Two minute review
Here is the Falcon Northwest Talon configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: Intel Core i9-9900KS (4.0GHz base, 5.0GHz boost, 16MB cache)
Graphics: 2 x Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super
RAM: 2 x 16GB G.Skill TridentZ @ 3,200MHz
Motherboard: Asus ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA G3 1000W
Storage: 2TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus
Ports (front): 2 x USB-A; 1 x USB-C; 1 x 3.5mm Audio
Ports (rear): 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, 1 x LAN, 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 2, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x Optical S/PDIF, 5 x Audio jack, 1 x ASUS Wi-Fi Module
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11ac; Bluetooth 5.0
If you're anything like us, then you've spent your entire childhood going to boutique PC builders or "system integrators" and configuring the most expensive and best gaming PC you could dream up before ultimately being scared away by a giant pricetag. The Falcon Northwest Talon perfectly encapsulates that culture: it's an incredibly expensive PC, but one crafted with such attention to detail that it's arguably worth it if you have the cash to spare.
And you'll need lots of cash if you want to pick up this tower. Even at the base level, you're looking at a mighty price tag of $2,434 (about £1,870, AU$3,600). For that you'll get an Intel Core i3-9100F, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB Intel 660p SSD and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Super. That'd make for a capable gaming system, without a doubt, but at more than two grand, it's a hefty price to pay.
And, if you want to get the configuration we've listed below – though the processor is no longer available, as they've substituted the Intel Core i9-9900KS for the regular 9900K (trust us, there's not much of a difference) – you're looking at a price tag of $4,806 (about £3,700, AU$7,120). It would be incredibly easy to build a PC with these same components at a fraction of the price, but you're paying for the ensemble, not the individual components.
Here’s how the Falcon Northwest Talon performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
Cinebench R20: 4,869 points
3DMark Time Spy: 19,900 | Fire Strike: 34,315 | Sky Diver: 69:830
Geekbench 4.3 Single Core: 6,370
Multi Core: 36,679
PCMark 8 Home: 4,914
Total War: Three Kingdoms: 294 fps (1080p, low); 83 fps (1080p, ultra)
Metro Last Light: 119 fps (1080p, low) 71 fps (1080p, ultra)
The price here goes almost entirely into the design and build quality of the desktop. Sure, you can build a similar PC yourself for a fraction of the cost, but it won't look nearly this good. Seriously, we've built dozens of PCs in our lifetime, and we've never seen a desktop PC with wiring this tight, with a chassis so cleanly assembled, or with lighting this perfectly composed. A lot of care was obviously put into this machine, so it's not super surprising to see the price tag go so high.
We have seen plenty of desktop PCs in our time from SIs (system integrators) that are super locked down, needing tools and expertise to go in and make upgrades, but Falcon Northwest takes serviceability to another level. Not only does it provide excellent customer service if you need it, but it's super easy to go in and mess around with the hardware if you feel comfortable doing so. Every single component in this chassis is an off-the-shelf PC component, so it's incredibly easy to go in and make any upgrades or repairs you need.
Falcon Northwest even goes the extra mile, including all the cables and accessories that you would get if you bought the motherboard or power supply off the shelf, which means you will never have to make that panicked run to Micro Center to grab a pack of SATA cables.
The configuration Falcon Northwest sent us for review was, obviously, an absolute behemoth of a gaming PC. Strapped with an Intel Core i9-9900KS, a whopping two RTX 2080 Supers and 32GB of RAM, it absolutely plows through everything you can throw at it. But, even with this mammoth setup, there are some caveats.
In synthetic benchmarks like 3DMark, the true potential of this SLI configuration is extremely clear, with the Falcon Northwest Talon achieving a jaw-dropping 19,900 points in Time Spy and 34,315 in Fire Strike. Just to put that into perspective, the RTX 2080 Ti achieved just 12,123 points in Time Spy and 25,039 in Fire Strike. Looking at actual in-game performance reveals the problem with SLI in 2020, however.
In Metro Exodus at 1080p Ultra settings, the Falcon Northwest Talon scored a respectable 71 FPS, but that's actually less than we got the last time we tested the RTX 2080 Super we got from Nvidia. Before you opt for a dual graphics card configuration, this is something you should definitely take into consideration. In fact, and this is something we never thought we'd say, but it's a better value to just go with a single RTX 2080 Ti for most people.
Buy it if...
Price isn't a concern
The Falcon Northwest Talon is an expensive gaming PC, there's little doubt there. You can get the same components elsewhere for less, but you're really paying for the luxurious build quality.
You want pristine build quality
Everything about this PC build just radiates luxury and quality. We've seen hundreds of gaming PCs in our time, and none have looked more professional than this one. It's a gaming aesthetic that's actually good.
You want epic gaming power
This gaming PC is configurable with the most powerful hardware on the market today, including Threadripper and Quadro RTX graphics cards. If you need computing horsepower in a pretty chassis, Falcon Northwest has you covered.
Don't buy it if...
You're on a budget
Again, the Falcon Northwest Talon is a pricey gaming PC, so if you don't have thousands to drop on a new rig, you're absolutely going to want to look elsewhere. We wouldn't call this PC a "bargain".
You're comfortable building your own PC
Here at TechRadar we absolutely believe that building your own PC is definitely worth it if you're comfortable with it. And, with the Falcon Northwest Talon, you could potentially save thousands. Plus, building a PC is a lovely way to spend an afternoon if we do say so ourselves.