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Falcon Northwest FragBox (2022) Evaluation

Once we final reviewed a member of Falcon Northwest’s long-running household of compact gaming PCs, we discovered it to be lots quick, however simply wait till you see the 2022 FragBox. This iconic, small-form-factor gaming desktop (begins at $3,475; about $5,500 as examined) has been fully overhauled to deal with at this time’s high-wattage elements. Our unit’s dream-team pairing of an Intel Core i9-13900K and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 virtually rewrites our benchmark charts, outscoring all different gaming desktops we’ve examined regardless of being about half the dimensions of a mid-tower. And but, it’s nonetheless quiet sufficient to make use of wherever in your house and has enlargement on par with bigger towers. Backed by Falcon Northwest’s unmatched normal guarantee, the FragBox earns our Editors’ Alternative award amongst high-end, small-form-factor gaming desktops.

The Outdoors: Have Your Energy and Take It With You

Falcon Northwest launched the FragBox in 2004 as a transportable LAN social gathering desktop. Redesigned all these years later, it retains the character of the unique, together with its iconic carry deal with.

At 10.2 by 10.5 by 16.5 inches (HWD), the FragBox has about half the quantity of a typical mid-tower desktop. (It’s 10.2 inches to the highest of the deal with; it’s truly 8.5 inches to the highest of the case.) That’s on the big facet for a small-form-factor chassis, however the advantages are enormous: it matches up to an enormous 13.8-inch lengthy, 3.5-slot-wide graphics card, six storage drives, and a 1,000-watt (W) energy provide. (Extra concerning the insides quickly.)

A side profile of the Falcon Northwest FragBox

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

You gained’t discover something just like the FragBox within the aftermarket, as Falcon Northwest not solely designs however manufactures its desktop instances in-house. Each a part of the construction is a thick piece of aluminum. It feels indestructible, particularly the carry deal with. The FragBox’s weight averages 25 kilos.

The read of the Falcon Northwest FragBox

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

By way of appears to be like, the FragBox most likely gained’t win a magnificence contest in opposition to considered one of its highest-rated opponents, the Corsair One i300, however it is determined by the way you outline magnificence. This can be a purebred efficiency machine, and each a part of its design emphasizes that. Rectangular sides maximize inside house, and a whole lot of perforations give it all-important airflow. Falcon Northwest can even do high-quality UV printing on the entrance panel do you have to need extra aptitude.

A side profile of the Falcon Northwest FragBox

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

Entrance-panel connectivity consists of two Sort-A USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, an audio combo jack, and a Sort-C USB 3.2 Gen 2 port. The authoritative-feeling energy button is to the left, and you will find energy and disk exercise LEDs to the precise. Fashionable PCs usually go away off the disk gentle, however I at all times search for it, and it’s particularly becoming on the FragBox since each system would have had one within the early 2000s.

The front panel I/O of the Falcon Northwest FragBox

(Credit score: Charles Jefferies)

Talking of LEDs, the FragBox isn’t going to gentle up your room like some blinged-out opponents, such because the Maingear Turbo. It doesn’t use RGB followers, and its facet and high panels aren’t see-through glass. A lot of its inner elements have lighting of some form, together with our unit’s PNY-brand GeForce RTX 4090, Kingston Fury Beast RGB RAM sticks, and the CPU liquid cooler’s water block. The mixed impact is a delicate glow. There’s additionally Falcon Northwest’s RGB front-panel brand. All of the lighting could be disabled; the PNY graphics card has its personal app, and the opposite elements, together with the emblem, are controllable by means of Asus Aura Sync.

The Asus ROG Strix Z690-G Gaming(Opens in a brand new window) MicroATX motherboard options numerous connectivity, together with eight USB Sort-A ports (4 3.2 Gen 1, two 3.2 Gen 2, and two 2.0), two USB Sort-C (one 3.2 Gen 1, one 3.2 Gen 2), a 2.5Gbps Ethernet jack, encompass audio jacks, a microphone jack, and S/PDIF out.

The rear I/O on the Falcon Northwest FragBox

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

One of many USB 2.0 ports is reserved for BIOS updates. There are additionally clear CMOS and BIOS flashback buttons. The gold-plated antenna jacks are for the built-in Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity. (The antenna isn’t linked in our photographs.) In the meantime, the GeForce RTX 4090 consists of the anticipated one HDMI and three DisplayPort video outputs. The three.5-slot nature of this card precludes including enlargement playing cards.

The rear display ports for the Falcon Northwest FragBox

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

The Inside: Absolutely Upgradable, Regardless of Its Dimension

Small-form-factor desktops usually have part upgradability restrictions, however not the FragBox—it makes use of all industry-standard components. For inside entry, its high and facet panels slide rearward after loosening two thumb screws every. The screws are a small instance of the eye to element on this tower; they’re not solely retainer-style however spring-loaded and pop up when their threads are free. It takes me lower than 10 seconds to take away or substitute a facet panel.

A side profile of the Falcon Northwest FragBox with side panel removed

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

Falcon mounted the motherboard to the underside panel. Exhibiting extra consideration to element, there’s a door underneath the underside of the tower so you’ll be able to entry under-board M.2 slots. (Our ROG Strix Z690-G is a uncommon MicroATX board with three topside M.2 slots.)

The grill hatch under the Falcon Northwest FragBox

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

An RTX 4090 of any taste is very large alongside most different graphics playing cards, and the PNY XLR8(Opens in a brand new window) version of the 4090 dominates the left third of the inside. It’s 13.1 inches lengthy, takes up 3.5 slots, and has a whopping 450W energy score. A retainer bracket on its entrance edge securely anchors it to the chassis. 

A close  up of the PNY XLR8 4090 graphics card on the Falcon Northwest FragBox

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

Two slimline followers alongside the facet panel provide further airflow to the graphics card; they’re well coated by a magnetic mud filter. 

A side profile of the Falcon Northwest FragBox with side panel removed

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

That plaque with our publication’s identify isn’t distinctive to our overview loaner—paying prospects get the identical therapy.

The monogrammed plaque inside the Falcon Northwest FragBox

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

On the precise panel, you will discover it’s also coated by a magnetic mud filter. A top-notch SilverStone SX SFX-L 1000W energy provide is mounted halfway up the rear panel. 

The PSU port on the Falcon Northwest FragBox

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

Not like smaller SFX energy provides with 92mm followers, the SilverStone mannequin has a 120mm fan for quieter operation. The FragBox’s total fan noise is effectively managed regardless of the open nature of its case. Silent this PC isn’t, however the sound it produces melds into my regular family background noise, even whereas gaming.

A side profile of the Falcon Northwest FragBox with side panel removed

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

The CPU-sealed liquid cooling answer is Falcon Northwest’s personal, using a top-mounted 280mm radiator and two 140mm followers. Airflow on this tower goes within the sides and out the highest, so no sizzling air goes in your path.

A side profile of the Falcon Northwest FragBox with side panel removed

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

Clearance between the ability provide and the CPU water block is minimal, however you’ll be able to nonetheless get to the motherboard’s DIMM slots.

A close up of the Falcon Northwest FragBox's Power Supply

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

Utilizing MicroATX motherboards provides the FragBox extra enlargement than small-form-factor towers that use Mini-ITX boards, which solely have two DIMM slots. The ROG Strix Z690-G Gaming motherboard has 4 DIMM slots and helps up 128GB of RAM (4 32GB modules).

A close up of the ram sticks on the Falcon Northwest FragBox

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

Falcon’s storage enlargement in a desktop this small additionally impresses. The motherboard has the talked about three M.2 slots, however you can too set up one 3.5-inch and two 2.5-inch drives. Falcon Northwest’s part wireframe picture under exhibits the place all the things matches.

A wireframe mock up of the Falcon Northwest FragBox

(Credit score: Falcon Northwest)

Our unit doesn’t have any 2.5- or 3.5-inch drives, however this picture exhibits how they’d match.

A hard drive and solid state drive installed in the Falcon Northwest FragBox

(Credit score: Charles Jefferies)

Disassembly could also be required to service some elements. For instance, putting in 2.5-inch drives most likely gained’t be potential with out eradicating the metallic assist bracket above the graphics card. However a minimum of all the things is accessible. The exact cable routing and wiring actually assist serviceability, too.

The wire clearance on the Falcon Northwest FragBox

(Credit score: Kyle Cobian)

Like all Falcon Northwest desktops, every FragBox is assembled and constructed to order by one expert technician. It has a three-year guarantee, which covers not simply labor however components, much better than the one-year {industry} normal. You even get an in a single day delivery service for the primary 12 months. Falcon Northwest’s technical assist can be first-rate, as I’ve skilled it personally.

Testing the Falcon Northwest FragBox: Yeah, It’s Fraggin’ Quick!

We gained’t be spoiling something by saying the $5,500 Falcon Northwest FragBox seen and examined right here is the quickest gaming desktop we’ve benchmarked up to now. It has an Intel Core i9-13900K processor (eight Efficiency cores, 16 Environment friendly cores, 32 threads, as much as 5.8GHz Turbo Increase), a PNY GeForce RTX 4090 XLR8 24GB graphics card, 32GB of Kingston Fury Beast RGB RAM (two 16GB DDR5-6000 DIMMs working in dual-channel), a 2TB Kingston Fury Renegade PCI Categorical 4.0 solid-state drive, and Home windows 11 Professional.

It is uncommon for us to record elements in such element, however when ordering a FragBox, you do get to decide on the precise components. The FragBox will also be configured in AMD livery, together with the 16-core Ryzen 9 7950X. 

Falcon’s FragBox can compete with tinier small-form-factor towers, such because the Origin PC Chronos, the Maingear Turbo, the Corsair One collection, and even Falcon Northwest’s Tiki, although none of them has a GeForce RTX 4090. The FragBox is in a category of its personal with regards to that monster; a minimum of, I didn’t discover one other small-form-factor tower from the boutique or mainstream builders that accommodated it. (It doesn’t even slot in some mid-towers.)

In our benchmark comparisons, we’re together with the Corsair One i300 and the Falcon Northwest Tiki, each heavy hitters for his or her dimension, although they use previous-generation {hardware}. For lack of different high-performance small-form-factor towers, we’ve additionally included the mid-tower Dell XPS Desktop and the MSI Aegis RS. See the essential specs of these methods within the desk under.

Productiveness and Content material Creation Checks

Our first check is UL’s PCMark 10, which simulates a wide range of real-world productiveness and workplace workflows to measure total system efficiency and in addition features a storage subtest for the first drive. (See extra about how we check desktops.)

We then run three extra assessments that concentrate on the CPU, utilizing all out there cores and threads, to charge a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 makes use of that firm’s Cinema 4D engine to render a fancy scene, whereas Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5.4 Professional simulates in style apps starting from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine studying. Lastly, we use the open-source video transcoder HandBrake 1.4 to transform a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p decision (decrease instances are higher).

Our ultimate productiveness check is Puget Techniques’ PugetBench for Photoshop(Opens in a brand new window), which makes use of the Artistic Cloud model 22 of Adobe’s well-known picture editor to charge a PC’s efficiency for content material creation and multimedia functions. It is an automatic extension that executes a wide range of normal and GPU-accelerated Photoshop duties starting from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving a picture to making use of masks, gradient fills, and filters.

With a exceptional 10,325 factors, the FragBox has the very best PCMark 10 rating of any system we’ve examined. All these desktops far exceed the 4,000 factors we contemplate a baseline for efficient on a regular basis efficiency, however the FragBox is simply that a lot quicker.

The FragBox additionally predictably dominates CPU testing with its Core i9-13900K, scoring 59% greater than the Corsair i300 and its earlier era Core i9-12900K in Cinebench R23 (39,828 versus 24,994 factors). That’s an astounding generation-on-generation enchancment. It’s additionally notable that the FragBox even barely outscores our lab Core i9-13900K desktop in Cinebench R23. (It scored 39,022 factors.)

Graphics and Gaming Checks

For Home windows PCs, we run each artificial and real-world gaming assessments. The previous consists of two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark, Night time Raid (extra modest, appropriate for methods with built-in graphics) and Time Spy (extra demanding, appropriate for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs). Additionally looped into that group is the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5, which we use to gauge OpenGL efficiency.

Transferring on, our real-world gaming testing comes from the in-game benchmarks of F1 2021, Murderer’s Creed Valhalla, and Rainbow Six Siege. These three video games signify simulation, open-world action-adventure, and aggressive/esports shooter video games, respectively. Valhalla and Siege are run twice (Valhalla at Medium and Extremely high quality, Siege at Low and Extremely high quality), whereas F1 2021 is run as soon as at Extremely high quality settings and, for Nvidia GeForce RTX-based methods, a second time with Nvidia’s performance-boosting DLSS anti-aliasing turned on.

Falcon’s FragBox is unstoppable in our gaming assessments. Its GeForce RTX 4090 is leagues forward of the Tiki’s GeForce RTX 3090, one other occasion of epic generation-on-generation efficiency enchancment. Reaching 338 frames per second in Rainbow Six at 4K is one thing else.

Nevertheless, in the event you’re not eager on spending shut to 2 grand on a graphics card, we don’t blame you. The FragBox can be out there with GeForce RTX 3000 collection playing cards. Because the MSI’s numbers recommend, the GeForce RTX 3070 continues to be perfect for 1080p and 1440p, and the Corsair PC’s GeForce RTX 3080 Ti nonetheless makes mincemeat of 4K.

Verdict: It’s the Final Battle Field

The Falcon Northwest FragBox performs unimaginable feats for a small-form-factor gaming desktop. It’s in a category of its personal when outfitted with a GeForce RTX 4090, as none of its competitors handles such an enormous card. Paired with a Core i9-13900K, it couldn’t be caught in our gaming benchmarks.

Regardless of its dimension, the FragBox can be sensible and civilized, with quiet followers, respectable serviceability, and mid-tower-like enlargement. Falcon Northwest’s exacting high quality and stellar guarantee deeply improve its attraction. Cheap is one thing it’ll by no means be, however you probably have the sizable stack of Benjamins to spare, the Falcon Northwest FragBox is an epic performer that has no equal amongst high-performance, small-form-factor gaming desktops, incomes it an Editors’ Alternative award.

Falcon Northwest FragBox (2022)


  • Stellar efficiency and quiet operation

  • Compact type issue nonetheless matches the hulking GeForce RTX 4090

  • Spectacular enlargement choices

  • AMD and Intel CPUs

  • Excellent normal guarantee

View Extra

The Backside Line

Precision engineered by Falcon Northwest, the small-form-factor FragBox gaming desktop delivers unimaginable efficiency and practicality in a compact, luggable design.

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