The Falcon Northwest FragBox (begins at $2,299; $4,411 as examined) is a customized small-form-factor (SFF) gaming desktop. The challenge of this iconic system has been the similar because the first variations reached our labs within the mid-2000s: pack as a lot computing functionality as imaginable right into a semi-portable variety element. Its built-in elevate care for signifies that you’ll certainly take the FragBox with you, even though it isn’t a day-to-day traveler. (Assume LAN events.) This 2019 iteration of the FragBox is a 4K gaming dream system, loaded to the gills with top-shelf elements like an Intel Core i9 eight-core processor and Nvidia’s flagship GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card. Equipped you’ll post with its steep value and loud lovers, the FragBox delivers an remarkable quantity of energy for one thing its dimension.
Take It With You
True to its title, the FragBox resembles a field, albeit one with a elevate care for…
It is squatter than a standard mid-ATX tower, at 10.5 inches vast, however it isn’t just about as tall (simply 8.25 inches) and is best 15.75 inches lengthy. The case has an internal quantity of about 22 liters, the place a mid-ATX design can also be round 35 liters. I weighed my assessment unit at 25 kilos. The only-piece steel elevate care for makes transporting it a long way more uncomplicated than it might be with out one. That is precisely the kind of pc you’ll wish to take to a LAN birthday party.
The FragBox I am reviewing has an unpainted steel external. With the exception of the care for and the backlit Falcon Northwest emblem at the entrance panel, it has a subdued glance…
That is an issue you’ll resolve with an infusion of capital; Falcon Northwest is understood for its customized portray. Unmarried colours get started at $375, whilst customized airbrushed designs way the four-figure mark. No one mentioned it was once reasonable.
The entrance panel of the FragBox has a slot-load DVD burner optical pressure. There is not any price for it, so I am not complaining. The port variety alongside the highest edge contains two USB 3.1 Sort-A ports, plus separate headphone and microphone jacks…
The facility button, the reset button, and system-status LEDs spherical out what is up right here. Alongside the again, the Asus TUF Z390M MicroATX motherboard on this FragBox has a number of connectivity…
The 4 USB Sort-A ports with the blue inserts and the USB Sort-C port are model 3.1 Gen 1, whilst the only real teal-colored USB Sort-A port (simply above the USB-C port) is the speedier model 3.1 Gen 2. Two PS/2 ports sit down at the left, whilst a trio of audio jacks (line-in, line-out, and microphone-in), two wi-fi antenna connectors (the antennas are integrated, however no longer hooked up within the pictures), and the Ethernet jack are at the reverse finish. An Intel 9650AC wi-fi card supporting the 802.11ac band and Bluetooth 5.0 wi-fi is constructed into the motherboard. The DisplayPort and HDMI video-out connectors are disabled in want of the devoted graphics card, a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Version in my check unit. It has one HDMI and 3 DisplayPort video-out connectors, plus a VirtualLink (USB Sort-C) port.
It is Comfortable Inside of
The FragBox homes parts that you would generally in finding in a mid-ATX tower or higher, so becoming them in more or less part the amount takes some finesse. Eliminating 3 screws on the rear of the tower permits the outer shroud of the FragBox to slip rearward…
The highest-mounted energy provide is an excellent-quality EVGA SuperNova G3 fashion with an 80 Plus Gold certification in my unit, rated for 1,000 watts. Its totally modular design manner no pointless wires are hooked up; the few you’ll see are smartly bundled or tied off. Consideration to element like that counts when you are spending this type of cash. An Asetek-brand liquid cooler for the CPU is fixed ahead of the ability provide. There is a 120mm fan fixed underneath it that attracts cool out of doors air throughout the radiator. Vents at the peak, proper, and rear of the chassis care for passive airflow tasks. The energetic cooling exhaust comes from the 120mm fan within the energy provide, and a supplemental 80mm fan fixed on the left-rear nook…
The Asus motherboard is partly visual underneath the ability provide. Thru the best facet, you’ll see two of its 4 DIMM slots populated by means of G.Talent-brand modules…
Two 3.5-inch pressure bays are in entrance of the motherboard, considered one of which is occupied on this assessment configuration. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Version graphics card dominates the opposite facet of the internal.
An M.2 Sort-2280 (80mm) slot at the motherboard is true underneath it, occupied right here by means of a Samsung-brand solid-state pressure. Imagine it or no longer, the FragBox can also be configured with two graphics playing cards, even though no longer for gaming functions; Falcon Northwest provides Nvidia’s professional-grade Quadro playing cards in Scalable Hyperlink Interface (SLI) setups.
A Selection Configuration
Falcon Northwest builds the FragBox round an Intel Z390 chipset-based motherboard (like my assessment unit) or one with an Intel X299 chipset. The sky’s the restrict with the latter, as you’ll rise up to an 18-core Intel Core i9 processor. A setup like this is extra for pro packages (or bragging rights). For gaming, the Core i9-9900KF eight-core processor in my unit is considered one of highest chips round. It has a light dose of overclocking in my unit (as much as 4.8GHz on all cores and 5.2GHz on a unmarried core), one thing Falcon Northwest does for no price. The “KF” variant of the CPU signifies a model of the CPU with out built-in graphics, so you can all the time wish to run with the graphics card.
The FragBox is a dear system in any configuration. With mid-tower desktops, I generally parts-shop the parts inside of to determine what I may just save if I constructed it myself. It is tougher to evaluate the worth of my $4,411 FragBox like that, alternatively, because the case is totally customized, falling someplace in dimension between a standard SFF desktop and a mid-ATX tower. The Corsair One i160 is a competitor that still has a proprietary case. It has upgradable reminiscence and garage, however swapping core parts is most often a no-go because of a proprietary design. The FragBox has a bonus there as a result of the entirety inside of is standardized and available. Its different festival comes from conventional SFF towers, like Falcon Northwest’s personal Tiki. In comparison to machines like that, the FragBox’s taller case supplies extra space for non-blower-style graphics playing cards, larger energy provides, and garage growth.
The parts throughout the FragBox are of splendid high quality. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card in my unit is Nvidia’s own-brand Founders Version, which instructions a top rate within the aftermarket. Even the three.5-inch garage drives are a step up; the 4TB pressure in my unit is a Western Virtual-brand Pink Professional fashion designed for heavy-duty utilization. I showed the ones manufacturers and fashions are indexed in Falcon Northwest’s FragBox on-line configurator. Different notable selection parts in my unit come with speedy G.Talent reminiscence (32GB in a twin 16GB DIMM setup, operating at DDR4-3000 speeds in dual-channel mode) and a 1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD, the place Home windows 10 Professional is cleanly put in. The FragBox nonetheless instructions a lofty top rate above the sum of its core elements, however no less than you might be getting superb ones. The FragBox is subsidized by means of a typical three-year guaranty on elements and hard work, which particularly contains in a single day delivery for the primary 12 months.
To the Check Bench!
A number of high-performance area of expertise machines have handed via PC Magazine’s arms today, so I had no scarcity of comparisons for the FragBox…
Its closest festival comes from the Corsair One i160 and the MSI Trident X, either one of that are smaller towers. I integrated the Virtual Hurricane Lynx and Foundation PC Neuron mid-towers for selection; as I famous sooner than, the parts throughout the FragBox would generally be present in a mid-tower or higher desktop. The processor overclocking within the FragBox must give it a bonus within the exams the place the CPU takes heart degree, and its graphics-card overclocking must give it much more of an edge in 3-d-driven benchmarks.
Productiveness and Garage Checks
PCMark 10 and eight are holistic functionality suites advanced by means of the PC benchmark consultants at UL (previously Futuremark). The PCMark 10 check we run simulates other real-world productiveness and content-creation workflows. We use it to evaluate total formulation functionality for office-centric duties comparable to phrase processing, spreadsheet paintings, internet surfing, and videoconferencing. The check generates a proprietary numeric rating; upper numbers are higher.
PCMark 8, in the meantime, has a Garage subtest that we use to evaluate the rate of the PC’s garage subsystem. The outcome may be a proprietary numeric rating; once more, upper numbers are higher.
In PCMark 10, the FragBox is neck-and-neck with the Corsair One i160 within the stratospheric 7,000-plus level vary. (We believe over 4,000 issues to be splendid.) I anticipated that, given their identical part loadouts. This check measures common formulation functionality, so the more potent GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics playing cards in the ones gadgets did not give them a vital benefit over the RTX 2080-equipped MSI Trident X, and even the Virtual Hurricane Lynx and its lesser Core i7-9700K/RTX 2070 combo. It could be laborious to inform the variation between those machines in day by day utilization, as they are simply that speedy.
Media Processing and Introduction Checks
Subsequent is Maxon’s CPU-crunching Cinebench R15 check, which is totally threaded to use all to be had processor cores and threads. Cinebench stresses the CPU somewhat than the GPU to render a posh picture. The result’s a proprietary rating indicating a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads.
The FragBox’s overclocked Core i9 processor despatched it to the highest of the charts. It isn’t vastly quicker than the MSI or Corsair gadgets that proportion the similar CPU in a non-overclocked guise, however the distinction is there. The rating from the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X processor within the Foundation PC Neuron is spectacular taking into consideration that chip is a long way more economical than Intel’s Core i9 chips.
We additionally run a customized Adobe Photoshop image-editing benchmark. The usage of an early 2018 unlock of the Ingenious Cloud model of Photoshop, we follow a chain of 10 complicated filters and results to a typical JPEG check picture. We time each and every operation and, on the finish, upload up the overall execution time. As with Handbrake, decrease occasions are higher right here. The Photoshop check stresses CPU, garage subsystem, and RAM, however it will possibly additionally benefit from maximum GPUs to hurry up the method of making use of filters, so programs with tough graphics chips or playing cards might see a spice up.
Most effective a few seconds separate the highest occasions. The FragBox, like the opposite gadgets right here, would make an impressive photo-editing platform.
Artificial Graphics Checks
3DMark measures relative graphics muscle by means of rendering sequences of extremely detailed, gaming-style 3-d graphics that emphasize debris and lighting fixtures. We run two other 3DMark subtests, Sky Diver and Hearth Strike, that are fitted to several types of programs. Each are DirectX 11 benchmarks, however Sky Diver is extra fitted to laptops and midrange PCs, whilst Hearth Strike is extra hard and made for high-end PCs to strut their stuff. The effects are proprietary ratings.
The Hearth Strike check introduced out the most productive within the FragBox; its overclocked processor and graphics card gave it a mixed benefit over the Corsair One i160. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics playing cards in the ones gadgets put them in a league above the MSI Trident X and its RTX 2080.
Subsequent up is any other artificial graphics check, this time from Unigine Corp. Like 3DMark, the Superposition check renders and pans via an in depth 3-d scene and measures how the formulation copes. On this case, it is rendered within the corporate’s eponymous Unigine engine, providing a special 3-d workload state of affairs than 3DMark, for a 2nd opinion at the system’s graphical prowess. We provide two Superposition effects, run on the 720p Low and 1080p Prime presets.
This check is much more nerve-racking at the graphics card than the 3DMark exams we run, permitting the overclocked FragBox to extend its lead over the Corsair One i160. Either one of them are method overpowered for 1080p gameplay, as is correct of the opposite gadgets right here, so let’s check out some real-world 4K exams.
Actual-Global Gaming Checks
The artificial exams above are useful for measuring common 3-d flair, however it is laborious to overcome complete retail video video games for judging gaming functionality. Some distance Cry 5 and Upward thrust of the Tomb Raider are each fashionable, high-fidelity titles with integrated benchmarks that illustrate how a formulation handles real-world video video games at quite a lot of settings. Those are run at the most graphics high quality presets (Extremely for Some distance Cry 5, Very Prime for Upward thrust of the Tomb Raider) at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions to resolve the candy spot of visuals and clean functionality for a given formulation. The effects also are equipped in frames in keeping with 2nd. Some distance Cry 5 is DirectX 11-based, whilst Upward thrust of the Tomb Raider can also be flipped to DX12, which we do for the benchmark.
The FragBox’s stellar numbers in each titles point out it is completely fitted to 4K gaming with out decreasing the visible high quality settings. Its graphics-card overclocking makes a distinction at that answer, even though the Corsair One i160 is sort of as speedy. The Foundation and MSI gadgets also are in a position to clean 4K gaming the use of a typical GeForce RTX 2080.
Cooling and Thermals
Falcon Northwest informed me the cooling within the FragBox can range by means of configuration. In my unit, the principle air consumption comes from a 120mm fan that attracts air throughout the liquid-cooling radiator for the processor. The energetic exhaust comes from a 120mm fan within the energy provide and any other 80mm fan on the rear. Plenty of vents at the chassis permit passive airflow.
I measured most part temperatures whilst the FragBox was once operating a 20-minute rigidity check within the 3DMark Time Secret agent benchmark. The Core i9-9900KF processor reached simply 71 levels C, which is easily under Intel’s specification for that chip. In the meantime, the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card ran as much as its maximum-rated temperature of 88 levels C. Just like the processor, it is mildly overclocked in my unit. I monitored the cardboard’s core and reminiscence frequencies during and located it was once the use of its spice up clock simply tremendous; there was once no thermal throttling. I have noticed the cardboard run cooler, however it is running inside of its limits within the FragBox.
The FragBox is louder than maximum mid-ATX gaming desktops I have examined. The 120mm fan for the processor is liable for lots of the noise, audibly ramping up whilst gaming or operating different hard duties. The somewhat low pitch of the sound makes it one thing you’ll get used to, however this nonetheless is not a PC I would take the place silence is needed.
Compact Design, Giant Energy
Smaller desktops continuously compromise in relation to energy and upgradability, however the FragBox does neither. Whilst it is higher than a standard SFF tower, the additional quantity shall we it space same old desktop elements and will increase thermal headroom. The competing Corsair One i160 runs a lot quieter, however it has restricted improve doable and it isn’t factory-configurable.
The FragBox is a dear system even in its base configuration; the fee best is going up from there with its a lot of customization choices. It isn’t unreasonably priced subsequent to the Corsair One i160 or competing SFF towers, even though you’ll get identical functionality in a mid-tower for much less. However, that is the attract of the FragBox: you are not looking for one thing as giant as a mid-tower to get all of the highest attributes of 1. And for that, the FragBox is tricky to overcome.
Falcon Northwest FragBox (2019)
The Backside Line
The newest rev of Falcon Northwest’s vintage FragBox is a expensive however ambitious select for top-notch 4K gaming in a luggable SFF chassis.
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