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Falcon Northwest Mach V 3.4 Extreme Edition review: Falcon Northwest Mach V 3.4 Extreme Edition

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Performance analysis written by CNET Labs technician David Gussman.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:

ABS Ultimate M6
Windows XP Professional; 2.2GHz AMD Athlon 64 FX-51; Nvidia Nforce-3 Pro 150; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; ATI Radeon 9800XT 256MB; two Seagate ST380013AS 80GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA; WinXP Promise FastTrack 376/378 controller

Dell Dimension 8300
Windows XP Home; 3.2EGHz Intel P4; Intel 875P chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB; Maxtor 6Y250M0 250GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA

Falcon Northwest Mach V 3.4 Extreme Edition
Windows XP Home; 3.4GHz Intel P4 Extreme; Intel 875P chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; Nvidia GeForce FX 5950 Ultra 256MB; two Seagate ST3120026AS 120GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA; integrated Intel 82801ER SATA RAID controller

iBuyPower Gamer Extreme PC
Windows XP Home; 3.2EGHz Intel P4; Intel 875P chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; ATI Radeon 9800XT 256MB; Seagate ST3120026AS 120GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA

Velocity Micro ProMagix
Windows XP Home; 3.2EGHz Intel P4; Intel 875P chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; Nvidia GeForce FX 5950 Ultra 256MB; two WDC WD740GD-00FLA0 74GB 10,000rpm Serial ATA; WDC WD2000JB-00EVA0 200GB 7,200rpm; integrated Intel 82801ER SATA RAID controller

Velocity Micro Raptor Extreme Edition
Windows XP Professional; 3.2GHz Intel P4 Extreme; Intel 875P chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; Nvidia GeForce FX 5950 Ultra 256MB; two WDC WD360GD-00FNA0 36GB Serial ATA 10,000rpm; one WDC WD2500JB-53EVA0, 250GB, ATA/100, 7,200rpm; integrated Intel 82801ER SATA RAID controller

Falcon makes sure that all system-critical information is easy to locate. The custom system guide includes all of the internal checklists documenting the system testing and all of the driver, BIOS, and firmware versions. The manual, which focuses largely on maintaining system performance, also provides instructions for the system-recovery CDs, with clear warnings stating that using them will effectively erase your hard drives. Component driver discs and manuals are included, as well.

Tech-support numbers are plainly located in the system guide; hours are from Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT. The limited warranty covers parts and labor for three years, and while Falcon does not offer onsite service, it does cover the costs (both ways) for overnight delivery of the system for repairs (the company requires that you ship the system in its original packaging).

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