Alienware Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition review: a new morning for AMD
"With the Alienware Aurora R10, the powerful new 16-core Ryzen from AMD is presented in a big way."
Unique design and appearance
Insanely fast processor performance
The lighting is beautiful
Easy to update
Additional cores do not benefit the frame rates
The internals are hidden
The tide changes. A few years ago, the premise of the new Aurora R10 would sound outrageous. A gaming PC without an Intel processor? An Alienware desktop without aggressive angles and with a white exterior?
None of that used to be Alienware's mood. The stereotypes have been thrown out the window and the Aurora R10 is better for that.
Priced at $ 3,630 and a 16-core processor, this Ryzen-powered Aurora R10 is an overkill even for most players. This is exactly what AMD and Alienware want.
AMD brings the seeds
AMD is creeping into more and more systems, especially where it can flex its multi-core muscles. The new Ryzen 9 3950X is on top of the stack, and the Aurora R10 is one of the first systems to use it.
It's an incredible 16-core processor, the first of its kind to appear in a “mainstream” gaming PC. If you thought the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X was an exaggeration, these four additional cores will probably not do anything for you. However, if you want the absolute fastest performance or if you want to use your PC for content creation or other CPU-heavy tasks, 16 cores can fascinate you. And it should be.
I tested the processor at the heart of the new Aurora in benchmarks that tested single-core and multi-core performance. Both are important, especially when you consider the load difference between CPU-intensive tasks and gaming performance.
In both Cinebench and Geekbench, the 3950X obviously tends towards multi-core brilliance. It circles around the Core i9-9900K, which has half of the cores and threads. We tested the Core i9-9900K in the Digital Storm Aventum X and the Ryzen 9 3950X outperformed it by 32%.
Single core performance is a different story. In both Geekbench 4 and Cinebench, the 9900K is about 3% faster. The 9900K has a maximum single-core frequency of 5 GHz, while the Ryzen 9 3950X cannot hike north of 4.5 GHz.
What does it all mean? Well, it makes this Alienware a hell of a video editing machine. When it comes to games, rSingle core performance is still a more important factor. This means that jumping to twelve cores – or in this case 16 cores – doesn't always result in better frame rates.
Alienware also counts cores. For the Ryzen 9 3900X, the Core i9-9900K will charge an additional $ 50 and for the 3950X about $ 500 more. That is a considerable sum for no real gain in gaming performance.
Nevertheless, the Ryzen 9 chips are impressive. In the past, AMD traded single-core performance for multi-core gains. This is actually not the case here. The Ryzen 9 3950X is almost as fast in the single-core mode as the Intel Core i9-9900K and much faster in the multi-core area. So you can only gain overall performance if you choose this upgrade.
In combination with the Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti for graphics, the Ryzen 9 3950X from AMD should guarantee the best possible frame rates. Whether you want 60 FPS at 4K or 150 FPS at 1080p, the Aurora R10 can do it all. The standout feature was Battlefield V, which managed 4K on Ultra with silky smooth 76 FPS. Even better, if you have a 1440p monitor with a high refresh rate, you can play Assassins Creed Odyssey at Ultra High in 4K. The Aurora R10 is unbeatable there.
While cooling is efficient, the Aurora R10 is loud. Regardless of how pretty it is, the loud fans will make you hide it under your desk.
The real question, however, is whether you will notice a significant difference between this and an affordable alternative like the Ryzen 7 3700X. This eight-core processor should offer most of what you need to avoid bottlenecks in your graphics card.
I haven't been able to test various configurations in this system, but based on what I've seen in other tests, the 3950X's additional cores don't add much gaming value. The advantages of more difficult tasks such as video editing or 3D rendering are obvious. Save yourself some money while playing.
For this reason, the option of mid-range Ryzen processors makes more sense for AMD purposes. Most games still don't benefit from larger core numbers, which makes the standard Ryzen 5 3500 with six cores a great starting point for a gaming PC. AMD is competitive with Intel in a variety of price ranges.
A legendary case design
Alienware desktops are no stranger to unique design. The company always wanted its products to be recognizable from afar.
The Aurora R10 goes one step further. The medium-sized tower is characterized by the company's new "Legend" design philosophy, which means fewer rough angles and aggressive ventilation openings. I've seen (and loved) it in laptops like the Area-51m and Alienware m15, but it's more pronounced here. You will never confuse the Aurora R10 with another computer.
It is more THX 1138 as extraterrestrial. Smooth edges, a curved frame and a clean, white color characterize the case, while the centerpiece is the round light ring on the front. It resembles a light cycle from Tron, or maybe the interior of the Death Star from the original war of stars. The LED case contains a practical selection of connections, including three USB-A 3.1 connections, one USB-C 3.1 connection and a headphone jack.
It's a bold and ambitious look that works well in the form factor of a medium-sized desktop. However, it is all plastic. Systems such as the HP Omen Obelisk and Falcon Northwest Talon are made of aluminum and have a tempered glass side wall that gives you an insight into the internal components of your PC. The Aurora R10 takes a different approach.
The courage of a desktop is as important as the outside. If you haven't opened any of Dell's medium-sized towers, you may be surprised if you try. All without a screwdriver or other tools. The side wall is locked by two mechanisms and a simple pull lever.
Once the control panel is hidden, you still don't have a clear view of your board and components. The Aurora R10 uses the arm swing we saw on previous mid-sized Dell desktops. In the closed state, the power supply unit lies against the rest of the components to save space. However, if you get in and want to see your system, it's as easy as swinging out the hinge.
In contrast to cheaper PCs that use this design, the cable management is flawless. The routing is clean and by moving the power supply, the arrangement of the internals appears spacious. Our unit was equipped with liquid cooling, which was characterized by the beautiful Alienware water block in the middle. This is not always the case with towers of this size. The additional space also enables two expansion slots underneath the Micro ATX card, so that upgrades are possible.
Replacing a component like the graphics card or memory shouldn't be a problem. However, replacing the power supply can cause headaches due to its placement.
The Aurora R10 is a showcase for AMD's powerful Ryzen 3 processors. That is out of the question and is quite a success for AMD. This is a beast of a gaming PC, even if the high-end options have more cores than most games do.
This desktop also highlights what Alienware can do best. Unique housing designs that stand out from the crowd. It is powerful, beautiful and well done.
Are there alternatives?
HP's Omen Obelisk is a solid competitor. The case is a bit more conventional and offers a nice view of your PC through tempered glass. However, no current high-end components from AMD, Intel and Nvidia are currently available, as is the case with the Aurora R10.
Another great option is a bespoke, medium-sized tower like the Origin Neuron or the Falcon Northwest Talon. These have simple designs with many customization options, but cost a little more with similar performance.
How long it will take?
People buy desktops for their longevity. You should have no problem keeping the Aurora R10 nearby for many, many years. With current components, excellent build quality and relatively easy upgradeability, the Aurora R10 should survive at least a few hardware cycles. However, the guarantee is only one year.
Should you buy it
Yes. The Aurora R10 is a powerful gaming PC with an iconic design. Simply choose a processor that meets your needs.