With a long list of the greatest gaming PCs over the past 20 years, Alienware has made a reputation for itself in the computing industry. Its mid-size tower, the Aurora, is possibly one of the most notable examples. Ever since the Aurora R4 and its movable fans were introduced in 2011, we had been anticipating their successor.
Now the wait is over. The Alienware Aurora R5 was an even more exceptional gaming system than the then-new Alienware Area 51 when we eventually got our hands on it.
The Aurora R5 has the appearance of a tower of power, but it is actually surprisingly little. It’s a far more compact system than your typical mid-tower case, bordering on Mini ITX territory at 1.5 feet tall and little over a foot deep.
The Aurora R5’s elegant design will be the next thing you notice. None of the case’s sides have flat edges. Instead, every one of them slides down at an unexpected angle, even the computer’s two feet have various slopes. All of that could appear random, but it creates a stunningly contemporary style.
The designs of Alienware have traditionally had a strange, otherworldly feel to them. Instead of being an alien pod like the Area 51, the Aurora is more industrial and appears to be from our own time. In the end, however, there haven’t been many gaming PCs with such a distinctively asymmetrical design.
Furthermore, some features of Alienware’s earlier designs are also visible, such as the side panels’ rounded corners, which are similar to those of the company’s gaming laptops. Along with the tri-beam accent lights on the sides, you’ll also notice the distinctive lighting alien head, which you can customize using the Alienware FX software.
The middle spine, which has been a staple of practically every Alienware design since the Area 51 Predator 1, is oddly absent from this one. The R5’s front end does not have a wedge form; instead, it is flat and nearly entirely simple, save for the illuminating logo, a remarkably thin disc tray, and a ventilated front intake. A back handle, a welcome addition to the design, makes transporting the system much simpler.
Turn It On
The Aurora’s lights may be configured to glow in a variety of fantastic color combinations, just like any other Alienware device. The three light strips on the side panels and the machine’s alien-head power button can both be customized via the Alienware Command Center app, or you may select a preset color like the all-green Alien Blood or the orange, red, and yellow Flame.
You can easily adjust the Aurora’s lights and create your own presets; I ultimately created a cute green-and-pink mix that suited the GeForce graphics card inside’s dim illumination. By gaming desktop standards, the lighting is quite understated, but if you’re sick of towers that resemble little nightclubs, that might be a good thing.
The Command Center program allows you to monitor and control the PC’s fans in addition to providing aesthetic customization. When you play your favorite game, custom Game Modes that load up certain lighting settings and launch extra programs automatically can be created using the AlienAdrenaline feature and the AlienFusion tool, respectively.
Genuinely Tool-Free Upgradeability
The Aurora is designed especially for you if the idea of using a screwdriver to upgrade your PC makes you cringe. The new Alienware PC is one of the easiest to upgrade gaming desktops I’ve ever used, thanks to a set of innovative and straightforward mechanisms that make it possible to access and switch out parts without the use of any tools.
The side panel came off the Aurora’s rear after I released a lock there. This is a standard function on contemporary gaming PCs, but what I found after that was undoubtedly uncommon. A swinging power-supply mechanism in the Aurora holds the graphics card in place; after flipping a few lock switches, I was able to rotate the power supply and remove the graphics card and hard drive without having to remove a single screw.
I’ve come across many PCs that make accessing the graphics card simple, but none that make replacing it so simple. As a result, even the most uncoordinated or technologically averse Aurora users may buy that brand-new GPU without stressing out about how to install it.
Our Aurora’s GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card delivered excellent performance, and I wasn’t let down. The Alienware Computer was a joy to play Rise of the Tomb Raider on, allowing me to quickly dispatch enemy guards at a frame rate of 45 while Lara Croft’s snow-speckled hair was displayed at 4K without issue. When I reduced the game’s resolution to 2560 x 1600, it still looked fantastic and played at an even better 60 frames per second. We were able to get an excellent 114.67 frames per second from the Aurora when we performed the Metro: Last Light benchmark at 4K on low settings.
The Aurora outperformed our GTX 980-powered Acer Predator G6 (3.061), the GTX 970-powered Digital Storm Bolt 3 (2,787), and our 3,599 average for gaming PCs with a score of 4,903 in the 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra test.
The Aurora feels perfect in comparison to Alienware’s entire array of gaming computers. The company’s living-room-ready X51 lacks strong GPU options, whilst the top-tier Area 51 gives all the graphics capability you could possibly need at the expense of nearly all of your desk space. The Aurora, on the other hand, comes with everything you require for 4K and VR gaming in a respectable-sized chassis that is simple to update as necessary.
More expensive rivals, including the Digital Storm Bolt 3 and the Maingear Drift, are more svelte and have more customizability choices, but they lack the Aurora’s subtle design cues (handles, easy-open panels). Overall, Alienware’s most recent desktop is a great introduction to PC gaming that you’ll still find handy if you’ve turned into a die-hard fanatic.