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Alienware Aurora R13 Review | PCMag

Alienware’s flagship fanatic gaming desktop simply received a facelift and main inner surgical procedure. Boasting a refreshed bodily design and Intel’s model new Twelfth Generation “Alder Lake” processors, the Aurora R13 (begins at $1,479.99; $4,679.99 as examined) is improved throughout. This is likely one of the first appears to be like we’re getting at Alder Lake, and we’re blissful to report the Core i9-12900K in our overview unit is true up there with (and in circumstances even sooner than) AMD’s Ryzen 9 equal, a change within the CPU sample from the final couple years. Add in an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 GPU, and you may think about the blazing-fast efficiency we noticed in testing. It’s a expensive proposition with these elements, however less-expensive configs abound, making this a pleasant choice for a lot of plug-and-play-minded consumers who need a bit aptitude, and loads of energy.


The Aurora Redesigned: A Window to the CPU Soul

Alienware final redesigned the bodily look of the Aurora desktop in 2019, and we’ve seen it used a number of occasions since, most not too long ago in a Ryzen-based replace earlier this yr. This new mannequin is the primary to replace the look and structure, so it’s not all concerning the parts. 

Almost in every single place you look on the R13, the case has been redesigned. Starting on the entrance, the bodily form remains to be the identical, however a transparent plastic panel across the ringed LED and a honeycomb display screen add a bit of sophistication. Now you’ll be able to see the parts in your high-end Aurora construct, serving to the desktop look its value. The tower has a reasonably sizable footprint, measuring 20 by 8 by 23 inches (HWD). At 27 to 34 kilos, relying in your configuration, it’s no featherweight.

Alienware Aurora R13 window view


(Photo: Molly Flores)

The most blatant (and welcome) addition to the design is the window on the left panel, permitting you to see the parts inside. The earlier Aurora desktops, even the high-end configurations, have been fully enclosed in plastic. They stood out in contrast with equally priced boutique or DIY builds that prominently characteristic home windows meant to indicate off the interiors. The new Alienware’s window and case are plastic, so it’s not fairly on the degree of tempered glass and a steel chassis that some options are, but it surely’s nonetheless a pleasant contact.

Alienware Aurora R13 side view


(Photo: Molly Flores)

And even with the plastic construct, the window immediately elevates the Aurora’s model and look. The inside is lit with LEDs and crucially, now that it’s seen, additionally appears to be like higher than the earlier iterations. I can perceive why Alienware wasn’t displaying off these interiors; they have been little greater than the unremarkable, unpainted steel you’d see in a finances gaming prebuilt tower.  

Both the inside building itself and the design parts look higher. Everything is black or a darkish coloration. There’s a horizontal bar operating throughout the window bearing the Alienware title in translucent textual content backlit by RGB lighting. The CPU cooler’s heatsink contains an RGB alien head emblem, and the fan is equally lit. You get the concept: Aurora now has a few of that showpiece issue extra worthy of its price ticket. It’s not the craziest construct or structure (go away that to boutique distributors with hard-line cooling and the like), and once more, the plastic design lacks a little bit of premium-price jazz in comparison with some high-end options. But it’s a marked enchancment.

Alienware Aurora R13 window view


(Photo: Molly Flores)

The rear panel pops off with a pull (it is hooked up magnetically), after which you’ll be able to fairly simply take away the left aspect panel to entry your parts. You can see that it’s not tremendous roomy (the chassis is huge, however the curved prime and backside of the case go away some useless house), however there’s greater than sufficient house for upkeep or half swaps.

Alienware Aurora R13 window view


(Photo: Molly Flores)

Rounding out the bodily construct is a pleasant array of ports, between each the back and front panel. On the entrance, aligned vertically, you’ll discover three USB 3.1 ports, a USB-C port, and the headphone jack. Most of the connections are round again, together with 4 USB 2.0 ports, two USB-C ports, two USB 3.1 ports, an Ethernet jack, and audio traces. You must take away the magnetic curved again panel to entry the connections.

Alienware Aurora R13 ports


(Photo: Molly Flores)


Component Check: Welcome to Alder Lake

So what, precisely, are you able to see by the window in our construct? Alienware despatched us a overview configuration that’s nearly maxed out: The R13 begins at $1,479.99, however our config is priced at about 3 times that: $4,679.99. For that, it’s geared up with a Core i9-12900K, 64GB of reminiscence, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 GPU, a 1TB SSD, and a 2TB HDD. You’ll additionally discover a 750-watt energy provide, and an Alienware liquid CPU cooler.

Ours is the white Lunar Light model, however the system can be bought in a darkish gray Dark Side of the Moon variant. The $1,479.99 base mannequin affords a way more modest Core i5-12600K CPU, 8GB of reminiscence, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super GPU, and a 256GB SSD. That’s nonetheless an honest gaming construct, however is pushing it on all however the processor for that value; I’d anticipate at the very least extra reminiscence and storage than that for round $1,500.

Alienware Aurora R13 alien logo


(Photo: Molly Flores)

In addition to the bodily redesign, this replace is all concerning the processor, so Alienware wished to indicate us what the platform and its desktop may do with the Core i9 choice. In easy phrases, the Twelfth Generation desktop chips, often known as “Alder Lake,” promise upgrades in efficiency and effectivity. AMD’s trendy Ryzen chips have dominated the artistic house, and caught up on gaming, whereas Intel stays caught behind on the manufacturing course of. (Alder Lake remains to be hybrid 10nm silicon, versus AMD’s 7nm choices.) Intel has one thing to show right here, with a (maybe literal) chip on its shoulder since AMD’s Zen structure took the lead.

Alienware Aurora R13 GeForce logo on graphics card


(Photo: Molly Flores)

There are a load of technical particulars that go into this, so relatively than repeat them right here, I’ll level readers within the nitty gritty features to our Alder Lake explainer, and to particulars concerning the new Z690 chipset. We even have a overview of the chip itself (the Core i9-12900K) that’s utilized in our configuration, examined in our standardized take a look at mattress and in comparison with its rivals at a processor degree, relatively than the entire desktop. For extra particular particulars of that chip, and deeper testing on its full capabilities, make sure you try that overview. 

As far because the Aurora R13 is worried, it is a 16-core, 24-thread processor that must be prepared for gaming {and professional} workloads alike. (As the chip overview will get into intimately, a few of the cores are full-power “efficiency” cores, whereas others are lower-power “effectivity” cores.) We’ve seen solely reasonable will increase in real-world efficiency over the previous few Intel generations, so regardless that Alder Lake hasn’t lastly made the bounce to 7nm, maybe the beneficial properties are nonetheless important. Let’s see how profitable it’s by operating it by our benchmark checks.


Testing the Alienware Aurora R13: Intel Flexes Its Cores

Since switching to a extra trendy suite of benchmark checks, we’ve solely reviewed a couple of really high-end desktops, so the checklist of applicable comparability models is small. Still, they are going to function good factors of comparisons right here, so try their names and specs beneath…

The Maingear Turbo is the AMD consultant right here, packing a high-end Ryzen 9 chip and the identical GPU because the Aurora R13, making it an excellent foil. The Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 is one other new Alder Lake-based system, with barely totally different supporting elements. 

Productivity Tests

The foremost benchmark of UL’s PCMark 10 simulates quite a lot of real-world productiveness and content-creation workflows to measure general efficiency for office-centric duties reminiscent of phrase processing, spreadsheeting, net shopping, and videoconferencing. We additionally run PCMark 10’s Full System Drive take a look at to evaluate the load time and throughput of a desktop’s storage.

Three benchmarks give attention to the CPU, utilizing all obtainable cores and threads, to charge a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 makes use of that firm’s Cinema 4D engine to render a posh scene, whereas Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5.4 Pro simulates common apps starting from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine studying. Finally, we use the open-source video transcoder HandBrake 1.4 to transform a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p decision (decrease occasions are higher).

Our ultimate productiveness take a look at is workstation maker Puget Systems’ PugetBench for Photoshop, which makes use of the Creative Cloud model 22 of Adobe’s picture editor to charge a PC’s efficiency for content material creation and multimedia purposes. It’s an automatic extension that executes quite a lot of common and GPU-accelerated Photoshop duties starting from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving a picture to making use of masks, gradient fills, and filters.

We can study rather a lot about each the chip itself and the Aurora right here, however usually it’s very constructive viewing for Alder Lake. The issue for Intel has been besting Ryzen chips on multi-threaded media and content material workloads, and the i9-12900K lastly achieved that right here. The Aurora R13 outscored the AMD-based Turbo on each CPU take a look at we carried out, a giant reversal from the sample we’ve seen beforehand. 

Core i9 processors have all the time been succesful on these kinds of duties, they only started to pale compared to AMD’s resurgence on the excessive finish, particularly when taking pricing under consideration. The Ryzen 9 5950X is a worthy and truthful competitor right here, not punching down, so it’s a legitimately spectacular set of outcomes for Intel. Team Blue will get a win right here on the high-end, and the truth that each new i9 methods are forward (and that the Turbo is a superb desktop) means this isn’t a one-off consequence from a very good construct.

In reality, the Aurora clearly did nicely, however the Raptor Z55 was even sooner. The builders over at Velocity Micro are efficiency hounds, so kudos to them for squeezing much more out of the identical chip (and with a lot much less RAM of their configuration). Either approach, in case you’re going to purchase one desktop for gaming and pro-grade creation work, an Alder Lake-based system will get our seal of approval.

See How We Test Desktops

I need to say that the Aurora R13 will get fairly loud beneath load, throughout each CPU checks and whereas taking part in video games. It’s a heavy form of hum, not high-pitched fan noise, however there isn’t any getting round the truth that it is lots audible whereas working. To a point that is anticipated, however there are completely quieter desktops, just like the Raptor Z55.

Graphics and Gaming Tests

We take a look at Windows PCs’ graphics with two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark: Night Raid (extra modest, appropriate for laptops with built-in graphics) and Time Spy (extra demanding, appropriate for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs). 

In addition, we run three real-world sport checks utilizing the built-in benchmarks of F1 2021, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and Rainbow Six Siege. These characterize simulation, open-world action-adventure, and aggressive esports shooter video games respectively. Odyssey and Siege are run twice (the previous at Medium and Ultra high quality presets, the latter at Low and Ultra high quality), whereas F1 2021 is run twice at most settings, as soon as with Nvidia’s performance-boosting DLSS anti-aliasing turned off and as soon as with it on. 

Note that we usually run the newer Assassin’s Creed Valhalla as a substitute of Odyssey, however the brand new chips are experiencing conflicts with some titles, rendering them unable to launch. This occurred to us on a number of Twelfth-gen methods with Valhalla. As finest we will inform, and having spoken to Intel concerning the subject, the issue originates with Denuvo DRM, which Valhalla makes use of. A repair must be within the works, however for now we will solely subject the warning that some titles might not run on Alder Lake builds, at the very least in the interim. Now, onto the outcomes.

There’s little to remove from the graphics checks that can inform us something new; not like the CPU, we’ve seen these GPUs in motion earlier than. Granted, we don’t get too many alternatives to see an RTX 3090, so take pleasure in these blazing quick outcomes. Obviously on this premium group, all the artificial scores blow away most outcomes we see, however there are some variations between them. 

On each artificial checks the Raptor Z55 leads the best way, which is shocking because the RTX 3080 Ti is up in opposition to two RTX 3090 methods, and once more a testomony to the construct. It additionally pushes the best body charges on two out of three titles (the Turbo races to the entrance on F1 by a distance), making a great case for Alder Lake and displaying up the superior GPUs. The RTX 3090’s additional juice might present higher on productiveness workloads than gaming, granted, however the Raptor Z55 nonetheless impresses most.

Focusing in on this technique’s gaming chops, the Aurora R13’s body charges are (after all) head and shoulders above the typical gaming PC we take a look at. High refresh charge video games like Siege will fly on any decision—it even averaged 171fps at 4K. F1 2021 is extra demanding, however the R13 can simply make use of an ordinary 144Hz show at 1080p, and with DLSS, can nonetheless attain almost 100fps at 4K. 

As for the AAA consultant, Odyssey, body charges are a bit extra restrained, however nonetheless nice for the style. These sensible open world video games are a bear for a lot of PCs to run, making even 60fps an achievement (significantly for laptops). You can see the distinction in energy tier with the R13, because it even manages that many frames at 4K. Lower resolutions offer you loads of cushion for max settings, however don’t anticipate to hit your monitor’s refresh ceiling. 

Alienware Aurora R13 alien logo


(Photo: Molly Flores)

We after all must steadiness being wowed by these outcomes with the Aurora R13’s value—the outcomes are spectacular, however you’d hope as a lot for the fee. Other equally geared up desktops clearly carry out inside the identical vary, so we will’t attribute distinctive worth or efficiency right here.

What we will do is confirm that Alder Lake is a noticeable enchancment, and geared up desktops (at the very least on the Core i9 degree) are prepared for high-end gaming and pro-grade workloads. The Raptor Z55 tops the charts, however the Aurora is shut behind, and that’s noteworthy from a mass market producer. 


A Win for Alder Lake and Alienware

The Alienware Aurora R13 has a number of factors to show, and it succeeds on almost all of them. As certainly one of our first appears to be like at Alder Lake, we wished to see a noticeable bounce in processing energy, and the Core i9-12900K proved itself throughout quite a lot of examinations.  

As a desktop, the Aurora had room for enchancment with its design. Now, you’ll be able to really see the elements inside a high-powered construct, making the system look its value. The plastic shell doesn’t fairly stand as much as some premium options (the steel Raptor Z55 has a clear skilled look, and the Maingear Turbo is eye-catching), however the refinements go a good distance, and upkeep is simple—all features you need from a serious vendor. If you’re going to purchase one such plug-and-play desktop the place a decent finances isn’t an element and also you need a distinctive look, the Aurora R13 and its Twelfth-gen Core CPU is a worthy choice.

Pros

  • Redesigned chassis with aspect window

  • Blazing-fast CPU efficiency because of new Twelfth Gen Core i9 “Alder Lake” chip

  • RTX 3090 GPU delivers top-end body charges, even at 4K

  • Midrange beginning value with loads of configuration choices

The Bottom Line

The redesigned Alienware Aurora R13 brings the warmth with Intel’s spectacular Twelfth Generation “Alder Lake” CPUs and as much as Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 graphics, all in a new-look chassis with a aspect window.

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