Computer hardware enthusiasts are a unique group. Its true that some enthusiasts may spend hours, days, or weeks tweaking their BIOS and other settings to achieve optimal performance, while others might spend an entire evening painstakingly routing wires for proper cable management. Fortunate ones find themselves eagerly awaiting product launches in order to upgrade parts at every possible opportunity. This appetite for new technology is fueled by the never ending supply of components that perform faster, run cooler, consume less power and improve the overall computing experience for consumers.
As one of the leading system builders in the industry, Alienware helps fuel the fire and provides an all inclusive option for those who demand a machine filled with the freshest and fastest hardware available. Today we check out Alienware's latest gaming monstrosity, the Aurora ALX. This beast holds absolutely nothing back and features Intel's top of the line Core i7 975 processor, an X58 micro ATX motherboard, liquid cooling, a Blu-ray drive, adjustable lighting effects, a pair of 1 TB drives in RAID0, and two of the fastest graphics cards in the market running in CrossFire mode. Obviously, the spec sheet is impressive and is certainly loaded with best-in-class components. Read on to find out if the Aurora ALX can provide the performance to match.
Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition 975 3.33GHz 8MB Cache
Alienware MicroATX LGA 1366 Intel X58 Motherboard
Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition SP1
Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade
Corsair Dominator 6GB (3x2GB DIMMs)
ATI Radeon HD 5870 GB GDDR5 CrossFire
Liquid Cooling - 120mm Single Radiator
Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200 RPM HDD RAID 0
Blu-ray 6x Dual Layer Disc Burner
Alienware TactX Keyboard / Mouse
Height: 16.77" (426mm)
2 USB 2.0
Rear Panel I/O Ports
As we saw in our preview article, the Aurora ALX is powered by Intel's Core i7 975 processor running at 3.33GHz and features a custom X58 microATX motherboard. The 975 is Intel's fastest and most powerful desktop CPU in its entire line up, though it is also the most expensive. For cooling duties, Alienware installed a 120mm singe radiator liquid cooling solution on top of the processor. And installed on the board is 6GB of Corsair Dominator memory running at DDR3-1600MHz at 8-8-8-24 timings. There is a ton of fast storage available as we find two 1TB 7200 RPM hard drives in a RAID 0 configuration at the bottom of the case. Last but not least, the highlight of the system are the dual ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics cards running in CrossFire.
Alienware provides different tiers of warranty on their products. First off, systems come with a 30 day limited money back guarantee on all hardware, accessories, peripherals, and unopened software. Note that a 15% restocking fee may be deducted from a refund or credit. The system configuration we reviewed was priced using the one year limited warranty, but protection conscious consumers will be happy to find two, three, and four year coverage options are available for an extra charge. Realistically, if you're considering a system at this price point, then it makes sense to spend a bit more to upgrade the warranty, which includes in-home service. For more information, specific warranty conditions are available here.
Of course, high end technology is never cheap. With a sticker price of $4,074, the Aurora ALX has a lot to prove. So, let's take a closer look at the system and see what the benchmarks have to say.