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 it to Stevivor’s office sported nothing less than a ridiculously requested NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 and simply begged us to try and find a monitor capable of delivering 8K gaming. Spoilers: we couldn’t, so it was 1440p or regular 4K for us.
You know what they say though: smaller resolution leads to more frames… so we tried to find benchmarking tools that would take that into consideration.
Look and feel
Before we get to the pure performance of the Aurora, let’s talk about its looks. We tested the White Aurora R13 – although a Dark Side of the Moon, aka black, version is also available – and opted to leave an optional back cover off the device for easy access to a host of ports. . On the front and back of the device you have eleven different USB options, while audiophiles will be delighted with the optical digital and surround sound options.
The Aurora is standard Alienware fare, doing its best to look at home on the lens flare-heavy deck of JJ Abrams’ Enterprise spacecraft. The solid white of the Aurora’s rounded, futuristic casing is accentuated by a simple black front illuminated by a honeycomb, hexagon effect, and striking ring LEDs. The Alienware logo on the front not only lights up accordingly, but also serves as the device’s power button. On the left of the device, you’ll find a transparent side panel that displays another set of Alienware logos – one over a sizable heatsink – and even flashier LEDs that really help tuck in the fancy 3090 that sits at inside. On the right side, you’ll find a stylized “Aurora” logo that divides the word into three rows of two characters each.
The optional rear cover only serves to complement the Aurora’s overall form factor, itself styled with hexagonal cutouts that help manage airflow. When the back cover is included, you’ll notice a handy circular shape at the top of the unit, useful for looking down to see which cables are in use. We put the cover on to see what it looked like, then immediately removed it to save the space needed to house the unit otherwise. While the plastic used for the case is by no means cheap, this is certainly a different take on a PC tower; compared to my current rig, there’s a lot less glass to show off what’s inside.
To say the Aurora R13 is a powerhouse is doing it a disservice. The unit we tested will set you back almost AUD$8,000; for that money, you’d definitely want the performance to match. With an Intel Core i9 processor, GeForce RTX 3090 and RAM to spare, Alienware claims this particular beast could run games in 8K at 60 frames per second (FPS); as we’ve said before though, it depends on having a monitor that will actually take advantage of it. We tested using a dual-monitor setup, one capable of 4K at 60Hz and the other a 1440p display capable of up to 144Hz.
Our tests consisted of a combination of every benchmark we could think of, combined with daily use including software like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Office 365 including Word and Excel, and Chrome browsers and Firefox. with too many tabs open to be considered productive. The Aurora R13 laughed and ignored everything we could throw at it, generating very impressive scores all the time. It runs warm enough to perform most of these tasks, but fan noise was quiet enough until we got into demanding titles using the highest graphics settings possible. There, the fan stepped in and made up for his previous silence, almost drowning out the game’s music at times.
Unsurprisingly, the combination of an Intel Core i9-1200KF processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 crushed the 3DMark benchmarking tool, reaching a score of 8,353 and topping 99% of all results. In 3D Mark’s Time Spy, the platform scored a graphics score of 18,557 and a CPU score of 16,090; benchmark suggests unit could hit 200+ FPS at 1080p Ultra and 170+ FPS at 1440p Ultra indoors Battlefield 5. Landmarks in the game like Forza Horizon 5 said I could run the game using Extreme settings (naturally) and maintain a solid 60FPS on my 4K display. At 1440p with Extreme settings, the game hit a steady 110FPS. Test Shadow of the Tomb Raider on a 1920×1080 display the game averaged 182FPS (then an upgraded set of NVIDIA drivers meant I couldn’t run the game on my normal displays afterwards). On its highest settings, grave robber averaged 143.8FPS at 1440p and a solid 60FPS at 4K.
While this platform will certainly assure you to be future-proof for quite some time, its performance comes with a hefty price tag. If you have the cash and don’t want to build your own PC, the Alienware Aurora R13 is a solid buy for those who just want to game or edit video. It looks great and runs well, though the audible noise of its fan might distract some from their game – or work – of choice. If you decide to get started as a PC builder, this could also be a starting point (eight to ten years from now) with a component or two. Ultimately.
Alienware Aurora R13 Gaming PC Specifications
|Pricing||$3,699 to around $8,000 AUD|
|SE||Windows 11 Home (Windows 11 Pro available for an additional $100 AUD)|
|Processor||Up to 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900KF|
|Chart||Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 (24 GB GDDR6X, LHR)|
|Memory||Up to 128 GB, 4 x 32 GB, DDR5, 3600 MHz, 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), Wireless 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.2
|power supply||750W turntable|
|Cooling||Air and liquid cooling|
|Features||Transparent side panel
Dell KB216 Wired Keyboard Black (English) and Dell-MS116 USB Optical Mouse – Black
|Dimensions||Height (front): 510 mm (20.08 inches)
Height (rear): 510 mm (20.1 in)
Width: 225mm (8.86 inches)
Length (without optional cable cover: 529 mm (20.8 in)
Length (with optional cable cover): 589 mm (23.2 in)
|lester||12.3 kg (27.1 lb) to 16.5 kg (36.4 lb)|
|Color||White or dark side of the moon (black)|
The Alienware Aurora R13 Gaming Desktop was reviewed using a loaner unit provided by the manufacturer. Dell also stated that “whyisle we experienced some supply constraints on the 3090 graphics card, we anticipate an improvement later [in 2022].”
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