Alienware Aurora R16 review nearly final form | ENBLE

Alienware Aurora R16 review nearly final form | ENBLE

Introducing the New Alienware Aurora R16: A Leap Forward in Gaming Desktops

Alienware Aurora R16

When it comes to gaming desktops, Alienware has always been a name to reckon with. Their Aurora range, known for its distinct Alienware look, has been a favorite among a certain crowd. However, with the latest Aurora R16, Alienware has made a bold move by completely redesigning the chassis and creating a desktop that appeals to the masses.

The new Aurora R16 is not only half the size of its predecessor, the Aurora R15, but it also comes at a lower price for similar configurations. This marks a new era for Alienware, and after using the Aurora R16 myself, I can say that I’m on board for the ride.

Alienware Aurora R16 Specs

Alienware Aurora R16 Specs

Let’s talk about the specs of the Aurora R16. The midrange model I reviewed comes in at $2,000, but you can bring it down to $1,500 if you decrease the RAM and storage. The base configuration starts at $1,300 and includes an Intel Core i7-13700F, an RTX 4060, 16GB of DDR5, and a 1TB NVMe SSD.

One of the highlights of the Aurora R16 is the wide range of customization options. You can upgrade to an RTX 4090 at a lower price compared to the previous model, and there’s a discount of around $300 to $500 depending on your configuration. This gives you the freedom to choose the components that best suit your gaming needs and budget.

The Glow-Up and Grow-Down

Alienware Aurora R16

The design of the Aurora R16 is a significant departure from the old Alienware look. It now resembles the size of a Dell XPS Desktop 8960, with a sleeker and more modern aesthetic. The smaller form factor, measuring about 18 inches deep, 16.5 inches tall, and just under 8 inches wide, is a refreshing change.

One of my favorite design elements is the open intake at the front of the machine, adorned with Alienware’s Stadium Lighting. It not only looks great but also serves a practical purpose by improving airflow. However, I do hope that Alienware will consider adding removable dust filters to this design in the future.

Inside the Aurora R16

Inside Alienware Aurora R16

Getting inside the Aurora R16 is easier than ever. A single screw and a tab are all you need to remove the side panel and access the internals. The main chamber houses everything, with clear access to upgrade options like dual M.2 slots and the DDR5 RAM slots. The preconfigured hard drive sled makes storage expansion a breeze, and added pre-routed cables simplify the process.

While the use of proprietary components means you can’t completely customize the Aurora R16 with off-the-shelf parts, they make sense in the context of the slim form factor. Although it may not look as clean as a custom-built desktop, the convenience and performance that the Aurora R16 offers more than make up for it.

A CPU Problem

Alienware Aurora R16

One area where the Aurora R16 falls slightly short is the CPU. Alienware opted for non-K models this time, which means they are not unlocked for overclocking. The Core i7-13700F inside the Aurora R16 is a little slower compared to the K model in the Dell XPS Desktop 8960. This may not be a big issue for gaming, but it could impact users who require strong productivity performance alongside gaming capabilities.

Great for 1440p, Acceptable for 4K

Alienware Aurora R16

When it comes to gaming, the Aurora R16 packs a punch. It offers blistering fast performance and can handle most games at 4K Ultra settings while maintaining 60 frames per second. However, more demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077 may require the help of Nvidia’s DLSS 3 technology to achieve higher performance levels at 4K.

The sweet spot for the Aurora R16 is gaming at 1440p, where it excels with ease. Most games run smoothly at 60 fps, and there’s ample headroom for reaching 100 fps or more in most titles. While the Aurora R16 may not match the performance of a custom-built PC, it still delivers impressive speed and power.

Multiple Improvements

Alienware Aurora R16

Despite a few minor issues like the locked CPU and the Command Center sidebar overlay, the Alienware Aurora R16 is undoubtedly a massive leap forward for the brand. The attractive and practical design, coupled with the lower price point, finally positions the Aurora R16 as a strong competitor among gaming desktops.

While building your own PC may still offer the best cost and overall performance, the Aurora R16 is an excellent prebuilt option that sacrifices very little. The proprietary components that were once a drawback now make more sense in the context of the slim form factor. With the Aurora R16, Alienware has struck a fine balance between design, performance, and affordability in the world of gaming desktops.