CNET First Look
Falcon Northwest Mach V (Intel Core i7 2600K)Falcon Northwest's flagship Mach V gaming PC gets a towering case redesign, and upgrades to the latest components from Intel and Nvidia. We have a few suggestions to make this system truly live up to its boutique price tag, but overall the Mach V delivers...
Hi, I'm Rich Brown, senior editor for cnet.com. Today, we're gonna take a look at the brand new Falcon Northwest Mach V. This joint tower system is a high-end gaming desktop. It cost about $4800 and it's one of the fastest gaming systems we've seen. It comes with Intel's brand new core i7-2600K CPU as well as a couple of graphics cards and all the bells and whistles we expect for this price. It also comes with a brand new case from Falcon Northwest Mach V1. So, we'll go over with some of the details of that too. So, as you can see this is a very tall system. It comes in about 2 feet tall and it weighs almost 75 pounds. Lift up the front door here and you can see it's got pretty much of basic layout. There's a Blu-ray drive here, a couple of USB ports down here as well at top, you get a few more USB and audio connections. There is no media card reader in this build, but you do have the option and you can figure it out in Falcon's website. So, going right inside the system. You'll see this is definitely not your standard PC build. By rotating the motherboard 90 degrees inside of the case, you get an up-venting-airflow situation, that means, it's a lot cooler inside for the hot graphic cards as well as the overclocked liquid cooled CPU you see here that orients the ports on the top of the case, and you can run the cables through a slot here, plug them in and there's a cap you put on, and it kinda makes it a really tidy-cable situation as well as giving you thermo benefit. Now, Falcon Northwest is not the first vendor that we've seen with the system like this. Maingear Shift had this pretty much same outline in a very similar case. Regardless this is out there, we think it's a cool design and it probably makes a lot of sense for higher-end gaming PCs. So, going to the components, we mentioned the system has an Intel core -i7-2600K chip. That's one of Intel's brand new Sandy Bridge processors and is overclockable. Falcon has gone to 4.6 gigs in this system, but we've heard that Maingear can get up to 5 gigahertz or higher. Considering this is one of the first core i7 and supporting motherboard to hit the market, we sort of understand that Falcon wasn't able to go quite as high as possible with this system. That said, we hope that future systems in this price range from Falcon or any other vendor really push hard on in the overclocking in order to adjust by the costs. The reason is the core i7 is so portable. You get $2500 systems that have the same application performance. You're gonna pay this much for a PC, you're gonna wanna see that extra performance edge in just by the costs. Now, it's not to say that Falcon didn't push hard to make this system worth the price. You get 2 high-end GeForce GTX 580 graphics cards here as well as 2 solid state boot drives as well as a separate one terabyte storage hard drive. Here, Falcon has put 16 gigs of memory, that's some of the highest we've seen in a desktop, then here you got a thousand lot power supply and actually should that you add a 3rd graphics card to this PC if you wanna add one after purchase. And we mentioned that Maingear has a similar design to this. Falcon's primary innovation is this separator between the CPU and the graphics card compartment. According to Falcon, the separator gives you better by isolating the graphics cards. Now, our only real issue with the design of this system comes with the tool-free hard-drive bays. Make sure these slots pop out, and you get a cage here where you can install a hard drive. Now, the designers supposed to be tool-free, but the problem is Falcon didn't [unk] the power or data cables behind each bag, that means, not only they have to run the cables yourself, but if you wanna pop in the drive, it's gonna involve sort of a messy cable operation and you may even have to take the far end of the case off in order to really get things connected. Finally, as I mentioned earlier, because of the rotated motherboard, all the ports are on top of the case. You get USB 3, FireWire, eSATA, 2 kinds of digital audio, DVI, plus HDMI, along with standard 7.10 audio watts. So, overall, the Mach V is one the fastest PCs we've seen in our lab and the new case makes it also one of the most innovative. We encourage you to shop around if you're looking for a new PC in this price range featuring Intel's new CPU. Mostly, though the system lives up to our performance end-value expectations for a PC close to $5000. So, I'm Rich Brown. This is the Falcon Northwest Mach V.