Alienware Aurora R8 Review: A Compact RTX Gaming Powerhouse

Alienware Aurora R8: Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Alienware is not building PCs for aesthetically-obsessed boutique buyers, nor are they necessarily worried about converting die-hard DIY system builders. The Aurora R8 is designed for gamers who want to game and creative professionals who want to create on a platform that's purpose built for their use case. Both of these camps comprise a large share of the market, and Alienware systems are easy to recommend for both.

alienware aurora r8 three quarters view

The Aurora's design and layout can be polarizing. It has an iconic look all its own in a world where many of its competitors are some combination of a black box, glass side panel, and an excess of RGB. Many will appreciate the tool-less construction, out-of-sight interior layout, and easy upgradability.

alienware aurora r8 cpu chamber vent

We would like to see Alienware refresh their styling again though. The molded plastic shell and drab interior are beginning to feel stale in this iteration, though we can't argue with its super-efficient, thoughtful layout. We would not want Alienware to merely conform to what other system designers are doing, but a $3000-plus gaming PC should look premium inside and out. And it certainly should not have fit-and-finish issues like we found with the hard drive SATA power cable.

alienware aurora r8 acoustics

One other aspect that could use improvement is the Aurora R8's acoustics. Alienware optimizes for airflow over silence, so the system has an unavoidable hum even while idle. The liquid cooling pump is also fairly audible. Under load, the fans exceed 45dB and can detract from immersion. This, however, isn't uncommon for a gaming system with this kind of horsepower on board. Of course, if you game with headphones on it will not be a problem.

alienware aurora r8 front ports

Alienware's new Command Center software does a fantastic job of making overclocking easy. The default overclock profiles can help novice users hit the ground running while providing deeper customization options for seasoned tuners. It is not the most extensive overclocking utility by any stretch, but with the latest updates it does cover its bases well with a slick UI and the ability to setup profiles targeted to fire-up with various game titles in your library.

The Aurora R8 is an unquestionably capable machine. It can accommodate most hardware configurations gamers are looking for while adhering to a manageable form factor. It's also a stylish desktop PC that looks only slightly edgy, with the ability to blend into many environments from the home office, to the living room or gaming den, to even a more formal office setting. If you're looking for a compact desktop that fits this design criteria and delivers the latest in PC gaming technology and performance, the Alienware Aurora R8 is worthy of consideration. 

  • Compact, sleek chassis
  • Durable steel-frame construction
  • High-end specs and performance
  • Ray traced gaming potential
  • Overclocking headroom
  • Tool-less upgradeability
  • Capacity for Dual GPU configurations
  • Fully modular PSU
  • Subtle LED accent lights
  • A little noisy under heavy OC loads
  • All plastic external shell
  • Underwhelming but efficient interior design
  • Near boutique pricing

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