Extra gaming desktops are adopting minimalist, extra mainstream seems to be, however not Dell: Its Alienware Aurora R15 (begins at $1,649.99; $4,099.99 as examined) seems to have beamed in from off-planet. Our high-end evaluate mannequin, packing an Intel Core i9-13900KF processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080, is a easy operator for 4K fragging, however you too can get this otherworldly tower in additional inexpensive configurations. We like its broad enchantment in that regard however really feel its all-plastic case isn’t as much as snuff on the excessive finish, the place competitors just like the Lenovo Legion Tower 7i Gen 8 have an edge in high quality. Total, we will’t fault Alienware’s efficiency and think about it a advantageous possibility for a plug-and-play midrange tower with a visible wow issue.
The Design: A Galaxy of Potentialities
Mistaking the Aurora R15 for another desktop is inconceivable. This huge, bulbous tower—measuring 20.1 by 8.8 by 20.8 inches (HWD) and weighing about 38 kilos—could be at house on the set of any sci-fi present. Dell launched the “Legend 2.0” design in late 2021 with the Alienware Aurora R13; it’s largely unchanged for the know-how refresh that’s the Aurora R15.
The Aurora is chock filled with design particulars, beginning with the tower’s upward-angled chassis. (Perhaps it’s making ready for blastoff?) Different points are useful, just like the cylindrical high that’s actually an air shroud and an airflow grate behind the clear entrance panel. Our unit has the Lunar Gentle coloration scheme, whereas black is commonplace.
Our unit additionally has Alienware’s optionally available magnetic rear cowl to cover cables. Not even boutique desktop builders embrace one thing like that. Then, in fact, you might have the case lighting. The Aurora has as much as eight RGB zones individually configurable within the AlienFX part of the Alienware Command Heart app.
All advised, the Aurora’s design and lighting make it one distinctive tower. Then once more, it is also polarizing; most of you’ll in all probability both love or hate its seems to be. I give Alienware a nod for its willingness to not be universally favored.
The Aurora faces a extra goal problem with its all-plastic case, which could work in its entry stage configurations however is more durable to promote when it prices as a lot as our evaluate unit. The Corsair Vengeance i7400 and the aforementioned Lenovo Legion Tower 7i Gen 8 use steel frames.
Connectivity and Upgradability Galore
Alienware’s plentiful connectivity begins on its entrance panel with a headset jack (headphone/microphone), three USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports (5Gbps), and one USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps). Three AlienFX lighting zones reside right here: the ability button, the ring, and the ambient surrounding gentle.
Round again, the Aurora’s motherboard backplane comprises two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, 4 legacy USB 2.0 (the underside two supporting sensible power-on), one USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, one USB-C 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20Gbps), and a Killer E3100 2.5Gbps Ethernet jack. Encompass audio jacks and S/PDIF spherical it off.
Naturally, the antenna jacks are for the wi-fi card, a Killer AX1675x, which helps Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3. It could have been higher had the antenna been constructed into the chassis.
The GeForce RTX 4080 has the standard one HDMI and three DisplayPort video outputs. Under, the Aurora’s bottom-mounted energy provide avoids the dangling energy wire. On that notice, don’t lose the wire that comes with this Alienware; it has a typical three-prong wall connector however a nonstandard plug on the energy provide finish, so you possibly can’t simply use any wire.
Accessing the Aurora’s inside is much less simple than it may very well be. The left panel comes off after pulling a rear latch, although first you’ll want a screwdriver to loosen a screw that secures the latch. A Kensington lock slot is constructed into the latch.
The blacked-out inside seems to be aggressive and is nicely laid out with fairly neat cable administration. A warning label says to not use the Alienware lightbar spanning the highest of the case as a deal with.
Alienware’s Cryo-Tech CPU liquid cooler seen right here has two lighting zones and a top-mounted 240mm radiator with two 120mm followers. You will additionally discover two 120mm entrance consumption followers and a 120mm rear exhaust fan. The followers are noisy whereas gaming, audible clear throughout my front room. I’ve examined many quieter desktops.
Although most of you’ll by no means swap out the motherboard or energy provide, take notice each are proprietary: The 11-by-9-inch Intel Z790-based motherboard has a nonstandard extension at its high proper, and the ability provide isn’t ATX type issue. (The ability provide continues to be detachable, with instructions printed contained in the case.) Additionally, keep in mind that the ability cable is proprietary. Our mannequin has the bottom 750-watt unit; a 1,350W mannequin is a required improve solely with the GeForce RTX 4090. Notably, Dell allows you to order the 1,350W mannequin with lower-end configurations, a plus should you’re planning future upgrades.
The Aurora is restricted to only two DDR5 reminiscence slots when high-end desktops sometimes have 4, so it tops out at 64GB of RAM (two 32GB modules) as a substitute of 128GB. Storage growth is common, with two M.2 2280 motherboard slots and one toolless 3.5-inch bay. Our unit’s 1TB PCI Specific 4.0 SSD doesn’t have a heatsink, however the space seems to get adequate airflow.
Alienware covers the Aurora with a one-year guarantee and premium assist. It additionally comes with a fundamental USB keyboard and mouse. Its manufacturing unit set up of Home windows 11 is sort of freed from undesirable apps. Crucial app is the talked about Alienware Command Heart that, in addition to controlling the AlienFX lighting, has processor overclocking controls for techniques with Intel Okay-series Core chips.
This app has two overclocking presets for our mannequin’s Core i9-13900KF, the primary bumping it to five.9GHz and the second 6GHz. (The chip usually maxes out at 5.8GHz.) As we discovered when reviewing the 6.0GHz Intel Core i9-13900KS, you merely can’t squeeze far more out of this chip, however Aurora fashions with the Intel Core i5-13600K or Core i7-13700K ought to have extra headroom. You may as well create your personal overclocking profiles, and items which have uprated 5,200MHz reminiscence additionally enable tweaking of reminiscence settings. I’d nonetheless prefer to see Dell embrace 5,600MHz RAM, like Lenovo does on its Legion Tower 7i Gen 8.
Testing the Alienware Aurora R15: Stellar Energy and Fashion
The Aurora R15 is a one measurement suits all mannequin for Alienware, overlaying the entry-level with its $1,399.99 beginning worth and scaling even past our lofty $4,099.99 evaluate mannequin, which has an Intel Core i9-13900KF processor (24 cores supporting 32 threads and boosting to five.8GHz), a GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card, 32GB of DDR5-5200 RAM, a 1TB SSD with Home windows 11 Dwelling, and a 1TB spinning onerous drive.
Dell’s pricing is on the excessive aspect; the HP Omen 45L was $3,258 and Lenovo’s Legion Tower 7i Gen 8 $3,349 at evaluate time. Nonetheless, the Alienware’s premium may very well be negated with a sale; I noticed our configuration drop to $3,799.99 and even noticed a GeForce RTX 4090 mannequin go for $3,599.99.
The bottom Aurora can also be dear, carrying solely a Core i5-13400F and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050; I noticed HP’s Omen 40L and Lenovo’s Legion 5i Tower with a Core i7 and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti or an AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT for equal dosh. It additionally has simply 8GB of RAM and a small 256GB SSD, however the ease of upgrading the Aurora means you might drop in your personal reminiscence and storage for doubtlessly lower than what Alienware expenses.
The bottom Aurora additionally doesn’t seem like our showy evaluate unit, with its black case, stable plastic aspect panel, CPU air cooling, and simply three RGB lighting zones. The clear aspect panel is $100, and the lunar gentle coloration is one other $30. Primary CPU liquid cooling is an inexpensive $50 (it’s required for Okay-series processors) whereas the RGB-infused Cryo-Tech model is a further $50. Our unit’s rear cable cowl is $50.
The competitors we lined up for efficiency testing towards the Aurora begins with the Lenovo Legion Tower 7i Gen 8 in an almost equivalent configuration, the one different RTX 4080 tower within the group. The others, together with the Corsair Vengeance i7400, the Falcon Northwest Talon, and the Origin Millennium 5000D, all pack the considerably extra highly effective Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090.
On the CPU entrance, the Origin makes use of the 6.0GHz Core i9-13900KS, however as our evaluate reveals, that chip’s benefit over the usual Okay or integrated-graphics-less KF variants is virtually insignificant. Falcon’s Talon employs the 16-core AMD Ryzen 9 7950X for just a little selection. (Alienware isn’t promoting Group Purple’s newest CPUs within the Aurora simply but.)
Productiveness and Content material Creation Checks
We start with UL’s PCMark 10, a benchmark that simulates real-world productiveness and workplace workflows and generates an general system efficiency rating. It additionally features a subtest for storage drives. The Aurora didn’t come out on high in both take a look at however carried out nicely general, and nearly tied its Legion rival. The scores from these towers are extremely excessive subsequent to the common PC.
Subsequent are three CPU-focused exams. Larger scores are higher in Maxon’s Cinebench R23, which renders a fancy scene, and Geekbench 5.4 Professional by Primate Labs, which simulates common apps from PDF rendering to speech recognition and machine studying. In the meantime, decrease instances are higher in our HandBrake 1.4 take a look at, the place we use the open-source app to transcode a 12-minute video from 4K to 1080p decision.
The Aurora additionally scored competitively in our final productiveness take a look at, PugetBench for Photoshop by Puget Programs, which makes use of Photoshop model 22 to execute practical photo-editing duties, from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving a picture to making use of masks, gradient fills, and filters.
Total, Alienware’s newest Aurora trailed the group, however the scores are so tightly bracketed that it’s onerous to say one machine is definitively quicker than one other. Nonetheless, the Aurora has a 240mm CPU liquid cooling resolution whereas the Legion has a bigger 360mm model, so maybe the Legion scored higher for thermal causes.
Graphics and Gaming Checks
Crucial exams for a gaming PC are, in fact, associated to graphics. We begin with artificial exams, particularly UL’s 3DMark light-weight Night time Raid and the extra demanding Time Spy. We additionally run the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5 to gauge OpenGL efficiency. The Aurora was a spark off the Legion’s tempo however scored in line for its GeForce RTX 4080.
We additionally run real-world gaming exams utilizing the built-in benchmarks from F1 2021, Murderer’s Creed Valhalla, and Rainbow Six Siege representing simulation, open-world action-adventure, and aggressive/esports shooter video games, respectively. We run all three video games on Extremely high quality, and we run by F1 2021 a second time with Nvidia’s performance-enhancing DLSS know-how enabled.
We once more noticed the Aurora nipping the Legion’s heels however not fairly catching it, however you shouldn’t have any doubt its GeForce RTX 4080 is a fearsome performer, particularly at 4K. In truth, it’s onerous to suggest spending the cash for that card except you’re going to play at that decision. At this configuration, it is best to be capable to play any AAA PC sport at 4K for no less than just a few years.
Verdict: A Mainstream Cosmic Powerhouse
Dell’s Alienware Aurora R15 is a flashy mainstream tower with the efficiency to match its competitors. Its alien-inspired design is next-level—albeit arguably excessive by 2023 requirements, however we like Alienware’s willingness to face out. We additionally respect that this tower is offered in budget-friendly configurations, so that you don’t want a relative fortune to get in.
Upgradability is the place the Aurora R15 is just a little weak, however that gained’t be a problem for many of you searching for a plug-and-play no-fuss tower. Alienware even backs the Aurora with premium assist. Lenovo’s Legion Tower 7i Gen 8 stays our Editors’ Alternative choose for a high-end mainstream gaming tower for being just a little extra polished, however the Aurora R15 continues to be an impressed selection, particularly if otherworldly seems to be high your record.