Alienware Aurora R5 Review: Small Stature, Big Performance

Introducing The Alienware Aurora R5

The Alienware brand is as venerable a name as any in the gaming space. As Alienware celebrates over twenty years in business, its computers have become instantly recognizable thanks to distinctive, out-of-this-world styling, and science-fiction references. Dell purchased Alienware in 2006 to complement its own competing line of XPS-branded gaming machines. However, Dell has kept a largely hands-off approach, allowing Alienware to grow its own business and continue meeting consumer's expectations. So far, it has served both brands well.

alienware aurora r5 three quarters and desktop
Alienware currently maintains three desktop families from the small-form factor Alpha to the monstrous Area-51. The subject of today's alien autopsy: the new Aurora R5. The Aurora R5 is the most mainstream offering of the trio, but it is anything but ordinary. According to Dell, the Aurora R5 is engineered to exceed the demands of VR today, with easy upgradeability to meet VR's needs tomorrow, as the technology evolves.

alienware aurora r5 gpu closeup

A base level Aurora R5 comes with a modest, but reasonably equipped 6th Gen Intel Core i3 and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 2GB for $799, which isn't too bad of a deal, but isn't particularly inspiring either. Fortunately, our unit is a cut above with nearly every line item upgraded. The Aurora R5 we'll be looking at packs a liquid cooled Intel Core i7-6700K, a Founder's Edition NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB, 16GB of 2133MHz DDR4 RAM, a 256GB Samsung NVMe SSD, 2TB 7200rpm HDD, an upgraded fully modular 850W PSU, slim Blu-ray reader, and Windows 10 Pro for $2595.

Alienware Aurora R5
Specifications & Features
Operating System Windows 10 Pro (X64)
Processor Intel Core i7-6700K (Quad Core, 8MB Cache, 4GHz)
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founder's Edition 8GB GDDR5X
Memory 16GB DDR4-2133 MHz (8GB x2)
Optical Drive Dual Layer Blu-ray Reader
Storage 256GBSamsung PM951 NVMe SSD
2TB Seagate SATA HDD (64MB Cache, 7200 RPM)
Cooling System High Performance Liquid Cooling
Connectivity Killer E2400 Gigabit LAN, Dell Wireless 1820 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1
Front Panel Ports 4 x USB 3.0 (2 x Charge Enabled), Headphone and Mic
Rear Panel Ports 1 x SPDIF Digital Output (TOSLINK), 1 x SPDIF Digital Output (Coax), 6 x USB 2.0, 1 x 10Gbps USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x 10Gbps USB 3.1 Type-C, 3 x USB 3.0, 1 x RJ-45 Killer E2400 Gigabit Ethernet Port, 1 x DisplayPort, 6 x Audio Jacks
Power Supply 850W Multi-GPU Approved
Dimensions 18.6"x8.35"x14.19" inches (HxWxD)
Weight 32.67 pounds
Warranty 1-Year Mail-In Service
Pricing $2,595 As Tested, Starting At $799

As configured, this Aurora R5 has its sights set on 4K gaming. Should the going get tough, however, it can shift into overdrive by adding in a second GTX 1080 in SLI and bolting in additional drives as necessary. Actually, forget about bolting anything into the system - almost everything in the chassis is replaceable without turning a single screw. Let's see how all these massive pieces fit together so tightly...

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