Alienware Aurora R9 Review
Last Updated on October 1, 2021 by Daniel Osakwe
In some ways, Alienware Aurora R9 is like a Mac for gaming PCs. Even if it doesn’t look like it, its gorgeous yet elegantly understated chassis proves once and for all that gaudy RGB lighting isn’t the only way to make a great-looking PC.
Even if it were necessary, the Alienware Aurora R9 wouldn’t feel the need to overcompensate with overly flashy gaming aesthetics. Because of the range of components, you can fill it with, it’s a great choice for gamers who prefer power without hubris. It’s also something I’d be willing to shell out the steep price for. However, it will require a great deal of money.
Gaming desktops from the Alienware Aurora line have long been considered among the best for gaming, and the Alienware Aurora R9 continues this tradition.
CPU: Intel Core i7- 9700K 3.6Ghz (8-core, 12MB cache, up to 4.9GHz w/ Turbo Boost)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super (8GB GDDR6)
RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2,666MHz)
Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD (Boot) + 2TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s
Ports: Headphone/Line Out, Microphone/Line In, 6 x Type-A USB 3.1 Gen 1, 2 x Type-C USB 3.1 Gen 1, SPDIF Digital Output Coax, 5 x Type-A USB 2.0, 1 x Type-A USB 3.1 Gen 2
Connectivity: RJ-45 Killer E2500 Gigabit Ethernet
Weight: 39.2 pounds (17.86kg)
Size: 8.7 x 17 x 18.9 inches (222.8 x 431.9 x 481.6mm; W x D x H)
As a premium gaming brand, Alienware always emphasizes its class and restraint design. The R9 fits right into that pattern.
Elegant and simple, this matte case resembles old-school Macs, and its scooped-out front gives it an elegant statement piece.
More importantly, there are no ostentatious features that can do little other than make it look like a sci-fi hovercraft – it doesn’t have RGB light shows or strange angles to make it appear like one either.
Rather than a stark approach, the Aurora R9 is subtle instead. It is simply designed with a light-up logo and a single hoop of light at the front. The simplicity of the design is its strength.
Though we would have preferred higher quality materials for the case (the case feels ‘plastic-y’), the front is smooth, oh-so-shiny, and we could also not be happier with that. Furthermore, the latter juts out from overclocking cooling vents, which is a function that complements the form.
Alienware definitely broke the mold with the R9 (one colleague called the entire aesthetic a ‘vacuum cleaner’ in reference to those vents), but I think it’s fair to give them credit for doing so. As a matter of fact, our sole concern would be how this design ages – time will tell whether it ages gracefully.
Each Aurora R9 has the same basic features; that distinctive chassis, almost a dozen USB ports – including several SuperSpeed ports – as well as DP, HDMI, and more on the GeForce card (make sure you use the GeForce slots, as using the main DisplayPort will default to the device’s integrated graphics).
Three USB ports and an audio/microphone jack are conveniently located on the front for easy access. In addition to sliding locks, the case has a screw on the back, which you’ll need to unscrew to access the interior.
You’ll need to check the innards of the model you select for specific information. We reviewed a machine that came equipped with a 9th-generation Intel i7-9700K CPU, 16GB of HyperX Fury DDR4 RAM, and Nvidia Geforce RTX 2070 Super GPU.
In addition to incorporating next-generation technology like ray tracing, the Super range also offers entry-level 4K gaming, so it’s a great choice if you’re looking to future-proof yourself. Thanks to the upcoming PS5 and Xbox Series X, we’re about to enter a new era of gaming, so it’s not a perk to be taken lightly.
The combination of these features and Alienware’s usual premium pricing makes this machine pricey. Nevertheless, you can rest easy knowing that you are getting value for your money.
As far as everyday computing is concerned, the Alienware Aurora R9 is fantastic. The program performed admirably despite my hurling weighty game downloads at it while handling other tasks.
The SSD also makes it exceptionally fast to boot up. With this system, both basic tasks and more advanced ones, such as making videos, will be a breeze.
Where do games fit in? Obviously, mileage will vary depending on which version of the Alienware Aurora R9 you choose, but ours held up better than expected when benchmarking and gaming.
In 3DMark, it achieved amazing frames per second when testing at 1080p. 1440p performance was also admirable. It’s not that it’s not capable of 4K gaming – it’s not.
The 4K benchmarks did not come out quite as well as they should have, but the performance was still pretty good. It won’t become outdated too soon since it’s open to upgrading (and even if you choose a less powerful system, it’s easy to replace components down the road).
In addition, the system won’t break a sweat when handling today’s biggest titles. We encountered 56-60 frame rates on average when multiple enemies were present on screen at once with our version of the R9 when playing The Division 2 at Ultra settings.
In addition, Total War: Warhammer 2 battles averaged 50 frames per second on max settings during in-game benchmarks, while large scripted battles looked stunning with realistic rays of light hitting elven towers and bouncing off meticulously detailed armor.
Even with furious melee combat between multiple units, the camera remained silky smooth when zoomed in, and I never had to turn on overclocking at any point. Its overclocking system is easy to monitor, customize, and tweak, even if we hadn’t.
You will see those fans for the first time now, by the way; engage overclocking and you will be greeted by some clamor on the front. Despite that, it’s not a particularly offensive volume.
Since overclocking is performed via Alienware Command Centre, we can forgive a lot too – this is a nice piece of software with a lot of customization options (including peripherals and RGB) that isn’t as intimidating as other overclocking software we’ve tried.
We only encountered a small technical hiccup after reinstallation where certain options would not activate, but that was easily fixed.
|Classy yet subtle design||That design may not age well|
|A broad range of specifications is available|
|The perfect blend of form and function|
The Alienware Aurora R9 is a worthy addition to the Alienware line, isn’t it? It certainly seems so from what we’ve seen so far. Aurora’s distinctive new case is crammed with features and clever, practical flourishes like the scooped-out front vents.
Additionally, there are a variety of builds you can choose from, so you can find a version designed just for you. However, these models are a bit on the pricey side. The Alienware Aurora R9 earns its price tag not by being cheap but by being thoughtfully designed. The device feels and looks premium.