Like many simracers I started out years ago with a wheel and pedals mounted to a desk. In my case that was the Thrustmaster T2, a non-force feedback wheel with a sequential shifter mounted directly to the right of the wheel and a base that consisted of two pedals. Back in those days, when Grand Prix Legends had just been released, this was a pretty high-end setup and I still remember the excellent customer support that Thrustmaster had, sending you replacement parts free of charge if you wrote them a letter explaining what had broken.
Fast forward about 15 years and my setup looks radically different. The desk mounted setup, which had the main disadvantage of moving all over the place during a race because pedals, your chair and sometimes even the wheel tended to start moving in the heat of a race, has been replaced by a BRD Race Frame Pro v2 with BRD Speed 7 pedals mounted upside down and a Logitech G25 force feedback wheel with shifter paddles. Each of these components has seen three years or more of intensive use and has worked flawlessly for all that time. This includes a 37” Sharp TV that I have used until recently as my main display. I’ve always liked the big screen as it allowed me to use a realistic field of view (FOV) but the screen itself had a few minor problems: it had more input lag than some more modern monitors and some blur caused by ghosting. Furthermore, like any single display, the horizontal FOV was not great, which meant in close battles on a track, one had to guess where an opponent was if he was somewhere next to you. I’m very much a gentleman driver in that respect, so I always leave plenty of room, but it would be so much better if I could actually see where an opponent was, instead of having to rely on sound and information from an in-game spotter (if available).
With my previous game computer hitting the age of three, it was time to go for a triple screen setup. A brand new Intel Core i7 4770K, 8 GB main memory and a GeForce GTX 780 now drives three BenQ XL2411T 24” 144 Hz FullHD screens. The only challenge left was to find a monitor stand to mount them. Luckily, nowadays, there are many companies selling them, so I could actually go out and find one that matched my requirements:
- It had to be compatible with my BRD Race Frame Pro v2, because I did not want to replace that. That meant that any monitor stand had to fit around that frame.
- I really wanted it to be disconnected from that frame, to ensure that the monitors did not move, even when violently steering or hitting the brakes. So it had to have its own legs that would fit around the frame without physically touching it.
- The monitors I bought were selected out of space requirements, anything bigger than 24” just would not fit, and the stand had to be positioned at about 60 cm from my head, meaning the monitors would be positioned almost directly behind the steering wheel.
- The side monitors had to be movable, as I needed to move at least the left one when not racing so I could get out more easily and walk past the simulator to my desk.
I ended up looking at quite a few options. Most of these options were listed on an excellent hardware manufacturers overview on BSimRacing. I decided to all list the options I considered here for future reference, together with the reasons why I did not pick them:
- One of the nicest triple monitor stands I encountered was one by rSeat. The RS Stand T3L looked very solid and adjusting the monitors was possible. Their customer support was great. When I got in touch with them, I got extensive pictures and information from them about all the dimensions of their stand. Unfortunately, it ended up not fitting “over” my BRD frame.
- The Italians at ARC racing had a solution, consisting of a central stand and two side stands that had to be bought separately. The central one however was not wide enough to fit around the frame. Another concern I had was price, the combined solution was a little under 600 euros, which was a bit overpriced compared to other, similar solutions.
- Fanatec has an add-on for their “Rennsport” cockpit. It looked solid, had a friendly price tag, but could only be mounted directly onto their cockpit, so that was a no-go as well.
- Another stand-alone solution was provided by Fast Track Sims, but like the one from ARC racing, it simply was not wide enough to fit around my existing frame. Other than that, it looked like a reasonable option.
- Obutto also provided a single monitor stand with optional side monitor mounts. Like quite a few others though, it simply did not fit around the existing frame.
After dismissing all the options above, I ended up with the GT Omega Racing Triple Monitor Stand v3. It matched all my requirements and its width was adjustable so it could comfortably fit around my existing frame! Thanks to their customer support, that provided me with plenty of information and pictures, I could make a well informed decision about how to exactly mount the monitors and keyboard stand.
The box was shipped from the UK and arrived a few days later. Everything was nicely packaged and putting the pieces together was easy. I had some instructions, but for the most part, I did not even need those to figure it out. It took me about an hour to get the whole thing together. Thanks to the VESA mounts, adding the three monitors was a breeze. I ended up not using the speaker mounts, as I always drive with headphones on anyway, and only had to disassemble a small part of the frame again after deciding I wanted to rotate the keyboard stand 90 degrees. Another thing I ended up doing is to leave off a small part of the right side of the base as it ended up colliding with a radiator in my room. That was easily possible though, due to the modular design, and did not really affect the stability of the stand as a whole.
Did everything go smoothly then? Not exactly. I ended up running into one problem. The monitor arms are circular tubes that are connected to three “end plates” using three screws. These end plates again are welded to a square tube. After building the whole frame, I saw that these end plates were not exactly straight and level. Granted, the arms themselves are pretty adjustable, so I probably could have ignored this issue altogether, but it did not look right so I decided to see if I could correct this. What I ended up doing is adding a few thin washers between one of the three screws to straighten the tubes. That worked well and again did not influence the overall stability and robustness of the stand.