The Falcon Northwest Tiki is hands down the coolest gaming PC I’ve ever had the good fortune of testing. It’s a small miracle—quite literally.
The small form-factor gaming PC is dwarfed by my own DIY rigs, and yet it packs more power and runs faster than my latest custom build. It’s nothing short of remarkable.
As you can see in the below image above, the Tiki is about the same size as a PlayStation 5, but it packs in a great deal more horsepower. Unlike the PS5, it’s also shockingly heavy. If it wasn’t so short, I’m quite certain you could use to barricade a door.
The diminutive chassis—packed to the brim with high-end components—atop the weighted base makes the Tiki as solid as it is powerful, and yet you can comfortably fit it your desk and not lose much real estate. And it looks damn good.
The engineers and designers at Falcon Northwest can explain to you in detail how they fit so much power into such a small case. They can explain how it stays so remarkably cool and quiet (in both the water-cooled and air-cooled versions). They can explain this until their faces turn blue and I still won’t really understand. I’m convinced there’s some wizardry at work.
Most gaming PCs fall into several different categories:
- Showy, neon-lit machines that really try to get your attention;
- Hulking monstrosities you can practically crawl into when adding a new drive or swapping out the power supply;
- Basic budget machines that get the job done.
The Tiki occupies its own unique space in the gaming world. There are other small form factor gaming PC options out there, but none of them are this stylish. This is the Bentley Continental GT of gaming PCs—an expensive, attractive boutique PC that understands the mystery of cool: it has to appear effortless.
Speaking of cool, there are Tiki configurations that use both air and liquid cooling to vent these machines. My unit, equipped with an Intel i7-12700k CPU and an Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti graphics card is liquid-cooled. Many of the AMD options will also come with liquid cooling (as you can imagine the liquid cooling units are also extremely small yet incredibly effective!)
Recently, however, Falcon Northwest began offering Intel’s new i9-12900 (which, unlike i9-12900k, can’t be overclocked). The i9-12900 runs so cool that it only requires air-cooling even in this tiny of a case. In fact, according to Falcon Northwest’s internal testing, in a three hour ‘synthetic torture test’ of both machines, the i9-12900 reached just 72C using air cooling, while the i7-12700k reached 96C, with water cooling. That’s outstanding.
My loaner unit is jet black. Its only ornamentation is the lit falcon logo on the front, its colors slowly changing from green to blue to purple to pink. This is not a brash PC, by any means.
When Steve Jobs designed the first Apple computer, he took inspiration from the Porsche 928. I see very few non-Apple PCs that look like they were designed with luxury sports cars in mind, but that’s the vibe I get from Tiki, though it’s more hard edges than rounding slopes. More muscle.
The big difference, of course, is that your Tiki will shred any game you throw at it and remain remarkably cool and silent in the process. It’s so quiet, cool and sleek you almost forget it’s there. Of course, you can’t forget it’s there since you’ll want it on full display at all times. This isn’t a PC you hide unceremoniously beneath a desk.
The specs in my test unit are very impressive (though you configure your own many different ways):
- CPU: Intel Core i7-12700k — 5.0 GHz — 12 Core — LGA 1700
- GPU: Nvidia RTX 3080 TI — 12 GB — Founders Edition
- RAM: G-Skill Trident Z5 — 32 GB — 5600 MHz — DDR5
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming Wifi
- Storage: SSD M.2 Firecuda 520 — 2 TB
- PSU: Silverstone SX 800W SFX-L Titanium
- OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Pro — 64 Bit
The unit measures 13.6 x 13 x 4 inches (compared to the PlayStation 5’s 15.4 x 10.2 x 4.1 inches). Like I said, it really is small!
So how does it perform?
Smooth like butter.
The Tiki ran everything I threw at it without breaking a sweat, easily maintaining a crisp 60 frames-per-second (and often much higher) on my ultrawide 3440×1440 monitor. God Of War, Cyberpunk 2077, Warzone, Dying Light 2, Elden Ring, Resident Evil Village, Red Dead Redemption 2 all ran flawlessly.
Rather than tedious benchmarks—we all know how each of these components performs and can look up comparisons to countless other similar components—I’ll just point out that my Tiki never missed a beat, never overheated even after hours of gameplay and never struggled with any of these games.
I faced no bottlenecks, experienced no performance issues, and suffered no crashes. You could feel the warm air pouring out of it at times, but that’s the idea behind PC cooling. You want the hot air to flow out, keeping the inside nice and frosty.
There are downsides, of course. There always are—especially when you’re making a size tradeoff. While it’s nice to have such a compact gaming PC sitting on my desk not taking up too much space, it does mean that upgrades—while not impossible—are going to be far more limited than in an ATX tower with ample room to work. Such are the limitations of the form factor.
There are only two memory slots, so if I wanted to upgrade RAM I’d need to replace the two 16GB units I have with two 32GB units, which is obviously costlier (though Falcon Northwest is now offering 32GB x2 configurations so you can start with 64GB). There’s room inside to add two more SSD drives so you can pack in a lot more storage. 2TB of super-fast M.2 SSD storage is great, but it’s easy to fill that up with games and other files.
So yes, you trade upgradability for a smaller form factor. You also pay a premium, with Tikis starting at the $3,000 – $4,000 range but easily topping off thousands higher depending on which options you select. My test unit, fit with the newer Intel i9-12900 and air-cooling will set you back around $5,300. A quality boutique, luxury gaming PC is expensive, but you pay for what you get.
And isn’t that the point?
If you’re gaming on a Falcon Northwest machine, you have the disposable income to pay for the best of the best without compromising. Spare no expense.
I have to agree with my colleague Jason Evangelho’s review of the Tiki from way back in 2013: This is the perfect PC. It’s just a whole lot better in 2022.
If you want a PC that’s stylish but not flashy, that has a small footprint but leaves a big impression, you can’t beat the Falcon Northwest Tiki.
Configure yours at Falcon Northwest’s homepage, where you can choose from CPU and GPU options, custom exterior UV prints and much more.
A loaner unit was provided for the purposes of this review. I used this unit for two months, playing games, rendering videos and doing day-to-day computing in order to get a full sense of how the machine performs over time. It ran flawlessly for every application and remained cool and quiet for the duration. And it just looks good sitting there next to my ASUS Ultra-Wide monitor.
Follow me on this blog
You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook and support my work on Patreon. If you want, you can also sign up for my diabolical newsletter on Substack and subscribe to my YouTube channel.