Falcon Northwest Talon (2018)

The beauty of high-end gaming desktops is extreme configurability, and this is especially true when buying from a boutique company that builds to order. With its 2018 Talon (starts at $2,370; $8,626 as tested) Falcon Northwest achieves fantastic results. Outfitted with some of the fastest components on the market, this system sets benchmark records and is a class-leader in pretty much any use case. While other premium desktops tout flashy case designs; the Talon’s construction is relatively simplistic. That said, the PC still looks quite classy, and the case is easy to maneuver. Few will be able to manage the close-to-five digit price of our test PC, but configuring a less expensive build will still yield impressive results.

is extreme configurability, and this is especially true when buying from a boutique company that builds to order. With its 2018 Talon (starts at $2,370; $8,626 as tested) Falcon Northwest achieves fantastic results. Outfitted with some of the fastest components on the market, this system sets benchmark records and is a class-leader in pretty much any use case. While other premium desktops tout flashy case designs; the Talon’s construction is relatively simplistic. That said, the PC still looks quite classy, and the case is easy to maneuver. Few will be able to manage the close-to-five digit price of our test PC, but configuring a less expensive build will still yield impressive results.

The Talon’s design is on the more understated side, which is a plus for me. There are plenty of ostentatious gaming systems out there, and I appreciate some design restraint. This unit comes with a classy dark red automotive paint job, but you can request any color or color combination you’d like when ordering.

The main flourishes can be found on the front panel in the form of a strip LED, contoured metal grilles on both sides, and smaller grille indentations in the middle. Aside from those markings and two vents on the left side panel for interior fans, the Talon is fully enclosed and relatively simple. If you’re spending a ton of cash on a desktop, I could understand wanting it to look a bit flashier: Some cool lighting effects? Or maybe a window into the inside of the case? While the Origin PC Genesis goes all out, with a lighted interior window that shows off an intricate liquid cooling system, the Talon exists all the way on the other side of the design spectrum. The windowed Origin Neuron lands comfortably in the middle, delivering understated flair.

The main flourishes can be found on the front panel in the form of a strip LED, contoured metal grilles on both sides, and smaller grille indentations in the middle. Aside from those markings and two vents on the left side panel for interior fans, the Talon is fully enclosed and relatively simple. If you’re spending a ton of cash on a desktop, I could understand wanting it to look a bit flashier: Some cool lighting effects? Or maybe a window into the inside of the case? While the

goes all out, with a lighted interior window that shows off an intricate liquid cooling system, the Talon exists all the way on the other side of the design spectrum. The windowed

For a gaming desktop, the Talon is hefty, but not too large, measuring 17.5 by 8.2 by 19 inches (HWD), and taking up only a moderate amount of desk or floor space. The Neuron is similarly sized at 17.8 by 9 by 15.7 inches, while the Genesis is enormous at 25.3 by 9.8 by 24.8 inches. Access to the PC’s components isn’t quite as easy as it is with those systems and their swinging glass doors, but simply removing some hand screws on the rear releases the side panel. There are fans attached to the inside of the door, though, so you can only pull it so far from the case without disconnecting the headers. The interior is about as simple as the exterior: There isn’t much in the way of intricate custom work inside, beyond admirably clean cable management. The Talon feels more like a PC you could build yourself, unlike those with complex piping, cooling systems, or case lighting.

For a gaming desktop, the Talon is hefty, but not too large, measuring 17.5 by 8.2 by 19 inches (HWD), and taking up only a moderate amount of desk or floor space. The Neuron is similarly sized at 17.8 by 9 by 15.7 inches, while the Genesis is enormous at 25.3 by 9.8 by 24.8 inches. Access to the PC’s components isn’t quite as easy as it is with those systems and their swinging glass doors, but simply removing some hand screws on the rear releases the side panel. There are fans attached to the inside of the door, though, so you can only pull it so far from the case without disconnecting the headers. The interior is about as simple as the exterior: There isn’t much in the way of intricate custom work inside, beyond admirably clean cable management. The Talon feels more like a PC you

The components are far from ordinary, however. Inside is an Asus X299 Deluxe motherboard, an 18-core 4.4GHz Intel Core i9-7980XE processor, dual Nvidia GeForce Titan Xp graphics cards (12GB each), and 64GB of 3,000MHz G.Skill memory. It’s all supported by a CPU liquid cooler, 120MM fans, and a 1,000W EVGA G3 Gold power supply. While they’re not assembled to be displayed in this particular tower, they are still extraordinary components, particularly the processor and graphics card. For storage, there’s a 1TB Samsung 960 Pro M.2 SSD as the boot drive, and a much larger 6TB Western Digital Red hard drive. That is, needless to say, plenty for games as well as sizable media files.

Ports are mostly located on the rear panel, but a pair of USB 3.0 connections and headset jacks live on the top panel toward the front of the PC for easy access. The power button is on the front of the system, just above a swinging panel that hides a DVD drive and seven other open bays for potential drive additions. Around back, you get 10 USB 3.0 ports, a USB port for BIOS flash, a USB-C port, and two Ethernet jacks. The video cards each provide three DisplayPort connections and one HDMI port. Falcon Northwest supports the Talon with a three-year parts and labor warranty, and one year of overnight shipping for repairs.

No surprise given its components, this Talon is an incredible performer. The beefy hardware helped the PC to ace all of our benchmark tests, from general productivity to multimedia tasks. Its PCMark Work Conventional score is among the highest we’ve seen, though that’s not where the many-core CPU really shines. With its Handbrake video-encoding score, the Talon is the first PC to break below the 20-second barrier, and its Cinebench showing was similarly impressive. On the whole, this machine can power through media projects as well or better than any other PC we’ve tested, blowing away professional systems like the Apple iMac Pro .

No surprise given its components, this Talon is an incredible performer. The beefy hardware helped the PC to ace all of our benchmark tests, from general productivity to multimedia tasks. Its PCMark Work Conventional score is among the highest we’ve seen, though that’s not where the many-core CPU really shines. With its Handbrake video-encoding score, the Talon is the first PC to break below the 20-second barrier, and its Cinebench showing was similarly impressive. On the whole, this machine can power through media projects as well or better than any other PC we’ve tested, blowing away professional systems like the

Its dominance doesn’t end there, as the exotic dual Titan Xp graphics cards are simply tough to match. The Heaven and Valley benchmark tests run simulated 3D gaming environments and record the frame rates. At 4K resolution and Ultra-quality settings, the Talon averaged 98 frames per second (fps) on Heaven and 92fps on Valley, a feat for 4K. 60fps is the target for high-end hardware, and 4K is demanding enough that even very expensive systems have trouble hitting it–dual cards are typically equired. The Genesis managed similar numbers, along with the Velocity Micro Raptor Z95 , while the Alienware Area 51 Threadripper Edition fell closer to 80fps.

Its dominance doesn’t end there, as the exotic dual Titan Xp graphics cards are simply tough to match. The Heaven and Valley benchmark tests run simulated 3D gaming environments and record the frame rates. At 4K resolution and Ultra-quality settings, the Talon averaged 98 frames per second (fps) on Heaven and 92fps on Valley, a feat for 4K. 60fps is the target for high-end hardware, and 4K is demanding enough that even very expensive systems have trouble hitting it–dual cards are typically equired. The Genesis managed similar numbers, along with the

Resolutions like 1440p may be ideal for your gaming monitor of choice, so you may be less concerned with 4K performance. Needless to say, if the Talon is posting more than 90fps at 4K, the frames will run fast and free at lower resolutions. Take the 1080p scores, for example, which hit 215fps on Heaven and 116fps on Valley on the same quality settings. Gaming aside, if you want to use the Talon as your professional video creation or animation machine, you’d be hard pressed to find better hardware for the job. Buying such an expensive system, whether it’s the Talon or a competitor, just for gaming is probably overkill. You’d be getting better punch from this desktop if you have multiple demanding needs, but need is relative when spending in this price range, and you may very well just be looking for a luxury gaming system.

Resolutions like 1440p may be ideal for your gaming monitor of choice, so you may be less concerned with 4K performance. Needless to say, if the Talon is posting more than 90fps at 4K, the frames will run fast and free at lower resolutions. Take the 1080p scores, for example, which hit 215fps on Heaven and 116fps on Valley on the same quality settings. Gaming aside, if you want to use the Talon as your professional video creation or animation machine, you’d be hard pressed to find better hardware for the job. Buying such an expensive system, whether it’s the Talon or a competitor,

for gaming is probably overkill. You’d be getting better punch from this desktop if you have multiple demanding needs, but need is relative when spending in this price range, and you may very well just be looking for a luxury gaming system.

It’s difficult to find too much fault in the 2018 Talon. This PC is incredibly fast in all areas, safe enough in design that it shouldn’t turn off many potential buyers, and isn’t too large. The case isn’t fancy, but it’s functional. Its appearance doesn’t scream super-premium with windows or the eye-popping lighting of other exorbitantly priced desktops, though you can dress it up with a flashy paint job. The Talon’s components do the talking here.

This aspirational build will be out of price reach of most buyers, but you can configure a more affordable system and be confident in the relative performance. You’ll get a PC that suits your needs, it will be professionally assembled, painted as you’d like, and well supported for years.