Falcon Northwest Tiki 2022 review: Small gaming PC that kills

Falcon Northwest Tiki 2022 review: Small gaming PC that kills

Falcon Northwest Tiki 2022 review: Small gaming PC that kills
Back in the mid-90s, I remember sitting around with friends at the school lunch table poring over glossy magazines that PC player and the long-defunct one PC Acceleratoras well as the huge, phonebook-like Computer Shopper. Sure, you had your Dells and your Compaqs, and your smaller vendors too, like ZEOS, Quantex, ALR, and the new Alienware. But among PC gamers in the 1990s, none of these names had the same prestige as Falcon Northwest. Whether it was the high specs of the machines, sleek designs or their unique, stylish advertising, Falcon Northwest established itself as the Bugatti of the build-to-order computer world. Back then we all built our own machines because we were poor, but we all wanted that Falcon logo as a badge of status.

As such, it is with no small degree of reverence that I entered this review. A Falcon Northwest machine, right here in our warm little hands. This is not the first Falcon Northwest system that HotHardware have reviewed, of course; it’s not even the first Tiki. However, the last Tiki we reviewed was equipped with an Intel Haswell processor and a first-generation GeForce GTX Titan GPU. That was back in 2013. Haswell sure doesn’t feel like 9 years ago, does it?

Naturally, this latest flagship Tiki is brand new and bursting at the seams with powerful, up-to-date hardware, like AMD’s 3D V-Cache equipped Ryzen 7 5800X3D. Let’s take a look at the full specs before we dive in:

Falcon Northwest Tiki (2022): specifications and features

falcon northwest tiki specs

Of course, the Tiki is not the fastest machine Falcon Northwest sells, but pay special attention to these dimensions. This is actually a seriously trim little machine – about the same size as a PlayStation 5, as this image from Falcon itself helpfully demonstrates:

ps5 size comparison falcon northwest tiki

Sure, the PS5 is huge for a gaming console, but this is no gaming console – this is a full-fledged gaming PC ready for Ultra HD gaming at high frame rates. The Ryzen 7 5800X3D is the fastest gaming CPU in the world right now, and the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is just one step behind the massive GeForce RTX 3090. Falcon will even put a Radeon RX 6950 XT in this thing too, if you want .

If we have any complaints with the specs it ships with, it would be the relatively limited storage. A single 2TB SSD works surprisingly well for a purely gaming system, especially now that most people have moved to streaming media. Still, you can fill it up shockingly quickly with Steam downloads. If we had chosen and purchased this system ourselves, that circumstance would have been our own fault – the Tiki can be equipped with a second M.2 SSD as well as a pair of 8TB SATA SSDs or a single 3.5″ SATA HDD with up to 14TB capacity.

Inspecting The Falcon Northwest Tiki

front back falcon northwest tiki

The front of the Tiki is a solid sheet of aluminum with a cutout for an RGB LED Falcon Northwest logo. The front panel I/O is up on top of the machine; we’ll get to that in a moment. The rear panel I/O is all offered by the ASUS ROG Strix B550-I motherboard and GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition graphics card.

We have a small nitpick here, in that there are actually quite a few USB ports. You get one USB 2.0 port, three USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port, and then another USB Type-C port exclusively for audio output. It feels like a waste to plug a keyboard or mouse into a USB 3.2 Gen 2 port, but you have to on this machine unless you want to plug them into the front panel USB ports. We would really like to see an additional USB 2.0 port on the back for input devices. Still, most people don’t need heaps of USB, so in the end it’s probably not a problem. Even if you do, you can only connect to a hub.

front panel falcon northwest tiki

A pair of USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports (5 Gbps), a 10-Gbps USB Type-C port and a 3.5 mm audio combo jack make up the front panel connections. This is a perfectly acceptable front panel configuration, often seen on many DIY cases. We might have liked to have seen another USB port or a card reader, but this is a gaming machine through and through. Most players probably won’t make use of such accommodations, and they will make the wiring inside the machine even more complicated.

case interior falcon northwest tiki

Opening up the side of the case simply requires loosening two thumb screws on the back and lifting it off. Getting into the Tiki couldn’t be easier, although closing it can be a significant challenge, mainly due to the Asetek liquid cooler. This reviewer prefers air coolers and checked with Falcon Northwest if such an option was available, but it was not. It’s a shame, because it can be unnerving to attach the side of the Tiki with those hoses in the way with such tight parts.

As you’d expect for a machine barely 4″ wide, the Tiki is cramped inside, but not extremely so. On the left, you can see the Falcon Northwest badge with the system’s serial number and the owner’s name on it – “Hot Hardware”, in this case. Each Falcon Northwest machine is custom built and customized to the buyer. Below the label is the bracket that can hold a single 3.5″ HDD or a pair of 2.5″ SSDs. You can install them yourself, even , although we don’t are sure where the SATA power cables ended up in our building.

Another niggle we have about the Tiki is the lack of filtering on the system intakes. There’s no two ways about it – any debris or dust that comes near the case goes right in, especially if the system is loaded and the fans are running.

falcon tiki airflow

We asked Falcon about this, and they replied that there was simply no room in the chassis for filters, or at least not ones that could be easily cleaned. Ultimately, the same openness of the chassis makes it easy to drop the nozzle of an airbox through the holes and blow out the fans, so keep an eye on things if you were to choose one of these tiny titans. It’s not a deal breaker, but it can be annoying if you have a dusty house or shedding pets.

As for user upgrades, Falcon Northwest will support and warrant the system “until it has been modified past that point [Falcon] would be able to support it.” The company tells us that generally means replacing the motherboard. The company also tells us that most user upgrades are graphics card upgrades. The 1,000-watt power supply in this machine should certainly serve, even for the power-hungry next generation.

As with all Falcon Northwest systems, the Tiki is built entirely from off-the-shelf components except for the chassis, so there’s really not much else to say here other than “good job.”

Let’s get into how the machine works, shall we?

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