Review: Alienware Aurora R8 Gaming PC

Review: Alienware Aurora R8 Gaming PC

As one of the pioneer brands in the world of gaming, Alienware has created quite a name for itself in the past two decades. I mean, try finding a gamer who hasn’t heard of the name Alienware. Known for making high-end premium products, the company has an impressive line-up of gaming laptops and desktops. Now, I’m not the kind of person who gets excited at the notion of pre-built PCs, but it’s hard to deny that there is a demand for those. And that is why we’re taking a look today at the Alienware Aurora R8.

Design and Tech Specs

The Aurora R8 is slick looking PC with a compact, angular cabinet covered by grey side panels. Both the panels have three slim RGB strips with customizable lighting, providing a subtle, classy glow. Instead of a transparent window that we get to see more and more in gaming desktops these days, the Aurora has vents on the left panel for air intake. And, there’s a handle on the top which makes it quite handy (get it?) to carry the PC around. The front of the cabinet is completely black, with intake vents towards the bottom and an RGB backlit Alienware logo-shaped power button.

And it’s not all about the looks, either. Under the hood, the Aurora R8 packs some of the best gaming hardware money can buy. There are different configurations, but our review unit comes with an Intel Core i9-9900K, an RTX 2080 and 32GB of DDR4 RAM. The storage is taken care of by a 250GB SSD and a 1TB HDD, which seems just enough, but the system is easily upgradeable, meaning you can play around with the components as much as you want. Alienware has made it really simple for users to access the internal hardware in the Aurora, which gives it a huge edge over its competitors. It also comes with a keyboard and mouse included in the box, which aren’t exactly gaming grade or anything special, but still a nice addition to have.

Talking about ports, saying it has more than enough is a gross understatement. I mean, just on the backside, this thing has nine USB ports, four of which are USB 3.1. The front I/O options are just as generous, with three USB 3 ports, one Type-C port and two 3.5mm audio jacks. For display and VR options, the RTX 2080 has three DisplayPorts, one HDMI port and one USB Type-C port.

Performance and Benchmarks

With a Core i9-9900K and an RTX 2080, it’s kind of expected that the Aurora R8 will breeze through any test you throw at it. And that it exactly what we saw in our benchmarks, both synthetic and in-game. We used our usual benchmark suite, including Cinebench, 3DMark’s TimeSpy and Firestrike, Unigine Superposition and PCMark 10. We also tested a bunch of games at 1080p, 1440p and 4K to gauge the system’s gaming performance, and needless to say, the numbers speak for themselves. All the games were tested at Ultra settings.

Cinebench R20

As expected, the i9-9900K powered Aurora R8 blazed through the latest Cinebench R20 tests, obtaining a single-core score of 470 and multi-core score of 4319 at stock speeds.

PCMark 10

PCMark 10 is a comprehensive benchmark tool that tests your PC’s overall general performance. Here we see a similar pattern like the previous test, with the Aurora R8 obtaining an overall score of 6687 points, with the highest component being Digital Content Creation at 10153 points.

3DMark Time Spy

Moving on to 3DMark Time Spy basic test, the Aurora R8 passed with flying colours here as well, achieving an overall score of 10054 points. The individual graphics and CPU scores, as you can see in the charts were 9939 and 10760 respectively.

3DMark FireStrike

Just for the heck of it, we also decided to run the basic 3DMark FireStrike benchmark, which tests 1080p performance. The RTX 2080 powered system shredded through the tests, obtaining an overall score of 21176 points. The graphics score, as the graph shows was 23398 points.

We also ran the Unigine Superposition benchmark at the 1080p extreme preset (which stresses the system more than the 4K optimized preset) and the Aurora R8 had no trouble in this test either, sitting comfortably at a score of 6259 points.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

We started our in-game benchmarks with Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, needless to say, the Aurora R8 just blows through it like a hot knife through butter. On the Ultra preset, the system gave an average 102 FPS at 1080p, 73 FPS at 1440p and 43 FPS at 4K. With some adjustment in the settings, you should be easily able to achieve 4K 60 FPS gameplay in this title.

Metro Exodus

The Metro Exodus devs have been very upfront about how they love to blow up graphics cards, and well, the benchmark tool does just that. Running at the Ultra preset, we were able to achieve an average 62 FPS at 1080p, 50 FPS at 1440p and 35 FPS at 4K. Keep in mind though, the benchmark tool in Exodus is much, much heavier than the actual game itself and kind of represents the worst case scenario. The framerates you get in the game would be a lot higher than what you see in the benchmark tool.

While the performance of the Aurora R8 is impressive, it does get a little hot under load. The max GPU temperature we observed during testing was 85 C. The system also gets a little loud as the fans pick up speed, but not nearly enough to cause any discomfort, and barely noticeable if you’re playing with headphones on.

The Verdict

At a price point close to INR 3,00,000, the Aurora R8 is quite a pricey desktop. It’s possible to build a PC with similar specs at a lower cost, but premium products come at a premium price. If you’re apprehensive about your PC building skills and want to go with a hassle-free desktop experience that you can just jump right into, a pre-built desktop is just what you might want. And the Aurora R8’s offerings make it a great option for both high FPS and high resolution gaming, depending on what you prefer. Like we mentioned eariler, Alienware has made it incredibly easy to customize and upgrade their desktops, giving users complete control over their devices. So, if you have the money to spend and are looking to treat yourself to a super gaming PC, the Aurora R8 is the perfect choice for you. But if you’re on the budget and want to make sure you squeeze every drop of performance you can out of your money, you may want to build your own desktop. Or, you know, get one of your PC-savvy friends to do it for you.

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Apr 17, 2019