Falcon Northwest Talon 20th Anniversary Review: Design And Build Quality
When comparing last year's Talon to the 20th Anniversary edition, you can see a lot has changed. Both inside and out. The new chassis exterior features a strong 4mm thick metal body that gives the case a heavy-duty look and feel. This year's model has some weight to it. The model we were sent weighed in over 34lbs and stands 17-inches high. The case also has a more modern look than the previous generation and it comes with a few features new to the series; RGB lighting and tempered glass panels. Both add to the visual flare of the case and bring Falcon Northwest into the new era of gaming PCs.
As you can see in the image below, the Talon we were sent sports tempered glass side panels. However, they are optional. If you prefer, you can get solid aluminum side panels in place of the tempered glass. Both are considered standard on this model, so it's up to you're discretion. Both look fantastic, but the tempered glass really shows of the RGB lighting and lets face it, we are living in an RGB world these days.
Falcon Northwest told us the 20th Anniversary Edition Talon was their first foray into RGB lighting. Honestly we were a little surprised because they nailed it. All of the lights worked seamlessly together and the ASUS motherboard software they integrated into the build was easy to use and intuitive. The only aspect we didn't like about the lighting was the fact we couldn't change the color of the NVIDIA logo on the graphics cards, but that may have been asking too much. Since the graphics cards always glow green, you'll have to set all the other RGB lights to green if you want a uniform theme. The rainbow color scheme worked well with the graphics cards, but some of the static colors seemed to clash with NVIDIA green. This is at best a minor annoyance and this is a limitation on NVIDIA and not Falcon Northwest.
The hardware inside the 20th anniversary Talon ranges from high-end to insane. The base model sports a AMD Ryzen 7 3700X processor, 16GB of memory and a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Super graphics card. Of course you can scale up from there and really make the Talon a true gaming powerhouse. Internally, the system is extremely clean with impeccable cable management and wiring, with all the hardware matching a uniform color scheme. Visually, the 20th anniversary Talon is a a sight to behold (especially once all the LEDs are active). That said, even with the lights turned out the internal hardware just dead sexy. The G.Skill memory pairs extremely well with the NVIDIA graphics cards in our build and even the Asetek AIO cooler looks right at home. You can of course opt for AMD Radeon GPUs as well, which would offer Ryzen/Radeon purity in the CPU and motherboard config we were sent for testing. That's if purity is a concern for you, of course.
When you're running dual graphics cards and a processor with 24-threads cooling becomes very important. To cool the processor, Falcon uses a custom Asetek cooler with a 280mm radiator and dual 140mm fans. In addition to the dual fan solution pulling air in from the front, there's a single 120mm fan at the back to exhaust the heat out, using push-pull thermal management.
The front I/O panel is found on the right side of the top panel. The position of the I/O panel will be convenient for most users, especially if the system is placed to the left of the user. Since the ports are on the top panel though, accessing them will be easier if the case is on the floor, as opposed to directly on a desktop.
The port section on the front is limited, but will satisfy most users. From front to back you have the power button, a 3.5mm audio jack, USB Type-C port and dual USB 3.1 ports. Like we said, the selection is somewhat limited, but it should be more than enough for most gamers. The only user demographic we could see needing more ports are creative professionals, who sometimes need to have a lot of external devices available and connected at once. Luckily there are plenty of expansion ports on the back as well, which we'll be looking at shortly.
The jump to flagship product didn't only include a robust upgrade to the hardware, but cable management as well. All of the cables in the 20th Anniversary Edition Talon were carefully routed to be out of the way of the hardware, and only minimally displayed. The majority of cables that are showing are all individually braided, super-clean and come with black gathers. Other than the cables, there are two 2.5-inch SSD brackets on the back of the motherboard tray that can be used to house two additional SSDs.
The back of the Talon comes loaded with plenty of space for expansion. In all, you're looking at a panel that features four USB 3.0 ports, six USB 3.1 (10Gbps) ports five type-A ports and one type-C, clear CMOS button, Flashback button, WIFI antenna, 1G LAN, 2.5G LAN, and 7.1 gold plated audio outputs with S/PDIF out. If you're looking at the amount of expansion here and thinking it's not enough for either gaming or a workstation, you're likely drunk and need to go home. It's closing time.
The bottom of the case has two large stands that raise the case about an inch and a half off the ground. The spacing between the base of the case and the floor will improves ventilation, making it safe to place the computer on a surface other than a desk top. The base has a four rubber skids to ensure the computer stays stationary and there's a magnetic dust filter that covers the power supplies intake vents. The dust filter will make sure to keep those nasty dust particles out, protecting the power supply for years to come. The magnetic strip also makes it extremely easy to remove, when it's time to clean the filter.
The front of the case also comes with a detachable magnetic filter. The one on the front is larger though and covers the entirety of the 360mm ventilation area. The filter is again easy to remove and easy to clean. Behind it sits the 240mm Asetek radiator, which is secured to the top two fan slots.
Now that we've explored the hardware side of things, lets move on to the BIOS and software setup...