Falcon Northwest’s FragBox is no new face around here. We’ve seen various iterations of this SFF over the years, but the latest is perhaps the most impressive. In a chassis that’s the second-smallest of the bunch—just slightly larger than CyberPower’s LAN Party Evo—Falcon manages to jam in not one, but two GeForce GTX 580 cards, along with a 3.4GHz Core i7-2600K overclocked to 4.2GHz.
Storage is handled by Crucial’s new 256GB M4 SSD and a 1TB Western Digital HDD. RAM is maxed out on the Asus P8P67M with 16GB of DDR3/1600.
There isn’t much space to work in the FragBox, but that also means it doesn’t take up much room either.
Despite the abundance of hardware in such a confined space, the FragBox is an amazingly well-behaved machine. It stood out in contrast to other boxes in this roundup whose dual videocards were pushed into thermal detonator mode by our gaming benchmarks, forcing the system fans to spool to noticeable or unacceptable levels.
The FragBox exhibited none of that. You could play a game for hours at 2560x1600 resolution and not notice that the machine was working hard.
So what’s the FragBox’s big problem? It’s majorly outgunned by the iBuypower, Origin PC, and AVADirect rigs’ four-way GPU setups and higher-clocked or higher-cored CPUs. It also doesn’t help that the FragBox is priced at a painful $4K. That’s the same as the iBuypower rig, which not only has dual dual-GPU cards, but a Blu-ray burner and more RAM. Heck, even the Origin PC is $200 less. Ouch.
The FragBox is amazingly quiet considering that it packs an overclocked Core i7-2600K and SLI’d GeForce GTX 580 cards.
What the FragBox does bring, however, is a top-notch build quality, acoustic bliss, and performance that’s damn respectable considering its displacement of roughly 1,200 cubic inches. By comparison, the three much larger rigs are about 2,000 cubic inches. So, while we can’t give the FragBox the nod for breakout performance, it offers the best blend of size and performance in a shape and size that meets the traditional definition of an SFF box.
Intel 3.4GHz Core i7-2600K (over-clocked to 4.2GHz)
Asus P8P67-M Pro (Intel P67 chipset)
Two GeForce GTX 580 cards in SLI
256GB Crucial M4 SSD, 1TB Western Digital 7,200rpm
LG DVD burner
Custom / Silverstone 1,000 watt
Falcon Northwest FragBox
Vegas Pro 9 (sec)
Lightroom 2.6 (sec)
ProShow 4 (sec)
Reference 1.6 (sec)
STALKER: CoP (fps)
Far Cry 2 (fps)
Our current desktop test bed consists of a quad-core 2.66GHz Core i7-920 overclocked to 3.5GHz, 6GB of Corsair DDR3/1333 overclocked to 1,750MHz, on a Gigabyte X58 motherboard. We are running an ATI Radeon HD 5970 graphics card, a 160GB Intel X25-M SSD, and 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate.