Lots of power in a futuristic container.
The Alienware Aurora returns for another year with the R13 set of pure beasts; The review unit that made its way to Stevivor’s office came equipped with nothing short of a ridiculously sought-after NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090, and just asked us to find a monitor capable of delivering 8K gaming. Spoilers: we couldn’t, so for us it was regular 1440p or 4K slumming.
However, you know what they say: a smaller resolution results in more frames… so we tried to find benchmarking tools that would take that into account.
see and feel
Before we get to the Aurora’s sheer performance, let’s talk about what it looks like. We reviewed the White Aurora R13 – although a Dark Side of the Moon, aka black version, is also available – and opted to omit an optional back cover from the device for easy access to a variety of ports . On the front and back of the unit you have eleven different USB options, while audiophiles will enjoy digital optical and surround sound options.
Standard Alienware fare, the Aurora does its best to be at home on the lensed bridge of JJ Abrams’ Starship Enterprise. The solid white of the Aurora’s rounded, futuristic body is accented by a plain black front lit with a honeycomb hexagonal effect and eye-catching ring LEDs. The Alienware logo on the front not only lights up accordingly, but also acts as the device’s power button. On the left side of the device you’ll find a transparent side panel that reveals another set of Alienware logos – one on a sizable heat sink – and even more eye-catching LEDs that really help drive home the snazzy 3090 that’s housed within . On the right is a stylized “Aurora” logo that breaks the word into three rows of two characters each.
The optional back cover only serves to round out the Aurora’s overall form factor, which itself is stylized with hexagonal cutouts that help manage airflow. With the back cover included, you’ll notice a handy rounded shape at the top of the device, useful for looking down to see which cables are being used. We put the cover on to see what it looked like, then immediately removed it to save space that would otherwise be required to house the device. While the plastic used for the case is by no means cheap, it’s certainly a different take on a PC tower; Compared to my current rig, there’s a lot less glass to show what it’s packing.
To say that the Aurora R13 is a powerhouse doesn’t do it any service. The device we tested will set you back almost A$8,000; For this money you certainly want a corresponding performance. With an Intel Core i9 processor, GeForce RTX 3090 and RAM to spare, Alienware says this particular beast could run games in 8K at 60 frames per second (FPS); However, as we’ve said before, this is dependent on you having a monitor that actually takes advantage of this. We tested with a two-monitor setup, with one supporting 4K at 60Hz and the other supporting a 1440p screen up to 144Hz.
Our tests consisted of a combination of every benchmark we could think of combined with everyday use including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Office 365 including Word and Excel, and Chrome and Firefox browsers with way too many open tabs to be considered productive. The Aurora R13 laughed and shrugged whatever we could throw at it, all the while delivering very impressive results. It runs quite hot on most of these tasks, but fan noise was fairly quiet until we delved into demanding titles with the highest possible graphics settings. There, the fan kicked in, making up for its previous silence, almost drowning out the in-game music at times.
Unsurprisingly, the combination of an Intel Core i9-1200KF processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 smashed the 3DMark benchmarking tool, achieving a score of 8,353, better than 99% of all results. In 3D Mark’s Time Spy, the rig achieved a graphics score of 18,557 and a CPU score of 16,090; The benchmark suggests that the device could reach 200+ FPS in 1080p Ultra and 170+ FPS in 1440p Ultra inside battlefield 5. In-game benchmarks in the manner of ForzaHorizon 5 said I could run the game on extreme settings (of course) and maintained a solid 60 FPS on my 4K display. In 1440p with extreme settings, the game reached a stable 110FPS. Testing Shadow of the Tomb Raider On a 1920×1080 display, the game averaged 182 FPS (and then an updated set of NVIDIA drivers meant I couldn’t launch the game on my regular displays afterwards). On the highest settings Grave robbers averaged 143.8 FPS in 1440p and a solid 60 FPS in 4K.
While this rig will certainly keep you future-proof for quite a while, its performance comes with a hefty price tag. If you’ve got the cash — and don’t feel like building your own PC — the Alienware Aurora R13 is a rock-solid buy for those who just want to play games or edit videos. It looks and works well, although its audible fan noise may distract some from their game – or work – of choice. If you decide to try your hand at PC manufacturing, this could also be a place to start (in eight to 10 years) with a component or two. Ultimately.
Alienware Aurora R13 gaming desktop specifications
|pricing||$3,699 to about AUD$8,000|
|operating system||Windows 11 Home (Windows 11 Pro available for 100 AUD extra)|
|processor||Up to 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900KF|
|graphic||Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 (24GB GDDR6X, LHR)|
|memory||Up to 128GB, 4 x 32GB, DDR5, 3600MHz, Dual Channel|
|storage||Up to 2TB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD (Boot), 2TB 7200RPM SATA 6GB/s (Storage)|
Killer Wi-Fi 6 1675 (2×2), 802.11ax wireless, Bluetooth 5.2
|power adapter||750W platinum|
|cooling||Air and liquid cooling|
|features||Transparent side panel
Dell Wired Keyboard KB216 Black (English) u Dell MS116 USB Optical Mouse – Black
|Dimensions||Height (front): 510 mm (20.08 in)
Height (rear): 510 mm (20.1 in)
Width: 225mm (8.86in)
Length (without optional cable cover: 529 mm (20.8 in)
Length (with optional cable cover): 589 mm (23.2 in)
|weight||12.3 kg (27.1 lbs.) to 16.5 kg (36.4 lbs.)|
|colour||White or dark side of the moon (black)|
The Alienware Aurora R13 gaming desktop was tested with a loaner device from the manufacturer. Dell has also pointed out that “whEven if we experienced supply bottlenecks with the 3090 graphics card, we expect an improvement later [in 2022].”
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