Alienware Aurora R5 Review: Small Stature, Big Performance

Alienware Aurora R5: 3DMark, Heaven & Valley

3DMark Fire Strike

3D Mark’s Fire Strike benchmark has been a Direct X standard bearer for years now. The test itself consists of two graphics portions, a physics test, and a combined test which are aggregated to provide a final score.  The benchmark uses tessellation, ambient occlusion, volume illumination, and a high quality depth of field filter.  It is punishing to both processors and graphics cards alike across three presets which cover 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions. We've standardized on the 1440p "Extreme" preset to cover the broadest range of gaming PC's...
alienware aurora r5 fire strike scores

alienware aurora r5 fire strike fps

The Aurora R5 smokes all of its single card competition here, as expected, and several multi-GPU systems as well. Interestingly, the Xotic PC Executioner Stage 4 with SLI'd 980's does seem to best the Aurora R5 by a fair margin. This is due to its use of Superclocked GTX 980's which squeeze a bit more juice out than the reference GTX 980 which pushes the graphics test scores higher. However, the combined test shows the systems are much more in-line when heavy CPU processing is added to the equation despite its octo-core i7-5960X. Oh, and the Executioner is a $6,500 super-mutant, not a bad comparison for our Aurora R5.


Unigine's Heaven 4.0 benchmark is an absolutely gorgeous sight to behold. It leverages DirectX 11 and their own UNIGINE Engine to stress any GPU that crosses its path via extensive use of tessellation, a dynamic sky that includes volumetric clouds and day-night cycle, real-time global illumination, and more. It boasts 100% GPU-bound benchmarking to really hone in on what a card is capable of.

alienware aurora r5 heaven fps

alienware aurora r5 heaven score

Again the Aurora R5 asserts itself as the dominant single card system we've tested thanks to its GTX 1080. More importantly, it doesn't suffer from the severe minimum framerate dips that many other cards show. Frame rate dips and stutters can make even high average frame results feel unpleasant.


Unigine's Valley 1.0 benchmark follows in the steps of Heaven while pushing the envelope even further with individually rendered leaves and petals. The two benchmarks are intended for a similar purpose but generally Valley sees more stable performance across different graphics cards.

alienware aurora r5 valley fps

Well, here's a familiar story - the Aurora R5 is on top once again. There's not much to add here beyond noting the stellar performance so let's turn over the benchmarking to a few games...

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