Review: Alienware R10 Aurora Ryzen Edition
For as long as I can remember I’ve been a PC gamer. And for as long as I can remember being a PC gamer I’ve always built my own PCs. I’ve always been of the opinion that building your own is the way to go. After using the Alienware Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition for a couple of weeks I’ve totally changed my mind.
I always thought DIY was a much better way to get the exact PC configuration you want. Plus it’s cheaper than buying prebuilt. Plus down the line when your once expensive gaming machine is in dire need of an upgrade, in some cases you simply can’t. Proprietary parts and odd layouts mean it’s impossible. Also when I was a bit younger some part of me enjoyed the stress, difficulty and reward in putting together my very own gaming computer. But I’m not that young anymore. Having recently done work on my own computer, I can tell you I am totally over that. The convenience of a prebuilt machine is something I, and many others, want.
Let’s talk about my other past issues with buying prebuilt, and why I think this amazing offering from Alienware circumvents them. First up price. While it still remains true that you pay a premium on prebuilt computers, the difference in price between the Aurora R10 I reviewed, sporting a 2070 Super, AMD Ryzen 7 3700X and 16GB of HyperX RAM, isn’t anywhere near as much as I would have expected. Essentially you’re paying for the convenience of knowing someone other than you has put it together in a way that’s professional and not going to cause any problems. You can simply plugin and play. For some of you reading this, that will sound ridiculous to you.
You can build your own computer, so why pay more to have someone else do it for you? Well, I can build a computer too, and even to me the added convenience is very hard to ignore. It just turns up in a box, you take it out of the box, plug it in, switch it on, and you’re gaming. It’s great. Oh and included in that price you’re getting a 1-year warranty, so if anything does go wrong you’re covered.
So, that’s price covered, now configuration. Well, it’s fair to say that Alienware have absolutely smashed it out of the park with configuration options on the Aurora R10 Ryzen edition. Alienware is selling pretty much any gaming PC configuration you can think of. From a lower-end system sporting an AMD Ryzen 5 and an Nvidia 1650, all the way up to an AMD Ryzen 9 3950X and an Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti. In between those two extremes, there are hundreds of different configurations of what you can get for your money. If you want to pay for a more powerful CPU with your Nvidia 1660 Ti you can. Or if you want faster RAM you can upgrade that too.
Finally upgradability. Some PCs, even from Alienware in the past, have been absolute nightmares to even attempt to upgrade. In the worst-case proprietary parts, and weird interior layouts mean you’re stuck with whatever you bought for good. I’m very glad to report that the Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition looks easy to upgrade. Most of the parts inside can be easily replaced at home if you feel the need. The case opens easily and elegantly using a clip and one screw at the back, and then you can remove the panel on the side. What you’re greeted with is admittedly an unconventional layout, with a power supply that swings out on a hinge to reveal the motherboard and all of its components. But once the power supply (which I suspect would be very difficult to change yourself) is out of the way everything else is easy to get at and seems easy to chop and change at will. There is even space in the case for extra storage if you decide you fancy a bit more after you’ve bought it. The IO is also excellent. There are three USB A ports on the front and a USB C port. On the back there are ten, yes TEN, USB A ports and another USB C port. There’s even a headphone jack on the front!
All three of my past concerns about buying a prebuilt machine have been utterly obliterated by the Alienware R10 Ryzen Edition at this point. And now they’re out of the way, let’s talk performance.
The PC we were provided with absolutely crushed every game that was thrown at it. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, considering it’s fitted with an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X eight-core CPU and an Nvidia GTX 2070 Super. Paired with the Alienware AW2521HF 240Hz 1080p monitor (which will also be getting reviewed soon) gaming was an absolute joy. Any competitive esports title was handled with ease, with games like Dota 2 and the newly released Valorant running at over 200 frames per second. Triple A games are obviously a bit more difficult to run so frame rates are lower, but rest assured, in this spec, there are almost no games that it can’t run at at least 60 frames per second at ultra settings. With a bit of settings tweaking it’s the same story at 1440p, and with a bit more tweaking the same story at 4K. The only game I played that really brought it to its knees on max settings (even at 1080p) was Red Dead Redemption 2, although I think that may have more to do with the optimisation of the game than the PC…
This is partly thanks to the fact that during my time with the PC the thermals were never once an issue, though they were slightly higher than I’d expect. It sits around 60 degrees celsius while idle, which is balancing on the edge of acceptable, but it’s acceptable nonetheless. The spec I was using is cooled with fans rather than liquid cooling, and while they are a bit loud at times, the temperatures were always kept under control. The air moves through the case nicely, and cools all the internal hardware. Because the design of the case is quite closed, and because of how the cooling handles the 3700X I have some suspicions that it may not be able to handle the very top spec CPU as well as it handles the 3700X. But as I’ve not used that version they are only suspicions.
I personally am a huge fan of the case design. I think it looks sleek and quite understated, not too vulgar like many gaming PC cases can often be. It has a single light running in a ring around the front of the PC, which kinda makes it look a bit like a Dyson fan, but I’m into it. The standard model with an Intel CPU is white, but the Ryzen Edition is black, and I much prefer it. The case itself is massive and quite heavy, so make sure you have the desk space for it before you buy. Or you could just put it on the floor, but with a PC that looks this good that would be a bit of a shame.
So all in all I am a massive fan of the Alienware R10 Aurora Ryzen Edition. Such a massive fan that it’s really opened my eyes to the option of buying prebuilt rather than doing what I’ve always done in the past and build my own. The ease of just going online, buying the spec you want, and it is at your house built and ready to go the next day is really appealing. You do pay more than you would if you bought all the parts independently and built it yourself, but the convenience, the knowledge that it’s going to work perfectly, and the included warranty somewhat make up for that. If you are looking at getting a new gaming PC, the R10 Ryzen Edition is a great option. The vast amount of configuration options mean you will most likely be getting exactly the one you want, and if your experience is anything like mine it will perform excellently. Plus if you want to upgrade it in the future you’ll be able to do that too. Really the only bad thing I have to say about it is that the fans can get very very loud under load. But you won’t notice them, you’ll most likely have headphones on and be way too deep into killing demons in DOOM Eternal to care. The Alienware R10 Aurora Ryzen Edition has taught me that next time I upgrade my PC, building it myself isn’t always the best option.