Alienware Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition Review: A 3950X Invasion

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Alienware Aurora AMD Ryzen Edition: ATTO, Cinebench, GeekBench, PCMark

We tested Alienware's Aurora R10 AMD Ryzen Edition as it shipped from the company to ensure we get the same out-of-box experience as your average buyer, with the latest Windows and driver updates installed. Many variables can affect performance, so our comparisons should serve as a reference point. Our benchmarking kicks off with storage, CPU, and game benchmark tests to get an idea how the Aurora performs in everyday, use and how well performance scales across different resolutions. 

ATTO Disk Benchmark
Peak Sequential Storage Throughput

Running ATTO Disk Benchmark allows us to gauge the speed of the storage drive in the Aurora. The primary storage on this configuration is a 1 TB Toshiba M.2 NVMe solid state drive. Unlike SATA-based SSDs, NVMe drives shuttle data through the PCIe bus for potentially must faster read and write performance. This particular drive is rated to deliver up to 3 GB/s of sequential reads and writes.

atto

When we tested the Alienware m15 R2's storage in ATTO, that notebook had a similar Toshiba m.2 NVMe SSD to the Aurora, and both exhibit an interesting quirk in sustained write speeds. Part-way through the run, the SSD's write performance falls off, relatively speaking. The smaller 500 GB part fell off more than the 1 TB drive in the Aurora, though. In this case, the roomier SSD still writes in excess of 1.5 GB per second, so we don't think anybody will notice. More expected were the excellent read speeds, which approach 3 GB per second starting at the 128kB mark and persisting through the end of the run. This is a fast, fast drive. 

Cinebench R15 and R20
3D Rendering Performance

Now we come to the really fun portion of the review: how does AMD's new hotness in the Aurora Ryzen Edtion, the 16-core behemoth Ryzen 9 3950X, perform in our suite of tests? We'll start out with Cinebench R15, which we ran in both single-threaded and multi-threaded modes. The test is based on Maxon’s Cinema 4D modeling software that’s used in movie production studios. 
chart cinebenchr15 alienware aurora ryzen edition

As expected, the 16-core Zen 2 processor really cleaned up in the older Cinebench variant. Even in the single-threaded test, the Ryzen 9 3950X is among the fastest entrants on the chart. When it comes to flexing multi-core muscles, however, the Aurora Ryzen Edition sits high upon the top of the chart. Almost all of the systems here show a scaling factor of greater than the number of cores (for instance, the HP Obelisk's hexacore Core i7-8700 shows a multi-threaded score 6.5x faster than the single), and that's true of the Aurora. Let's see how the newer Cinebench R20 fares. 

chart cinebenchr20 alienware aurora ryzen edition

Again, the Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition thumps all comers. This time around, the multi-threaded score is only around 17x faster than the CPU's single-threaded performance, and the single-core performance is less than one percent off that of the Core i9-9900K in the Maingear Vybe. The Aurora is off to a very impressive start. 

Geekbench 4
Single and multi-core

Geekbench 4 is a cross-platform benchmark that simulates real world processing workloads in image processing and particle physics scenarios. We tested the Aurora and other systems here in Geekbench 4’s single and multi-core test workloads. 

chart geekbench4 alienware aurora ryzen edition

This time around, single-threaded performance is a little more pedestrian. The systems with Intel's 8th and 9th generation Coffee Lake CPUs tend to do a bit better than the AMD machines. On the other hand, nothing from Intel on this chart can keep up with 16 Zen 2 cores, which increases the single-threaded score nine-fold. 

BrowserBench Speedometer 2.0
Web Application Performance

We recently moved on to BrowserBench.org's Speedometer test, which takes a holistic look at web application performance. This test automatically loads and runs several sample webapps from ToDoMVC.com using the most popular web development frameworks around, including React, Angular, Ember.js, and even vanilla JavaScript. This test is a better example of how systems cope with real web applications, as opposed to a pure JavaScript compute test like JetStream. All tests were performed using the latest version of Chrome.

chart speedometer alienware aurora ryzen edition

Unfortunately, Speedometer is a newer test for us, and as a result we don't have the big base of desktop CPUs to choose from. However, there's not as big of spread between desktop and notebook CPUs here, since these tests tend to have a lot of bursts of activity rather than a sustained workload. The Core i9-9980HK has a maximum turbo boost of 5 GHz, which is the same as a Core i9-9900K, so it's still a fast CPU in this kind of test. While it's not a surprise that the Aurora claims the top of the chart, don't let the mobile orientation of its competition, which still includes some very fast 9th generation Core chips, detract from the Aurora's victory. 

Next up it's time to give that GeForce RTX 2080 Ti some exercise in our 3DMark tests. 

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