Alienware Aurora Desktop PC Review

Sun, Dec 25, 2011

Hardware Reviews

Alienware Aurora Desktop PC Review

Overview

Since 1996, Alienware has been providing cutting-edge, high performance gaming solutions for desktops and laptops. For 2011, Alienware has fielded its entry for the $2,500 (more or less) market, the Alienware Aurora Desktop PC. This gaming system offers the power of overclocking combined with remarkable expandability.

Specifications

The Alienware Aurora Desktop PC features the following battle-ready components in its arsenal:

  • Intel Core i7 2600K 3.4GHz processor
  • 4 GB DDR3 667 MHz RAM
  • ATI Radeon HD 6900 with 2GB memory
  • 1 TB SATA had drive
  • Multi-Card Reader

Special Features

  • Overclocked processors using TurboBoost 2.0 technology. The Intel Core i7 2600K has been overclocked from 3.4 GHz to 4.1GHz for increased processing power.
  • Liquid cooling. The CPU is kept cool by a liquid cooling system capable of cooling 3 metric tons of liquid per square meter of CPU die. Liquid cooling has never been better.
  • Dual graphics. Users can opt to install two graphics cards for more intense graphics output. Users can choose from AMD CrossFireX and NVIDIA SLI to take advantage of HD resolutions.
  • Alienware Command Center. A proprietary software package developed to access lighting, thermal controls, and power management.
  • AlienFX Lighting. Users have the option of creating 160,000 lighting color combinations on four areas of the system.

Pros

The Alienware Aurora Desktop PC provides the following benefits and advantages:

  • Innovative layout of system components and cables ensure that each hardware component is easily accessible for upgrades and efficient airflow is maintained.
  • Most of the system components are easy to access, service, and install without using any tools.
  • Ports are available at the front panel, reducing the need to access back panel ports.
  • Ports at the back panel are accessible and even have a convenient lighting fixture for easy removal and connection of cables.
  • Connectivity options include ports for: DVI, display, Ethernet, FireWire, HDMI, keyboard (USB), mouse (USB), USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and eSATA.
  • Multimedia card reader for the following formats: CompactFlash, Memory Stick. SD Card, SD/MMC Card, and XD-Picture card.

Cons

A downside to the system is that the base model features average components compared to competitive configurations found in other brands on the same price range. For maximum benefits, the user needs to customize the system further. In addition, the system uses a mid-sized chassis, making the internal environment a bit cramped for comfort.

Game testing results show consistent output of 183 fps when running Unreal Tournament 3 at 2560 by 1600 resolution with the settings set to full. At first glance this may look satisfactory. However, this figure is not that impressive compared to competitors churning out 225 fps while running the same game.

The Verdict

The Alienware Aurora Desktop PC looks great on the outside with its stealth black casing with lighting effects and all. However, users who prefer a decent product-to-price ratio should reconsider since getting the best from this system means shelling out a bit more for customizations. Yes, it looks flashy but do not expect too much from the base model.

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