Alienware are a well-known gaming manufacturer and recently they have refreshed their high-end gaming desktop PCs – both the AMD Ryzen and the Intel Core versions. The new Intel versions have received the latest 12th Gen Intel chipsets but the AMD version, the Aurora Ryzen Edition R14 is yet to see an updated chipset – AMD has yet to release their new version of the Ryzen chipset although their current manufacturing process is already 7nm.
Alienware sent us their latest Ryzen-based desktop gaming PC, the Aurora Ryzen Edition R14, to test out and run through its paces. Writing reviews is fun but writing reviews on gaming PCs is next level. Read on to hear what we thought about the Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R14.
What is it?
The Aurora R14 has a redesigned case to not just allow for an increased air flow throughout the case but also for it to be easily upgradeable should you wish to. The front of the case looks the same as previous generations but the new clear panel around the ringed RGB lighting is a nice new touch – something that adds to the gaming “look”.
The side of the case has a clear panel allowing you to see the components within it. As you would expect the components and cabling within are extremely well designed and of course colourful as well thanks to the large amount of RGB lighting – which can be customised using the AlienFX app on the PC. From the Alienware name to the internal ambient light and the four outward-facing RGB cooling fans the colours all of these produces adds to the premium-look of the PC.
The entire case itself is a decent size, especially if you clip the rear panel on – the rear panel is attached magnetically and pops on and off quite easily and has an attractive honeycomb design to it while at the same time hiding all the cables you have attached to the rear of the desktop. According to Dell/Alienware, the new chassis of the case gives the desktop 1.5 times the internal volume which makes it great for improving air flow and thus cooling while gaming.
The ports on the desktop offer easy connectivity along with many options to connect. The front of the case offers a 3.5mm audio jack, three USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1) and a USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2) port. Personally, I’m not one to permanently connect things to the front of a PC as it messes with my OCD but for quick connectivity to quickly plug in a keyboard, mouse or charge a phone it’s a quick and simple solution.
The top of the rear of the device offers fours USB-A 2.0, two USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1) and one USB-C 3.2(Gen 2) port. There is also an Ethernet port here along with audio out, surround sound audio output and an SPDIF connection for that even better audio out connection.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 offers connections to your display(s) using either the HDMI port or three DisplayPort ports at the rear. These options were easily enough for my gaming requirements, and I was able to easily connect two monitors to the PC using the Display and HDMI ports.
As discussed above the chipset running this review unit is the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 12-core processor, combined with 32GB of RAM (3200MHz). The boot disk is a 512GB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD with a secondary 1TB 7200RPM SATA drive included for storage. Power is supplied by a 750W platinum PSU.
Of course, being a gaming PC, you should be looking closely at the graphics card and in this case Alienware has included a NVIDIA GeForce RT 3080 10GB GDDR6X card. While not the best graphics card you can get – far from it – it is a great compromise to provide a great gaming experience while also minimising the price. The NVIDIA GeForce RT 3080 10GB GDDR6X LHR card combined with the AMD Ryzen 9 processor produced a blazing-fast performance as you would expect.
A couple of components that are included but not inside the actual desktop are a standard Dell keyboard and mouse. They are nothing fancy and are just the same basic ones you would have seen at your work (should your work use Dell — we have the same ones at my work) — Dell Wired Keyboard KB216 Black and Dell USB Optical Mouse-MS116. These are just handy to set up your R14 because if you are forking out the money for the R14 you sure as heck should be purchasing a decent gaming keyboard and mouse at the same time (or already have one).
I’ve not come across any gaming PCs that couldn’t handle the games I threw at them, even pushing my 4K monitor – albeit only 60Hz. I also tested the Aurora R14 on my son’s 160Hz, 1ms gaming monitor and as you’d expect the experience was even better – fluid with no lag and no stuttering.
Back when I tested out the Alienware M15 Ryzen edition the 3D Mark score was just over 9,000. The Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition desktop though smoked that and scored just under the 16,000 mark – and that was with the hard drive pretty much maxxed out with all the games I wanted to test out on the PC. Obviously in a real-world scenario you will most likely only have a few games installed at a time and it would run even better. The 15,700 score placed the Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition close to the score of a premium gaming PC and, given the price, you would hope it would be just that.
Unfortunately, life is not all fun and games and I used the desktop for a heap of productivity work which of course it handled with a minimum of fuss.
Every single game I threw at the PC ran smoothly, without lag nor stutter. I am confident that you could play any game you wanted on this, while pushing multiple displays and not have a single issue with it. The components, including the graphics card, allows and is designed for just that.
The Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition review unit runs Windows 11 Home although you can upgrade it to Pro prior to shipping or provide your own code to upgrade at any time. I’m not sure how many of you have tried Windows 11 but it takes a little bit of getting used to but I don’t hate it, that’s for sure.
Just as the Alienware laptop came with, the Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition also comes with the Alienware Command Centre. This is where you not just create profiles for specific games which includes lighting and thermal performance but also game specific RGB lighting.
AlienFX within the command centre is where you can customise the lighting to what you want and also create various lighting profiles. It is simple to use and shops each individual part that you can light up – which you can do with any RGB colour.
AlienFusion within the command centre is where you can create your various performance profiles including overclock, thermal, power management and audio profiles. Once again, easy to use and allows you to get the best out of your machine – well, the best you need for that game.
Should you buy it?
The Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R14 is a serious gaming machine and it is pre-built for you. No need to build anything yourself, concerning yourself with various compatibilities etc. Alienware have done all of that for you. As for what’s inside it is some of the best specs you can get tied up into a sleek, great-looking package.
The performance is amazing and ran every game I threw at it extremely well. The Ryzen 9 performed as you would expect for what has been considered for a while now, the best gaming processor available. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 10GB GDDR6X LHR was no slouch either and if you were to purchase this there is little doubt you would have no issues with it — I did not see any cooling issues and with their new cooling air flow within the case along with four internal fans I can’t see it being an issue.
The Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R14 isn’t cheap but it is what you’d expect from a major PC vendor. A full-blown gaming PC in a nice well-designed package. The one built by your local PC store will not have a package that looks like this — not just the design of the case but also the RGB lighting and the control of it within the case. The R14 is not cheap, starting at $3,329.02 but can be specced up to a full $4,499 if you wish. The configuration we tested out will set you back that full amount — $4,499.