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The Alienware Aurora R14 has been our favorite custom-built gaming powerhouse. For 2023, Alienware is giving its Aurora line of PCs a much-deserved refresh, and it comes in many iterations at different price points. The Alienware Aurora R15 is the latest beast in that line, coming after the Aurora R14 that was a performance monster so much that the weak CPU cooler with 120mm cooling fans caused massive overheating issues.
With the R15, things have improved, you’re getting better cooling and it’s the first time we’re seeing an Aurora with 240mm liquid cooling. Alienware is Dell’s premium line of gaming PCs and laptops, and for sure, they do deliver powerful machines for gamers and power users. In addition to top-tier performance scores, these machines have some of the most unique stylings and designs, but they’re also some of the most expensive and with the highest quality specs out there.
The Aurora R15 adheres to this golden rule, and we’re glad to see some remarkable upgrades over its predecessor from last year. Particularly, we’re more interested in the cooling and ventilation system that’s now completely overhauled. It now boasts 240mm liquid cooling that’s upgradeable to 240mm Cryo-tech liquid cooling, five 120mm fans, a hexagonal side-venting for better airflow, and additional voltage regulator heatsinks on the motherboard for even better cooling.
Simply put, you’re not going to experience any cooling issues with the Aurora R15 as you did with last year’s model. This PC can finally run demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077 for up to four hours, and it will remain well cooled. Even its lowest and most affordable configuration gets decent cooling, but the specs remain respectable than most competitors.
Alienware Aurora R15 specs
|CPU||13th gen Intel Core i9-13900KF|
|GPU||Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Ti|
|RAM||32GB DDR5 RAM|
Design and Features
If there’s anything you can’t take away from nearly any Alienware device is how intricate and boldly stunning each PC and laptop looks. The Alienware Aurora R15 still uses the Legend vibe with an oval-shaped chassis with a glass side and one of three color palettes to choose from: White, Lunar Light, and Dark Side.
The oval design looks familiar from previous releases, but is a different design altogether from the mainstream box design and it helps shave off a few pounds from the overall case. However, we’ve lately seen some unique styling on some gaming PCs like the iBuyPower Pro Y60 that uses a HYTE 60 case, a mainly glass exterior. The Aurora R15 is still a bit heavy at 37.2 pounds, but it’s still possible for a single person to lift on their own.
Port selection is excellent, with the case offering enough real estate for several UST Type-A and Type-C ports both in the front and back. However, I just wish more Type-C ports were placed in the front, at least two of them versus only one since having to use the three in the back isn’t very convenient.
More importantly, we applaud Dell for the massively improved ventilation system on the Alienware Aurora R15. As I mentioned before, both the R13 and R14 models had significant overheating issues due to the weak CPU heatsink. But this time around, everything has been improved thanks to 240mm liquid cooling that’s upgradeable to 240mm Cryo-tech liquid cooling, five 120mm fans, a hexagonal side-venting for enhanced airflow, and voltage regulator heatsinks on the motherboard for seamless cooling.
The Alienware Aurora R15 is available in various iterations, with the high-end model rocking an Nvidia RTX 4090 GPU accompanied by an Intel Core i9-13900KF and 32GB of DDR5 Kingston Fury RAM. That’s a performance beast right there, and it wields all the power you need to run the most demanding AAA games at high frame rates, but you’ll also pay top-dollar for these pricey PC parts.
Our review unit is a mid-tier configuration, which while not as pricey as its top-tier sibling, is powerful enough to drive most AAA games at decent frame rates. Under the hood, it packs an Intel Core i9-13900F processor, Nvidia RTX 4070 Ti, 32GB GDDR6X RAM, and 1TB SSD storage. This is enough muscle to blow any gaming PC outfitted with previous-generation hardware out of the water with ease. I compared the R15 with another desktop PC I recently reviewed, the Acer Predator Orion 3000, to just get a feel of how current-gen components would fair in real-world gaming, and the differences in performance are light and day.
Keep in mind, the Acer Predator Orion 3000 is no slouch, kitted with a 12th-Gen Intel Core i7 processor and an RTX 3070 graphics card. But in gaming, for instance, when running Cyberpunk 2077 on both PCs on Ultra settings, the Orion averages a decent 62FPS while the R15 ran at 97FPS, almost double the framerates and this is without DLSS turned on.
- HYPER-EFFICICENT VOLTAGE REGULATION: Our 12-phase voltage regulation improves...
- POWERFUL GAMING PROCESSOR: Designed for gamers and creators with the new generation of...
- IMPROVED COOLING: Enhance your system with Liquid Cooled Configuration, featuring five...
The Aurora R15 can handle Control (which remains a punishing game after all these years) at its best, albeit not at 60 fps. At 1440p (Very High Quality), it plays Assassin’s Creed Valhalla at 133 fps, which is almost at par with previous-gen flagship performance, just 2% slower than the AMD Radeon 6950 XT (146 fps) and up to 5% faster than the RTX 3090 Ti (134 fps).
At 4K resolution (Very High Quality) the RTX 4070 Ti trails the AMD Radeon 7900 XT by an 11% margin, averaging 75 fps against 96 fps. Still, that’s an impressive performance, but it’s slower than the RTX 4080 (101 fps) thanks to its RTX 3090 Ti-like performance.
On Shadow of the Tomb Raider (highest preset), the R15 achieves 157 fps at 1440p and 80 fps at 4K. That’s less than the RTX 4090-toting Alienware Aurora R15 and MSI Infinite RS 13NUI-421US. Still, the Aurora shows off strong generational improvements over the iBuypower Revolt which we’ve reviewed with an RTX 3080.
Anyone looking to dive into the PC gaming world or simply need a pre-build rig to play the more popular esports titles and run productivity tasks with enough money to invest in a future-proof system should give the R15 some attention. Beyond the solid gaming performance, the Intel Core i7 13900F processors, 32GB RAM, and 1TB NVMe SSD storage should be more than sufficient for all your productivity and creative needs.
Most importantly, the 1440p and 4K performance is respectable on mid-to-high level settings on most games and those wanting to eventually upgrade can do so without much problem.
Alienware Aurora R15 Review: Should you buy it?
The Alienware Aurora R15 is a terrific RTX 40 series line of gaming desktops, and the flagship RTX 4090-powered version is ferocious with exceptional performance capabilities that it can run demanding AAA games even at 4K resolutions. That said, the choice of proprietary core parts means this rig isn’t upgradeable like the CyberpowerPC GXiVR8080A34 or the HP Omen 45L, and even a simple RAM upgrade will need some work. Effectively, this gaming PC should be used as is rather than tinkered with, something that will only suit players who aren’t interested in upgrading their rig in the future.
Limited upgradability aside, the Aurora R15 is now a step forward, in that it finally bears more airflow in both extra ventilation and moves beyond the standard 120mm radiator. The new 240mm radiator should help cool top-end models in gaming, and even in productivity.
The latest Intel and Nvidia components also offer a fair jump forward in performance – and even in the midrange configuration we’ve reviewed, performance remains excellent.
Seeing Alienware opt for better cooling and ventilation is great, but they still have a way to go. It should follow in the tracks of other companies in the gaming space and move away from proprietary parts, so that DIYers can fully upgrade their systems in future. The MSI Infinite RS 13th, which we’ll review next, is all standardized parts. That’s was the case with the Omen 45L.
But for those who want unbridled power right now and don’t care much about upgrades, the Alienware Aurora R15 is a decent performer, and can’t be matched by any other system with similar specs. With the right configuration, the Alienware Aurora R15 should last you for a few more years to come with powerful, quiet performance.
Last update on 2023-09-27 at 19:58 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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MSI Aegis RS Gaming Desktop: Intel Core i7-13700KF, RTX 4070 Ti, 32GB DDR5, 2TB M.2 NVMe, Liquid Cooling, 80+ Gold PSU, WiFi 6E, Keyboard & Mouse, DIY Friendly, Windows 11 Pro: 13NUF-439US
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