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Alienware Aurora Gets Redesigned for Company’s 25th Anniversary

Side and back views of the new Alienware Aurora
(Image credit: Alienware)

Just in time for Alienware's 25th anniversary, the company is announcing a redesign of its Aurora gaming desktop.

The new design adopts more industry standard parts and layouts, a common feature in some of the best gaming PCs. It's not for sale yet, but is expected to be a part of the next major Aurora launch. While existing Auroras use a swing-out power supply (also found in some Dell XPS desktops), which effectively makes that part difficult to upgrade or replace, the redesigned model does not. It’s still not entirely clear, though, if the company has switched to standard ATX power supplies.


The upcoming Aurora, for which Alienware did not reveal most specs, has a refreshed chassis with 1.5 times as much internal volume as the existing line. The outside of the case looks largely the same, with the familiar jet-engine aesthetic in the front. But now there's an optional clear side panel that allows you to see all of your components. 

The new design will measure 23.2 x 20.1 x 8.86 inches (589 x 510 x 225 mm) and weigh up to 34.2 pounds (15.5 kgs).That's significantly larger than the Alienware R10 we reviewed, which measured 18.9 x 17 x 8.77 inches, The new chassis also appears to be on a bit more of an angle than the previous design.

Alienware Aurora with right panel off and purple RGB

(Image credit: Alienware)

The new case also allows for a bit more of an RGB light show, if that's your thing. While the previous machine had up to four lighting zones, the models with the glass panel will allow for up to eight.

Beyond the fact that it will be offered with up to an RTX 3090 graphics card, Alienware isn't talking about specs just yet. I suspect, following Acer's announcements yesterday, that this PC will ultimately end up with Intel's 12th Gen processors, possibly with support for DDR5 memory and PCIe Gen 5.

The system will include up to four 120 mm fans, depending on the configuration. There are also liquid cooling options with an all-in-one cooler, so at least one of those fans may be attached to a radiator. Alienware claims that this machine is 13-16% quieter at idle than the R10 and R12 with liquid cooling, and is 9% quieter during heavy CPU workloads. It's also promising lower CPU temperatures with liquid cooling, generation over generation. You can also overclock the CPU, and Alienware says its cooler will be 13% quieter than previous overclocked models.

One part that's less standard here is the motherboard. Alienware uses a custom board, with power connections placed at the edges for cleaner cable management and better airflow. Alienware claims this allows the front ports to connect to the processor without a daughterboard, which may mean a continuation of the oddly shaped boards it used in previous designs. If that's the case, it would be a disappointment, as HP, Corsair and others have moved on to largely off-the-shelf parts. 

Alienware Aurora with rear cover being attached.

(Image credit: Alienware)

On the rear, Alienware has a new cable cover that slides into place behind the rear ports. It gives the whole desktop a more rounded profile, but as someone who reaches behind his desktop often, I think I'd end up leaving it off.

We're likely to find out more about this bigger, redesigned Aurora later this year, including how much more upgradeable it may be, as well as how much it costs and what parts power it. But for now, all we have are some pretty renders and a dearth of key specifics.

Andrew E. Freedman

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex. among others. Follow him on Twitter: @FreedmanAE

  • maxamillionfeettall
    Considering that the current R10/11/12 units already use a standard atx psu(albeit with shorter cables) and a standard form factor m-atx board(but with proprietary front panel header), this new on is looking less standardized with a extended m-atx board and 4 pin and 8 pin psu connection rather then the current 24 atx connection. Perhaps this is another 12v psu attempt(doesn't look like intels 12VO standard)with the 3.3v and 5v rails being converted on the board.
    Overall, it looks to be a step backwards in standardization, but the cooling does certainly seem to be better at the very least.
    Reply
  • Heat_Fan89
    It’s a start but we’ll have to wait for more specifics and wait for thermals. They needed to do something because the current design is just awful for thermals and upgradability. The other question is, will the redesign allow for full length cards? Inquiring minds want to know.
    Reply
  • venser
    The current design is terrible and I don't have much hope they will improve it much. I almost bought an Alienware prebuild because it was the cheapest way to get RTX 3090 PC but then I watched Gamer Nexus review (although for a cheaper model) and I'm really glad I dodged that bullet.

    8ulhFi5N2hcView: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ulhFi5N2hc
    Reply
  • Grindathotte
    Heat_Fan89 said:
    The other question is, will the redesign allow for full length cards? Inquiring minds want to know.
    You beat me to it. I made the mistake of buying an Aurora R7, thinking I could upgrade the graphics. Getting your hands on an RTX 3080 of any form is almost impossible; the fact that there is only one that will fit (that I know of) means a new machine is the only option.
    Reply
  • brandonjclark
    That guy is one of my least favorite reviewers. I trust him the least. I don't know if you'd take my advice but I own an R11 and it works great. I don't have major sound or heat issues at all, but mine is the liquid cooled version with the 3090.

    I've been building computers since 1992 and I'm enterprise architect for a Fortune 100.
    Reply
  • Giroro
    Putting a side panel on the computer is a big risk for dell.
    Dell parts are some of the ugliest, cheapest, impossible-to-upgrade-iest computer parts ever conceived by man.
    If they want to bring something even slightly presentable to the table, they would need to do a clean sheet redesign of not just the case, but every part and card in the computer, with the exception of the bare CPU.

    "Alienware uses a custom board, with power connections placed at the edges for cleaner cable management and better airflow. Alienware claims this allows the front ports to connect to the processor without a daughterboard,"

    Based on Dells current terrible designs, this sounds like more of the same. So what can we infer here?
    The motherboard is non-standard and impossible to use in a different case.
    The case is non standard and impossible to use with a different motherboard.
    The power supply is non-standard is impossible to replace with a normal power supply due to size and mobo compatibility.
    They're probably still using a nonstandard CPU cooler that screws directly into the case with nonstandard screw spacing that can't be replaced with a normal one, etc etc.In other words, I'm expecting the Delliest Dell to ever Dell, but maybe they spray-painted the inside black this time.
    Reply
  • 22Green
    Grindathotte said:
    You beat me to it. I made the mistake of buying an Aurora R7, thinking I could upgrade the graphics. Getting your hands on an RTX 3080 of any form is almost impossible; the fact that there is only one that will fit (that I know of) means a new machine is the only option.

    I have an R7 bought new some years back and put in a EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti fits perfect. Maybe you have this card already and you're talking about not being able to upgrade.

    a 3080/3090 is totally overkill right now imo if you can get one, and the price. i'll keep the 2080Ti all day. It handles everything out there.. Some 3080's will fit in the R7 . I would want a 3090 anyway.

    https://www.dell.com/community/Alienware-Desktops/bd-p/Alienware-desktops (some threads on people putting in 3080's not sure the brands though)

    I was hoping these would be out by now. I have to take another look maybe they are. These would work in the R7

    https://rog.asus.com/articles/gaming-graphics-cards/introducing-geforce-rtx-3070-rtx-3080-rtx-3090-rog-asus/
    (Basically one paragraph)

    "We have even more GeForce RTX 30-series graphics cards in the works, including a handy Turbo design that exhausts hot air directly from cases. It’s perfect for small-form-factor builds or enclosures that can use a helping hand in keeping system temperatures in check. Stay tuned."
    Reply