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Falcon Predator Pro SLI review

James Archer
1 May 2016
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Falcon Predator Pro SLI
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,500
inc VAT

Fittingly for its extraterritorial-tinged design, this premium rig is a gaming monster

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 4.0GHz Intel Core i7-6700K, RAM: 16GB DRR4, Front USB ports: 2x USB3, Rear USB ports: 2x USB2, 2x USB3, 1X USB3.1, 1xUSB Type-C, Total storage: 250GB SSD, 1TB hard disk, Display: None, Operating system: Windows 10 Home

Most gaming PCs express their flamboyance with LEDs, but for the dual-GPU rig Predator Pro SLI, Falcon has gone for a rather different decoration: a textured vinyl decal of the Arnie-bothering Predator himself.

Obviously this won’t be to everyone’s tastes, especially those who prefer to balance their PC’s power with a tastefully understated case design. Still, I do admit to liking how the decal contrasts with the clean, white case, creating a colour scheme (or lack thereof) that continues on the inside as well, with two white Asus-made Nvidia GeForce GTX 970s in the titular Scalable Link Interface (SLI) configuration.

This setup understandably makes it tricky to access the remaining PCIe x1 and legacy PCI slots, and it’s even harder to access the PSU and 1TB hard drive, which are both tucked away under a screwed-in cover. Still, it’s easy enough to get at the Samsung SSD, which sits on top of this cover, and there are two free slots for RAM upgrades; the included 16GB of 2,400MHz, DDR4 memory, though, is plenty for most gaming needs.

Falcon Predator Pro SLI rear

The storage drives have been shifted from their traditional position at the front of the case to make room for the closed-circuit watercooling unit. It gets fairly loud under load, but is pleasingly quick to drop back to quiet running once a demanding task is done. Combined with the rear and top-mounted outtake fans, the Predator Pro SLI generally does a decent job of keeping itself cool.

For the price, I’d have liked a couple of extra USB ports to be easily reachable near the front of the case. As it stands, there are only two USB3 ports at the front, as well as the standard mic and headphone inputs. At least round the back there’s a much greater selection, including USB2, USB3, USB3.1 and even USB Type-C slots, plus an optical S/DPIF for premium audio equipment and HDMI and DisplayPorts.

Dual wielding

No expense has been spared for the CPU, a quad-core Intel Core i7-6700K from the most recent Skylake generation. Each hyperthreaded core runs at 4.0GHz, which is enough for any game or design software to run comfortably with, but you can overclock it to 4.2GHz if you want even more horsepower. Still, even this chip looks modest next to the stacked GTX 970s, each of which offers 4GB of GDDR VRAM.

Despite the law of diminishing returns meaning that you won’t actually get double the frame rates of a single GTX 970, the Predator Pro SLI still powered through our benchmarks. It achieved an outstanding 85fps in Metro: Last Light Redux, one of the most graphically demanding games on the market, at maximum settings with SSAA enabled and at 1,920x1,080 resolution. For comparison, the Chillblast Nano Fusion Fury managed 58fps, despite costing the same. At the same settings on a 4K display, Metro did drop to 22fps, but I did manage to bump it back up to a very playable 45fps by disabling SSAA and dropping texture filtering from AF 16X to AF 4X. I’d say the Falcon Pro SLI is perfectly capable of 4K gaming if you’re willing to make a few compromises.

Unsurprisingly, considering how well it breezed through Metro, the PC also posted frame rates in our less strenuous Dirt Showdown benchmark; with Ultra settings enabled, it achieved 167fps at 1080p and 77fps at 4K. The GTX 970 was already a great all-round card, and it’s clear that two of them in an SLI arrangement can outpace even the top-of-the-line GTX 980 Ti.

It also achieved hugely impressive results in our general usage benchmarks: 179 in multitasking and 173 overall, some of the highest I’ve ever seen. These scores were absolutely reflected in everyday, non-gaming performance, as Windows 10 Home zips along and even big, complex applications open quickly.

This is partly thanks to the Samsung 850 EVO SSD, which also performed well in the AA SSD benchmark, scoring a nippy 469MB/s read and 413MB/s write speed in the AS SSD benchmark. It’s a 250GB drive, so will be able to hold quite a few choice games, and there’s a standard 1TB hard drive for games and files where rapid load times are less of a concern. Considering how top-tier the other components are, I was surprised not to see a 2TB HDD, though that’s hardly a complaint – 1TB is plenty.

Falcon Predator Pro SLI side on

Conclusion

It may be bold, louder and expensive, but there’s no denying that this Falcon PC does manage to outperform competing machines at a similar price point, storming its way through 1080p gaming and coming pretty much future-proofed against things like VR. If you’ve got one and a half grand to spend and don’t object to your rig being adorned with 1980s movie monsters, the Predator Pro SLI is a fine choice. For more options see our Best PC 2016 rundown.

Core specs
ProcessorQuad-core 4.0GHz Intel Core i7-6700K
Processor socketLGA1151
RAM16GB
Memory typeDDR4
Maximum memoryDDR4
MotherboardAsus Z170-A
Motherboard chipsetIntel Z170
Ports and expansion
Front USB ports2x USB3
Rear USB ports2x USB2, 2xUSB3, 1xUSB3.1, 1x USB-C
Other portsS/PDIF
NetworkingGigabit internet
Case typeMid tower ATX
Case dimensions HxWxD445x200x432mm
PCI (free)1 (1)
PCIe x1 (free)1 (1)
PCIe x16 (free)1 (3)
Serial ATA (free)Not stated
Memory slots (free)4 (2)
Drive bays 2 1/2" (free)2 (1)
Drive bays 3 1/2" (free)1 (0)
Drive bays 5 1/4" (free)0
Storage
Total storage250GB SSD, 1TB HDD
Memory card readerNone
Optical drive typeNone
Graphics
Graphics card2 x 4GB Asus GTX 970 OC Turbo
Graphics/video ports3x HDMI, 3xDisplayPort, 1x VGA, 3x dual-link DVI-I, 2x dual-link DVI-I
Sound
Sound cardOnboard
Sound card outputsS/PDIF, rear speaker, C/SUB, line out
SpeakersN/A
Display
DisplayNone
Native resolutionN/A
InputsN/A
Other hardware
KeyboardN/A
MouseN/A
ExtrasN/A
Software
Operating systemWindows 10
Operating system restore optionWindows 10 restore
Buying information
WarrantyTwo years parts, three years labour
Price including delivery (inc VAT)£1,500
Price excluding monitor (inc VAT and delivery)£1,500
SupplierFalcon
Detailswww.falconcomputers.co.uk
Part CodePREDATOR XV SLI

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