We previously examined a Talon desktop, the most expensive computer in the Falcon Northwest lineup, a few years ago. As usual, we received a really remarkable configuration with a PCIe Gen5 SSD, 96GB of fast DDR5, and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition fully loaded; nonetheless, the CPU at its core is of particular interest.
The new Intel 14th Generation processor, the Intel Core i7-14700K, is the highlight of this Talon and the reason we’re presenting our review today. The Core i7, that’s right. Why not choose the Core i9-14900K instead? Since the i9-14900K is essentially the i9-13900KS all over again (and we just re-tested one in our FragBox 2023 review), the Core i7 is much more interesting with this launch.
You have undoubtedly already read (or watched) independent coverage of Intel’s introduction of its 14th generation chip, and it was generally not met with great enthusiasm. We are left with a refresh of 13th Gen parts because Meteor Lake, Intel’s next big thing, did not succeed in becoming the desktop architecture (this generation, at least).
As was already said, the Intel Core i7-14700K is the most interesting component of this introduction, and on Intel’s PowerPoint (above), it is noted that it has “more E-cores & larger L3 cache” than previous-gen. A little later in this assessment, we will take a first look at its performance.
THE UPDATED TALON DESIGN
Since we last examined a Talon in 2021, it has experienced a number of small but significant alterations, including a rise in overall size as a result of the enormous expansion in GPUs.
19 inches high, 17 inches deep, and 8.8 inches wide describe the Talon enclosure. The larger EEB workstation motherboards like the ASUS Pro WS WRX80E-SAGE SE WIFI II and W790E-SAGE SE, both of which are available as configuration choices, can be used because of the new enclosure size.
The most noticeable change to this new Talon design can be seen when looking at the case’s back, where an 80mm intake fan has been added above the blank spaces that used to be expansion slots. Additional air can be sent towards the GPU’s intake fans thanks to this fan.
As we move inside, we get our first glimpse of the best construction in the sector. This is truly the pinnacle of PC builds. Hardcore do-it-yourselfers, take note. Each cable has been precisely fastened, bent, and routed.
The style is completed with the sleeved CableMod cables, and the level of detail is borderline obsessional. Look at that ATX cable, please!
NOTES FOR PERFORMANCE
Our test system is just one example of what can be done inside this sturdy compact mid tower container because Falcon Northwest PCs are all configured to order. The breakdown of the elements in our sample is as follows:
• Processor: Intel Core i7-14700K
• Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition
• Motherboard: ASUS Strix Z790-E Gaming WiFi
• Memory: 96GB (2x48GB) Kingston FURY Renegade DDR5-6400 CL32
• Storage: 2TB Crucial T700 PCI-E 5.0 SSD
• Power Supply: Sensonic Vertex GX 1200W (with CableMod cables)
• Operating System: Windows 11 Pro (22H2)
There is still a noticeable difference in the centre of the unlocked desktop CPU lineup even though Raptor Lake refresh is just what its name implies—a refresh and not a new product line. The Core i7-14700K improves upon the Core i7-13700K by adding four E-cores, increasing the total number of cores from 16 (8P+8E) to 20 (8P+12E). The Core i7-14700K can reach Turbo speeds of 4.3 GHz on its E-cores and 5.5 GHz on its P-cores (up to 5.6 GHz with Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0).
However, Falcon Northwest offers DDR5-6000 RAM as standard, and our build included a pair of 48GB DDR5-6400 CL32 modules from Kingston. This resulted in a 96GB FURY Renegade kit that consistently performed at its rated speed and timings throughout testing, despite the fact that Intel did not formally increase memory speeds with 14th Gen (still DDR5-5600).
The following performance comparison will only compare Intel processors because we do not yet have an AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D to evaluate. We have been evaluating the new Core i9-14900K on the same system while recently re-testing the Core i9-13900KS with DDR5-6200 CL32 memory.
It is obvious that the Intel Core i9-13900KS and Core i9-14900K are fairly evenly matched, with the latest component having a little advantage. As to be expected, the 20-core Core i7-14700K trails the 24-core processors in these tasks, and the lower Cinebench single-threaded result can be simply attributed to the lower single-core frequency from this component. You need a Core i9 to get 6 GHz.
How about some testing of the gaming workload? It is annoying because unrealistic techniques must be used when testing CPUs for scaling. It doesn’t matter if it’s simpler synthetic tests like 3DMark Time Spy or the dreaded low-resolution, low detail game benchmarks. Given that I can’t bring myself to benchmark an RTX 4090 at 1080/low (or 720/anything), 1080/high was chosen as a little more sensible setting.
The new Core i9-14900K is a speedier gaming part than the powerful Core i9-13900KS, though the Core i7-14700K isn’t far behind, if tests like those above provide any indication. And this is under the fictitious, improbable assumption that you purchase a system with an RTX 4090 and play games at 1080p. All but the title with the highest CPU demands start to lose CPU scaling as we reach 25601440 and higher.
Given the recent prevalence of Core i9 processors, the normal load for this new Core i7 CPU is under 250 watts, and the package temperature is around 85 degrees Celsius.
The lower rates (5.5 GHz) are the main difference, and generally speaking, the Core i7 doesn’t provide any thermal problem to the Talon’s 280 mm liquid cooler. No throttle-back! Speaking of thermals, the RTX 4090 FE, which received fresh air straight through that tiny intake fan, behaved extremely well, reaching a maximum temperature of just under 80 C during extensive gaming load testing. There was no throttling because the thermal limit of these components is 83 C.
The switch to a PCI-E 5.0 SSD, with none other than the lightning-fast Crucial T700 handling OS tasks, is another modification from the previous Falcon Northwest setup we examined.
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