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Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition gaming PC review

Alienware's new Aurora Ryzen Edition R10 houses the next generation of AMD goodness.

(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

Alienware's first machine to offer AMD's latest tech suite is a strong debut offering killer 4K performance.

For

  • Excellent 4K gaming performance
  • Pricing

Against

  • Ray-tracing performance
  • Noisy as heck

Right now, buying a pre-built system might be the only way to get a new Ryzen CPU and Radeon GPU, considering the extreme stock shortages on PC components. I know I've been waiting a long time to see how this Radeon RX 6800 XT stacks up against the GeForce RTX 3080 systems we've gotten in recently.

Technical Specs

Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
Memory: 32GB HyperX FURY DDR4-3400
Storage: 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD + 2TB 7200RPM HDD
Connectivity:  6x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.1 Type-C, 8x USB 3.0, Bluetooth
OS: Windows 10 Home/Pro 64-Bit
Dimensions: 18.9 x 17 x 8.7 inches
Weight: 35 lbs
Warranty: 3 year
Price: $2,639

The review system we got in for review comes packed with new AMD hardware. The core is made up of a Ryzen 7 5800X, 32GB of HyperX DDR4 memory, 1TB NVMe SSD and a 2TB Hard Drive, and a Radeon RX 6800 XT doing the graphical grunt work. It retails for just over $2,600, although there are plenty of other Ryzen-based configs for you to build with, like one with an RTX 3070 for an extra $100 and an RTX 2080 Ti for $200.

So, if you want an Nvidia GPU, you have some options. There's a good range of builds starting as low as $1,100 and going all the way up to $4,500.

Whenever we get an Aurora system in for review, we always have to take a moment to bask in the ridiculous glory of its case design. I'm a huge fan of the case, despite my noise and cooling concerns. This build employs what Alienware calls its 'Dark Side of the Moon' color scheme, which is black along with the RGB light ring on the front panel that fits better with my desk's current vibe. Much better than some of the desktops we've gotten in recently at any rate, with their aggressive amounts of RGB. 

I'm also a sucker for lots of USB ports, and this bad boy has over a dozen. Great if you're a streamer or you tend to plug everything you own into your PC. As we said before, the oblong space engine look is pretty 'love it or hate it.' Though, I find the black a bit easier on the eyes than the Lunar White.

Benchmarks

Gaming performance
3DMark Time Spy:  GPU Score 17,411, CPU score 11,027
F1 2020 (Ultra settings, DirectX 12): 260fps (1080p) 245fps (1440P) 191fps (4K)
Hitman 3 (Dubai) GPU performance: 243fps (1080p) 199fps (1440p) 113fps (4k)
Horizon Zero Dawn (Ultimate quality) 142fps (1080p) 121fps (1440p) 70fps (4K)
Metro Exodus  (Ultra, DirectX12): 116fps (1080p) 95fps (1440p) 84fps (4K)
3DMark Port Royal: 9,003
Metro Exodus (RTX) 73fps (1080p) 53fps (1440p) 31fps (4K)

System performance
Cinebench R20 rendering: 5,904 (Multi) 625 (Single)
Hitman 3 (Dartmoor) CPU performance: 117fps (1080p) 113fps (1440p) 92fps (4K)
Final Fantasy XIV Game load time: 11.766 Sec

The system is loud—like distractingly loud—when you're gaming, a complaint I had with its Intel/Nvidia Alienware Aurora R11 counterpart from a few weeks ago. The Aurora case's two fan cooling solution doesn't seem like it's doing the trick anymore. We are starting to get to the point where Alienware is due for a case redesign for better acoustics and thermals for this new generation of AMD and Nvidia GPUs.

The tool-less access, however, is still one of my favorite things about the Aurora cases. There's just one screw to remove; then you have complete access to the system's innards once you pull the PSU on a neat swing arm which makes upgrading down the road a cinch. 

The heavy lifting on this Big Navi desktop is being done by the dynamic duo of a Ryzen 7 5800X CPU and RX 6800XT. The RX 6800XT posts a worthy challenge to the RTX 3080 at a lower price. In our testing, AMD's offering seems on par with the RTX 3080 (and in some cases beats it) in terms of 4K gaming performance but falls a bit short when it comes to ray-tracing. 

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(Image credit: Future)

In our new benchmarking protocols, the Ryzen Edition Aurora hit over 100 fps in Hitman 3 and 70fps in Horizon Zero Dawn in 4K on their highest graphics settings. We saw drop-offs in performance in games with ray tracing support like Metro Exodus or Control, especially in 4K, where we saw fps ranges from 20-30 fps depending on the action on-screen. This makes the RX 6800XT a great 4K gaming GPU, just not a good 4K ray-tracing GPU.

Here's where the lack of a DLSS equivalent hurts the Radeon RX 6800 XT since we've seen how effective it's been for Nvidia cards. We will have to see how effective FidelityFX Super Sampling is on some of this years' more demanding games when it does finally land.

The Ryzen 7 5800X took care of our productivity benchmarks with relative ease; however, outscoring its Intel i7 rival by some pretty wide margins. Though a bit more expensive than Intel's chip, the 5800X is a great processor to handle rendering and CPU-intensive games like Total War and the surprisingly physics-heavy Hitman 3.

You should consider that these scores were achieved without overclocking, which you can do via the Alienware Command Center app if that's your thing and you want to squeeze a bit more juice out of your system.

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Alienware's Ryzen Edition R10 is a powerful AMD system capable of handling 4K gaming, and then some. While expensive for an all-AMD machine, it's still significantly cheaper than Alienware's premium GeForce RTX 3090 build while still staying more or less in the same ballpark as far as performance goes. And that is nothing to sneeze at. As we said at the top, a full build like this is also your best bet at getting hold of such ultra-rare commodities as an AMD CPU and GPU combo. 

If you don't mind losing out on ray-tracing, the Ryzen Edition R10 is still a tremendous high-end gaming desktop with stellar graphics all-around performance. 

The Verdict
Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition

Alienware's first machine to offer AMD's latest tech suite is a strong debut offering killer 4K performance.

Jorge Jimenez is a Hardware Writer from the enchanted lands of New Jersey. When he's not filling the office with the smell of Pop-Tarts, you can find Jorge streaming bad games with his dog or binge-watching an irresponsible amount of superhero TV shows.