“Phenomenal cosmic force … a tiny living space.” ~ Genien, Aladdin. . . possibly describing the Falcon Northwest Tiki gaming PC.
Falcon Northwest Tiki is without a doubt the coolest gaming PC I have ever had the good fortune to test. It’s a little miracle – literally.
The small form factor gaming PC is overshadowed by my own do-it-yourself rigs, and yet it packs more power and runs faster than my latest custom design. 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 is also shockingly heavy. If it was not so short, I’m pretty sure you could use to lock a door.
The small chassis – packed to the brim with advanced 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 property. 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 matter. They can explain how it remains so remarkably cool and quiet (in both the water-cooled and air-cooled version). They can explain this until their faces turn blue and I still do not fully understand. I’m convinced there is some witchcraft at work.
Most gaming PCs fall into several different categories:
- Showy, neon-lit machines that are really trying 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 gaming PC options with a small form factor, but none of them are that stylish. This is the Bentley Continental GT of gaming PCs – an expensive, attractive boutique PC that understands the mystery of cool: it must appear simple.
Speaking of cool, there are Tiki configurations that use both air and liquid cooling to vent these machines. My device, 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, can not be overclocked). The i9-12900 runs so cool that it only requires air cooling even in this small case. In fact, according to Falcon Northwest’s internal testing, in a three-hour “synthetic torture test” of both machines, the i9-12900 reached only 72C using air cooling, while the i7-12700k reached 96C, with water cooling. It’s unique.
My loan unit is carbon black. Its only decoration is the illuminated falcon logo on the front, the colors slowly change 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 drew inspiration from the Porsche 928. I see very few non-Apple PCs that look like they were designed for luxury sports cars, but that’s the mood I get from Tiki , although there are harder edges than rounding slopes. More muscle.
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 is so quiet, cool and elegant that you almost forget it is there. Of course, you can not forget that it is there, since you want it on full screen at all times. This is not a PC you casually hide under a desk.
The specifications of my test device 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 PlayStation 5s 15.4 x 10.2 x 4.1 inches). Like I said, it’s really small!
So how does it work?
Smooth as butter.
Tiki ran everything I threw at it without sweating, and easily kept sharp 60 frames per second (and often a lot higher) on my ultra-wide 3440 × 1440 screen. God Of War, Cyberpunk 2077, Warzone, Dying Light 2, Elden Ring, Resident Evil Village, Red Dead Redemption 2 everything went flawlessly.
Instead of boring metrics – we all know how each of these components perform and can beat comparisons with countless other similar components – I just want to point out that my Tiki never missed a beat, never overheated even after hours of playing and never wearing with some of these games.
I encountered no bottlenecks, experienced no performance issues and had no crashes. You could feel the hot air flowing out of it at times, but that’s the idea behind PC cooling. You want the warm air to flow out, and keep the inside nice and frosty.
There are downsides, of course. It always is – especially when you make a size trade-off. While it’s nice to have such a compact gaming PC that sits on your desk and does not take up too much space, it means that upgrades – although not impossible – will be far more limited than in an ATX tower with plenty of space to work. Such are the limitations of the form factor.
There are only two memory slots, so if I want to upgrade RAM, I have to replace the two 16GB devices I have with two 32GB devices, which is obviously more expensive (although Falcon Northwest now offers 32GB x2 configurations so you can start with 64 GB). There is room inside to add two more SSDs so you can pack a lot more storage space. 2 TB super fast M.2 SSD storage is great, but it’s easy to fill up with games and other files.
So yes, you switch upgradeability for a smaller form factor. You also pay a premium, with Tikis starting in the $ 3000- $ 4000 range, but easily tops thousands higher depending on which options you choose. My test unit, fits 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 is not 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. Save no expenses.
I have to agree with my colleague Jason Evangelho’s review of Tiki from way back in 2013: This is the perfect PC. It’s just a lot better in 2022.
If you want a PC that is stylish but not flashy, that has a small footprint, but that leaves a big impression, you can not beat the Falcon Northwest Tiki.
Set up yours on the Falcon Northwest website, where you can choose between CPU and GPU options, custom exterior UV prints and much more.
A loan unit was provided for this review. I used this device for two months, played games, played videos and did daily computing to get a full sense of how the computer is performing over time. It ran flawlessly for each application and remained cool and quiet at all times. And it just looks good sitting there next to my ASUS Ultra-Wide screen.
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