Hotswapping would be best for those situations most likely.
Sounds like I'll look into picking one up to replace my sidewinder wheel with game port that I can't plug in or get drivers. How's the compatibility for PC racing games, if one works natively with a regular 360 controller should it work with this?
I hotswap controller/KB+mouse all the time for driving segments in GTA-like games, most recently SR3. In some FPSs, most notably Borderlands, I play with mouse in one hand and left-half of controller in the other (for analog movement).
A hassle-free alternative to the 360 controller that I like is the Logitech F510
. It has a PS3 layout. On the bottom of the controller is a switch to set it in Xinput (360 native), or DirectInput (common pre-360 windows API). So no hassle with emulation software and better support for old games (and support for easy game-specific remapping with Logitech Profiler). I also really appreciate that the button below the start button togges strong/weak/no-vibration (some games really abuse vibration, my hands can't handle constant rumble). The button below select swaps left-stick and D-pad, which has been nice for some retro games. It has a solid rubberized feel.
Sorry it that was kinda rant-y, I have a grudge against the 360 layout going back to the OMG-too-big original X-box controller.
Also if you have a PS3 controller, the free motioninjoy
drivers work well. You can hook it up to your computer by USB (any old micro-USB cable) or Bluetooth (some $2 amazon bluetooth controller works well for me).