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Alienware Aurora R8 Gaming RIG Review: Pinnacle of gaming PC
The Alienware series from Dell is known for offering serious looking gaming PCs (both gaming rigs and laptops) with state-of-the-art design, which looks cool and provides practicality. The Alienware Aurora R8 gaming RIG is the latest top of the line offering from Dell, which retails in India for Rs 2,80,000.
- Compact design
- High Performance GPU and CPU
- Bit expensive
For almost Rs 2,80,000, you get a beefed-up PC, which has some of the best PC components in the world. However, for nearly Rs 3,00,000, is the Alienware Aurora R8 the best gaming RIG that you can buy? Or you should assemble a custom Personal gaming RIG? Let's find out.
- CPU - Intel Core i9 9900K (8-Core/16-Thread, 16MB Cache, Overclocked up to 4.7GHz across all cores)
- GPU - NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 2080 OC with 8GB GDDR6
- RAM - 2 x16GB HyperX DDR4 XMP at 3200MHz; 32 GB
- Storage - 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD (Boot) + 1TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s (Storage)
- Power Supply - Alienware 850-Watt Multi-GPU Approved Power Supply
- Motherboard - Micro ATX motherboard (Intel Z370 Express Chipset)
- Power Supply - Alienware 850-Watt Multi-GPU Approved Power Supply
- CPU Cooling Options - Alienware High-Performance Liquid Cooling
- Networking and Wi-Fi Details - Killer 1535 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi Wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.1
The Alienware Aurora R8 is surely a gaming PC (configuration-wise), but once you see how it appears, you will understand that it is meant for serious gamers. The CPU cabinet, which has an external LED lighting can be controlled using the Alienware Command Centre. While the "X" shaped LED lights give a great accent to the CPU, the smooth curve and neatly packed hardware inside is something which you rarely see in a branded PC.
Unlike most of the branded gaming RIGs, the Alienware Aurora is a compact machine. I was a little worried about the cooling solution offered in the system, due to the compact form-factor. However, after using the system for more than a week, my view on the Aurora R8 completely changed (more on this in the later part of the review).
The Alienware Aurora R8 is one of the most compact, yet complete gaming RIG that I have seen yet.
The Alienware Aurora R8 has almost every port or I/O that you might expect in a premium and high-performance gaming PC. The gaming rig has multiple Display Ports (Full size and type-C) where one can connect more than one monitor at the same time, and the type-C port comes handy while using VR headsets like the HTC Vive.
There is enough space to install three more HDDs (2.5-inch or 3.5-inch), which should offer an ample amount of storage, and it is straightforward to swap or upgrade storage as well.
Most of the components on the Alienware Aurora R8 are modular, where one can easily upgrade in the future. However, if you buy the R8, you might not want to upgrade for the first two to three years, as the system has the latest CPU and GPU, which can handle games and resource intensive apps in the coming days, at least until 2020.
Keeping aside the features mentioned above, a gaming RIG that costs almost Rs. 3,00,000 should be a champ when it comes to gaming. How does the Alienware Aurora R8 perform? To test out the potential of the Aurora R8, we ran a few benchmarks and the most graphics intensive games that we can find, and here are the results.
I used the LG 23-inch gaming monitor with 21:9 aspect ratio, offering 75Hz refresh rate with 1ms response time and we hooked up the PC to the monitor using the display port with FHD+ resolution (in between 1080p and 1440p).
SSD speed test
The built-in 256 GB SSD on the Alienware Aurora R8 scores 2333.6 MB/s or 2.3 GB/s read, and 321.7 MB/s write speed. The faster read speed ensures that the device can open apps quickly (apps installed on the SSD) and the OS can boot within seconds.
HDD speed test
The Alienware Aurora R8 has a 1 TB 3.5-inch HDD with 7200 RPM, which scores 169.8 MB/s read and 166.5 MB/s write speed. Though these scores are slightly on the lower side compared to the SSD, these numbers are on point with other HDDs with 7200 RPM. These speeds are good enough to run games and apps smoothly, but, they might take additional seconds to load compared to an M.2 or a SATA SSD.
On Geekbench CPU benchmark run, the Aurora R8 scores 5969 points on single core and 32441 on multi-core performance. Do note that, these are some of the highest scores that I have seen on Geekbench.
On Geekbench GPU (based on OpenCL), the device scores 275023 points, and the score is on par with other devices with a similar set of specifications.
On Cinebench 20, the device scores 4118 CB. Cinebench 20 is a CPU rending tool, which calculates the performance of the PC by rendering a high-quality image, and, according to Cinebench 20, the Alienware Aurora R8 is one on the fourth position.
Unigine Heaven Benchmark
Unigine Heaven is a DirectX 11 based GPU assessment tool, and the Aurora R8 scores 4283 points with an average FPS of 170, which re-affirms that the PC can handle almost any game with an average FPS of 170.
On PC Mark 10, the device scores 6650 points with 9635 points on essential, 8043 points on productivity, and 10,302 on digital content creation.
On 3DMark TimeSpy, the device scores 10013 points with a graphics score of 9,999 and CPU score of 10,096.
3DMark Port Royale
On 3DMark Port Royale, the device scores 5545 points and the GPU performance has not noticed any sort of performance dip or thermal throttling while running the benchmark.
3DMark Fire Strike
On 3DMark Fire Strike, the device scores an overall point of 21176 with 23421 points on graphics score and 24213 physics score.
We played some of the most performance demanding games based on DirectX 11, DirectX 12, and Real Time Ray Tracing. Here are the results, which will help you to gauge the gaming performance of the Alienware Aurora R8. Do note that, the graphics were set to maximum in all the games that we tested on the PC.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider with Ray Tracing turned on
On the Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the device scores an average FPS of 64 with FHD+ resolution. This score re-instates the fact that the RTX 2080 can handle Real Time Ray Tracing with an average FPS of 60 on games like Battlefield V and the Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Shadow of the Tomb Rider Without Ray Tracing
If we turn off the Ray Tracing on the Tomb Raider, the performance shoots up to 107 FPS with high-graphics settings. One can easily play the Shadow of the Tomb Rider on the Aurora R8 with a 2K or even a 4K display with at least 60fps.
On Division 2, the computer scored an average FPS of 82 with high-graphics settings, and the PC is capable of handling the game at higher resolutions as well.
On NFS Payback we noticed an average FPS of 167, which means, one can play NFS Payback on the Aurora R8 with a 4K display, and the system will be able to render the game with 60+ fps at all the time.
On GTA V, we noticed an average FPS of 142, and the GPU is capable of rending the game at 2K and 4K resolution without any issue.
Crysis 3 is probably the oldest game that we have tested on this gaming RIG, with 114 average FPS, the PC had no trouble in rending the most intense scenes even at the higher resolution, say, 2K or 4K.
Considering the retails price of the Alienware Aurora R8, I have calculated the possible expense of a gaming RIG with similar, if not identical specifications. The cost of the Alienware Aurora R8 is Rs 2,80,000, which also comes with a one-year warranty, whereas, one must spend a minimum of Rs 2,38,000 (based on prices listed on Amazon India for the components offered on the Aurora R8).
If you are going to build your own PC with identical specifications as of the Alienware Aurora R8, then you can save around Rs 40,000, given, you know how to do it properly, as even a tiny slip can cost a bomb. Do note that, the pricing does include the extensive R&D that Dell has done to offer the best gaming setup, which is always underrated when it comes to gaming PC prices.
Then comes the warranty issue. If someone goes bad on the Alienware Aurora R8, Dell service center will take care of the problem, as the entire system is covered under a one-year warranty. Though you can get a warranty for the individual components, you must contact a particular brand, each time something breaks.
At the end of the day, it depends entirely on your knowledge about a custom PC. If you are a first-time gaming PC buyer, then, the Alienware Aurora R8 seems like an easy choice, as it is a plug and play device.
Considering the synthetic benchmarks and gaming benchmarks, it is almost evident that the Alienware Aurora R8 is capable gaming PC, which can handle any game at the highest graphics settings.
Along with the stellar performance, the PC does offer a completely modular design, which makes it easy for future hardware upgrades. Even with intensive gaming sessions (5 to 6 hours at a stretch), I did not notice any drop in the performance, thanks to the state-of-the-art thermal design.
As the RTX 2080 is capable of ray-tracing, it is a system, that is future-ready, and the Intel 9th Gen Core-i9 is also a great CPU, which makes the Aurora R8 a powerful rending machine as well.
Building a custom PC will offer similar performance. However, I would suggest the Alienware Aurora over a couple of thousand rupees, as you get a PC which is ready to go the minute you hit the power button. If you are looking for a high-profile gaming PC and your budget fits with the price of the Aurora, then the Alienware Aurora R8 is a must-have gaming rig for every PC gaming enthusiast.