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.
Subject: Systems | June 7, 2018 - 06:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: DIY, system build
Why not cool down with some new components or build an entire system; thus avoiding the fiery ball of death which inhabits the sky this time of year? They are as excited as we on the Hardware Leaderboard that you do not have to mortgage your life in order to afford the RAM and GPU for a new build. The benefits of competition show in their builds, with their system builds showing a mix of AMD and Intel processors; NVIDIA still holds the GPU choices for now however. Drop by for a look at what might be your next build.
"Welcome to TR's Summer 2018 System Guide. This is where the TR staff picks out the créme de la créme of hardware components fit for the most price-effective builds around. We've tried to create builds across a wide range of price points with parts that provide the best performance possible for the money."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Overclockers UK Germanium @ Kitguru
- Building a basic gaming PC with AMD's Ryzen 3 2200G @ The Tech Report
- Viglen Incepta Professional RX @ Kitguru
- Zotac MEK1 Black @ Kitguru
- MSI Infinite X Gaming Desktop @ Techspot
- Intel's NUC8i7HVK "Hades Canyon" @ The Tech Report
- MSI Infinite X @ Kitguru
- Alienware Aurora R7 @ Kitguru
Subject: Systems | May 31, 2018 - 04:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ryzen 7, Predator Orion 5000, Predator Helios 500, Predator, nitro 50, gaming machine, amd, acer
The wait is almost over for those looking for a boutique built AMD gaming machine, of either the mobile or sedentary variety according to the announcement today from Acer. They've announced the pending arrival of three new systems, the Predator Orion 5000 and Acer Nitro 50 desktops as well as the Predator Helios 500 gaming laptop all of which will be shown off at Computex 2018 in Taipei.
Starting small, well relatively so, is the $2100, 17.3" Helios 500 laptop which comes with your choice of Freesync display, either a 1080p with a 144Hz top refresh rate or a 4k display if you so prefer. Inside is a Ryzen 2 processor and a Vega 56 GPU, cooled by Acer's AeroBlade 3D metal fans, with exhaust worthy of a CEC YT-1300. It also has some interesting audio features, using Waves Nx head-tracking technology to control the built in speakers to give you a more immersive audio experience.
Next in power would be the Acer Nitro 50 desktop, also featuring a second generation Ryzen processor and a choice of either RX 580 or GTX 1060 GPUs to power your chosen monitor. As with the CPU and GPU, the storage depends on the model you chose, with a 516GB SSD and 3TB HDD at the top tier. The Nitro 50 also comes with a Qi compatible wireless charging deck for wireless lovers. It will start at $900 and head up from there.
Last comes the big hitter, the Predator Orion 5000 pairing a Ryzen 2 with a GTX 1080 in it's most powerful configuration. As you would expect from a $1500+ system, it has been designed to look good as well as perform. Tempered glass on the side, with easy access to the interior for upgrades along with comprehensive cable management and Acer's IceTunnel 2.0 airflow management system which segregates your components into different sections to improve heat transfer.
You can't buy them quite yet but expect to hear more about these and other Ryzen powered gaming machines in the near future.
Subject: Systems | May 3, 2018 - 07:39 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: velocity micro, EPYC, EPYC 7601, amd, workstation
AMD scored another design win with Velocity Micro announcing a new workstation built around the Zen-based EPYC processor. The new ProMagix HD150 is a single socket Epyc-based system that slots in between the company's existing ThreadRipper-based HD80A and the dual socket Epyc HD360A workstations. The Velocity Micro system takes the company's GX4 aluminum E-ATX chassis and crams a ton of processing power into it.
The new workstation is based around the Supermicro H11SSL motherboard and it can be confiugred with up to an AMD Epyc 7601 processor with 32 cores and 64 threads clocked at 2.2 GHz base and 3.2 GHz boost with 64MB L3 cache and 128 lanes of PCI-E. The processor which is cooled by a closed loop liquid cooler with 240mm radiator can be paired with up to 512GB DDR4-2666 ECC RDIMMs or 256GB ECC LRDIMMs for main memory and up to a 2TB Samsung 960 Pro SSD (or two Crucial MX550s) and two 8TB mechanical hard drives for storage. The Supermicro board has sixteen SATA ports as well as multiple PCI-E x16 and x8 slots so users can add plenty of additional storage and I/O expansion. Further, users can configure the system with a NVIDIA Quadro GP100 graphics accelerator as well as up to two Radeon Pro SSG Vega 10 cards (there are also NVIDIA GTX, Titan, and Quadro or AMD Vega, WX Pro, and SSG options) for GPGPU tasks. The two Radeon Pro SSG cards have 4096 stream processors, 16GB of HBM2, and 2TB of solid state storage each and are rated at 12.3 TFLOPS of single precision and 769 GFLOPS of double precision performance.
Needless to say, you can configure an extremely capable workstation thanks to AMD's Epyc that can handle both CPU and GPU efficient tasks with plenty of I/O lanes for storage and expansion. Velocity Micro claims that the HD150 workstation is aimed at simulation, rendering, 8K video editing, and machine learning workloads. The systems can be configured on their website or customized by ordering over the phone and start at $3,299 with a default one year warranty and lifetime US-based support. The workstations are built and tested in Richmond, Virginia. As far as pricing, this, ahem, Epyc system is squarely an enterprise affair with fully loaded configurations passing $33,000 easily.
It is promising to see AMD's server processor getting design wins in this market space.
Subject: Systems | April 20, 2018 - 01:05 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: RX 550, radeon, NUC8i3CYSM3, NUC8i3CYSM2, nuc, Intel, i3-8121u, Dawson Canyon, crimson canyon, cnl-u, cannon lake u, baby canyon, amd
Rumors surfacing from the WinFuture site seem to indicate that the Hades Canyon NUC and Kaby Lake-G processors aren't the end of Intel and AMD's relationship for compact PCs.
WinFuture was able to get their hands on some photos of both the hardware and software of the yet to be announced Crimson Canyon NUC. While there have been rumors, and even retail listings floating around recently about this Cannon Lake U-based NUC, WinFuture has uncovered a secret within this device—a discrete AMD Radeon GPU.
On the CPU side, the Crimson Canyon NUC seems to be based on the i3-8121U. Based on previous leaks, this processor will be part of the Cannon Lake-U family and one of the first parts produced on Intel's 10nm manufacturing process.
WinFuture has also sourced an image from what appears to be the AMD's Radeon Software package showing this NUC features "Radeon 500-series" graphics. While this could mean a few things, we take it along with reference to "2GB of GDDR5" on the leaked NUC box to mean that Intel is integrating a Polaris-based GPU and GDDR5 memory into a NUC system.
Unlike the Hades Canyon NUC, we do not expect this to be a CPU and GPU on the same package. Rather, it appears that Intel will be integrating the Polaris GPU, GDDR5, and associated power circuitry on the NUC motherboard.
Based on the 90W power adapter for the entire system, 2GB of GDDR5, and the leaked core clock frequency from the Radeon Software, it seems likely this GPU will be most closely related to AMD's current RX 550 GPU.
Update: It appears our speculation of the mystery GPU being an RX 550 is correct according to a 3DMark score listing we've been pointed to. For reference, this would place 3DMark 11 performance levels around the MX150 found in a lot of ultrabooks, as we measured here.
Interestingly enough, we found the RX550 to be in the same class of graphics performance as AMD's Ryzen 5 2400G APU when we reviewed that processor a few months ago.
A leaked Geekbench score from earlier in the year outs the i3-8121U as a dual-core, hyperthreaded part. Performance of this i3 part seems to be roughly in line with the Baby Canyon-based NUC7i5BNH containing an i5-7260U processor.
Interestingly enough, from the retail listings it appears this NUC will be sold as pre-configured systems, with 8GB of RAM, a 1TB 2.5" HDD, and Windows 10 as opposed to the traditional barebones NUC options.
Overall, it seems odd for Intel to be launching their first traditional form factor NUC with discrete graphics on top of an i3-based CPU. We'd love to see the potential for discrete AMD graphics with a quad-core based U-series part like i7-8650U found in the Dawson Canyon NUC we took a look at recently.
We're eager to hear more about this Crimson Canyon NUC, it's Radeon graphics, and the 10nm Cannon Lake-U processor hiding inside. Stay tuned for more news about this platform as they become available!
Despite the recent launch of the high-powered Hades Canyon NUC, that doesn't mean the traditional NUC form-factor is dead, quite the opposite in fact. Intel continues to iterate on the core 4-in x 4-in NUC design, adding new features and updating to current Intel processor families.
Today, we are taking a look at one of the newest iterations of desktop NUC, the NUC7i7DNHE, also known as the Dawson Canyon platform.
While this specific NUC is segmented more towards business and industrial applications, we think it has a few tricks up its sleeves that end users will appreciate.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-8650U (Kaby Lake Refresh)|
|Graphics||Intel UHD 630 Integrated|
|Memory||2 X DDR4 SODIMM slots|
Available M.2 SATA/PCIe drive slot
Available 2.5" drive slot
|Wireless||Intel Wireless-AC 8265 vPro|
2 x HDMI 2.0a
4 x USB 3.0
|Price||$595 - SimplyNUC|
Introduction and Design
Azulle might not be a familiar name unless you have been browsing for mini PCs lately, as the company offers various small form-factor computers and accessories on Amazon.
Today we will take a close look at their Intel Apollo Lake-powered Byte3 mini PC which starts at $179.99 (and goes up to $337.99 depending on configuration), and provides another fanless solution to this category. Does our $199.99 quad-core version, which includes Windows 10 Pro, stand out? Read on to find out!
- Processor: Quad-core Intel Apollo Lake N3450
- RAM: 4 GB / 8 GB
- Storage: eMMC 32 GB / 2.5" SSD or M.2 SSD Supported
- M.2 Slot: AHCI (SATA)
- GPU: Intel HD Graphics 500
- Wi-Fi: Dual-Band 2.4 GHz / 5.0 GHz
- Ethernet: 1 Gigabit
- Bluetooth: 4.0
- Display Output: 1x HDMI (4K @60Hz), 1x VGA
- USB Ports: 3x USB 3.0 / 1x USB 2.0 / 1x USB Type-C
- SD Slot: Up to 256 GB
- BIOS: Wake on LAN / PXE / BIO Reset
- IR: IR Control
- Audio Output: 3.5 mm jack
- OS Support: Windows 10 Pro / Ubuntu Linux
- Power Supply: 12V
- Dimensions: 5.6 x 4 x 1.5 inches
Thanks to Azulle for providing the Byte3 for our review!
- Azulle Byte3 Mini PC (N3450/4GB/32GB/Win 10 Pro): $199.99 - Amazon.com
We'll start with a quick look inside the box:
The Byte3 has a small, rectangular form-factor of some 5.6 inches wide and 4 inches deep, with a height of 1.5 inches.
Subject: Systems | April 9, 2018 - 08:00 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: hp, detachable, core m3-7y30, ChromeOS, chromebook x2, 2-in-1
Today, HP is announcing the Chromebook x2, building upon their existing Chromebook 11 and Chromebook x360 devices.
As you might have guessed from the "x2" moniker, the HP Chromebook x2 is a detachable 2-in-1 device. While we've seen Acer announce the first ChromeOS tablet a few weeks ago with the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, the HP Chromebook x2 is the first detachable device to be running ChromeOS.
|HP Chromebook x2|
|Processor||Intel Core M3-7Y30 (Kaby Lake)|
|Memory||4GB LPDDR3-1600 (Onboard)|
|Screen||12.3-inch Touchscreen (2400x1600)|
|Storage||32GB eMMC (non-upgradable)|
HP Wide Vision 5MP Camera (front facing)
13 MP HP Camera (rear facing)
|Wireless||Intel 802.11ac 2x2 + BT 4.2|
|Connections||2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Type-C)
MicroSD Card Reader
Audio combo jack
|Dimensions||11.50 in (W) x 8.32 in (D) x 0.33 in (H)
1.62 lb (tablet); 3.07 lb (tablet + base)
|Price||$599 - available starting in June|
Specs-wise, the HP Chromebook x2 looks to be one of the higher performance ChromeOS device. Built around an Intel Core M3-7Y30 processor, HP is aiming for the Chromebook x2 to be used as a primary computing device for consumers looking for more available horsepower on a ChromeOS device.
Along with the tablet mode capabilities come the included HP Active Pen stylus for sketching, notetaking, and navigation.
Additionally, HP Chromebook X2 will support the running of Android apps from the Google Play Store inside ChromeOS. This will allow users to access more tablet-optimized Android apps, which should be great for media consumption.
With pricing of $599, with the keyboard dock included, the HP Chromebook x2 is one of the few premium ChromeOS devices we've seen besides Google's Pixel offerings.
While it remains to be seen if users are interested in the 2-in-1 detachable form factor for a device running ChromeOS, the HP Chromebook x2 seems to be a premium product and a compelling option for users looking for the Chromebook experience.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | April 4, 2018 - 11:03 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Samsung Odyssey, Samsung, nvidia, max-p, Intel, coffee lake h
During Intel's launch event for its new Coffee Lake H processors in Beijing, China notebook manufacturers took the wraps off of their latest thin and light offerings. The latest announcement is from Samsung who launched its Notebook Odyssey Z gaming notebook. Measuring 375.6 x 255 x17.9mm and weighing 2.4 kg (5.29 pounds), it may not be particularly thin or light by most standards, but it is a unique design that brings a lot of mobile horsepower to bear for gaming tasks.
The Notebook Odyssey Z comes in Titan Silver with red accents and a red backlit keyboard. The top cover of the notebook has a silver and white repeating gradient design and the bottom of the notebook is covered almost entirely in mesh with the top half venting to the inside of the computer. Inside, the top half holds the 15.6" 1920x1080 display and a 720p webcam while the bottom half hosts two 1.5W speakers with angled grills and a red logo up top and the keyboard moved up to the front of the notebook and the trackpad is moved to the right side of the keyboard. The keyboard uses Crater keycaps and there are shortcut keys to record gameplay and change power modes (e.g. the Silent Mode clocks things down and changes the power envelop such that the notebook gets down to a quiet 22 decibels.
Around the edges there is a Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 3.0, one USB Type C, one USB 2.0, one HDMI, one audio, and one DC-in for external I/O.
Internally, the Odyssey Z is powered by Intel's new 6-core Core i7 "Coffee Lake H" processor (Samsung doesn't mention which model, but the 45W i7 8750H is a likely option) and a NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card. Other hardware includes up to 16 GB of DDR4 2400 MHz memory and 1 TB of NVMe storage. The system is cooled by Samsung's Z AeroFlow cooler which includes vapor chamber heatsinks for the processors. and two blower fans. There is a 54WH battery and it comes with a 180W AC power adapter.
Samsung's Notebook Odyssey Z will be available in certain countries including Korea and China this month with US availability in Q3 2018. No word yet on pricing, however.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | April 3, 2018 - 09:33 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: msi, i7-8750h, gtx 1070, gs65, gaming notebook, coffee lake h
MSI is introducing a new high-end gaming laptop as part of its stealth gaming GS series. The new MSI GS65 is a thin and light laptop at 0.69” thick and 4.14 pounds with ultra slim (4.9mm) bezels that allow it to pack a 15.6” display into a 14” laptop form factor. The GS65 utilizes the latest Intel processor and NVIDIA graphics along with all the RGB offered with a per-key backlit SteelSeries keyboard.
The MSI GS65 features a flat black design with gold trim and accents along with rounded corners. There are plenty of vents along the back and back corners of the left and right sides. External I/O includes Ethernet (the laptop is barely thick enough to hold the RJ-45 port), two USB 3.1 Gen 2, and two audio ports on the left side, and one USB 3.1 (10 Gbps), one Thunderbolt 3, one Mini DisplayPort, and one full size HDMI video output along the right side. Up top DynAudio speakers sit above the keyboard and a large trackpad sits below it. In addition to the built-in speakers, MSI also includes Nahimic 3 audio support for 7.1 virtual surround sound when using headphones. The display is a 15.6” 144 Hz display that is rated at a calibrated 94% NTSC color gamut.
Internally, MSI is using a beefy air cooling setup with three Whirlwind Blade fans (47 0.2mm thick fan blades), four heatpipes, and independent CPU and GPU coolers and airflow. Under the hood, MSI is offering up to an Intel Core i7-8750H Coffee Lake-H processor and either a NVIDIA GTX 1070 or GTX 1060 depending on the model. The Coffee Lake H processor is a 45W part featuring 6 cores / 12 threads clocked at 2.2 GHz base and 4.2 GHz turbo and 9 MB cache. The CPU supports dual channel DDR4-2666 MHz RAM and Intel Optane storage (no vPro on this model).
MSI claims up to 8 hours of battery life when in power saving “green mode” and playing back 720p video content. Naturally, battery life when gaming will be much lower, but in those situations, you’ll want to be near a power outlet anyway and at least MSI has managed to slim down the power adapter by 28% on this model.
On the software side of things, MSI is bundling the gaming laptop with SteelSeries Engine 3 software to control the keyboard backlighting (which can be configured to show things like ammo and health remaining) as well as Dragon Center 2.0 software for system monitoring and game profiles for optimizing memory when running supported games.
The GS65 laptop looks the part with a premium finish and nice looking accents like the floating hinge and vents without going too crazy, but we will have to wait for reviews to see if the performance is there as well. The new 6-core Intel chip and GTX 1070 combo is a lot of horsepower for a portable gaming system and I’ll be interested to see what reviewers think of the build quality and 144 Hz display. As is usually the case with these things, MSI is not yet talking pricing or availability but more information should be available soon. Update: It appears that the MSI GS65 starts at $1800 with an i7-8750H, GTX 1060, 16 GB RAM, and 256 GB SSD and $2100 for the GTX 1070 model on Amazon.
Are you rocking a gaming laptop? What do you think about MSI's latest stealthy offering?
- Intel Unveils More 8th Generation Mobile Processors, 6-Core Mobile CPUs
- MSI GS63VR Gaming Notebook - Another Take on Max-Q