Alienware Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition

Alienware Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition

Ryzen 9 5900X | RTX 3080 | 32GB DDR4 | A powerful but expensive plug and play gaming machine

(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

If you care about gaming and not the minutiae of the PC it runs on, Alienware systems are worth a look. This Ryzen Edition with its 5900X and RTX 3080 is powerful, but do not pay full price. You're sure to find it at a steep discount as the launches of next gen products draws near.


  • Very good gaming and general performance
  • Easy setup
  • Attractive design


  • Inadequate cooling
  • Very expensive unless you wait for periodic discounts
  • Nearing end of life
  • Gets noisy when pushed hard

PC Gamer's got your back Our experienced team dedicates many hours to every review, to really get to the heart of what matters most to you. Find out more about how we evaluate games and hardware.

Some folks just aren't into PCs, believing them to be a simple means to an end. The idea of building a PC or choosing its components is something that can be daunting to large numbers of PC users and gamers. That's where systems like the Alienware Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition come in. They take the hassle out of buying a PC.

Building your own machine will deliver better value for money, higher performance or both. But not everyone wants the hassle or has the requisite knowledge to do it. Buyers of these systems care about the games, and not so much about the PC that runs them. The idea is you buy it, take it home, plug it in and within mere minutes it’s ready to go. No messing with drivers or troubleshooting. Dell offer after sales technical support and peace of mind that's appealing.

I've got my hands on an Alienware Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition. Is it fast? Yes. Can it play games better than a console can? Most certainly. Can it be used for things other than gaming? Absolutely yes. Is it affordable? Well, that can be the tricky part.

At full price the answer would be no, but Dell frequently offers heavy discounts across its range, and if you're able to snag one when it's going for cheap, Alienware systems can offer surprisingly good value for money. 

Alienware Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition

(Image credit: Dell)

The Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition still has an unmistakable Alienware theme. It's got that rounded UFO like influence that leaves you with no doubt that it's a powerful gaming PC. Its curves will appeal to many that are turned off by some of the messy or angular case designs. In my opinion it offers a good blend of attention-grabbing good looks while retaining a hint of subtlety.

Our system came with a high spec, beginning with a AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 12-core/24-thread processor. It's joined by a bespoke Dell RTX 3080 10GB graphics card. Some users would like a Radeon option if it was on offer, but in Australia at least, the graphics card options are Nvidia only. 

As configured, this sample retails for a very hefty $4,999, though at the time of writing, it was on sale for $3,999. Still a steep price, but 20% is 20% off.

This configuration comes with 32GB of DDR4-3200 memory. In our test system it was Kingston's Fury memory. I'd normally expect boring Dell green PCB memory, so this is nice to see. Storage includes a 512GB Samsung PM9A1 PCIe 4.0 SSD and a 1TB 3.5-in HDD. That small HDD is hardly worth including. For an extra $50 or so, Dell could have increased it up to 4TB. Of course, maybe you already have an external HDD and, in that case, you can plug it into one of the many front or back USB ports.

If the high spec (and expense) of this system turns you off, Dell offers lesser spec machines with Ryzen 7 5800X processors and graphics cards including an RTX 3070 or RTX 3060 Ti. They're worth considering if you have a 1920x1080 or 2560x1440 monitor, in which case you won't require the grunt of a 3080. If you have a 4K monitor or TV, the 3080 will be the best option. 

Like just about every other Dell system, there are many proprietary components. The motherboard is a bespoke design, with many custom connectors and component placements. The heatsinks are on the small side but the system has reasonably good airflow and unless you thrash the CPU at full load for extended periods, they'll be fine.

The RTX 3080 is also a custom Dell unit, though in our testing It's a little bland but it will perform much like any other dual fan 3080.

Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition specs

Alienware Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition

(Image credit: Dell)

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
Cooling: Alienware Cryo-Tech liquid cooling
Motherboard chipset: B550
Memory: 32GB (2x 16GB) DDR4-3200
Graphics: GeForce RTX 3080 10GB
Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD and 1TB 3.5in HDD
Power: 750W PSU
Warranty: 1 year pre-paid RTB
Price: AU$4,999

The 5900X is a powerful CPU, and it requires capable cooling in order for it to run at its best. That’s one of the disappointments here. A 120mm all in one cooler is adequate at best for a 5900X. It’s not as demanding a CPU as the Intel 12900K is, but if you’re going to drop this kind of money on a system, a 240mm AIO would have been more appropriate. Hopefully Dell learns from this when the 13th Gen and Ryzen 7000 series Aurora models launch later in the year.

Upgradeability isn’t a strength of Alienware systems. Unlike some of the other Alienware systems we have reviewed, the R14 Ryzen Edition sadly doesn't have a secondary M.2 slot. Since the included 512GB SSD is on the small side, you'd have to clone it or add a SATA SSD if you want extra storage for a larger game library.

You’ll be limited when it comes to upgrading your cooling too. Dell uses a non-standard mounting for the cooler, meaning AM4 coolers can’t be used. Having said that, the chance that anyone will upgrade the cooling is unlikely, and with AMD’s AM4 socket nearing the end of its life, there won’t be a lot of CPU upgrade options anyway.

The connectivity options of the Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition are good. Around the back there are eight USB ports with four USB 2.0, two USB 3.0 5Gbps and two 10Gbps Type-C ports. They are joined by three more 5Gbps ports and a 10Gbps Type-C port at the front. Not bad at all.

With a spec that includes a 5900X and RTX 3080, I’d expected this system to perform very well, and it does.

Wired networking duties are handled by a Realtek RTL8125BD 2.5G Ethernet controller. There's Wi-Fi 6 for wireless connectivity. There aren't any obvious antennas, though in my testing, signal weakness wasn't a problem.

As we have seen with some other Aurora systems, the standard six analogue ports and S/PDIF ports are joined by a coaxial port. If you've got an older A/V amp or receiver, you could use the coax output with that.

Overall, the R13 comes with a comprehensive set of connectivity options. I feel it's important for a system such as this to have plenty of front and rear USB ports so a user can connect chargers, headsets, external hard drives and flash drives without needing to buy a hub. A $5,000 system should be user friendly, and the Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition is.

A system that costs AU$5,000 needs to perform, and thankfully, it does! Let's begin with a look at general system performance.

System performance

With a spec that includes a 5900X and RTX 3080, I’d expected this system to perform very well, and it does.

We see that the high core count of the 5900X allows it to excel at video encoding and rendering tasks. If you use your PC for things like this, the 5900X will reward you with strong performance.

Hitman's CPU test is an outlier. It seems as though it prefers fewer threads, for example the 5800X3D of the Aftershock Ultracore was much faster.

Finally, we see the weakness of the R14's 120mm AIO cooler. 89°C isn’t extreme for a modern CPU but it's higher than I’d like, and running for longer periods in the 80’s causes the fan to ramp right up. It's not vacuum cleaner loud, but it's an example of how a 120mm cooler is inadequate for this class of CPU. Not good enough Dell.

Now let's see how the Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition's RTX 3080 handles games.

Synthetic and 1440p gaming performance

The RTX 3080 is a well-known quantity at this point in its life. If you're going to pair your R14 system with a high refresh rate 2560 x 1440 monitor, you'll need the grunt that a 3080 can deliver. You can expect high frame rates in just about every game you care to name, particularly if it supports DLSS.

If you plan to game at 1440p, you can expect beautifully smooth and stutter free gameplay with this R14 Ryzen Edition configuration. Pair it with an adaptive sync gaming screen and you'll have a smile on your face.

4K gaming performance

When you get to 4K resolution things become more difficult, but that's nothing to worry about. Remember we're talking about an RTX 3080 here. There are very few cards on the market that can outperform it. Even so, all of the tested games ran above 60 fps, which is the threshold for smooth gameplay.

Cyberpunk 2077 is an exception, though nothing can run that at 4K with all of the options turned up. Even next generation flagship graphics cards will struggle. Don't feel bad if you have to dial back on the ray tracing at high resolution. You'll get a big frame rate boost with little loss of fidelity.

Don't forget that a console won't be running at 4K above 60 fps at high settings,either. A system like the R14 Ryzen Edition might be expensive, but that's what it takes to play the latest titles at high settings. Gaming on a big screen with a powerful PC is supremely immersive.

Alienware Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition

(Image credit: Dell)

I think it's important to impart the fact that not everyone looks at a PC through the eyes of an enthusiast. It's certainly true that you can build your own PC that's either cheaper or faster, but PC gaming is an inclusive hobby. Just because someone doesn't know a megabyte from a megahertz doesn't mean they can't enjoy everything that PC gaming has to offer. And that's why there will always be a market for systems like the Alienware Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition.

The Aurora line of PCs do a job, and do it well. This spec, with its 5900X CPU, RTX 3080 and 32GB of RAM means it's a high-end PC by any standard. It looks good, it has great connectivity options but its lack of upgrade potential counts against it. The use of a 120mm cooler doesn't make sense and I'm not happy with the inclusion of only one PCIe M.2 slot. Even if Dell made just these two obvious changes, then this system would elevate itself a notch or two.

At full price, I can't recommend the R14 Ryzen Edition, but if you can get it when it's on sale, it becomes more compelling. It's important to get the right balanced spec though. A system with a CPU such as 12600K or 5800X with a RTX 3070 or 3070 Ti would deliver much better gaming value. It would lower the demands on that little 120mm cooler too.

Personally, I would not buy an Alienware system, but I'm an enthusiast who wants to build my own rigs. If you're not, and you can deal with its shortcomings, then the R14 Ryzen Edition will deliver very good gaming performance. All of those CPU cores will excel in multithreaded tasks and it’s a good-looking system too.

The Alienware Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition is well worth a look, but you must wait until it's available at one of its frequent discounts.

If you care about the game more than the PC that runs them, the Alienware Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition is well worth a look, but you must wait until it's available at one of its frequent discounts. There are other options out there from the likes of HP or Aftershock, and they are definitely worth a look too. But the Dell brand name is a big one and that carries weight by itself, so by all means go ahead and grab one if it appeals to you.

If your system delivers the performance you want, with an easy setup and a unique aesthetic, while offering the real value of big name after sale and technical support then there are few options that can compete. At the end of the day, the goal is to enjoy your gaming. This Alienware will deliver that.

The Verdict
Alienware Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition

If you care about gaming and not the minutiae of the PC it runs on, Alienware systems are worth a look. This Ryzen Edition with its 5900X and RTX 3080 is powerful, but do not pay full price. You're sure to find it at a steep discount as the launches of next gen products draws near.

Chris Szewczyk
Hardware Writer

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.