All through its 20 years of history, Alienware has made a reputation for itself with an extended record of memorable gaming PCs, and maybe one of the vital noteworthy has been its mid-size tower, the Aurora. We’d been ready for the follow-up to the Aurora R4 and its maneuverable followers because it was launched means again in 2011.
And, when it lastly arrived, the Alienware Aurora R5 proved to be a leaner, meaner and much more head-turning gaming rig than the then-new Alienware Area 51.
Try our Alienware Aurora R5 evaluation video beneath
The Aurora R5 is appears to be like the a part of a tower of energy, but it surely’s surprisingly tiny regardless of its dominating silhouette. Measuring about 1.5 toes tall and simply over a foot in depth, it is a much smaller system than your conventional mid-tower case and virtually veers into Mini ITX territory.
The second factor you may discover concerning the Aurora R5 is how smooth it’s. There are not any flat edges on any facet of the case. As a substitute, all of them slide off at odd angles, and even the desktop’s two toes are pitched at totally different inclines. That every one may appear random, but it surely provides as much as a gorgeously trendy design.
Alienware’s designs have classically exuded an exotically extraterrestrial high quality to them. Nonetheless, the Aurora is extra industrial and appears extra like one thing from our personal future moderately than an alien pod, just like the Space 51. In the end, although, there have not been many gaming PCs with a uniquely asymmetrical design like this earlier than.
Some parts of Alienware’s older designs additionally bleed by means of right here, together with the facet panels that bend on the corners, like the corporate’s gaming laptops. You may additionally discover that signature glowing alien head and tri-beam accent lights on the edges, all of that are customizable by means of the Alienware FX software program.
Curiously, one aspect that is lacking right here is the middle backbone, which has been part of virtually each Alienware design for the reason that Space 51 Predator 1. As a substitute of a wedge form on the entrance finish, the R5’s façade is flat and virtually utterly plain, save for the glowing brand, an especially skinny disc tray and ventilated entrance consumption. One welcome new design aspect is a rear deal with that makes lugging across the system lots simpler.
After all, the Aurora R5 has far more going for it than only a new look. Alienware has re-engineered its whole inner format, having discovered a technique to fold elements into one another to avoid wasting house with out sacrificing accessibility or simple upgradability.
Most gaming PCs include a top- or bottom-mounted energy provide. Nonetheless, the R5 comes with one which’s turned on its facet and connected to an articulating arm that swings out of the case and closes over the motherboard.
It is a actually head-turning design that helps cut back the peak of the PC whereas utilizing up the empty house over the processor and CPU cooler, which is in any other case unoccupied on virtually all different desktops.
The facility provide meeting would not intervene with different elements, like crushing the reminiscence modules. The folding arm can also be designed to simply glide over the graphics playing cards, and it has a small nook for cables to run by means of and an area reduce into it to stop the facet panel from clamping down on them.
You would possibly suppose that this might have a adverse impact on cooling, but it surely truly works fairly nicely. A fan pulls in cool air by means of the entrance whereas the GPU(s) breathes by means of fins reduce into the facet panel, and warmth radiates by means of the highest.
It is a large improve from the same old CPU fan cooler, although it partially blows scorching air straight into the rear deal with. This implies a portion of the warmth travels a number of inches earlier than smacking right into a stable plastic panel.
Right here is the Alienware Aurora R5 configuration despatched to TechSwitch for evaluation:
- CPU: 4GHz Intel Core i7-6700Ok (quad-core, 8MB cache, as much as four.2GHz with Turbo Enhance)
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X RAM)
- RAM: 16GB DDR4 RAM (2,133MHz)
- Storage: 256GB PCIe SSD, 2TB HDD (7,200RPM)
- Optical drive: Tray-loading twin layer Blu-ray reader
- Ports: 7 x USB Three.zero, 1 x USB Three.1 Kind-A, 1 x USB-Three.1 Kind-C, 6 x USB 2.zero, Ethernet, four x DisplayPort, HDMI, optical out, headphone jack, microphone jack, 7.1 encompass sound out
- Connectivity: Intel 3165 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth four.2
- Weight: 32.67 kilos (14.82kg)
- Measurement: eight.35 x 14.19 x 18.6 inches (212 x 360.5 x 472.52mm; W x D x H)
Don’t let the Aurora R5’s measurement idiot you – it’s a full-fledged gaming desktop and might even be VR prepared, relying in your configuration. It begins out round $799 (about £599, AU$1071), and that base configuration will web you a Sixth-generation Intel Core i3 CPU, Nvidia GTX 950 GPU, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB exhausting drive.
In actuality, although, you may’t actually play many demanding video games with this beginning spec. So, you may probably must step as much as the $1,099 (about £825, AU$1,473) Intel Core i5 and Nvidia GTX 970 configuration, in order for you a clean, say, Overwatch expertise. Even at this worth level, the Aurora R5 is extra reasonably priced than the Lenovo Ideacenter Y900 and Acer Predator G6 – with cheaper upgrades besides.
In the meantime, the $2,529 (about £1,899, AU$Three,390) configuration you see above is an almost maxed out unit with a number of extras, together with the upgraded 850W energy provide plus the liquid-cooling system.
If you happen to’re on the lookout for a deal, you may get an Alienware Aurora R5 with a extra trendy GTX 1070 for simply $1,499 (about £1,137, AU$2,028) on Amazon within the US.
With the higher-end energy provide, we went forward and plugged in a second GTX 1080 for our enjoyment … err, we imply, testing. The system ran like a dream with the second card and it truly is spectacular how one can improve the Aurora regardless of its restricted chassis.
After all, there’s the choice of upgrading your system much more methods, and Alienware has made your entire course of tool-less. You will not even must cope with thumbscrews to take away the growth slots, and there is room for 2 SSDs to slip in on tool-less trays as nicely.
Here is how the Alienware Aurora R5 carried out in our suite of benchmark tests:
- 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 30,764; Sky Diver: 32,393; Fireplace Strike: 15,315
- Cinebench CPU: 865 factors; Graphics: 132.5 fps
- GeekBench: GeekBench: 4023 (single-core); 16,zero67 (multi-core)
- PCMark eight (House Check): four,563 factors
- The Division: (1080p, Extremely): 91 fps; (1080p, Low): 201 fps
- GTA V: (1080p, Extremely): 78 fps; (1080p, Low): 176 fps
With Nvidia’s newest and hottest Pascal GTX 1080 graphics card and an Intel Core i7-6700 CPU on board, the Aurora R5 tore up all of the benchmark checks I put it by means of. It simply put up a few of the greatest scores I’ve seen from a gaming machine, and it even put the overpowered Maingear Shift to disgrace in sure respects.
With a single GPU, the R5 was in a position to play GTA V at 78fps on Extremely, whereas the Shift achieved a 73fps efficiency with two Nvidia GTX 980 Ti playing cards. Pascal provides a lot extra efficiency than Maxwell, it simply outpaces each Nvidia-powered gaming desktop we have reviewed prior to now.
The Alienware Aurora R5 is a revolution in gaming desktop design. Placing the facility provide on an articulating arm and having it float over the motherboard is a very unorthodox strategy, but it surely makes numerous sense while you put it to follow.
This helps cut back the general peak of the case whereas minimizing the quantity of unused house within the case. Consequently, the Aurora is dramatically smaller than most pre-built PCs.
Whereas Alienware’s methods have a repute of being exorbitantly costly, the Aurora R5 is approachable at $1,099 (about £825, AU$1,473) for an honest configuration – extra reasonably priced than a few of its opponents. From there, you may improve the elements your self by means of a painless and tool-less DIY course of.
The Alienware Aurora R5 is a beautiful and well-planned system mild on in house and worth, however heavy on energy and potential.