Falcon Northwest Tiki System Review: Packing Power Where It Counts
Editor's Note: The initial version of this review incorrectly listed the Tiki as having 16GB of RAM, it actually has 32GB of memory.
Looking back through the PC Perspective archives as I prepared for this review, I was shocked to find we've never actually tested a Falcon Northwest Tiki system. Since its introduction in 2012, the Tiki has been a mainstay at conventions like CES, providing a compact solution for manufacturers to provide demos of their hardware and software.
With a base milled out of solid aluminum and GPU cut out window, the Tiki provides modest design flair while still remaining relatively tame and "adult-like" compared to many premium gaming PC options.
The Tiki is available with three different CPU platforms. Users have their pick from Intel X370 and X299, and even X470 platforms based around AMD’s Ryzen CPUs. It’s great to see system builders like Falcon Northwest embracing Ryzen CPUs in some of their flagship models like the Tiki.
|Falcon Northwest Tiki (configuration as reviewed)|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-8086K (Coffee Lake)|
|Motherboard||ROG STRIX Z370-I GAMING|
|Cooler||Asetek 550LC 120mm AIO Water Cooler|
|Graphics||NVIDIA TITAN Xp 12GB|
|Memory||32GB (2x16B) G.SKILL RIPJAWS V DDR4-3000|
Intel SSD Optane 905P 1.5TB U.2
|Power Supply||Silverstone SFX-650W|
|Dimensions||4" Wide x 13.5" Deep x 13.25" Tall. (715 cubic inches)|
|OS||Windows 10 Pro|
|Price||$6,242 (as configured) - Falcon NW|
By looking at the specs, it’s clear that the configuration of Tiki we were sent for review packs a lot of punch into its relatively small form-factor. Not only is the Core i7-8086K the highest-end offering for the Z370 platform, Falcon Northwest has further overclocked the CPU to 5.3 GHz (single thread maximum).
The CPU isn’t the only high-end component found in the Tiki either. Both the graphics card and storage solutions are nearing “overkill level” with the inclusion of an NVIDIA Titan Xp as well as 1.5TB of 3D XPoint storage in the form of an Intel Optane 905P U.2 drive.
Design and Customization
As alluded to earlier, in my opinion, Falcon is targeting a more mature audience with the Tiki than most boutique PC gaming products. The Tiki can range from subdued all the way to the more flashy configuration we have through an array of customization options.
For instance, the deep blue color of our review unit is an example of Falcon Northwest's "Exotix" custom paint options. For an additional charge (in this case $424 for the single color paint scheme), Falcon will work with you to find the perfect design scheme. Personally, I'd like to see what could be done with a matte silver or gunmetal color scheme with the Tiki.
The paint job itself on the Tiki is quite impressive. Using automotive-style paint and techniques, Falcon Northwest can provide a high-quality paint job that should be long-lasting. To ensure this, they provide a lifetime warranty against fading, peeling, blistering or cracking.
Keep in mind, this personalized paint job will remove any ability to return the computer if you change your mind about the purchase, which is a fairly common policy for customized items.
Beyond the paint job, our particular review unit Tiki features an acrylic window covering the GPU area of the chassis. This window has a cleverly disguised cutout in the shape of the NVIDIA logo for the blower-style GPU cooler.
The GPU compartment also features an RGB LED strip, which can be controlled through the ASUS Aura Sync software on the PC.
Given the price tag, it's clear these options aren't for everyone. I would go for a bit more subdued version in the form of the standard black chassis with no window, or RGB LED options. However, if you're willing to put your money where your mouth is, you can go in the exact opposite direction.
In general, it's nice to see that some boutique PC builders are offering true customization instead of just building around commodity chassis and design schemes.
Taking a look at the internals of the Tiki, we see a surprisingly well laid out and cable managed interior.
Another interesting part of the Falcon Northwest experience is the extensive paperwork that comes with the system. For example, here is the Quality Assurance form that whoever at Falcon tested the system went through to ensure things like proper cable fitment and UEFI configurations.
As mentioned earlier, our Tiki features an Intel Core i7-8086K processor, which has been overclocked by Falcon Northwest.
Falcon was thoughtful enough to include their overclock as saved profile in the ASUS UEFI, so we were able to test the PC in a default non-overclocked state, and then restore the included overclocked settings to compare performance levels.
Looking at some of our standard suite of CPU benchmarks, we see that the overclock provided on the Tiki system offers healthy performance gains
Single threaded benchmarks see a 5-6 % gain, while multi-threaded benchmarks see an even more significant gain of 9-12%.
With any overclock in a small form factor system, one of our immediate concerns is thermal performance. However, the CPU never throttled during our testing.
Keen readers may have noticed a bit of an oddity about the storage configuration in this Tiki, a yet-to-be-released 1.5TB Intel SSD Optane 905P drive in the U.2 form factor. While we are working on a full review of this drive, in our initial testing it seems to perform in line with the rest of the Intel 905P lineup.
However, here's a teaser in the form of a test in ATTO to give you an idea of the sheer performance of which this drive is capable.
At this point in the generation, there’s not a lot that can be said about the included Titan Xp in our Tiki that hasn’t been said already. The performance levels for this GPU are well known, placing just under the Titan V as the fastest single GPU solution available to gamers. The Titan brand is only tangentally associated with gaming, instead leaning more into the compute capabilities of the product, but this system is clearly targeting the consumer that wants "the best" regardless of the idea of value and raw price.
In today's market - if you want the best single card solution for 4K gaming (minus that pesky V), this Tiki packs it with the Titan Xp.
As we mentioned earlier, pricing for our exact configuration of Falcon Northwest Tiki comes to a staggering $6,242. Obviously, this high-end configuration featuring 1.5TB of Optane storage along with an NVIDIA TITAN Xp is not exactly "mainstream," so we decided to look at some more reasonable options.
For just around $3100, you could get either a Core i7-8700K or Ryzen 7 2700X-based system with 16GB of RAM, NVIDIA GTX 1080, 512GB Intel 760p NVMe SSD, and a 4TB WD Red Hard Drive. While you are giving up the neat options like custom paint jobs, these mid-level configurations would be great for years to come.
Even if you were to aim for an ultra high-end configuration like we tested, moving to a 2TB Intel 760p NVMe drive and a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti would take nearly $2,000 off of the price tag.
While the configuration we reviewed is overkill for the vast majority of consumers. We still recommend the Tiki product in more modest configurations for buyers looking for a high-end prebuilt PC with lots of customization options.
Even these more modest builds do have a price premium over building a PC yourself, but for the type of consumer who doesn't have the time or interest in building their own, and wants a unique and customizable option, the Falcon Northwest Tiki remains a great option.
If you are the type of consumer that wants the experience and product that Falcon Northwest offers, the compact performance that the Tiki provides is damned impressive and the immediate "wow" factor that the aesthetics provide are amazing. As the enthusiast crowd that I grew up with ages and matures (like a fine wine...or something like that), more will lean towards high quality, but undeniably high priced, builds like this.
|Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
|How product was obtained:||The product is on loan from Falcon Northwest for the purpose of this review.|
|What happens to the product after review:||The product remains the property of Falcon Northwest, and will be returned after the publication of this review.|
|Company involvement:||Falcon Northwest had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.|
|PC Perspective Compensation:||Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by Falcon Northwest for this review.|
|Advertising Disclosure:||Falcon Northwest has not purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.|
|Affiliate links:||This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases through those links.|
|Consulting Disclosure:||Falcon Northwest is not a current client of Shrout Research for products or services related to this review.|