Falcon Northwest Talon AMD Ryzen 9 7950X Workstation Power Consumption
Despite having a massive Seasonic Prime power supply, we did not really get to fully utilize it. The vast majority of our workloads ran in the 300-700W range on this system with a few outliers. Of course, one could put a GeForce RTX 4090 in here and use even more power along with more RAM, more SSDs, and so forth.
At the same time, something we may end up exploring a bit more is the performance at different power consumption levels. One can change BIOS settings, GPUs, and so forth and get this to be a much lower power idle system, or even push performance settings to get a system like this into the 240W+ idle range. It is amazing to see how variable these platforms are these days. 240W was in-line with a dual-socket server’s maximum power consumption a decade ago.
Falcon Northwest Talon AMD Ryzen 9 7950X Workstation Market Observations
Falcon Northwest, for years, targeted higher-end pre-built gaming PCs. Over the past few years, it has moved into spaces such as building systems for creative professionals and studios. To be totally fair, we normally review workstations by large OEMs like Dell, HP, Lenovo, Supermicro, and others. It was refreshing to see something that was made of many standard parts but was built around a custom case, cooling, and cabling setup. If you gave me the choice between the ASUS Pro WS WRX80E-SAGE SE we reviewed and the motherboard in the Lenovo ThinkStation P620, I would prefer the ASUS version any day. That is a lot of what Falcon Northwest is leveraging. Companies like Lenovo and Dell make motherboards for systems that have fewer features than an ASUS platform. While some may say it is just an ASUS motherboard inside, the flip side is that in some systems we review, I wish those were the motherboards used.
I will say I have shown everyone who has stopped by the studio in the past three weeks the STH logos on this system. It is absolutely cool. On a performance-per-dollar basis, it adds nothing. On a “wow” factor, it is certainly above a Dell Precision or a self-built system. That also extends to the cabling as I can say most of the STH test systems get made with some effort made towards cable management, but mostly just for airflow instead of appearance. That is why you do not see the Core i9-12900K and Ryzen 9 5950X test systems here. This is a different level. It may not add a lot of performance, only cost, but perhaps that is the point. Perhaps the point of this system is to give employees at creative firms something more creative and cool. We have the Lenovo ThinkStation P620 back in the lab for a re-review with the new Threadripper Pro 5000 series, and it feels absolutely lifeless or soulless compared to the Falcon Northwest Talon. Not everyone will care, and four weeks ago, I probably did not care, but it was very evident having them side-by-side.
For a lot of folks, the new features like the 40Gbps USB 4 ports are going to be big winners. The sheer number and speed of the USB situation is awesome. The integrated Ryzen 7000 series graphics can drive three display outputs even without a large GPU.
I do, however, wish that, in this price range, there was a bit more on the wired networking side. The slowest USB ports on this system are several times faster than the wired networking 2.5GbE port.
Overall, this was a system not on my Q4 2022 review plan. We are extremely busy. Still, we review many large workstations. If you are looking at a 24-core Threadripper (Pro), then many folks will be better off with a Ryzen 7000 series platform like this, especially if PCIe and DIMM connectivity are not the most important aspects. I can see why this is a big deal.
To me, the configuration we had seems fancy. There are certainly many options to build a lower-cost system using the GeForce RTX 4080 series GPUs, skipping the STH logo branding, and so forth. At the same time, this saved several hours by not having to order components and assemble them.
Overall, this was a very nice system. I can fully appreciate both why a company would purchase a system from Falcon Northwest, along with why they would focus on large traditional vendors. Having reviewed many high-end platforms from traditional vendors (with three in progress in the lab also for the next few weeks), this certainly provides something different. The fact that you can get the AMD Ryzen 7000 series and new GPU options so quickly around the launch window is also a big benefit. AMD has a really nice update with Zen 4, and the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X was impressive.
“…largely soleless workstations…”
Unless those workstations had no bottoms of their feet, I think you meant soulless.
Relative performance graphs are the scourge of the hardware world. Show true numbers. ~1,4x performance in Chess? Doing what? It’s Premiere rendering, or scrubbing?
It would appear that they chose to install the RAM in the DIMM_A2/B2 slots. Was that on purpose?
I bought a (different) ASUS AM5 board recently, and the DIMM_A1 slot didn’t work at all, so just curious if this is a bigger problem.
@Sam, yes those are the correct slots for two modules. It’s in every Asus mobo user guide, since DDR3 at least.
Yeah that’s the right one. That’s why it’s good for people to do pre-builds.
Did I just miss it, or was the ‘as built’ cost not posted in the review? I read through it once completely, then skipped around all the pages looking for ‘$’, ‘price’, ‘cost’, etc, but found no specific dollar amount listed; I might be losing it though, haven’t had my coffee yet