“Phenomenal cosmic power … a tiny living space.” ~ The Genie, Aladdin. . . possibly describes the Falcon Northwest Tiki gaming PC.
The Falcon Northwest Tiki is hands down the coolest gaming PC I’ve ever had the pleasure of testing. It’s a small miracle – literally.
The small form factor gaming PC is overshadowed by my own DIY rigs, and yet it packs more power and runs faster than my last custom build. It is nothing short of remarkable.
As you can see in the image below, the Tiki is about the same size as a PlayStation 5, but it packs a lot more horsepower. Unlike the PS5, it’s also shockingly heavy. If it wasn’t so short, I’m pretty sure you could use to barricade a door.
The small chassis – packed to the brim with high-end components – on top of the weighted base makes the Tiki as solid as it is powerful, and yet you can comfortably mount it on your desk without losing much real estate. And it looks damn good.
The engineers and designers at Falcon Northwest can explain to you in detail how they fit so much power into such a small case. They can explain how it stays so remarkably cool and quiet (in both the water-cooled and air-cooled versions). They can explain this until their faces turn blue and I still don’t quite get it. I am convinced that there is some sorcery at work.
Most gaming PCs fall into several different categories:
- Flashy, neon-lit machines that really try to get your attention;
- Hulking monstrosities you can practically crawl into when adding a new drive or replacing the power supply;
- Basic budget machines that get the job done.
Tiki occupies its own unique place in the gaming world. There are other small form factor gaming PC options, but none of them are as stylish. This is the Bentley Continental GT of gaming PCs – a pricey, attractive boutique PC that understands the mystery of cool: it has to appear effortless.
Speaking of cool, there are Tiki configurations that use both air and liquid cooling to air these machines. My unit, equipped with an Intel i7-12700k CPU and an Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti graphics card, is liquid cooled. Many of the AMD options also come with liquid cooling (as you can imagine the liquid cooling units are also extremely small but incredibly efficient!)
Recently, however, Falcon Northwest began offering Intel’s new i9-12900 (which, unlike the i9-12900k, cannot be overclocked). The i9-12900 runs so cool that it only requires air cooling even in this little case. In fact, according to Falcon Northwest’s internal testing, in a three-hour “synthetic torture test” of both machines, the i9-12900 only reached 72C using air cooling, while the i7-12700k reached 96C, using water cooling. It is outstanding.
My lending unit is jet black. Its only adornment is the illuminated falcon logo on the front, the colors slowly changing from green to blue to purple to pink. This is by no means a rude PC.
When Steve Jobs designed the first Apple computer, he took inspiration from the Porsche 928. I see very few non-Apple PCs that look like they were designed with luxury sports cars in mind, but that’s the vibe I get from the Tiki , although there are more hard edges than rounding slopes. More muscles.
The big difference, of course, is that your Tiki will shred any game you throw at it and remain remarkably cool and quiet in the process. It’s so quiet, cool and elegant that you almost forget it’s there. Of course, you can’t forget it’s there since you want it on full screen at all times. This is not a PC you unceremoniously hide under a desk.
The specs in my test unit are very impressive (even if you configure your own many different ways):
- PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-12700k — 5.0 GHz — 12 cores — LGA 1700
- GPU: Nvidia RTX 3080 TI — 12 GB — Founders Edition
- RAM: G-Skill Trident Z5 — 32 GB — 5600 MHz — DDR5
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming Wifi
- Storage: SSD M.2 Firecuda 520 — 2 TB
- PSU: Silverstone SX 800W SFX-L Titanium
- OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Pro — 64 bit
The device measures 13.6 x 13 x 4 inches (compared to the PlayStation 5’s 15.4 x 10.2 x 4.1 inches). Like I said, it’s really small!
So how does it work?
Smooth as butter.
The Tiki ran everything I threw at it without breaking a sweat, easily maintaining a sharp 60 frames per second (and often a lot higher) on my ultrawide 3440×1440 monitor. God Of War, Cyberpunk 2077, Warzone, Dying Light 2, Elden Ring, Resident Evil Village, Red Dead Redemption 2 everything went flawlessly.
Instead of boring benchmarks – we all know how each of these components performs and can look up comparisons with countless other similar components – I’ll just point out that my Tiki never missed a beat, never overheated even after hours of gaming and never wore out with any of these games.
I encountered no bottlenecks, experienced no performance issues, and experienced no crashes. You could feel the hot air pouring out of it at times, but that’s the idea behind PC cooling. You want the hot air to flow out, keeping the inside nice and frosty.
There are downsides, of course. It always is—especially when you’re making a size trade-off. While it’s nice to have such a compact gaming PC that sits on your desk and doesn’t take up too much space, it means that upgrades – while not impossible – are going to be far more limited than in an ATX tower with good space to work. Such are the limitations of the form factor.
There are only two memory slots, so if I want to upgrade the RAM, I’ll have to replace the two 16GB units I have with two 32GB units, which is obviously more expensive (although Falcon Northwest now offers 32GB x2 configurations so you can start with 64 GB). There’s room inside to add two more SSD drives, so you can pack in a lot more storage space. 2 TB of super-fast M.2 SSD storage is great, but it’s easy to fill it up with games and other files.
So yes, you trade upgradeability for a smaller form factor. You’ll also pay a premium, with Tikis starting in the $3,000 – $4,000 range but easily topping thousands higher depending on the options you choose. My test unit, fitted with the newer Intel i9-12900 and air cooling will set you back around $5300. A quality boutique luxury gaming PC is expensive, but you pay for what you get.
And isn’t that the point?
If you play on a Falcon Northwest machine, you have the disposable income to pay for the best of the best without compromising. Spare no expense.
I have to agree with my colleague Jason Evangelho’s review of the Tiki from way back in 2013: This is the perfect PC. It’s just much better in 2022.
If you want a PC that’s stylish but not flashy, that has a small footprint but leaves a big impression, you can’t beat the Falcon Northwest Tiki.
Configure yours on Falcon Northwest’s website, where you can choose from CPU and GPU options, custom exterior UV prints, and much more.
A loaner unit was provided for this review. I used this device for two months, playing games, rendering videos and doing daily computing to get a full feel of how the machine performs over time. It ran flawlessly for every application and remained cool and quiet at all times. And it just looks good sitting there next to my ASUS Ultra-Wide monitor.
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