Falcon Northwest Tiki (2022) Gaming PC Review: A Small Miracle

“Phenomenal cosmic power… tiny habitat.” ~ 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 privilege of testing. It is a small miracle – in the truest sense of the word.

The small form factor gaming PC is dwarfed by my own DIY rigs, and yet it packs more power and runs faster than my latest custom build. It’s nothing short of remarkable.

As you can see in the image below, the Tiki is roughly the same size as a PlayStation 5, but packs a lot more horsepower. Unlike the PS5, it’s also shockingly heavy. If it weren’t so short I could almost certainly barricade a door.

The tiny chassis – brimming with high-end components – on the weighted base makes the Tiki as solid as it is powerful, yet you can place it comfortably on your desk without taking up much space. And it looks damn good.

Falcon Northwest engineers and designers can explain in detail how they pack so much performance into such a small package. You can explain why 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 get it. I am convinced there is magic at work.

Most gaming PCs fall into several different categories:

  • Flashy, neon-lit machines that really try to grab your attention;
  • Huge monstrosities that you can practically crawl into when adding a new drive or swapping out the power supply;
  • Simple budget machines that get the job done.

The Tiki holds its own unique place in the gaming world. There are other small form factor gaming PC options, but none quite as sleek. This is the Bentley Continental GT of gaming PCs – an expensive, attractive boutique PC that understands the secret of cool: it has to look effortless.

Speaking of cool, there are Tiki configurations that use both air and liquid cooling to bleed 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, liquid cooling units are also extremely small, but incredibly effective!)

Recently, however, Falcon Northwest has been offering Intel’s new i9-12900 (which, unlike the i9-12900k, cannot be overclocked). The i9-12900 runs so cool that it only needs air cooling even in this tiny chassis. According to Falcon Northwest internal testing, the i9-12900 only reached 72C in a three-hour “synthetic torture test” when air-cooled, while the i7-12700k hit 96C when water-cooled. That’s excellent.

My loaner is pitch black. Its only embellishment is the illuminated falcon logo on the front, slowly changing colors 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 get from Tiki, though it’s more about hard edges than rounding slopes. More muscles.

The big difference, of course, is that your Tiki will shred any game you throw at it while remaining remarkably cool and quiet. It’s so quiet, cool and stylish you almost forget it’s there. Of course, you can’t forget it’s there, since you’ll want it displayed in full at all times. This isn’t a PC you hide under a desk.

The specs in my review unit are very impressive (although you can configure your own in many different ways):

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-12700k – 5.0GHz – 12 Cores – LGA 1700
  • Graphic card: Nvidia RTX 3080 TI – 12GB – Founder’s Edition
  • R.A.M: G-Skill Trident Z5 – 32GB – 5600MHz – DDR5
  • motherboard: ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi
  • Storage: SSD M.2 Firecuda 520 – 2TB
  • Power adapter: Silverstone SX 800W SFX-L Titanium
  • Operating system: 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 whatever I threw at it without breaking a sweat, easily maintaining a crisp 60fps (and often a lot of 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 perfectly.

Instead of lengthy benchmarks – we all know how each of these components work and can look up comparisons to countless other similar components – I just want to point out that my Tiki has never missed a beat, never overheated even after hours of gaming, and never struggled has one of these games.

I had no bottlenecks, no performance issues, and no crashes. At times you could feel the warm air rushing out of it, but that’s the idea behind PC cooling. You want the hot air to flow out and the inside to stay nice and frosty.

There are of course also disadvantages. There’s always that – especially when you’re sacrificing size. While it’s nice to have such a compact gaming PC on my desk that doesn’t take up too much space, it means that upgrades – while not impossible – will be far more limited than in an ATX tower with plenty of room to work . These are the limitations of the form factor.

There are only two memory slots. So if I wanted to upgrade the memory 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 that You can start 64GB). Inside there’s room for two more SSD drives, so you can pack in a lot more storage. 2TB 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’re trading upgradability for a smaller form factor. You also pay a premium, with Tikis starting in the $3,000 to $4,000 range but easily ramping up to thousands higher depending on the options you select. My review unit, equipped with the newer Intel i9-12900 and air cooling, will set you back around $5,300. A high-end boutique luxury gaming PC is expensive, but you pay for what you get.

And isn’t that the point?

When you play on a Falcon Northwest device, you have the disposable income to pay for the best of the best without compromise. Don’t spare any expense.

I have to agree with my colleague Jason Evangelho’s 2013 review of the Tiki: It’s the perfect PC. In 2022 it’s just a lot better.

If you’re looking for a PC that’s stylish but not flashy, that has a small footprint but makes a big impression, you can’t beat the Falcon Northwest Tiki.

Rating: 5/5

Configure yours at Falcon Northwest’s homepage, where you can choose from CPU and GPU options, custom UV exterior prints, and more.

A loaner was provided for this review. I used this unit for two months to play games, render videos, and do everyday computing to get a full feel for how the machine performed over time. It ran flawlessly in every application and stayed cool and quiet the entire time. And it just looks good sitting there next to my ASUS ultra wide monitor.

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