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Custom PC: Falcon Northwest ICON2

Tom's Hardware's 2011 Gift Guide: Part 2, Last-Minute Extras
By , Anthony Celeste

$5711
www.falcon-nw.com

Unless you’ve been really, really good, we’re not sure if Santa can afford to leave one of these under your tree, but we can sure see such a machine powering his elven workshop. There’s no point in being coy about the specs, so, in one mad rush, here they are:

  • Chassis: Falcon Northwest ICON2
  • Chassis logo insert: White light
  • Chassis fan kit: Noiseblocker overclocking fan pack
  • Power supply: 1200 W modular
  • Motherboard: Asus Rampage IV Extreme X79
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-3930K (3.2 GHz)
  • Processor cooler: Mach V liquid cooling
  • Processor overclock: Mach V processor overclock
  • Memory: 16 GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600
  • Video card #1: Evga GeForce GTX 580 (3 GB) Classified Edition
  • Video card #2: Evga GeForce GTX 580 (3 GB) Classified Edition
  • Sound Card: On-board
  • Networking: Dual integrated Ethernet
  • Primary drive: Crucial M4 256 GB SSD (6 Gb/s)
  • Secondary drive: WD Caviar Black 2 TB (7200 RPM, 6 Gb/s)
  • Optical drive: LG 12x Blu-ray
  • Media reader: Internal media reader with USB 3.0
  • 64-Bit OS: Windows 7 Professional
  • Warranty: Three years parts and service


Sure, those are phenomenal specs, but they do no justice to the machine as a whole. Underneath its sleek, black, brushed aluminum exterior, punctuated by the illuminated falcon logo on the reversible front door, the ICON2 takes a new spin on heat dissipation. The motherboard is oriented 90 degrees clockwise from most every other tower configuration. After all, heat rises, so why not let most of the heat escape straight from the top rather than wasting so much fan energy and noise trying to push it out the back? So yes, the I/O ports are on the top of the system, hidden under a vented top panel. The cables route through a gap at the top of the back panel, still hidden from view.

CPU water cooling is standard, but the pump is pushing the water straight up from nearly the floor of the case—no small feat and one that required significant study by Falcon Northwest engineers. The pump and power supply have their own chamber apart from the motherboard, and a 180 mm fan helps to keep up to two graphics cards cool at very low acoustic levels (a third card can be added). Despite the liquid cooling, there are still five fans in the ICON2, including two for the voltage regulator and supplemental CPU cooling. Fortunately, the system stays fairly quiet overall thanks to its design optimizations.

Toolless design abounds here, from the sliding side panel locks to the five external and six internal drive bays. Notably, the hard drives are made swappable through a series of snap-out sleds, much like a business-class JBOD appliance, rather than a single pull-out cage. Elegant, powerful, and replete, you couldn’t recommend a finer system for the coming year.

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Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    manu 11 , December 16, 2011 3:04 AM
    i am loving these articles!
  • 16 Hide
    JonnyDough , December 16, 2011 8:58 AM
    richboyliangomg more of those same hot girls!!!as usual, the one with the monitor is the best because she resembles mariah carey.blonde one is ok, redhead is too old.


    You must be in your teens. Not all readers here are kids you know...
  • 10 Hide
    JonnyDough , December 16, 2011 8:59 AM
    For future reference, we adults call them "women", not girls. ;) 
Other Comments
  • 20 Hide
    manu 11 , December 16, 2011 3:04 AM
    i am loving these articles!
  • 3 Hide
    joytech22 , December 16, 2011 3:28 AM
    The ZBox is the most promising item to me.
    Why? Because I can mount it on the back of the TV in the lounge for the family and stream my media files to it from my home server.

    I can then throw in an external BD drive and boom, fully capable home entertainment system, which is even capable of light gaming.

    Of course.. I'd reserve my gaming for my gaming rig! ;)  The Zbox would be for more family oriented games in the lounge.
  • -1 Hide
    richboyliang , December 16, 2011 4:05 AM
    omg more of those same hot girls!!!

    as usual, the one with the monitor is the best because she resembles mariah carey.

    blonde one is ok, redhead is too old.
  • 1 Hide
    richboyliang , December 16, 2011 4:14 AM
    the suggestive poses combined with the suspicious "xXx" on the Thecus network storage box....
  • -2 Hide
    Judguh , December 16, 2011 4:50 AM
    You can't tell me there's more.... reasonably priced items for the holidays here. :| ... unless you're getting a share of that dough for these ladies :p 
  • 0 Hide
    a4mula , December 16, 2011 5:14 AM
    Why recommend the u2410 when the u2412M can be had for half the price and has the same exact specs along with LED backlighting. The only loss is going from 100% sRGB to 98% sRGB and that's only important to a tiny fraction of users. The other advantage of the u2412M is that it doesn't suffer from pink tint that has plagued the u2410.
  • 0 Hide
    pharoahhalfdead , December 16, 2011 6:49 AM
    This was an article about electronics? I must have missed something. That's what I get for skipping all the words. Haha
  • 7 Hide
    kartu , December 16, 2011 7:57 AM
    Shameless sexism, eh?
    But I enjoy it too...
  • 16 Hide
    JonnyDough , December 16, 2011 8:58 AM
    richboyliangomg more of those same hot girls!!!as usual, the one with the monitor is the best because she resembles mariah carey.blonde one is ok, redhead is too old.


    You must be in your teens. Not all readers here are kids you know...
  • 10 Hide
    JonnyDough , December 16, 2011 8:59 AM
    For future reference, we adults call them "women", not girls. ;) 
  • 5 Hide
    SevWarfare , December 16, 2011 2:27 PM
    Didn't read a friggin' word.
  • -2 Hide
    mcd023 , December 16, 2011 2:44 PM
    man I really want that Dell monitor. 110% color gamut!!! (ok, really only 100% due to the signal, but hey, it can do it!).
  • 1 Hide
    Teeroy32 , December 16, 2011 3:36 PM
    What was this article about, I was only interested in the pictures, what the red heads too old, that poster must be 15 years old, all three of these lovely women are gorgeous, they should be in the "Girls of Geek" calender along with Nixie Pixel
  • -1 Hide
    ChromeTusk , December 16, 2011 4:40 PM
    Regarding the RC8, my only complaint is how easy it is to lose flash drives.
    Falcon's Icon2 reminds me of Silverstone's Raven series with much need improvements.
    The N5200XXX sound like a great addition (and I like the model's poses too :p )
  • 0 Hide
    rubix_1011 , December 16, 2011 4:58 PM
    The elves just don't stack up to the original Tom's Holiday elf...what's her name...Sarah? She was far and away the best.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , December 16, 2011 6:14 PM
    La rubia me volvió loco, 10/10 recommended buy
  • 6 Hide
    jsc , December 17, 2011 2:25 AM
    JonnyDoughYou must be in your teens. Not all readers here are kids you know...

    No. Some of us like women.
  • -2 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , December 17, 2011 3:07 AM
    second picture on Thecus N5200XXX is the best picture.
    saving to my PC....
  • -5 Hide
    Reynod , December 17, 2011 4:02 AM
    I want more articles like this one.

    In fact I demand that you do more articles like this one ... please?

    Can you please post a few more pictures of the Supertalent USB drive ... move the drive down a bit and zoom in ... its a bit fuzzy from here.


    If other users agree please rate my post up so the reviewers can guage interest in these products !!!


    :) 

  • 5 Hide
    RealityClash , December 17, 2011 6:35 AM
    The ginger one scares me...
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