Player 2 was recently sent a complete Alienware home gaming system to test and review (you can see the unboxing video here:) and now that Matt has had a good few weeks with the gear he is ready to take on the task of telling you all about it. But this is a full gaming rig, from monitor to keyboard, so it is going to take more than one article. With that in mind, welcome to Player 2 vs Alienware.
Player 2 Vs Alienware Round 4: The PC Piledriver
Well, this has what it has all lead to. The PC behind the dream. The machine powering the massive monitor, the cool headphones and the solid keyboard and mouse combo. The Aurora R9, the latest in Alienware’s long tradition of beasty gaming PCs. Let me start with some of the basics. This bad boy is loaded with an Intel i9, a 2080 RTX video card, 32 gig of ram and a 512 gig SSD. Let’s face it, they are some pretty meaty specs at the best of time and will make just about any video game sing.
But a PC is more than just specs. There is the style factor, the engineering factor and the space factor. All of these things are what makes the Aurora R9 more than just a normal gaming PC. Let’s start with style. The tower its self is different from what you would expect. Like the other components of this whole desktop review, there are no flashy fans that make your tower look like it is at a nightclub in Ibiza. No, the Aurora has gone for that retro/sci-fi feel with white and black, curved edges and a simple, yet functional faceplate. Looks are such a personal thing but this really resonates with me. My PC sits in my lounge room so I don’t need my computer distracting my wife while she is watching The Crown on Netflix. Subtle suits me and, I can’t believe I am saying this, but the Aurora R9 is subtle.
On the Engineering side of things, the case is something of a marvel. You open this bad boy up and it is like a perfectly built stack for components, with everything is neat, tidy and well organised. Upgrading appears to be super easy with space for more HDD’s of both the SATA and NVMe kind, along with easy access to the motherboard should you want to boost the ram or upgrade the video card later on. I have never seen a system that has been so well put together. The cooling system is wonderfully built as well, with water cooling as standard, it is nice to know it is out of the way yet, for the most part, whisper-quiet. The only time I heard the PC when I was trying to push it to the limits with Red Dead Redemption 2, otherwise, the case is less noisy than your average external hard drive.
Space-wise the case seems much smaller than the average gaming PC these days. The goes hand in hand with the engineering of the case, which allows it to take up a small footprint of valuable deskspace while still fitting in all the goodies and gadgets you need in a kick-arse gaming PC. Compared to some of the beasts I saw at PAX last year, it is comparatively tiny. Alienware has realised that not everyone has a spare Plane hanger to play games in, for which I am thankful for.
But let’s get to the performance. Boy, I am just in awe. I have said it before, but RTX, wow. It just adds so much to the game. Metro Exodus is almost a whole new beast with the dynamic lighting it provides and Control’s shadows and reflections are a joy to behold. What surprised me most however was what RTX did for Quake 2. All of a sudden, while still obviously an old game, Quake 2 felt like a restored classic. Reflections, cool lighting and extra shine all made me appreciate Quake 2 in a way I never had before. The sooner all big-budget games feature RTX technology the better as far as I am concerned.
The i9 is total overkill for most but it is my kind of overkill. I have never processed videos for YouTube so quickly. Usually, a 30 min episode of Player 2 Plays takes about 40 minutes to process on my old PC. That time was cut to 15 on this powerhouse. Everything feels super snappy and I could even bring it to its knees running Red Dead, Wolfenstein: Youngblood and Civilization IV at the same time. That is saying something.
So with the Aurora R9, you are buying a wonderful, beasty, amazingly engineered gaming PC that will do you for a very long time. It is subtle, small, powerful and quiet. This all costs quite a bit of money depending on what configuration you go for (The review setup retails for about $4000) but you are getting the premier gaming desktop on the market for your money, along with the excellent Dell warranty and repair service, which is a huge piece of mind for those of us that no longer want to stuff around, tidy cables and bleed to get their newest gaming setup up and running.
You can check out the system spec possibilities and prices by heading to the Australian Alienware site and customising your own build, there is quite a bit of flexibility in the configurations so you should be able to find something that suits you.
Dad, Gamer, Writer, Husband all rolled into one big ball of random matter.
Editor of Player 2, Matt spends his time yelling at strangers as they walk past, imploring them to visit Player 2. Sadly this tactic hasn’t yielded any significant results but he keeps on trying regardless.