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Close to the Metal Ep. 3: Is Falcon’s $8,700 Mach V desktop a justifiable expense?

Falcon Northwest, based in Medford, Oregon, is a relatively small operation that builds super-premium systems – and it’s been around for over two decades. Its flagship, the Mach V, was first sold back in 1993. As far as we know, that makes it the most enduring name in the PC business.

Today we’re looking at a particularly stunning example of the breed. It has a ten-core Intel Core i7-6950X processor, twin GTX 1080s in SLI, 128GB of RAM, and a 1.2TB solid state drive – not to mention a sweet Digital Trends paint job. These extreme features, including the paint, pump the price up to $8,700, though you can buy entry-level versions for well less than half that.

Overclocked to the hilt, the Falcon Northwest Mach V represents the cutting edge of what modern computers might be used for. But what might it be used for? Is it for high-end gaming? Video encoding? Or some other arcane art? The answer is, in most cases, a little bit of all three.

The Mach V is also representative of the growing gap between super high-end systems and the average, everyday computers. Anyone can walk into Best Buy and purchase a system for a few hundred dollars, and while it might not be outstanding, it’ll handle all the basics most people ask from their PC.

Can the huge gap between such an entry-level system, and the nearly $10,000 Mach V, be justified? What’s the difference, in reality? And what’s the point at which buying more powerful hardware results in diminishing returns? We’ll tackle all of that today, and more.

This podcast features Matt Smith, Brad Bourque and Greg Nibler.

Close to the Metal is a podcast from Digital Trends that focuses on the geekier side of life. It tackles the topics PC enthusiasts argue over in language everyone can understand. Please subscribe, share, and send your questions to We broadcast the show live on YouTube every Wednesday at 1pm EST/10am PST.

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