4 August 2017
Distinct, dynamic look
16 GB DDR4 Memory, 2 X 8GB, 2400
1TB M.2 PCIe Solid State Drive
Intel Optane memory
7th Gen Intel Core i7 processor
4-Cores, 8MB Cache, Turbo Boost 2.0
Overclocked up to 4.4GHz
Intel Z270 Chipset
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
with 8GB GDDR5X
Dual 300W graphics cards
NVIDIA Surround Technology
Windows 10 Home
Killer 1535 Wireless, ExtremeRange Technology, 2 external 5GHz signal amplifiers, Killer E2500’s Lag and Latency Reduction Technology, Intel® 3165 1x1 802.11ac Wi-Fi Wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.2
18.6" x 14.19" x 8.35"
Weight 32.67 lbs
Front : Headphone, Microphone, 4 SuperSpeed USB 3.0
Rear: SPDIF Digital Output, 6 Hi-Speed USB 2.0, SuperSpeed 10Gbps USB 3.1 Type-A & C, 3 SuperSpeed USB 3.0, RJ-45 Killer Networks e2400, Gigabit Ethernet Port, Full Size DisplayPort, Audio-In / Microphone, Front L/R surround line-out, Side L/R surround, Rear L/R surround, Center/subwoofer LFE surround, Line-in
Upgrades are pricey
Back looks unfinished
A look at the new Alienware Aurora R6, it’s compact but how does it perform?
While many hard-core gamers love to build their gaming machine from scratch, there is a lot to be said for being able to buy a powerful gaming desktop ‘off the shelf’. Dell’s gaming division, Alienware, allows you to do this with the benefit of customisable options, from memory and processor to the cooling system and a whole lot in-between. Thanks to Dell’s PSU swing-arm design you can also easily upgrade the Aurora R6 yourself, just order the parts and you can change it out without needing a technician, a clever design feature making it enticing to upgrade on a more regular basis. The Aurora R6 is a mid-tower desktop and with Dell’s zero-fat design it’s very compact for a gaming desktop. Small in size but not in personality, just like all other Alienware products you know one when you see it. Aside from the Alienware logo up front, which acts as the power switch, the side panels also have an odd shape as if in three sections that meet in the centre. The three sections are separated by LED strips which use AlienFX lighting that can be customised to light up with any colour you like, along with the Alienware logo making a very distinct, dynamic look. The front of the Aurora R6 remains quite simple with a plain panel on top and air vent below, there is another air vent on the right side panel and one on top. The top is not flat but instead has a handle across the back section, that said I would be wary using it as an actual handle to life the Aurora R6, the mid-tower is quite heavy.
The Aurora R6 is available with a wide range of configurations, depending on how much you want to spend and what you want to spend your money on will determine what specs you give your machine. Our Aurora R6 came with 16 GB DDR4 memory, that’s two 8GB, 2400 and 1TB M.2 PCIe Solid State Drive, this is not the top spec model but has enough memory to support the processor and large enough to suit most gamers. Alienware has also equipped the Aurora R6 with Intel Optane memory which is an adaptable system accelerator that improves responsiveness with the processor, making everything you do faster so you can expect more from the level of storage you choose.
The Aurora R6 comes with a 7th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 4-Cores with 8MB Cache, Turbo Boost 2.0, up to 4.2 GHz and Intel Z270 Chipset as standard, however you can choose to pay a little extra and go for the model overclocked up to 4.4GHz which is the model we have to test. Depending on which model you choose and the memory your performance will vary however our model proved to be lightening fast and super smooth. The overclocked model gave the Aurora R6 an extra kick and thanks to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card with 8GB GDDR5X, dual 300W graphics cards, 12K gameplay and NVIDIA Surround Technology even the most intense games ran smoothly with no lagging or frame drops. With a Geekbench 4 multi-core score of 18,794 the Aurora R6 scores just above the HP Omen X at 18,769, though there’s not much in it. The monitor you have to accompany the Aurora R6 will have an impact on how good your visual gaming experience is however the combination of processing power and GTX 1080 graphics card means even with an average monitor you will be blown away by the Aurora R6 gaming power, it’s fast, smooth and the graphics look amazing, it was able to keep up with any game we threw at it. The fact that Alienware are promoting the R6 as VR ready shows it’s capabilities, unfortunately we have not yet tested the R6 with a Virtual Reality game, we will update with a performance review when we do.
Ease of Use
Alienware has packed the Aurora R6 with Windows 10 Home, as to be expected with a desktop from Dell. As I mentioned earlier the Aurora R6 enjoys tool-less upgrades, meaning no matter what spec you buy the R6 at initially you can upgrade at any stage without needing to get an engineer out, or send the desktop back to Dell. While upgrades are not cheap this is a very attractive idea as it means whether you want to wait till you can afford more memory or you want to upgrade to the latest processor in a years time, just slide the side cover off and you have access to replace parts when you want. While VR still has a bit to go before it is fully mainstream or reached it’s full potential, it’s great to see the Aurora R6 is VR ready, especially as it’s a desktop designed to last you years with upgrades. You will need to purchase a VR headset separately to enjoy this experience however Alienware has made it easier as it is compatible with a wide range of VR devices, so you don’t have to specifically buy a particular brand. Another area Dell allows you to customise is the cooling system, depending on how much you want to spend you can go with the regular fan or upgrade to Liquid Cooling. Regardless of which system you choose the Alienware fans are whisper-quiet, at no point are you disturbed by an annoying fan hum even when you’ve been gaming for hours.
The R6 also enjoys AlienFusion, which means the Aurora is always at ‘ready mode’ in-between sleep and awake which allows core programmes to run in the background in a low power mode. You also have AlienAdrenaline which is a performance monitoring and optimising tool that allows you to customise games and applications to keep one step ahead of the competition. Between these features and Intel’s Optane memory you will find the Aurora R6 fast, smooth and a joy to use, even with the lowest spec model.
Alienware has added ports up front for headphone, microphone and 4 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 for easy access while gaming, the handle on top also provides a space for you to lay your headphones on when you’re done for the day. The rest of the ports reside at the back, which unfortunately is left looking quite industrial with it’s bare metal finish, that said the ports are well placed to pack in the large number of ports.
Dell has packed the Alienware Aurora R6 with Killer 1535 Wireless, ExtremeRange Technology, 2 external 5GHz signal amplifiers, Killer E2500’s Lag and Latency Reduction Technology, Intel® 3165 1×1 802.11ac Wi-Fi Wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.2, all of which provide you with any connectivity needs you have for a great gaming experience. Connections are strong and fast, allowing on-line gaming for hours without disruption, at least from the desktop’s end.
The Aurora R6 is a small mid-tower and very compact for a gaming desktop, weighing a decent 32.67 lbs. You will easily fit it under your gaming desk with room to place your headphones or VR set on top and plenty of room left for your comfortable gaming chair, just make sure you leave room for the side vent for proper ventilation.
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