Alienware’s Aurora R8 Overview: Moderately Quick, Moderately Reasonably priced

From its spaceship-inspired look to its choice of high-end silicon, the Alienware Aurora R8 caters to the calls for of fanatic avid gamers. This gaming desktop was designed for high-end avid gamers — options high out with Intel’s Ninth-Technology Core i9-9900Okay processor, dual-Nvidia RTX 2080 graphics help, and whopping quantities of storage and reminiscence — however even informal avid gamers who’re keen on Alienware’s gamer-first designs can get in on the motion because of a extra reasonably priced $899 entry worth.

Fans who demand extra efficiency than the bottom configuration — an Intel Core i5-9400 processor, 8GB RAM, and AMD Radeon RX 560X graphics — will likely be glad to know that Alienware provides loads of upgradeable configurations for this desktop. Not like different boutique gaming PCs, like Digital Storm’s Lynx and Origin PC’s Neuron, Alienware solely permits customers to select from inside upgrades, leaving the case design normal throughout all builds of the R8.

Extra of the identical

Aesthetically, the Aurora R8 maintains the identical design Alienware has been utilizing since 2016’s Aurora R5. Although this isn’t essentially unhealthy, on condition that the tower was constructed to permit avid gamers quick access for upgrades, the dual-tone gunmetal and black bulbous design is beginning to present its age subsequent to sleeker extra minimalist desktops, like HP’s Omen Obelisk, or the Lynx or Neuron. Alienware’s makes an attempt at a futuristic silhouette with its UFO-like Aurora R8 falls a bit flat; the unit’s sloped high and angled toes make this tower look fairly retro, and maybe dated. Not like lots of the R8’s up to date rivals, this gaming PC is generally constructed from opaque plastic devoid of any see-through tempered glass window, a function that’s shortly turning into normal on many gaming desktops.

Alienware Aurora R8

Alienware Aurora R8

On the Origin PC Neuron and HP Omen Obelisk, for instance, the glass window not solely helps to showcase the expertise inside, like water cooling pipes and LED backlighting, but additionally helps so as to add visible curiosity. The R8 comes with a detachable facet metal-lined plastic panel. Although we didn’t encounter any sturdiness points with the Aurora R8’s alternative of supplies, we discovered that some flexing within the plastic made this desktop really feel much less sturdy than competing all-metal instances.

At 18.6 x 14.2 x Eight.four inches, the Aurora R8 is about the identical dimension as most mid-sized gaming desktops. Given the R8’s skill to accommodate as much as two graphics playing cards, it’s closest rivals embody the 18 x 18 x Eight-inch Digital Storm Lynx and the extremely customizable and compact 16.5 x 15.three x 6.Eight-inch Origin PC Neuron. And though the R8 weighs 32 kilos, it’s plastic top-carry deal with – which feels much less strong than Lenovo’s Legion C730 Dice’s cooler-inspired carry deal with – helps in transporting this desktop to LAN events.

The Aurora R8 is designed to accommodate as much as two graphics playing cards, permitting for enormous efficiency potential.

General, if you happen to’re a fan of Alienware’s aesthetics, or if you happen to’ve invested in an Alienware show – just like the Alienware 34 Curved AW3418dw gaming monitor – the Aurora R8’s design won’t disappoint. Just like the Alienware show, the Aurora R8’s accents are minimal, together with easy LED strips on its facet panels, which will be managed by the Alien FX software program. The sloped high and angled toes make Alienware’s UFO-chasing design really feel a bit retro, fairly than futuristic, on a desk. When you want extra understated aesthetics, you could need to look elsewhere.

Constructed for the longer term

Like extra highly effective mid-sized towers available on the market, the Alienware Aurora R8 is designed to accommodate as much as two graphics playing cards, offering avid gamers – and creatives who’re on this PC’s design – with large efficiency potential. With area to accommodate ample storage drives, the Aurora R8 is a PC that may develop with you, offered the gaming-forward design doesn’t look stale in just a few years.

For cubicle dwellers trying to make use of the Aurora R8 as a workstation, a single screw, together with a safe lock port on a liftable tab on the rear, is designed to safe the R8’s internals from “RAM jackers” in your workplace. Although it provides a little bit of safety to the system’s internals, the screw is a curious aspect on condition that the R8 is more likely to attraction extra to avid gamers than cubicle dwellers. As soon as the screw is undone and a few latches are switched to the unlocked place on the rear of the unit, your entire facet panel will be eliminated.

Alienware Aurora R8 Riley Younger/Digital Traits

Inside, you’ll be greeted by a big steel bracket containing the 850W energy provide unit. A picture reveals you can raise the bracket out from the rear of the Aurora, permitting it to swing open to disclose the micro ATX motherboard, graphics card, reminiscence, and RAM. Our assessment unit ships with two sticks of 16GB of HyperX DDR4 RAM, and customers can simply improve to 64GB of reminiscence by means of the 4 DIMM slots on the motherboard.

Space for storing shouldn’t be a priority for digital hoarders. Although our assessment unit ships with a 512GB NVMe solid-state drive and a 2TB arduous disk drive, the R8 ships with 5 storage bays. Given the open design when the PSU bracket is swung open, making DIY upgrades could be very straightforward. Although cables are neatly managed, there’s all the time a priority that cables might change into cinched or inadvertently clipped when the bracket is closed.

Ports galore

Even when this PC’s styling will not be to your liking, a scarcity of port shouldn’t be a grievance with the Aurora R8. All configurations of this PC ships with the identical abundance of ports, making it straightforward to attach mainstay peripherals on the rear and accessing flash drives on the entrance.

Alienware Aurora R8

Alienware Aurora R8

The entrance ports are situated on the high close to the entrance of the unit simply above the Alienware glowing alien head brand, which doubles as a depressible energy button. Right here, you’ll discover connections for 3 USB-A ports, single USB-C port, microphone enter, and headphone jack. Thunderbolt three, nonetheless, is absent.

On the rear, you’ll discover an SPDIF connector, Ethernet jack, eight USB-A ports, single USB-C port, single USB three.1 Sort-A port, and audio jacks. There are additionally three DisplayPort connectors, and HDMI port, and an additional USB-C port on the Nvidia RTX 2080 graphics card on our assessment unit. Relying on the graphics card you select, these ports might range.

Chunky however not clunky

Our Aurora R8 assessment unit ships with an eight-core Intel Core i7-9900Okay processor from Intel’s Ninth-generation processor household, and efficiency is robust. When you’re trying on the Aurora R8 for productiveness duties, you’ll be able to improve to a configuration with a extra highly effective Intel Core i9-9900Okay processor. As configured with a Core i7 silicon, we didn’t encounter any points utilizing the R8 for Adobe Artistic Cloud or Microsoft Workplace 365 purposes, and video games load comparatively quick.

Although processing efficiency isn’t as sturdy as on newer programs with Intel Core i9-9900Okay CPUs, the Aurora R8’s processor efficiency is increased than the HP Omen Obelisk, which is to be anticipated given the latter system shipped with an older Intel Core i7-8700 processor. In our Geekbench four benchmark, the R8 scored 6,056 and 29,zero32 factors in single- and multi-core assessments respectively. This isn’t as excessive because the Origin Millennium’s scores of 6,357 and 34,309, respectively, on condition that system’s higher CPU configuration. Apparently, the R8 beats the Alienware’s Space-51m in single-core efficiency of 5,848 factors, however fell wanting pocket book’s the 32,164 multi-core consequence.

Most customers doubtless gained’t discover any marginal beneficial properties in efficiency with upgrading to an Intel Core i9 processor on the Aurora R8. As an alternative, a greater funding could be to go together with a Core i7 construct and utilizing your funds to improve the RAM and reminiscence.

In our video encoding take a look at, the Aurora R8 took 96 seconds to encode a 4K video utilizing the Handbrake software program. This locations the efficiency of the R8 in between Core i9-9900Okay programs, just like the Origin Millennium, which took 77 seconds to perform the identical process, and older processors, just like the Core i7-8700-equipped HP Omen Obelisk. On condition that the Space-51m laptop computer ships with a stronger Intel Core i9-9900Okay processor, it’s attention-grabbing that the R8’s time wasn’t too far off from the 81 seconds posted by its sibling.

Although the SK Hynix SSD on the R8 isn’t the quickest SSD on a system we’ve examined, the learn and write scores of 1,801 Mbps and 1,365 Mbps, respectively, continues to be lots quick for many each day actions.

Double the graphics

Although the Aurora R8 is a pre-built gaming PC, it accommodates loads of graphics potential that may make you the envy of fanatic avid gamers, together with a number of the greatest graphics playing cards you should buy. The Aurora R8 has the excellence of being one of many extra commercially accessible and compact programs that may help as much as two GPUs, topping out with dual-Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti playing cards. Our assessment unit ships with a single GeForce RTX 2080 non-Ti card. This locations it within the firm of the Origin PC Neuron, although most customers will doubtless not even want or method that stage of GPU energy except they’re utilizing the system for design work.

The one GeForce RTX 2080 card on the Aurora R8 delivers strong efficiency for 1080p gaming, and even avid gamers with 2K ultra-wide 1440p displays will discover loads to like about this ray tracing-capable card. When benchmarked towards Underwriter Laboratories’ 3D Mark Time Spy take a look at, the RTX 2080 card nonetheless trails its extra highly effective RTX 2080 Ti sibling, however outcomes have been higher than different RTX 2070 programs we’ve examined. The Aurora R8’s rating of 9,670 factors on this take a look at is about 1,000 factors higher than the RTX 2070 card on the Digital Storm Lynx, however this consequence continues to be greater than three,000 factors behind the RTX 2080 Ti efficiency on the Corsair One Professional i180.

In our gaming efficiency, the RTX 2080 card carried out as anticipated, besting the outcomes of Nvidia’s RTX 2070 whereas trailing the extra highly effective RTX 2080 Ti playing cards. With fashionable, much less graphics-heavy titles, equivalent to Epic’s Fortnite and 2K Video games’ Civilization VI, the Aurora R8’s RTX 2080 graphics managed to remain above 60 frames per second (FPS) throughout all resolutions, even when gaming particulars have been turned as much as Epic mode within the former and Extremely mode within the latter recreation. At 4K in Epic mode, the Aurora R8 solely dropped to 61 FPS at 4K decision in Epic mode. Avid gamers preferring both a FHD show or an ultrawide three,440 x 1,440-pixel 2K show gained’t expertise any points, and even at 4K, the RTX 2080 was greater than succesful at dealing with these titles.

Titles with extra advanced graphics rendering, like Ubisoft’s Murderer’s Creed Odyssey and EA Cube’s Battlefield V, present extra degraded efficiency in body charges when performed at increased resolutions. Though Alienware boasts “whisper quiet” operations on the Aurora R8, fan noise turns into noticeable when the system is taxed. On idle, the fan the fan emits a low pitch hum, and when the system is on full load, the fan sounds barely louder than on competing programs, like Origin’s Neuron and Digital Storm’s Lynx. Avid gamers, designers, and those that depend on the system for GPU-heavy duties ought to doubtless contemplate the location of the R8 in a workspace to reduce distraction attributable to the whirling fan.

In Battlefield V, our RTX 2080-powered R8 assessment confirmed a noticeable drop in efficiency when the sport is performed in 4K decision in comparison with extra highly effective RTX 2080 Ti programs, like Corsair’s One Professional i180. In 2K decision, the sport performed properly above 60 FPS, however there may be some drops on body charges, making Battlefield V seem a bit uneven throughout scenes with heavy rendering at 1440p in Extremely mode regardless of a mean body fee of 94 FPS.

When ray tracing is enabled in Battlefield V, the sport confirmed barely extra particulars. At 1080p and 1440p resolutions, there wasn’t any perceivable loss in body charges, however at 4K, the RTX 2080 actually started to point out its weak spot. Avid gamers who play in 4K will need to improve to the RTX 2080 Ti, however if you happen to largely play at 1080p or 1440p, the RTX 2080 graphics in our R8 assessment unit is greater than ample.

Equally, with the graphics-rich Murderer’s Creed Odyssey, the RTX 2080 was capable of ship above 60 FPS outcomes at 1080p and 1440p resolutions, even when Extremely mode is enabled. At 1440p Extremely, stuttering was noticeable, and body charges dipped under 60 FPS at 4K decision — right down to 39 FPS at 4K in Extremely mode. Gaming efficiency is on par with different RTX 2080 programs. Graphics efficiency general is barely weaker than comparable programs with higher RTX 2080 Ti graphics, but it surely’s nonetheless higher than the RTX 2070-equipped Digital Storm Lynx.


Though the Alienware Aurora R8 ships with an ordinary one-year guarantee on components and labor with a beneficiant free on-site restore coverage, the system additionally advantages from Dell’s PC expertise. Drawing from the Dell’s intensive enterprise help packages, Alienware additionally provides optionally available guarantee packages that reach the protection to 5 years with extras like virus elimination. Customers preferring an ordinary guarantee also can add optionally available unintentional injury protection. These optionally available protection plans add to the price of the Aurora R8 – Alienware’s 5-year Premium Assist Plus is priced at $749 – however the prolonged guarantee can present peace of thoughts.

Not like Origin PC, which additionally provides an optionally available improve plan that will provide you with market worth of your PC elements whenever you ship them again to the corporate, Alienware provides no such plan. On this case, fanatic avid gamers who want to improve their graphics card sooner or later, for instance, will both should promote their present playing cards themselves or eat the price.

Our Take

The Aurora R8 delivers the efficiency you want in a really uniquely Alienware design. With eight totally different pre-built configurations to select from, the Aurora R8 can both be a cheap system for informal avid gamers or a worthy funding for fanatic avid gamers.

As reviewed, our Intel Core i7-9700Okay and RTX 2080-powered configuration prices roughly $2,500 after reductions, however upgrades that add much more efficiency to this method – like a greater Core i9-9900Okay processor, dual-RTX 2080 graphics, and speedier RAM – will shortly drive up the price to greater than $four,500.

Is there a greater various?

The closest competitor to the Alienware Aurora R8 is HP’s Omen Obelisk. Since we’d reviewed the 2018 Obelisk, HP had made some notable adjustments to the 2019 mannequin that makes it extra aggressive with the Aurora R8. Just like the Aurora, this yr’s Omen Obelisk will be configured with the identical decisions of Ninth-generation Intel processors, and the PC will be configured with as much as an RTX 2080 graphics card. Although HP doesn’t ship the Omen Obelisk with two graphics playing cards, the tower does help it. An Omen Obelisk that’s equally configured to our Aurora R8 assessment unit would price $three,223, making the Aurora the extra reasonably priced possibility. The place the Obelisk stands out is with its extra fashionable design, a see-through tempered glass facet panel that showcases the unit’s liquid cooling mechanism, and a largely steel construct.

When you’re after a extra customizable PC the place you’ll be able to choose the paint and trim colours, Origin PC’s Neuron is a wonderful various. The Neuron feels extra fashionable with its all-metal building and glass window design. The Neuron is as compact as it’s highly effective, making this gaming rig a wonderful alternative for avid gamers and designers who want to maximise desk area. Just like the R8, the Neuron helps as much as two graphics playing cards, however energy customers can lengthen this PC’s efficiency with an 18-core Intel Core i9-9980XE processor, making it a workstation alternative. And whereas the Aurora R8 tops out with dual-RTX 2080 graphics, customers have the choice of dual-RTX 2080 Ti graphics on the Neuron. When equally configured to our R8 assessment unit, the Origin PC prices upwards of $2,700.

How lengthy will it final?

The Aurora R8 provides a whole lot of worth for its worth. With builds that incorporate a number of the greatest processors and graphics playing cards available on the market as we speak, the Aurora R8 will final for years of use. The extremely upgradeable case design – though made from opaque plastic – will assist maintain this gaming PC recent years down the highway, permitting you to make DIY upgrades sooner or later.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure, the Alienware Aurora R8 is a strong gaming PC that gives glorious efficiency for its worth. With loads of room for future upgrades, it’s a system that may final you for years, making it all of the extra curious as to why Alienware went with a design that’s already a number of years previous. When you can forgive Alienware’s relentless UFO-chasing design pursuit, the Aurora R8 delivers punchy efficiency at an inexpensive worth in a system that gives a whole lot of room for upgrades down the highway.

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