Alienware Aurora R3 System Autopsy

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Alienware Aurora R3 System AutopsyOne of Alienware’s Aurora R3 gaming systems crash landed at HotHardware, and today it's us performing the Alien(ware) autopsy. We dissected the Aurora R3 from head to toe, discovered what makes it tick, and then fed it a handful of games and other software to observe how it digests a diet of DirectX 11 and other modern morsels, all in the name of science, of course...

Alienware Aurora R3 System Autopsy

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I have always liked the style of the Alienware cases as they are the best looking of all the boutique system builders. The little touches like the custom lighting is very cool.

I wonder what motherboard they use in these systems? My guess is it's a OEM Intel board, could this hold it back some?

At any rate great review Paul and Marco.

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"Nice honest review Paul. MY personal opinion is that AlienWare is not what it used to be. I dont like the Chassis anymore and its weight, and I certainly dont care  paying a premium for their stupid lighting. This system is overpriced and underpowered for the money, and for what they are charging, it isnt even overclocked. "

"Over the last couple of years, its been about value and not so much about "Light" eye candy, Alienware has lost some serious sales to companies like CyberPower , Maingear, Digital Storm ect. They cant compete in terms of value for the money  and diversity in terms of options of components and chassis. And I think the only thing that has kept them alive is that Dell owns them."

"I would like to see the 2010-2011 sales figure from Alienware compared to the competition. Anyhow,great review, odd gaming resolutions? One question though, were these 1GB 6950s or 2GB?


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@Thunderbird: It is an OEM board, model # 046MHW.

@OptimusPrimeTime: The videocards have 2GB of GDDR5 each.

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realneil replied on Mon, Aug 15 2011 8:04 PM

A friggin loose screw in the case is not a good thing,....Yow!!

As usual, AlienWare/Dell has a unique look about it. People either love it or hate it. They usually have some nice design innovations inside too.

That said, I have to admit that there are a few other boutique builders that I would buy from first. Our fabulous prize sponsors who have given us fantastic high-end PC's for free, and also build excellent retail computers too. They surely deserve our business when we can't find the time to build for ourselves. Their prices are usually a good deal as well.

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Inspector replied on Mon, Aug 15 2011 9:26 PM

"Build quality feels rushed (unplugged 24-pin ATX power cord, loose screw)" Its dell, they mass product things unlike those smaller companies that take pride and love in your orders. lol :P

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rrplay replied on Mon, Aug 15 2011 9:30 PM

yeah the Alienware/Dell thing is definitely a matter of personal preference ya either just love tha appearance brand name or some thing or you do NOT.Aside from the loose 24 pin power cable the loose screw is just totally lame.

Thanks for the review and testing the cpu with prime 95 and Furmark to heat that puppy up and Dell putting in that bigger PSU is a good move.

Anyhow one needs to be able to get into the custom config pages to decide what the best performance and value.Took a bit of time to see what;s available and yep look like they are making a genuine effort to reach a more mainstream market with the Aurora series.Honestly I would recommend some of the other boutique builders that have sponsored rigs for HH.I think they give you a better price and performance value.The guys in New Jersey seem to take a lot of pride in the quality of there work and reputation.

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Dave_HH replied on Tue, Aug 16 2011 1:25 AM

I would have to agree. Looking at the cable management alone (or lack thereof), this system doesn't seem up to typical Alienware standards actually.

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AKwyn replied on Tue, Aug 16 2011 4:54 AM

Great review Paul. I admit, I haven't been interested in anything Alienware for a while but it's nice to see them in stores, even though the build quality is Dellified (ie cheapened.); anyway, this seems like a good build for people who want a midrange system they can buy in the store instantly; I mean if they want more power then they can overclock it later right?

For the rest of us, there seems to be more desirable options. I don't like or hate Alienware, I just feel mostly indifferent to it.


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TColeman replied on Tue, Aug 16 2011 9:25 AM

I own the first Aurora and the chassis is pretty much the same. I gotta admit, I dig the design. I like the curves, the funky, engraved alien glyphs everywhere and the solid feel to it. One thing that I'll say though is my experience with their support team was top notch. When you call in, you get a person immediately. They know what's in your box. You can understand them. I was having a problem with the cooling system communicating to their Command Center software. One call later and it was fixed, the system was up-to-date and tips were given for performance tweaks in relation to actual games I play!

On the downside, it's heavy, for sure, and a bit loud. When I first unboxed it, the fans ran like a leafblower, but a quick update to the BIOS fixed that. So... a few issues, but nothing anyone technical couldn't resolve or a call to the support.

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CDeeter replied on Tue, Aug 16 2011 2:24 PM

Thanks for a great review Paul, I liked the way you explained the results of the various benchmarks, especially the games. It made it easy to understand and relate to.

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You're very welcome, CDeeter, glad you found it relatable/helpful.

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OSunday replied on Tue, Aug 16 2011 11:45 PM

The wiring and cable management...

Ridiculously neat and clean o.O

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eunoia replied on Fri, Sep 2 2011 3:14 AM




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Great review.

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AKnudson replied on Wed, Dec 14 2011 12:50 AM

I am one of those people that thinks it is a little bit wrong for dell to buy alienware. more often than not it destroys the creative flare that so many people buy the system for.

However this is an incredible machine with a pretty sickprice tag. that i7 has the capability to do everything i have ever done on my computer in like seven seconds.

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Cable management looks nonexistent.

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Erakith replied on Tue, Aug 14 2012 12:59 AM


Cable management looks nonexistent.


Ahh, contest month.. where new and relevant threads are pushed down the rankings by year-old posts. 

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KierWest replied on Mon, Jul 15 2013 7:42 AM

You are exactly right.  Why pay a premium price when you can do it yourself!

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In all honesty, I believe Alienware are complete rip offs, as you can build a way faster system, for about a 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of their systems. I agree they are nice looking but would go for total performance over looks any day and I have cathode lights and LED fans that look pretty nice! I just think they need to drop their prices, especially since they have been owned by Dell now! 

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