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Falcon Raptor RX – PC Review

Falcon Raptor RX – PC Review

Falcon Raptor RX 1The Falcon Raptor RX is one of the cheapest PCs we’ve ever reviewed – and also one of the most exciting. That’s because this £570 rig deploys an AMD Ryzen 5 2400G with AMD Vega graphics, which makes it the first Raven Ridge chip we’ve seen.

Falcon Raptor RX PC Review – Components

Raven Ridge represents the next generation of AMD APUs. These are always exciting components, because they cram proper processing cores alongside beefy graphics hardware onto one chip.

These new APUs are the first we’ve seen to use the AMD Zen architecture. That’s the hardware used inside the red team’s superb Ryzen processors and top-line Threadripper chips – and the hardware that’s brought AMD back into the fight against Intel in most areas of the market.

The new Raven Ridge range includes two parts, and Falcon has used the beefier APU in the Raptor RX. It’s called the Ryzen 5 2400. It’s got four Zen processing cores with multi-threading, so they can address eight concurrent threads. The base clock sits at 3.6GHz, and the chip uses Boost to peak at 3.9GHz.

Those figures compare well with more conventional processors. The Ryzen 5 1500X that was inside the Wired2Fire Pyro Ultima ran at 3.5GHz and had the same four core design. The Ryzen 3 1200 that was deployed inside the PC Specialist Vanquish Striker was a 3.1GHz chip with four cores but no multi-threading.

The AMD Ryzen 5 2400G compares well on paper with some Intel parts too. The Core i5-7400 that was used in the Asus ROG G11CD ran at 3GHz with a peak of 3.5GHz, and it had no Hyper-Threading.

Falcon Raptor RX 4The AMD Ryzen 5 2400G pairs its four processing cores with a AMD Vega 11 graphics chip. The name is a clue: it’s got eleven AMD graphics cores. The Vega 11 chip has 704 stream processors, and a stock speed of 1,250MHz. That’s already better than AMD’s discrete Radeon RX 550 card, and Falcon has overclocked that figure to 1,400MHz.

However, the more expensive rivals that we’ve already mentioned do have beefier discrete cards. The PC Specialist machine has an AMD Radeon RX 570, the Asus rig has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, and the Wired2Fire system deployed an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060.

Falcon has fitted a Raijintek Aidos cooler to the AMD Ryzen 5 2400G in order to cope with the extra juice required because of that GPU overclock. However, if you drop the overclocking and use the standard AMD Wraith cooler, the Raptor will cost £20 less – so it’s even easier to get started with Raven Ridge.

Elsewhere, Falcon has installed 8GB of dual-channel memory at 2,800MHz – a fine capacity and speed for this class of machine. There’s a 240GB AData SU650 SSD, but no room in the budget for a hard disk – so gamers may soon run out of space.

An Aerocool 400W power supply with a basic 80Plus certification powers this system. That’s ample electricity for this machine, but it’ll be difficult to upgrade to a proper graphics card without upgrading the PSU too.

Falcon Raptor RX 5The components attach to a Gigabyte GA-AB350M-D3V motherboard. It’s a micro-ATX board that only ticks basic boxes. There are no free memory sockets, and only basic networking and audio hardware – you don’t get any wireless. There’s no USB 3.1 Type-C on the backplate, and three rather than five audio jacks.

Make sure you’ve got the right connections for the AMD Vega 11 graphics chipset, too: the Gigabyte motherboard has D-SUB and DVI connections, but no HDMI or DisplayPort. The board does have an M.2 connector, at least, if you want to add some faster storage.

Also bear in mind the slot situation if you do want to upgrade later. There are two PCI-E x1 slots and a PCI-E x16 socket, but they use the older PCI-Express 2.0 standard.

We’ve already mentioned the minor overclock and cooling upgrade that’s available on this machine. That’s not the only customisation that Falcon offers. The case can be changed, beefier motherboards can be deployed, and there are dozens of memory and storage options.

Falcon Raptor RX 2Falcon Raptor RX PC Review – Design

The Falcon’s components sit inside a CIT Prism case. It’s made of white metal and plastic, and its two 120mm intake fans glow with RGB LEDs through the smart mesh front panel. Those lights can be adjusted, too – using a button on the front panel or a handy remote control.

The metal on the inside of the case is black, which makes it look better, and the PSU and two hard disk bays sit beneath a shroud – a welcome addition to make the machine look far neater. The side panel has a window, although at this price it’s plastic rather than glass. The Raptor is also consistently tidy.

In a few areas, though, the budget does begin to bite. There’s no exhaust fan, and the roof and PSU shroud aren’t particularly strong. There are no rubber grommets on the cable-routing holes.

There’s also a potential size issue. The mid-sized CIT Prism case supports ATX motherboards, but the micro-ATX board in this machine is smaller – and it’s topped by a relatively modest processor cooler, and no discrete graphics card. And, sadly, none of Falcon’s alternative case options can be used to rectify this issue – they’re all ATX.

Falcon Raptor RX PC Review – Performance

Falcon Raptor RX 1080p Falcon Raptor RX applications Falcon Raptor RX low gamingThe Raven Ridge AMD Vega 11 graphics core delivered a surprising amount of gaming power. It ran Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor at 30fps at High settings. At 1080p it returned playable average framerates in every test title when we used Medium or Low options.

We reduced the resolution to 1,600 x 900, and we managed to get all of our games running smoothly at 30fps or beyond with some more modest graphical tweaks.

Those are encouraging results for an AMD Vega APU. It means that most of today’s triple-A games will be playable if you’re willing to make compromises with resolution or graphics settings. And, importantly, there’s more than enough power to run esports games like Overwatch, League of Legends and CS:GO.

Of course, the Falcon’s rival systems are significantly quicker in games – but those rigs all have discrete graphics cards rather than a Raven Ridge APU, and they’re all much more expensive.

The processing portion was very impressive. Its score of 807cb in Cinebench is nearly twice as quick as the Ryzen 3 1200 inside the PC Specialist. It was virtually the same score as the Wired2Fire’s Ryzen 5 1500X. It’s also far quicker than the Core i7-7400 inside the Asus ROG system.

The AMD Ryzen 5 2400G’s single-core Geekbench result of 3,971 was either level or a little quicker than those three machines. Its multi-core result wasn’t too different from the Ryzen 3 rig of the Intel-based Asus machine.

There is, clearly, enough power here to handle single-screen gaming and the vast majority of everyday computing tasks, from web browsing to photo work and office applications. The SSD’s read and write speeds of 520MB/s and 482MB/s are fine, too – much quicker than a hard disk.

You’ll only get more speed from chips with more cores or better overclocks – and they’ll cost a lot more. At this price, there’s nothing to touch the 2400G.

The Falcon delivered reasonable results in thermal tests, too. It’s extremely quiet when idling. It churned out a middling amount of fan noise during heavy workload and gaming tests. It’s no worse than most other gaming systems, and it’s easy enough to drown out the noise.

Temperatures were fine, too: the chip peaked at a fine 84°C.

Falcon Raptor RX PC Review – Conclusion

The AMD Ryzen 5 2400G is a superb chip. Raven Ridge is able to beat Ryzen 3 parts and match many other Ryzen 5 and Core i5 parts in application benchmarks. The AMD Vega 11 graphics core runs esports titles without complaint – and it’ll handle tougher games with some tweaking, too.

The motherboard, storage and memory are very modest, and the case is middling, but that’s hardly a surprise – the Falcon is far cheaper than any of its rivals.

Rival systems will have more features, discrete graphics cards and nicer cases, then, but there’s still a lot to like about the Falcon Raptor RX. The AMD Ryzen 5 2400G is an impressive APU for esports or general-purpose computing, the rest of the specification is fine, and the price is extremely tempting. If you need a versatile machine and want to keep the costs down, you can’t go wrong with this.

The Falcon Raptor RX costs £570 in the UK.  Discuss our Corsair One PC Review on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need some more inspiration, check out our guide to our favourite laptops or click here to read about the best desktop PCs.

The Good

  • Solid 1080p gaming speed
  • Impressive processing performance
  • Good thermal and noise results

The Bad

  • Basic motherboard
  • Case could be smaller
  • No hard disk

The Specs

CPU: 3.6GHz AMD Ryzen 5 2400G
Memory: 8GB 2,800MHz DDR4
Graphics: AMD Vega 11
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-AB350M-D3V
Storage: 240GB AData SU650 SSD
Warranty: 3yr labour with 2yr parts and 1mth C&R

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Falcon Raptor RX

About Author

Mike Jennings

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