use their wireless for controllers and headsets (as far as I know). I would suggest they use Bluetooth certified radios but cut down software stacks and different packet handling based on the fact the newer xbone controllers can do Bluetooth as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  29. Youn

    Youn [H]ardness Supreme

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    But isn't the question kinda like asking "aren't bluray and hddvd the same thing?" Yes of course bluetooth and the standard of WiFi both use rf, as both disc formats use compact discs and lasers, but that's nearly where similarities end. They aren't interchangable technologies. Not all wireless controllers are bluetooth. I'm sure you can come up with a better analogy though btw...
     
  30. Bankie

    Bankie [H]ard|Gawd

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    I've never had any latency or drop out issues with the Xbox One controllers over bluetooth. The main issue I've had with them is that when the batteries get low games will just suddenly drop to like 10fps until the batteries are replaced.
     
  31. SOAREVERSOR

    SOAREVERSOR Limp Gawd

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    Bluetooth is not the same as wifi and plenty of devices ship with bluetooth comptability, a wireless dongle, and wired capability. Logitech famously has devices where you can use bluetooth for power saving mode and then switch to a faster wireless mode, which is not uncommon with mice and keyboards. Not all their wireless solutions are the same. When dealing with logitech they generally have their super fast gaming one > wireless > bluetooth.
     
  32. J3RK

    J3RK [H]ardForum Junkie

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    There are actually quite a few things that can be different based on implementation. Transmission type is one. This is from my USB stack days at MS, but I'm sure the same applies over any medium. There are transmission types suited for different types of transfers. Isochronus as one example emphasizes that the data rate remain constant even if it drops a packet here or there (good for media streaming). There is bulk transfer, that requires 100% data integrity at the fastest speed it can transfer, but will drop the rate if it means not losing data. There are other types as well. Control, and others.

    I'm guessing, and someone can correct me if I'm wrong, (or I could just go read the damned datasheets :D ) that game controllers are isochronous or some type of hybrid transfer, so that they maintain a good sync at low latency, but if something like interfering signals, or out of range distances occur, it will start dropping packets that don't make it across in time.

    This is just guesswork based on my experience with other types of data streams. I really have never read up on non network wifi standards or other point to point wireless protocols.
     
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  33. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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  34. J3RK

    J3RK [H]ardForum Junkie

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    That may be why I'm having decent luck with Bluetooth for my XBOne pads. We don't use a lot of Bluetooth in the house. We have one speaker that's used occasionally, but generally that's it. I use wired connections, (fiber and copper) for most things in the house, and then wifi (5GHz) for miscellaneous items like phones, etc. We have a 2.4GHz network as well, but it's not utilized much except the occasional DS or autoconfigured device that wanders in. (or in summer when things need to reach the deck) That makes the Bluetooth ranges pretty open for the most part inside the house. The pads work great provided they're not too far out of range. I use BT4 EDR+ or some such extended range nonsense, and it does pretty well.

    The funny thing is that the range (despite the "extended" label) hits right to the center of the couch. So if I'm sitting up, I get low latency (subjective but good) and no dropped inputs. If I get lazy and slouch backward, I start seeing dropped inputs. :D The range is that well defined in my case, and it's very consistent.

    Luckily for me I'm kind of an "Input Device Monger" and have just about every sort of game pad, arcade stick, wired, wireless, dongle, Bluetooth, etc. etc. and have eventually settled on what works for my house. :D
     
  35. SOAREVERSOR

    SOAREVERSOR Limp Gawd

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    I have multiple 360 controllers, 10 various 8bitdo, multiple fight pads, multiple arcade sticks, all sorts of mechanical keyboards and mice as well. I go with what works for the game. TBF had I known 8bitdo was coming out with straight wired controllers I'd have less as I wouldn't have bought as many blue tooth but oh well. And that's all just for the PC.
     
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  36. J3RK

    J3RK [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Their wired pads plus the Retro-Bit Sega pads provide all of my FPGA console controls.

    I think we have a similar controller... fixation? I love the right tool for the job, but yes, I think I’ve settled on a decent subset of what I own now.
     
  37. SOAREVERSOR

    SOAREVERSOR Limp Gawd

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    Sounds like it! I have American style (ewww) joysticks with American (eww) parts that are dedicated for MK (easy mode fighting game really) and Killer Instinct. I have Japanese parts with layouts for Street Fighter based off the Sega, CPS, Neo Geo and Taito arcade layouts. Japanese parts in the Namco layouts. Some games are four players so I went out and 4 xbox one pads it was, 4 8bitdo SN/SF Pro, 4 8bitdo Sega. Then of course they rolled out the wired SN Pro so off to buy more... then there was the SN Pro + and it repeats. Of course many of those arcade sticks are DINPUT and others XINPUT so oh well! The fight pads were largely for other people but I kept them about.

    I enjoy all of it, but there are some I use more than others. IE I'm always going to pick a Taito layout stick because I realize I just like it better, but I do use the others off and on.
     
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  38. J3RK

    J3RK [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I haven't built a stick setup for a while. I'm currently just using an X-Arcade Dual Tank+Ball setup for that sort of thing. It was inexpensive and feels good (off the shelf) :D When I built sticks, I usually did a custom layout where the first four buttons (first two of each row) were in a perfect rhombus shape, then the rest curved out from there more naturally. This way, two players could play things like Smash TV/Robotron/Total Carnage or other twin-stick games using the first four buttons as the second stick. Worked pretty well, and still felt good for fighters. I usually go for the SF-style competition stick, though lately I've wanted to build a 4-way ball type setup for playing things like Ghouls n Ghosts.
     
  39. GhostCow

    GhostCow Limp Gawd

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    I'll never understand the popularity of arcade sticks in the fighting game community. I spent a ton of money on one many years ago to see what the fuss was all about and it held me back big time in Street Fighter IV. You have to make such huge motions compared to using a d-pad and it's so much harder for me to be accurate. Even something as simple as a qcf or shoryuken motion was hard for me to pull off. I wish there was a "stick" that has buttons in place of a stick. I'm competent with a gamepad but nothing beats using the arrow keys and asdzxc for me in a fighting game
     
  40. J3RK

    J3RK [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I can use a pad or arcade stick. Maybe it's because I first played this type of game on the stick, but that's what feels most natural to me. There was a short time in the DOS game era when the first SF2 and MK ports came over to the PC where I used keys for a bit, but while I got to be decent with them, I never liked it. I actually do prefer some fighting games on a game pad, like DOA for example. Something about its particular control scheme seems to suit the pad more. For Capcom and SNK type fighting though I definitely want a stick.

    People actually do make all-button arcade controllers for things like Smash Brothers. I've never tried one, but I could see why that would appeal in some instances. It would be quite trivial to build one if you wanted to try it. A good USB interface board costs around $20, the buttons around $3-5 (depending on the style) a hole-saw and some MDF or decent ply. (though I've just laid out my first stick setup for milled, anodized aluminum :D ) I'd recommend some convex .94" buttons (Suzo/Happ sells them) for doing the direction buttons as they're smaller than the 1.1" buttons. You can get them tighter together this way, which would be more comfortable IMO.
     
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