“A phenomenal cosmic power…a tiny living space.” ~ The Genie, Aladdin. . . possibly describing the Falcon Northwest Tiki gaming PC.
The Falcon Northwest Tiki is by far the coolest gaming PC I’ve ever had the chance to test. It’s a small miracle, literally.
The small form factor gaming PC is dwarfed by my own DIY rigs, yet it packs more power and runs faster than my latest custom build. It is simply remarkable.
As you can see from the image below, the Tiki is roughly the same size as a PlayStation 5, but packs a lot more power. Unlike the PS5, it’s also incredibly heavy. If it wasn’t so short, I’m sure you could use it to barricade a door.
The tiny chassis – packed to the brim with premium components – atop the weighted base makes the Tiki as strong as it is powerful, and yet you can fit it comfortably on your desk without wasting much space. And it looks damn good.
Falcon Northwest engineers and designers can explain in detail how they can pack so much power into such a small package. They can explain how it stays so remarkably cool and quiet (in both water-cooled and air-cooled versions). They can explain this until their faces turn blue and I still won’t really understand. I am convinced that there is witchcraft at work.
Most gaming PCs fall into several different categories:
- Glowing neon-lit machines that are really trying to get your attention;
- Huge monstrosities you can practically crawl into when adding a new drive or swapping out the power supply;
- Basic budget machines that get the job done.
The Tiki occupies its own unique space in the gaming world. There are other small form factor gaming PC options out there, but none of them are quite as sleek. This is the Bentley Continental GT of gaming PCs – an expensive and attractive boutique PC that understands the mystery of cool: it should appear effortless.
Speaking of cool, there are Tiki setups that use both air and liquid cooling to ventilate these machines. My device, equipped with an Intel i7-12700k processor and an Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti graphics card is liquid cooled. Many AMD options will also come with liquid cooling (as you can imagine, liquid cooling units are also extremely small but incredibly efficient!)
Recently, however, Falcon Northwest has started offering Intel’s new i9-12900 (which, unlike the i9-12900k, cannot be overclocked). The i9-12900 performs so well that it only requires air cooling, even in this small package. In fact, according to internal Falcon Northwest testing, in a three-hour “synthetic torture test” on both machines, the i9-12900 only reached 72°C using air cooling, while the i7-12700k reached 96°C, with water cooling. This is exceptional.
My loan device is jet black. Its only ornamentation is the lighted falcon logo on the front, its colors slowly changing from green to blue to purple to pink. This is by no means a brash PC.
When Steve Jobs designed the first Apple computer, he was inspired by the Porsche 928. I see very few non-Apple PCs that look like they were designed for luxury sports cars, but that’s the vibe I Tiki feel, although it’s more hard edges than rounded slopes. More muscles.
The big difference, of course, is that your Tiki will destroy any game you throw at it and stay remarkably cool and quiet in the process. It’s so quiet, cool and sleek, you’ll almost forget it’s there. Of course, you can’t forget it’s there since you’ll want it in full screen all the time. It’s not a PC you hide unceremoniously under a desk.
The specs of my test unit are very impressive (although you configure yours in different ways):
- CPU: Intel Core i7-12700k — 5.0 GHz — 12 cores — LGA 1700
- GPUs: 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: M.2 Firecuda 520 — 2TB SSD
- Power supply : Silverstone SX 800W SFX-L Titanium
- SE: Microsoft Windows 11 Pro—64-bit
The unit 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 like butter.
The Tiki performed everything I threw at it without breaking a sweat, easily maintaining a sharp 60fps (and often a lot higher) on my 3440×1440 ultrawide monitor. God of War, Cyberpunk 2077, Warzone, Dying Light 2, Elden Ring, Resident Evil Village, Red Dead Redemption 2 everything went smoothly.
Rather than tedious benchmarks – we all know how each of these components work and can look up comparisons to countless other similar components – I’ll just point out that my Tiki never missed a beat, never overheated even after hours of play and never struggled with any of these games.
I encountered no bottlenecks, performance issues, or crashes. You could sometimes feel hot air coming out of it, but that’s the idea behind cooling the PC. You want the warm air to flow through, keeping the interior nice and frosty.
There are downsides, of course. There always are, especially when you compromise on size. While it’s nice to have such a compact gaming PC sitting on my desk without taking up too much space, it does mean that upgrades, while not impossible, will be much more limited than in a tower ATX with enough space to work. These are the limits of the form factor.
There are only two memory slots, so if I wanted to upgrade the RAM I would 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 64GB). There’s room inside to add two more SSDs so you can pack a lot more storage. 2TB of super-fast M.2 SSD storage is great, but it’s easy to fill it with games and other files.
So yes, you are trading expandability for a smaller form factor. You also pay a premium, with Tikis starting between $3,000 and $4,000 but easily exceeding thousands of dollars depending on the options you select. My test unit, equipped with the new Intel i9-12900 processor and air cooling, will set you back around $5,300. A quality boutique, luxury gaming PC is expensive, but you pay for what you get.
And isn’t that the point?
If you’re playing on a Falcon Northwest machine, you have the disposable income to pay for the best of the best without compromise. Spare no expense.
I agree with my colleague Jason Evangelho’s opinion on the Tiki from 2013: it’s the perfect PC. It’s just a lot better in 2022.
If you want a sleek but not flashy PC that has a small footprint but leaves a big impression, you can’t beat the Falcon Northwest Tiki.
Configure yours on the Falcon Northwest homepage, where you can choose from CPU and GPU options, custom outdoor UV prints and more.
A loaner unit was provided for the purposes of this review. I used this device for two months, playing games, rendering videos, and doing day-to-day computing to get a full feel for how the machine is performing over time. It worked flawlessly for every application and stayed cool and quiet for the duration. And it looks good sitting next to my ASUS Ultra-Wide monitor.
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