When Alienware announced a new design for its Aurora gaming desktops earlier this month it was clear a refresh is coming. And with Intel's new 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs, it seems the time is right for Alienware to take on the throne for the best gaming PCs. Alienware is pushing the new design on two new PCs: the Intel-based Alienware Aurora R13, as well as the Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R14 which uses existing AMD processors.
While the AMD version may get the fancy name and a spot in the new chassis, it's the Intel version that gets all of the bells and whistles thanks to Alder Lake.
|Alienware Aurora R13||Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R14|
|CPU||Up to 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900K / KF||Up to AMD Ryzen 9 5950X|
|Graphics||Up to Nvidia Geforce RTX 3090 (24GB GDDR6X) or AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT (16GB GDDR6)||Up to Nvidia Geforce RTX 3090 (24GB GDDR6X) or AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT (16GB GDDR6)|
|RAM||Up to 128GB DDR5-3,600 or 64GB DDR5-4,400||Up to 128GB DDR4-3600|
|Storage||Up to 2TB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD + 2TB 7,200-RPM SATA HDD||Up to 2TB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD + 2TB 7,200-RPM SATA HDD|
|Power Supply||Up to 750W Platinum||Up to 750W Platinum|
|Cooling||Air cooler, liquid cooler or Alienware Cryo-Tech Special Edition CPU liquid cooler||Air cooler or liquid cooler|
|Case||Lunar Light, Dark Side of the Moon||Dark Side of the Moon|
|Networking||Up to Killer AX1675 Wi-Fi 6||Up to MediaTek MT7921 Wi-Fi 6|
Both the R13 and R14 use the same graphics, ranging from an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 up to an RTX 3090 on the Nvidia side, and AMD choices from the Radeon RX 5300 up to the RX 6900 XT. They also both get up to 750W Platinum-rated power supplies. The two desktops also get the same storage options, going from a 256GB M.2 SSD up to a 2TB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD paired with a 2TB SATA HDD.
But there are also some differences. The Intel-based Aurora R13, for instance, comes in both the white (lunar light) and black (dark side of the moon) versions of Alienware's new, larger chassis, while Ryzen Edition R14 owners are limited to just the dark colorway.
Some of the contrasts are based on technology. Intel's 12th Gen processors support DDR5 memory. While both desktops can use up to a whopping 128GB of RAM, only the R13 gets DDR5. (The R13 goes up to DDR5-4400 on most configurations, except 64GB consisting of four 16GB modules, which runs at DDR5-4000, and the 128GB made from four 32GB sticks, which is at DDR5-3,600.) I imagine the AMD model will see an upgrade when team red releases chips that use the newer memory. The motherboard on the R13 also gets USB 3.2 Gen 2x2.
While the R14 Ryzen Edition has both air and liquid-cooling options for the CPU, the R13 with Alder Lake also gets a new "Alienware Cryo-Tech Special Edition" CPU cooler.
"We embrace opportunities to tackle gaming challenges and co-engineer solutions with all of our partners and you’ll see us continue to make investments in cooling for the best possible gameplay," Alienware told Tom's Hardware in a statement regarding the distinction. "The Alienware Aurora R13 features a new top-end CPU liquid cooling option (branded Cryo-tech Edition) that was co-developed and co-engineered alongside Intel. With this being a major architecture update for Intel, our teams worked together with the mission to get the most out of every core while also keeping the system cool and quiet. The Cyro-tech Edition is not designed for AMD CPUs."
Both the R13 and R14 have Wi-Fi options, including Realtek's RTL 882CE Wi-Fi 5 (AC) chip. But when you move up to Wi-Fi 6, there are differences. The R14 gets its sole Wi-Fi 6 option from MediaTek, while the R13 can choose between the Intel AX210 and Killer AX1675 options. Intel acquired Killer owner Rivet Networks back in May of 2020.
Additionally, Alienware has new motherboards for the systems. Both are "custom," with the R13 using the Z690 chipset, while the R14 opts for B550. Of both the AMD and Intel boards, Alienware claims to have put power connectors on the edges in order to "reduce cable clutter and promote airflow." The company told Tom's Hardware that these motherboards won't be upgradeable.
Alienware's parent company, Dell, is also releasing a redesigned XPS Desktop with Intel's Alder Lake chips. It, too, has a redesigned chassis, which is larger for improved airflow. The new XPS will be available sometime later this fall starting at $919.99.