Falcon Northwest FragBox Review

Updated April 30, 2014
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Falcon Northwest FragBox
Bottom Line

The Falcon Northwest FragBox is not cheap, but it can compete successfully against systems costing hundreds and even thousands of dollars more. It's probably more computer than mainstream users will ever want or need, but dedicated gamers will appreciate the FragBox's performance, relative value and boutique-level build quality.

Performance

Set your own performance level. Though the Falcon Northwest FragBox starts around $1,700, expect to pay more -- maybe a lot more -- for a configuration that will provide the kind of performance that buyers of this system will likely expect. Reviewers look at systems ranging from more than $2,500 to nearly $5,000. The one thing all have in common is that reviewers are very impressed with the performance that these very different systems deliver. DigitalTrends.com looks at a $2,640 configuration (at the time of its review) built around a 4th generation Core i7 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 graphics. Based on its testing, Matt Smith says that "the FragBox can handle any PC game available today without breaking a sweat." At the upper end of the reviewed configurations, PCMag.com looks at a nearly $5,000 rig (again, at the time of its review) and reports that the FragBox "destroys" its 3D gaming tests.

ProsCan be configured to meet needs and budget, Superb build quality, Latest processors and graphicsConsHigh-end gaming configurations are pricey, Limited space for upgrades

Design

Built like a brick shoe box. With its small, shoebox-sized case and handle (removable), the FragBox looks the part of a portable gaming system. Pick it up, however, and you'll find a heft that well belies its size -- a product of its outstanding build quality, which is addressed below. Connectivity is good, with 10 USB ports (six are USB 3.0); two DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort video outputs; and digital and analog audio outputs; note that video ports will vary with the graphics card you select. There's an Ethernet port, of course, but no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The system is user-upgradable, but DigitalTrends.com notes that the internal layout can be a puzzle. "If you'd like something easy to upgrade, buy a larger desktop," Matt Smith says. You are on your own when it comes to keyboard, mouse and the display.

Support & reliability

Long warranty, solid build quality. Falcon Northwest covers its systems with a strong warranty. The FragBox includes three years parts and labor, with free lifetime technical support. CNET's Dan Ackerman says that build quality reflects the kind of care that dedicated enthusiasts would put into hand-assembling their own system. The downside of that is that it can take weeks for a system to arrive once ordered.

Value

You get more than you pay for. The Northwest Falcon FragBox is anything but inexpensive; however, it can cost thousands less than other high-end gaming rigs, such as the Maingear Shift Superstock, which starts around $3,100 and can run to $8,000 or more. Even so, performance tests by reviewers say that there's no game that the FragBox can't handle, or handle with ease, depending on its configuration. At the same time, it's clearly overkill for most mainstream computer users.

Our Sources

1. CNET

Falcon Northwest FragBox (2013) Review: Big Gaming in a (Relatively) Small Package, Dan Ackerman, Updated March 7, 2014

Dan Ackerman is impressed with the build quality and performance of the Falcon Northwest FragBox. Cost is a concern; "no matter what configuration you put together, it's going to be expensive," he says. On the plus side, however, at least it will be money "well-spent." The site looks at a system that was priced at just under $3,500 at the time of the review.

2. PCMag.com

Falcon Northwest Fragbox (GeForce GTX 780 SLI), Joel Santo Domingo, June 17, 2013

PCMag.com give the Falcon Northwest FragBox an Editors' Choice award for high-end gaming systems. The configuration it tests is truly high-end, costing nearly $5,000 at the time of the review. Still, as Joel Santo Domingo points out, it "can compete on the game grid with systems costing thousands more."

3. DigitalTrends.com

Falcon Northwest Fragbox 2013 Review, Matt Smith, June 1, 2013

DigitalTrends.com looks at the least expensive FragBox configuration reviewers we spotted have tested -- $2,640 at the time of the review. Regardless, Matt Smith is pretty impressed, noting that his system could handle any modern game with ease.