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CNET First Look
Falcon Northwest TalonFalcon Northwest's revamped Talon gaming PC puts its best redesigned foot forward with a strong configuration build around Intel's latest batch of Core i7 CPUs.
[ Music ] >>[background music] Hi I'm Rich Brown, Senior Editor for CNET.com. Today we're gonna take a look at Falcon Northwest Talon. This is an upper midrange gaming system and it's exciting because it's the first PC we've seen with the newest version of Intel's Core i7 CPU's. You can see this is mostly an all black case so it will go pretty much anywhere. It's nice and sturdy aluminum. Open up the front panel and you can see a Blu-ray drive and a media card reader down here. And what's maybe not so obvious is that behind this vent right here, you can take it off and there's a fan underneath and you can get right at the hard drive base. Now the drives slide out, you can put the hard drives in from the front. It makes it very easy to add or upgrade hard drives. We also like that the fan has no wires and it's just an electrical contact in there. It makes it nice and easy to take this part out and not have to hassle with making a connection. So around the back it's pretty straight forward. You see two graphics card here, all DVI video outputs. You've got a ton of USB ports on the back as well as analog audio, a couple kinds of digital audio output as well as ESAT and FireWire for fast external data connections. So inside the casing you'll see a few cool features. One thing we like in particular is the foam here in the side panel that helps keep the noise down. So we're right into with the new Intel chip here and there's a few things to know. Now with this new chip comes a completely new socket interface which means the way the chip plugs into a motherboard. That means it will hold the motherboard design behind the CPU as well. Now it's good because the new Core i7 chip is supposed to be a more affordable part. Now the new Core i7 chip itself has most of the performance of the older model but the motherboard has lost a few features along the way. So the biggest difference comes by way of the memory. If you recall, the old Core i7 had a triple channel memory interface which means that the ram you would plug into the motherboard you'd do in batches in three. Here's it's only a dual channel and it still uses DDF3 but you can see there's only four landslides here. That means the memory in the system isn't quite as fast as with the older, higher end Core i7's but for most consumer applications and mainstream games, you're really not going to need all that extra memory bandwidth that the older version had. Now despite the small fan, falcon is still over clocked the CPU going from 2.83 gigs out of the box all the way up to 3.39 so it's a pretty nice boost in performance with no added fee by way of extra cooling hardware so it's basically extra speed for free. Now for the rest of the components in the PC from the pair of video graphics cards to the solid state hard drive as well as a 1 terabyte storage drive, it's pretty much what we expect to find in this price range and overall this is a very aggressive mainstream, upper mainstream gaming PC. Over the next few months we'll see more vendors adopt Intel's new Core i7 chip as well as its lower end Core i5 . But for now Falcon Northwest is come out of the gate with a very strong gaming rig. So I'm Rich Brown, this is the Falcon Northwest Talon. [music]