Alienware Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition Review: A 3950X Invasion

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Alienware Aurora AMD Ryzen Edition: Summary and Conclusions

Alienware heralded the return of AMD's CPUs to its high-end gaming desktop lineup with an incredibly beefy PC here. Our Aurora Ryzen Edition test configuration comes stuffed to the gills with a 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X, 32 GB of very fast DDR4-2933 memory, a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, and a 1 TB NVMe solid state disk. If that doesn't look like a recipe for high performance, we're not sure what does. Alienware did a nice job of providing expandability where it counts as well, like an extra full length PCI Express slot for another graphics card and three total SATA ports for some mass storage, too. 

blue side alienware aurora ryzen edition

The Aurora Ryzen Edition's performance didn't disappoint, either, as it consistently turned in results that placed near or at the very top of our charts time after time. The system draws a pretty reasonable amount of power while getting its work done, too. When it comes to heavier non-gaming or content creation tasks, all of those cores combine for some pretty incredible performance, especially in 3D rendering which can easily use all 32 threads of the Ryzen 9 3950X's cores. On the gaming side, 4K is on the table for basically every game on the planet. Gears 5's performance was most impressive, with this system exceeding an average of 60 frames per second at the Ultra preset and a 4K UHD resolution. And despite its 16 Zen 2 cores and having the biggest consumer GPU on the planet, the system only draws a little bit over 450 watts while under a maximum theoretical load, too. 

vent side alienware aurora ryzen edition
Find The New Alienware Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition At Dell.com

However, when it comes to high performance hardware, you get what you pay for. Buyers will definitely pay for all this hardware in cold, hard cash, since our test configuration rings up at just north of $3,600. Users will also pay for it a bit when it comes to sound output, at least out of the box. The default Performance cooling preset does a great job of keeping the processor and graphics card's temperatures wrangled, but the 140 millimeter fans are kind of loud when doing so. The system's custom 140-millimeter radiator and fan do a good job of evacuating heat, but the two big fans make a bit of a racket while doing their jobs, but more specifically at this Performance profile setting. Fortunately, Alienware gives you plenty of fan control options, including presets and direct RPM control. We really appreciated having all of this configurability for thermals and acoustics in Windows directly with Alienware Command Center. This control makes using the system at idle and average gaming loads much more pleasant, even if Alienware couldn't defy the laws of thermodynamics. 

AMD's triumphant return to Alienware's high-end desktop stable gives gamers, content creation and workstation professionals who appreciate having lots of cores and excellent value available at any given price point, another option while shopping for a pre-built gaming rig. While having the fastest hardware around does incur a hefty price tag as you'd expect, Alienware built a beast of a system in a compact enclosure with a nice, tool-free entry system. While the Aurora Ryzen Edition is a total beast, we also managed to pull out even more performance with a decent overclock on both the CPU and the graphics card. And due to time constraints, we left some of those stones unturned so there might still be more in there waiting to be shaken out. 

What we can't help but wonder, however, is if the configuration Alienware provided for review is the optimal gaming configuration. The Ryzen 9 3950X has a ton of cores, but some games aren't going to use that many of them. We think most folks would be better off value-wise with a Ryzen 7 3800X, which sells for nearly half as much, and saves a big chunk of money when configuring it through Alienware directly. That chip has routinely seen overclocking results pushing 5 GHz on all cores, where the 3950X was limited to just 4.2 GHz in our overclocking tests when every hardware thread is utilized. There might be more raw MHz in our chip, but with so many active cores, the system will be generating a lot of extra heat. The exception to our Ryzen 7 3800X rule, of course, is the professional streamer who needs to record gameplay, stream video to the internet, and play games all on one box. Those folks already know that the best video quality doesn't come from a GPU-accelerated H.264 encode block, but from video encoded by the CPU. That's a niche' use case, though perhaps not quite as niche' as it used to be with all the pro-streamers out there these days. 

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You're darn right we enjoyed some Control from our couch at 4K after testing was complete

The elephant in the room is, of course, a DIY system. Regardless, some folks just don't want to take the time or possess the skills to build their own desktop. If that includes you, or if you just like having some killer pre-built hotness, we think you'd do well to check out the new Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition lineup. While the Alienware Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition configuration we tested is an ultra-premium desktop PC, these systems start at a very affordable $1,199 with a six-core Ryzen 5 3600, a very speedy Radeon RX 5700 with 8 GB of VRAM, 8 GB of system RAM, and a 1 TB hard drive. From there it's just a matter of matching the hardware you want within your budget. Thanks to an excellent build quality, top-notch software experience, and adequate expandability, we have no hesitation awarding the Alienware Aurora R10 AMD Ryzen Edition our Recommended award.
hothardware recommended
  • High-end system with incredible performance as configured
  • Excellent build quality in a very stylish compact case
  • Toolless design with clean cable management
  • Loads of upgrade options
  • Configurable RGB lighting with good software
  • Good power efficiency
  • Pricey at our test configuration
  • Loud out of the box configuration, but can be tamed

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