Top gear: Falcon Northwest DRX
David Hayward goes north by northwest in search of some expensive kit
In this new column, we’re going to be looking at some of the most astounding, top ranking and ridiculously expensive computing items available. Why? Well, we thought that since the BBC’s Top Gear goes to such lengths to review and show off the likes of the latest Bugatti Veyron, which (and let’s be honest here) only about 1% of the population could ever afford, then we could do the same with computer kit! In our case, though, without being sued, or asked to publically apologise to a section of the community who we offended out loud.
With this mind, we sought out the extreme, the niche and the obscenely outré, which is out of reach for all but the ruling elite, and those whose pockets are bulging with golden largesse.
Our first outing takes over to America land, where designer system builder Falcon Northwest creates the cream of the crop for people who care about how their system looks, almost to a point well starboard of sanity.
It offers a range of desktops, all with impressive specs and features. Take, for example, the full tower Mach V, a behemoth of a case with a Core i7 3900, 64GB RAM and three Nvidia GTX 690s, all housed within a magnificently painted case with matching keyboard and mouse. However, it’s not the Mach V that caught our expensive tastes, but the company’s DRX laptop.
The DRX is a 17” LED-backlit 1080 laptop, with 12GB of DDR3 RAM, up to three 512GB SSDs, dual 4GB Nvidia GTX 680M (yes, that’s two GPUs in a laptop!) and a 3.46GHz i7 900 series CPU. In addition to this powerhouse you’ll also get an illuminated full-sized keyboard, with numeric keypad, three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, DVI, eSATA and a custom designed Falcon Northwest backpack that looks for all the world like the rocket-pack strapped to the back of the King of the Rocket Men.
If all that wasn’t enough to make your bank manager faint and your credit card company wring its hand with delight, then the paint job probably will. You have the option to paint your Falcon Northwest DRX laptop with one of the most expensive paints ever made.
At $1,200 per pint, Harlequin is a prism paint system, or ChromaFlair as it’s also known, which changes colour depending on the light source and viewing angle. Mainly used by the automotive industry, the paint contains tiny aluminium flakes coated with magnesium fluoride, embedded in semi-translucent chromium.
So how much, then, for this ultimate laptop? Well, without the paint job, you’re already looking at $5,500 (roughly £3,4290, but if you do decide to go for the Harlequin prism paint system, then you’re going to add an extra $2,500 to the overall cost, bringing this laptop to the princely and eye watering sum of $8,000 (around £4,990).
Also, we might add, if that wasn’t enough, for an extra $4,000 you can have an external keyboard/mouse and 30” monitor added and painted in a matching hue.
Somehow we can’t imagine very many people purchasing this or, more accurately, we don’t know anyone who could ever possibly afford this Regardless, unless you’ve also paid for a brace of ex-sumo wrestlers, ladled into security guard uniforms, then once you get this beauty out on the commute you may as well stamp ‘Mug Me!’ across your forehead.
As well as showing off the ludicrous, we’ll also have a reasonably priced alternative, but in the case of the specs with DRX it’s quite difficult to find something that would cost a reasonable amount, while still delivering the same(ish) performance.
However, if you take a look at Origin PC’s pages, then you’ll come across the EON17-SLX, a beast of a laptop that houses roughly the same as the DRX along with the dual GTX 680Ms. The price of the EON17-SLX? $1,888 (£1,177). Still expensive but slightly more reasonable than Falcon Northwest’s DRX.