Falcon Northwest Talon Review: A 12-Core Ryzen Powered Battle Station

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Falcon Northwest 20th Anniversary Talon: A New, More Compact Flagship Desktop

falcon talon glowing
Update: 11/9/19 - You could WIN a machine just like this, only with a killer Outer Worlds paint job, in our 20th Anniversary Giveaway!

Falcon Northwest has been in the boutique PC building game since 1992, but the company's Talon desktop PC didn't hit the market until 1999. Ironically, that's about the time HotHardware.com came into being on the interwebs, but we digress. The first Talon came loaded with a AMD Athlon 500MHz processor, a 13.5GB hard drive, 64MB SDRAM, and the Pièce de résistance: a 3dfx Voodoo3 graphics card. Yeah baby, good times. These specs are laughable by today's standards, but at the time the Talon was a solid performer at a sensible price and it featured a smaller chassis that made it more attractive to users that lacked the room for a monster-sized gaming full tower.

Technology has come along way in 20 years, however. The only reason to have a full sized tower with modern, top-shelf hardware is to fit a large water cooling loop. And even then, you can usually fit a decent loop into a mid-sized tower now anyways. With higher levels of technology integration in modern X86 platforms and the popularity of mid-sized towers, Falcon Northwest wanted to do something big for the Talon's 20th anniversary and in keeping, make the series their new flagship model.

talon stylized

Integrating the Talon into the company's flagship line-up isn't the only major change Falcon Northwest made to celebrate the series' 20th anniversary. They have also decided to embrace RGB lighting, something FNW was reluctant to do. RBG has proven to be more than a fad, like face tats and LaCroix though, so we're happy to see Falcon Northwest join the bandwagon. The new design also comes with (optional) tempered glass side panels to show off the RGB lights and 4mm thick, sand-blasted aluminum exterior panels. Yes indeed, the new Falcon Northwest Talon is dialed in, jacked up and loaded for bear. But before we wax further poetic, let's have a look at the full spec sheet...
Falcon Northwest Talon 20th Anniversary
Specifications & Features
Operating System Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Processor Options AMD Ryzen 7 3700x (8-cores, 16-threads 4.4GHz), AMD Ryzen 9 3900x (12-cores, 24-threads 4.6GHz), Intel Options As Well
Graphics Options NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER 6GB,  NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8GB, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER 8GB, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB Founders Edition, AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT, NVIDIA TITAN RTX 24GB, NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 8GB, NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 16GB, NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 24GB, NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000 48GB
Memory 16GB G.SKILL RIPJAWS V DDR4-2666MHz (2x8GB), 32GB G.SKILL RIPJAWS V DDR4-2666MHz (2x16GB), 32GB G.SKILL TRIDENT Z RGB DDR4-3200MHz (2x16GB), 64GB G.SKILL RIPJAWS V DDR4-2666MHz (4x16GB), 64GB G.SKILL TRIDENT Z RGB DDR4-3200MHz (4x16GB)
Optical Drive N/A
Storage Options Intel 660P 512GB SSD - M.2 - PCI Express, Intel 660P 1TB SSD -M.2 - PCI Express, Intel 660P 2TB - M.2 - PCI Express, Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500GB SSD - M.2 - PCI Express, Samsung 970 EVO Plus 1TB SSD - M.2 - PCI Express, Samsung 970 EVO Plus 2TB SSD - M.2 - PCI Express, Samsung 970 Pro 512GB SSD - M.2 - PCI Express, Samsung 970 Pro 1TB SSD - M.2 - PCI Express, Intel Optane 905P 1.5TB SSD - U.2 - PCI Express, Samsung 860 EVO 4TB SSD - SATA
Cooling System Asetek Liquid Cooling 680LS (280mm All-In-One Liquid Cooler), Asetek Liquid Cooling 650LX (Doube-Wide 140mm Liquid Cooler)
Connectivity Gigabit LAN 
On-Board WiFi
Front Panel Ports 2 x USB 3.0 Type-A, 1 x USB-C, 3.5mm Microphone, 3.5mm Headphone
Rear Panel Ports 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, 4 x USB 2.0, 1 x Gigabyte LAN (Intel I219-V), Onboard Audio, Various Display Outputs
Power Supply Options EVGA SuperNOVA G3 - 550 Watt, EVGA SuperNOVA G3 - 750 Watt, EVGA SuperNOVA G3 - 1000 Watt
Dimensions 18.6 x 8.7 x 17.9 inches (HxWxD) 
Weight 45 lbs (Average)
Warranty 1 Y Hardware Warranty, Lifetime Labor and Phone Support
Pricing $5,665 USD as configured

As you can see from the spec sheet above, the Falcon Northwest Talon desktop PC is rather customizable. There's a vast array of SSDs, graphics cards and processors to chose from. There are also options to chose the size of the liquid cooling unit, and options for dual graphics cards. Clearly, the Talon can be configured as a lean, mean gaming machine, but it's not just a one trick pony. Falcon Northwest has also included Quadro graphics cards, so it can be configured as a powerful workstation for professional users as well.

falcon northwest talon side interior3
The system we were sent is based around the AMD X570 chipset, which supports up to 64GB of memory and 12 Core AMD Ryzen processors. The starting price for a Ryzen based system is $3,014, but the price can easily exceed $6,000 once you start tweaking the hardware. The configuration Falcon NW sent us weighs in at $5,665 USD. That's a hefty premium, for sure, but it comes with a 12-core (24-thread) AMD Ryzen 9 3900x processor, dual NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER graphics cards, 64GB of DDR4 memory, and dual 1TB M.2 SSD drives running in a RAID 0 array. With this configuration the system is powerful enough to be 4K ready, VR ready and will be so for years to come. Not to mention the IO bandwidth of its storage subsystem, driven by PCIe Gen 4 in RAID 0, will light up whatever you throw at it.

falcon northwest talon main2

The Talon can also be configured with an Intel based platform and is has a introductory price of $2,432 USD, while the intro price of an X570/Ryzen 3000 series build starts at $3014. That may seem counter-intuitive with AMD's strong price/performance ratio these days, but Falcon Northwest just has lower-end CPU models (like Core i3 quad-cores) available for its Intel options. 

The 20th Anniversary Talon was a two year labor of love for Falcon Northwest. Let's look under the hood, shall we? 

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