Alienware Aurora R13 Gaming Desktop Review | An Honest Review

Alienware Aurora R13 Gaming Desktop Review

Alienware Aurora R13 Gaming Desktop Review

There has always been praise for these systems as they are equipped with the latest hardware and deliver outstanding performance, but their noise floor has been a problem in comparison to some of their competitors. Despite their 40-liter volumes, previous Aurora systems were generally louder than their Intel- or AMD-based counterparts. Dell’s announcement that it had redesigned their Aurora lineup with an emphasis on airflow and acoustics was not a surprise.

Rather than being mounted at the top of the chassis, the radiator of the Aurora liquid CPU cooler is located at the rear of the computer, allowing for ample air circulation, while the front intake area has also been designed to allow for greater air flow. In addition, the Aurora has a glass side panel that allows users to admire its high-end components, but has this changed the way it handles heat and acoustics?

However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves; let’s first check out the new Alienware Aurora R13, which is now powered by Intel’s 12th Gen Core processor platform technology, also known as Alder Lake.

The specifications and features of the Alienware Aurora R13. The Alienware Aurora R13 is available at Dell with Intel 12th Generation Core processors. The first thing to note is that today is Alder Lake Day, which should be a national holiday. Maybe that’s a bit over the top but, the new Aurora R13 ships with Intel’s latest CPU technology, and our review unit is equipped with the mighty Core i9-12900K, which features eight cores of performance with Hyper Threading and eight cores of efficiency.

In addition to its impressive single-threaded performance, the CPU’s maximum turbo clock of 5.2 GHz is sure to turn some heads. See our in-depth review of Alder Lake for the full story. A 120-millimeter fan pushes air out the back of the system to cool Alienware’s beefy, but compact Cryo-tech Edition liquid cooler.

This system is configured with Alienware’s Cryo-tech Edition liquid cooler in addition to Intel’s newest CPUs which support DDR5. There are four 16 GB DIMMs of DDR5-4000 in this case, although buyers can also opt for just a pair of 4400 MT/s DIMMs.

Due to their bare PCBs and complete lack of heat spreaders, these sticks are certainly not fancy. Seeing naked RAM may be a little bit shocking for some of you, as it was not an issue in the Aurora R13. The system is equipped with a Samsung PM981A NVMe PCI-Express 4.0 SSD and a Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM hard drive with a capacity of 2 TB.

In lieu of a spinning drive, buyers can opt to purchase a second NVMe gumstick instead. Besides the 3.5″ bay at the top, there is a 2.5″ bay along the bottom with an included sled. The performance of a gaming computer is primarily determined by the graphics card, and the Aurora R13 is no exception.

You can scale the system all the way down to a GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER if you wish. Our Aurora R13 with RTX 3090 features 24 GB of GDDR6X VRAM, a pair of 8-pin PCIe connectors, and enough power to run any game at high resolutions and maximum detail at breakneck speeds. In addition, AMD fans may choose from the Radeon RX 5300 up to the Radeon RX 6900 XT, the largest Navi card currently available.

Does the GeForce RTX 3090 appear to be too close to the power supply? I look forward to seeing what happens in the near future. The rear panel also has a single RJ-45 jack for Killer’s E3100 2.5-Gigabit Ethernet. As part of the system, Alienware installed a pair of antennas for the Realtek 8822C 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth module. It would have been nice to have had 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, but the setup inside the Aurora maxed out our 400Mbps fiber connection.

Regarding the pricing, when the system is tested at nearly $4,800, this still seems a little stingy when considering Intel’s 12th Gen Core platform architecture is optimized for connectivity. Thanks to its M.2 format, the system’s Wi-Fi module can be easily replaced if necessary in the future.

Previously, Aurora systems were fairly cramped, but the new design offers much more space. Despite the GeForce RTX 3090’s triple-slot cooler, it is too close to the 750-watt power supply underneath to be able to keep its temperatures under control.

There is not much room for a longer graphics card than what is already installed in the inner chamber, since it is roughly the size of a micro-ATX build. In any case, Dell-Alienware did include an RTX 3090 here, so you cannot really complain. In the front shroud of the Aurora R13, there are two 120-millimeter intake fans, which should create continuous positive air pressure as well, which is a good thing. A transparent acrylic piece covers the front of the system and is surrounded by vents that allow air to flow through it.

In contrast to DIY gaming PC cases that have embraced mesh and open air flow, this might be a bit more restricted, although our temperature measurements were fairly reasonable, but I will elaborate on this shortly. In any case, this represents a considerable improvement over previous Aurora systems. With the updated Legend 2.0 chassis on the Aurora R13, Alienware has captured the sci-fi aesthetic of extraterrestrial visitors, which is reflected in the updated industrial design of the Aurora R13.

There is no doubt that the rounded edges and the slightly rotated and angled orientation of the system draw the eye. In addition, there are two RGB zones, both of which are mixed together. In addition to the Alienware logo on the cooler’s pump, the TRON Lightcycle-inspired ring on the front panel also glows in a different color.

Additionally, the front panel houses three USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type A ports at 5Gbps, as well as a USB-C port that can support 10Gbps. Alienware has included an optional rear port cover as part of the Aurora R13 package. Since the port cover has a honeycomb design and an open top and bottom, it does not hinder airflow in any way, but it does tidy up the rear of the system nicely. The cords are draped down the back of the inside, which reduces the total length of the system by approximately 3 inches.

It is easy to remove this cover from the back with one hand and a slight tug. The cover is attached using magnets. Through the redesign effort, Alienware has been able to increase the volume of the internal components of the system by 50 percent, but the company’s commitment to its industrial design language has also resulted in an exterior volume increase of 50 percent.

The R10 and R11 chassis had a displacement of approximately 45 liters, whereas the R13 chassis has a displacement of approximately 65 liters. Interestingly, it is surprisingly similar in size to my own PC’s Fractal Design Define S2 Meshify, although it is a bit taller. In the absence of the rear port cover, the Aurora is a bit shorter, and the two cases are similar in width, resulting in similar dimensions.

In contrast, the DIY PC makes better use of its size by including a full-sized ATX motherboard, as well as more drive bays. However, we do not believe that most gamers will find the Aurora’s expandability to be significantly limiting. In comparison with Fractal’s Meshify S2, the Aurora R13 is taller and slightly wider.

In addition to transparent windows, Alienware PCs feature internal lighting. Moreover, this system’s RGB accoutrements are enhanced by the fact that the power supply does not fold over the top of the CPU as it did in older Aurora systems. I really like how the colors cycle through the LEDs on this Alienware desktop.

You do not need to worry if you are not a fan of the bling; the lights can be turned off completely inside Alienware’s Command Center utility, and there are solid side panel options available from the company. In order to remove the panel, simply back out a single captive screw on the back and pull the lever that the screw held down. As far as the back is concerned, the Aurora r13 offers plenty of expansion possibilities. The device offers four USB 2.0 ports, two Type-A USB 3.2 ports of 5 Gbps each, a 10Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 1 port, and a brand-new 2×2 USB-C port capable of pushing 20Gbps. Besides the Ethernet connector, there is also an analog 7.1 surround sound system, coaxial digital audio, and an optical output.

The semi-custom GeForce RTX 3090 GPU from Dell features three DisplayPort connections and an HDMI 2.1b output. At the very bottom of the unit is the AC plug for the power supply, which is rated 80-Plus Platinum for 750 Watts. In order to meet the 80-Plus Platinum standard, the power supply must be 92% efficient at a 50% load and 89% efficient at a 100% load. As a result, the power supply should not generate significant additional heat due to efficiency losses.

Experience with software. Windows 11 Pro was preinstalled on the Aurora R13 for 2022. There are some goodies baked into Microsoft’s newest version of Windows for Alder Lake, so we are glad that the feature was not included in Windows 10. In spite of the difficulties caused by Windows 11, Microsoft has been quick to issue patches, and a great deal has changed in the 30 days since its release. Out of the box, the Aurora software is very svelte and easy to use. All other items are either drivers, control panels for different hardware features, or OEM system update utilities. A McAfee trial is included that displays enough alerts that we decided to send it packing. Additionally, Alienware Command Center was installed, which allows the control of both RGB zones and has a few overclocking profiles that can be triggered when your favorite game is launched.

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