Well-known for its otherworldly designs, Dell’s Alienware model has modified gears and brought a minimalist method with its new Aurora R16 gaming desktop (begins at $1,299.99; $1,949.99 as examined). Although this mid-tower doesn’t but are available in price range configurations just like the Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen 8 and the NZXT Participant: One, it’s nonetheless an admirable worth in its preliminary configurations, with the pep for 1440p or mild 4K play as we’ve examined it. Easy serviceability, multi-zone RGB lighting, and silent operation prime off the Aurora’s enchantment. For all that, we give the Alienware Aurora R16 our Editors’ Alternative award for mainstream midrange gaming desktops.
The Design: Did Alienware Go Mainstream?
The Aurora R16 represents a brand new route for Alienware’s gaming desktops, transferring away from the spaceship seems to be of the Alienware Aurora R15 and people earlier than it for the broader enchantment of conventional boutique-built gaming rigs. Dell says the Aurora R16 is quieter and has higher airflow than its predecessor regardless of being 40% smaller, at 16.5 by 7.8 by 18.1 inches (HWD).
Three AlienFX RGB lighting zones contained in the system retain Alienware’s affection for science fiction. The stadium ring flanking the entrance panel, the alien head energy button, and the 120mm exhaust fan are configurable for various results within the Alienware Command Middle app, together with wave and rainbow results. The app additionally permits for pace and brightness management, and the zones will be turned off totally. The Legion Tower 5i Gen 8 has extra lighting, however the Alienware’s lighting choice has a extra distinct vibe.
Port choice recessed into the entrance panel consists of an audio combo jack, three 5Gbps USB Kind-A ports, and one 10Gbps USB Kind-C connection. The underside USB-A and the USB-C ports can cost your gadgets when the tower is switched off.
Rear connections abound with eight extra USB ports (two 5Gbps USB-A, one 10Gbps USB-C, one 20Gbps USB-C, and 4 USB 2.0, two of latter supporting good energy on), quite a few audio connections (two digital SPDIF outputs with coaxial, encompass, and the standard microphone, line-in, and line-out), and a 2.5Gbps Killer E3100 Ethernet jack. For video output, our unit’s Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card has one HDMI and three DisplayPort connections.
The Aurora R16 helps Killer DoubleShot Professional when geared up with the Killer AX1675 Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 wi-fi card like our evaluation unit, which sends sport site visitors solely over Ethernet to attenuate latency and different site visitors over Wi-Fi. The included Killer Intelligence Middle app enables you to additional tweak community settings. The wi-fi card has an exterior antenna that should be linked to the gold jacks under the rear exhaust fan.
Going Inside: Easy Serviceability
The Aurora R16’s facet door is secured by a sliding latch, itself fixed by a Philips-head screw. The facet door then tilts out and lifts away. The see-through panel is plastic, not tempered glass, however it nonetheless seems to be fairly clear.
Alienware’s inside is logically laid out and minimizes cabling. Our liquid-cooled mannequin has a top-mounted 240mm radiator. You may discover only one 120mm consumption fan, however the three 120mm exhaust followers (two on the radiator and one on the again) and the fan within the energy provide guarantee ample passive consumption by the perforated entrance and facet panels. I observed negligible fan noise even whereas gaming, instantly addressing a criticism I had with the earlier technology.
The proprietary Intel Z690-based motherboard has MicroATX-like (9.6 by 9.6 inches) dimensions apart from a prime proper protrusion that extends ahead to feed the chassis’ entrance ports instantly from the board, fairly than by typical case-header cables. Each its M.2 2280 SSD slots are populated in our evaluation unit, although the included drives lack heatsinks. You may additionally discover a 3.5-inch bay subsequent to the 500-watt (W) energy provide. Alienware features a 1,000W mannequin in its Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Ti configurations. (Notice: The Aurora nonetheless makes use of a Dell-specific energy provide design, which, just like the motherboard, could also be a priority for future upgraders.)
As a substitute of the standard 4, the board has two DDR5-5600 DIMM slots, capping this Alienware’s reminiscence ceiling at 64GB (two 32GB modules), which continues to be lots. Enlargement slots embrace one PCI Categorical 5.0 x16 and two PCI Categorical 3.0 x4, however the latter two are inaccessible as a result of the heatsink on the graphics card covers them.
Along with the Alienware Command Middle and Killer Intelligence Middle apps, Dell additionally preinstalls an Alienware Improve app for system updates. This tower has no built-in CPU overclocking, however the Alienware Command Middle app has a Efficiency thermal profile that supposedly will increase the ability restrict of the graphics card. I didn’t see any distinction in benchmarks after I enabled it, although. No trial software program is put in.
As for included peripherals, Dell features a primary USB keyboard and mouse. A normal one-year guarantee rounds out the package deal.
Testing the Alienware Aurora R16: Toned-Down Design, Blow-Out Efficiency
The Aurora R16 we’ve examined has a liquid-cooled Intel Core i7-13700F CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card, 32GB of RAM, two 1TB SSDs (configured as separate drives, not RAID), and Home windows 11 Residence. Dell’s $1,949.99 pricing appears aggressive; I noticed the Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen 8 for $1,569.99, although it had air cooling, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. Prime element selections for this Alienware are the Core i9-13900F and the GeForce RTX 4070 Ti; the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 is not but an choice on the time of writing.
Dell’s $1,299.99 beginning worth consists of an air-cooled Core i7-13700F, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD, which ought to make it an efficient 1080p gaming rig. It’s nonetheless outdoors price range territory, nevertheless, which looks like a missed alternative; Legion Tower 5i Gen 8 configurations can be found nearer to $1,000, and the AMD-based Legion Tower 5 Gen 8 often goes for even much less. NZXT’s Participant: One additionally is available in beneath $1,000.
A phrase on the Aurora R16’s Intel processors: These chips have a 65W base energy ranking, not 125W just like the Core Okay-class chips usually seen in bigger towers, so that they run at a decrease base clock pace; our unit’s Core i7-13700F runs at 2.1GHz versus the three.4GHz of the Intel Core i7-13700KF. Nevertheless, these two chips have the identical configuration of eight Efficiency and eight Environment friendly cores and an identical increase clock (5.2GHz versus 5.4GHz within the 125W model). Video games have a tendency to make use of the increase clock, so the 65W chip shouldn’t maintain this desktop again.
The Aurora R16 will face primarily higher-end towers for our efficiency comparisons. The corporate’s personal Dell XPS Desktop (8960) has a GeForce RTX 4080, whereas the iBuyPower Gaming RDY Y40BG202 and the NZXT Participant: Three use the GeForce RTX 4070 Ti. All three of those leverage the Core i7-13700K CPU. We additionally included the entry-level Legion Tower 5i Gen 8 with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060. Count on the Aurora R16 to fit within the center.
Productiveness and Content material Creation Exams
We run the identical normal productiveness benchmarks throughout each cell and desktop techniques. Our first take a look at is UL’s PCMark 10, which simulates a wide range of real-world productiveness and workplace workflows to measure general system efficiency and in addition features a storage subtest for the first drive.
Our different three benchmarks give attention to the CPU, utilizing all obtainable cores and threads, to fee a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 makes use of that firm’s Cinema 4D engine to render a posh scene, whereas Geekbench 5.4 Professional from Primate Labs simulates widespread apps starting from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine studying. Lastly, we use the open-source video transcoder HandBrake 1.4 to transform a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p decision (decrease occasions are higher).
Lastly, we run PugetBench for Photoshop by workstation maker Puget Techniques, which makes use of the Artistic Cloud model 22 of Adobe’s well-known picture editor to fee a PC’s efficiency for content material creation and multimedia functions. It is an automatic extension that executes a wide range of normal and GPU-accelerated Photoshop duties starting from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving a picture to making use of masks, gradient fills, and filters.
The Aurora R16 predictably completed forward of the Lenovo however behind the others in PCMark’s important assessments. These machines are far overqualified for the workplace productiveness apps that take a look at simulates.
Nevertheless, the CPU-specific assessments present that the Aurora’s 65W Core i7 isn’t as adept because the Okay-series Intel chips within the Dell XPS, iBuyPower, and NZXT techniques. To its credit score, the Alienware didn’t path by a lot in key assessments like Geekbench (inside 100 factors of the Dell XPS) and Photoshop (inside 50 factors of the Dell XPS, the quickest within the group).
Whereas it’s miles from the quickest desktop yow will discover for processor-heavy duties, the Aurora R16 ought to see you thru many demanding functions resembling media rendering.
Graphics and Gaming Exams
For gaming desktops, we run each artificial and real-world gaming benchmarks. The previous consists of two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark, the extra modest Night time Raid (appropriate for techniques with built-in graphics) and extra demanding Time Spy (appropriate for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs). We then run two OpenGL workouts, rendered offscreen by the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5, which permits for various native show resolutions; extra frames per second (fps) means larger efficiency.
Our actual gaming benchmarks are these constructed into F1 2021, Murderer’s Creed Valhalla, and Rainbow Six Siege, nevertheless examined at larger resolutions and high quality settings. These three characterize simulation, open-world action-adventure, and aggressive/esports shooter video games, respectively. We run Valhalla and Siege twice every at Extremely high quality (at each 1080p and 4K), whereas F1 2021 is run at 4K solely, with and with out AMD and Nvidia’s performance-boosting FSR and DLSS options turned on.
The Aurora’s triple-digit body charges within the 1440p gaming benchmarks counsel the GeForce RTX 4070 is good for gaming at that decision. The RTX 4070 Ti within the iBuyPower and NZXT was noticeably sooner, however that was identified moving into, and that GPU is offered within the Aurora if 4K gaming is your purpose. If 1080p is your intention, although, the base-level Aurora’s GeForce RTX 4060 is lots, with efficiency that will likely be noticeably higher than that of the Lenovo’s GeForce RTX 3060 seen right here.
All advised, you get fairly a little bit of energy right here from the Alienware for lots much less money in taking only a half-step down in GPU class from our next-best-tested midrange gaming system, the iBuyPower rig.
Verdict: A Wise Gaming PC from an Out-There Model
The Aurora R16’s industrial look is not a lot an about-face from Alienware’s sci-fi aesthetic as it’s a step towards wider enchantment that retains loads of that space-age identification. This extra mainstream design seemingly helped with the Aurora’s quieter operation, addressing a difficulty we took with the earlier technology. Our important criticism is that Dell does not promote a really price range mannequin but. Regardless of that, the Core i7 and RTX 4060 base mannequin is nicely priced, and our liquid-cooled evaluation unit put up admirable numbers in our gaming benchmarks. Total, the Alienware Aurora R16 does almost all the pieces nicely for a good worth, incomes our Editors’ Alternative award for mainstream midrange gaming desktops.