CNET First Look
Falcon Northwest Fragbox (2013)This highly customizable, hand-assembled gaming desktop aims for superior performance while keeping its physical footprint small.
-I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here taking a look at a Falcon Northwest Fragbox. This is a system we've seen before in previous iterations. This is what they call new-- 2013 version of it and what's new about it is it's one of the first systems that we gotta see with Intel's new fourth-generation core i-series processors, otherwise known by the code name Haswell, and along with that, we actually also got one of Nvidia's brand new GeForce 780 graphics cards. So, we got all the new parts in a box that's a slightly updated version of the same kind of small form factor gaming Fragbox that Falcon Northwest and other companies had been selling for years. The design of this particular version is slightly updated, but it's still something you don't even really see that often now that everybody has laptops or all-in-ones, even for gaming, but it is fun to occasionally go back and get one of these big custom-made gaming boxes. Now, one of the main advantages of having these new Haswell chips is really long battery life in laptops and in tablets and other portable devices. You don't get that here. And frankly, because this is a traditional gaming desktop, Falcon really kind of ignores a lot of the things that are sort of trendy in computers this year, like touchscreens and Thunderbolt, and of course, that longer battery life that you do get with the Haswell. So, it's much more of a traditional experience here. Our particular build with the fourth-generation core i7 quad-core processor, the Nvidia GeForce 780 graphics card, and get these two 960GB solid-state hard drives all adds up to be very expensive, I think about $3,400. Obviously, the solid-state hard drives really add a lot to the cost there. You can actually start the Fragbox at about $1,600, but for that very base configuration, you're really better off just spending your money somewhere else and just getting, you know, a core i5 and a GeForce 650. You can pretty much get that anywhere. If you're going to invest in a Fragbox, you really wanna go for those high-end upgrades because you get, not only the really high-end parts, you also get that expert hand construction and the burn-in and the testing and the overclocking and I think, even more importantly, in a gaming system, that ability to get these guys on the phone for tech support should you need that. So, it's gonna be a big investment, but if you really want, you know, a super high-end gaming system and you don't really care about portability too much, you know, it's got a handle at it, but it's still not particularly portable, even though they call it a small form factor. The Falcon Northwest Fragbox is probably one of the coolest ways to get all the latest gaming parts in one box that at least is not the size of a refrigerator. I'm Dan Ackerman and that is the Falcon Northwest Fragbox.