Feedback

Falcon Northwest Tiki System Review: Packing Power Where It Counts

Author:
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: Falcon Northwest

Overview

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.

View Full Size

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
Storage

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.

Click here to continue reading our review of the Falcon Northwest Tiki!

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. 

View Full Size

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. 

View Full Size

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.

View Full Size

Taking a look at the internals of the Tiki, we see a surprisingly well laid out and cable managed interior.

View Full Size

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.

CPU Performance

As mentioned earlier, our Tiki features an Intel Core i7-8086K processor, which has been overclocked by Falcon Northwest.

View Full Size

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

View Full Size

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.

Storage Performance

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.

View Full Size

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.

Gaming

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. 

View Full Size

View Full Size

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.

Pricing

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.

View Full Size

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. 

July 17, 2018 | 07:24 PM - Posted by ALB92 (not verified)

All the components in this configuration will cost you less than $4200 wich means you pay a $2000 premium .... at this point i don't know if we can call this a premium or a robbery !

July 17, 2018 | 10:18 PM - Posted by Anonymouse (not verified)

How much did that custom paint booth cost you? Oh, you don't have one?

How much is your time worth? Zero dollars? So you work for free?

July 18, 2018 | 05:18 PM - Posted by ALB92 (not verified)

So one grand for the paint and one grand for the labor , right ?
......facepalm !

No wonder companies drive prices up year after year !!!

July 19, 2018 | 04:59 PM - Posted by Anonymouse (not verified)

LOL, good luck getting a high quality paint job with a couple of spray cans.

And yes, companies make a profit for providing a service. This apparently is news to you?

July 21, 2018 | 12:59 PM - Posted by Hello Shill (not verified)

Hi! How are things over at the Falcon Northwest offices?

July 18, 2018 | 12:48 AM - Posted by Cyclops

Gold Award for a $6000 PC. I'm sure it's good value too.

July 18, 2018 | 11:24 AM - Posted by Ken Addison

The gold award wasn't meant for the overkill configuration we reviewed, but the Tiki as a whole. I've added some clarification for this in the review. Thanks for the feedback!

July 18, 2018 | 01:12 AM - Posted by Paul A. Mitchell (not verified)

I'm really happy to begin seeing the OS installed on a U.2 port. Because so many prosumers are already experienced with SATA cabling topology, I look forward to the day when motherboards support multiple U.2 ports that are wired directly to the CPU, rather than being downstream of a DMI link with limited upstream bandwidth. Yes, add-in cards are also another option for the M.2 form factor. With 2 integrated U.2 ports, motherboards should support at least RAID-0 and RAID-1 options.

July 18, 2018 | 01:43 AM - Posted by a@a.a (not verified)

they should just sell the case, thou it'll be overpriced too

July 18, 2018 | 10:18 AM - Posted by Isaac Johnson

I wonder what percent of the people who read this site can (realistically) afford this, and what percent of those people would actually consider buying it.

I'm a firm believer in people buying and doing whatever they want with their own money, and I'm also aware that more expensive doesn't actually mean overpriced most of the time. And I'm sick of how often that word (overpriced) is thrown around just because people don't like something or because they can't afford it. But that doesn't mean it's never justified, and Falcon Northwest is always a brand I've looked at as an overpriced 'expensive because it's expensive' brand, so people can brag about having an expensive computer.

I'm gonna echo Cyclops here...seriously, a gold award to a $6k desktop? When in 5 years or so it will be fading away and classified as obsolete...just like a $2k desktop.

I can't imagine being able to spend this kind of money on a computer and not spend it on the actual hardware itself. But to each their own and all that.

Rant over...for now...

Thanks for the review anyway, I appreciate the effort you put into it even if I don't agree with the recommendation.

July 18, 2018 | 11:22 AM - Posted by Ken Addison

I appreciate the feedback. The recommendation wasn't necessarily to the configuration we got, but the PC as a whole. I've added some clarification to this effect in the review!

July 18, 2018 | 11:33 AM - Posted by Isaac Johnson

I also understand that factoring things like cost and 'value' into reviews is difficult since they're such subjective things, and that can be a slippery and confusing slope so I get why it's easier (and it may even be better) to just say 'this is good' or 'this isn't good' or whatever and leave the cost/value thing up to the readers.

July 18, 2018 | 10:38 AM - Posted by Fry (not verified)

I actually own one of their desktops (Talon) and I have been buying desktop pcs from multiple different gaming geared companies for over 15 years. I can conclusively say Falcon NW have been the best by miles.

If you purchased their pc you would know why I am saying so. They give you a very clean build with the binder (shown above) on if you decide to change things in the future. The pcs come with no bloatware and meticulously perfect cable wiring.

Yes you can build it by yourself if you really have that kinda time to do that or just pay them and have a peace of mind. Their customer support is also amazing and no I don't work for Falcon NW. I am just an architect who happens to be a gamer and I think people who never purchased their products love complaining how overpriced they are without realizing the product you are getting from them.

Amazing review btw PCPER.

July 18, 2018 | 11:45 AM - Posted by Isaac Johnson

So you have time to play games but not enough time to spend an hour or two attaching a few components together and installing an OS?

You're an architect but you need someone else to put a pc together for you?

Anyone who can build a lego kit can build a computer, and it's often easier and less time-consuming.

I'm not buying Not Verified Fry's story here. I smell a fanboy and maybe even a little bit of shill.

And if you're not a shill you probably shouldn't write comments that look exactly like the paid 'reviews' you see all over Amazon.

July 18, 2018 | 02:06 PM - Posted by Anonymoo (not verified)

You drive a car and don't know how to fix the transmission?

You take a shower every day but you don't make your own soap?

You eat cucumbers but don't plant a garden?

Can I call you an idiot if you don't do these things? I mean I know how to do them, therefore I think everybody should know how to do them too.

July 18, 2018 | 02:12 PM - Posted by Isaac Johnson

I didn't call anyone an idiot, I called them a liar (or at least implied it).

And are you seriously comparing plugging a few things in with fixing a transmission?

Yeah, definite shill.

July 18, 2018 | 06:06 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Plenty of folks play games for hours/days but have never assembled a system. If everyone did as you claim, the system builders market would not exist.

July 18, 2018 | 08:40 PM - Posted by Isaac Johnson

Did as I claim? Again - what I replied to someone else already - the point isn't that everyone has to build their own system, it's about these specific ones being overpriced, and it's about how building systems isn't hard or time-consuming.

I went to Falcon Northwest's site and put a moderate system together just to see what it would cost. A little over $4k for roughly $2k worth of parts. Anyone who argues that it's worth $2k+ for (allegedly) good build quality and (allegedly) good customer support for a $4k (consumer) product that will likely be replaced in 3-5 years has lost their mind.

And this isn't just a Falcon Northwest thing. There's other builders doing this same thing and it's disgraceful/shameful/whatever else you want to call it. Just because there's people out there willing to buy it, for whatever reason, doesn't mean it's ok to take advantage of it. A huge part of the cost of owning one of their products is simply to pay for their logo - and that shouldn't be ignored - and we shouldn't be pretending like that's ok.

This site is supposed to be about serving the PC hardware enthusiast community (which you usually do very well in my opinion, and I've been around here for a very long time, this is one of the few hardware site I still follow and the only one I follow regularly anymore), but defending companies like this is a little off-putting to me.

July 20, 2018 | 10:11 AM - Posted by Anonymousssss (not verified)

Those of us who drive a Hyundai may still like to read about a McLaren every now and again.

Nothing wrong or underhanded about it.

July 20, 2018 | 12:22 PM - Posted by Isaac Johnson

Nope, two completely different things. We're comparing two things with an average life span of 3-5 years with exactly the same performance but one costs more than double.

You're comparing two cars with wildly different performance that will last decades (centuries?) if taken care of.

July 21, 2018 | 01:04 PM - Posted by Hello Shill (not verified)

This is a 100% shill/native ad post from Falcon Northwest, and the way different PCper staff are rallying to defend posts like these in this thread is awfully suspicious.

July 18, 2018 | 01:16 PM - Posted by pacmanfan

Harsh! I love building my own systems, but there is a place for OEMs with attention to detail. Throwing together a PC is easy, but cable management and tuning component layout and airflow on a one-off build takes time if you wish to optimize. I like doing that stuff on my own, but my builds will probably always lack that extra little bit of polish an experienced builder can give.

I'm very much a DIY guy. The PC parts market is saturated and commoditized. It's hard for OEMs to bring something substantially new to the table, yet I've always had a soft spot for Falcon NW, so I think they're still doing something right, after all these years.

July 18, 2018 | 01:16 PM - Posted by pacmanfan

Whoops, this was a reply to Isaac Johnson.

July 18, 2018 | 02:15 PM - Posted by Isaac Johnson

I'm not saying there's no place for companies like this, or that everyone must build their own system, but when looking at costs (especially considering the average life of a PC) things just don't add up with this company (they aren't the only ones either).

August 1, 2018 | 06:57 PM - Posted by elites2012

what idiot blows 6k on a pc all at once? i know you may be able to do a payment plan. still 6k is just stupid money to spend. but hey some people just have money to waste, instead of putting it to good use.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote><p><br>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.