Alienware Aurora R8 Review: The Alien’s Most Powerful Spacecraft Yet, And it is Ready to Play
To be very honest, you probably would have never imagined a gaming PC, a complete desktop, could ever be this cool. Definitely not at a time when gaming laptops have become all the more exciting. But well, there are assumptions and then there is the reality. Dell’s Alienware Aurora R8 is by far the most cutting-edge desktop computing device you can buy right now. It is not just the incredible style or extreme power, but also the fact that Dell has thought about simplifying upgradability, which really takes the entire experience a couple of notches ahead of what gaming PCs have managed so far. The Alienware Aurora R8 is available in multiple configurations with prices starting Rs 1,40,880 but what we have tested here is the top of the line-spec, priced at Rs 2,80,120.
Before we jump into understanding what the Alienware Aurora R8 is all about, it is important to first look at the price proposition. If you find the entry-price sticker of the Rs 1,40,880 variant quite attractive, be assured that it doesn’t come with any compromises at all. What you get is an Intel Core i5 9600K processor, with 8GB RAM, the Nvidia GeForce GTX1060 (6GB graphics) and a 2TB hard drive. The party piece is the tool-less access feature, which has been enabled because of the rather unique design of the chassis itself—this means you can easily access the graphics at some point in the future, for instance, without too much trouble. Then there is the spec which we are reviewing—this runs a top of the line Intel Core i9-9900K processor, with 32GB RAM, the Nvidia GeForce RTX2080 (8GB) graphics and a 256GB SSD as well as a 2TB hard drive to go with it. The result—top notch.
In many ways, the Aurora R8 looks like the Aurora R7, but there are subtle tweaks which make all the difference for someone who knows which side of the bread butter is. Then again, there was no need for Alienware to redesign what didn’t need to be changed. The chassis itself is mostly plastic, but it is metal reinforced, which gives it a rather robust shell. We can always argue that Alienware PCs could have done with more aluminum, but then again, that would be nitpicking. The gunmetal finish may seem all dark and broody when you take this mammoth thing out of the box (it is heavy too, mind you—tips the scales around 14.18kg). Plug this in, and the LED goodness kicks in. There is the Alienware logo at the front, and the cross LEDs on the sides. Once you are fully logged into Windows 10 (which doesn’t take long), you can completely customize the colours from the Alienware Command Center app. Mind you, none of this lighting is over-the-top or in-your-face—just there to give a very clear message about its gaming credentials, and yet remains understated.
Air vents have always effortlessly ruined the visual appeal of pretty much every computing device ever made. Which makes it even more remarkable how Dell have managed to make the Alienware Aurora R8 so pretty despite having the much-needed air-vents on the back, the sides and the front (yes, the front too). In fact, the vents too have been given a dash of style. All this means that as you continue with your gaming session, there are enough avenues for the heat dissipation and at no point does the cooling fan ever become noisy.
There is no skimping on the number of ports. At the front, you have three USB ports, one USB Type-C ports and a headphone jack. At the back, you get eight USB 3.0 ports, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, a USB Type-A port, a Display Port, digital audio out and the ethernet port.
When you have true power, it shows. The Alienware Aurora R8 runs the very latest 9th generation Intel Core processors. Whether you choose the entry spec Core i5 or the top-of-the-line Core i9, the newest processors are what you will get. The Alienware Aurora R8 doesn’t really have to make too much of an effort to set the ball rolling and does follow through in some style. Benchmarks are going to be off the charts in this one, so we won’t even bother with those—no point wasting time on the result that is already a foregone conclusion. The gaming performance as you set about playing the latest titles is what really matters—and nothing at all comes close. If you are still in the console vs. PC debate, experiencing this sort of performance could pretty much seal the deal. We played the same games, such as F1 2019, on a Microsoft Xbox One, the Sony PlayStation 4 and the Alienware Aurora R8, and the latter is head and shoulders in another league in terms of graphics, detailing, refresh rates and resolution—on an Ultra HD television, with all in-game resolution and graphics settings toggled to the maximum. The Nvidia GeForce RTX2080 is faster than pretty much any other graphics you may find on rival gaming desktops, and it is no wonder that the Alienware Aurora R8 doesn’t break a sweat when you have Adobe Photoshop, Apple iTunes, three Microsoft Word documents and twelve Google Chrome tabs open—and yet you click on any game icon to start letting off some steam. Irrespective of game genre, be it Battlefield V, Project Cars 2 or a spot of Resident Evil 2, this is like running a knife through a brick of warm butter. The fact that Dell has paired an SSD with the hard drive means read/write times are blazing fast, which significantly improves the game load times too.
It is a bit interesting that Dell doesn’t ship this with a monitor or offer any pre-defined bundles that a user could pick from. This mean you are either left to hook this up to a 4K TV that you may have (using a Full HD display would be a gross injustice). If neither is an option, you will have to splurge extra. You have the option of the Alienware AW3418HW curved monitor (3440x1440 resolution, IPS panel and 120Hz refresh rate), which will cost you around Rs99,990 and is perhaps the ultimate pair for the Alienware Aurora R8. But if you are looking for something that costs lesser, you can take your pick from the many options from multiple brands.
It is actually quite easy for us to recommend the Alienware Aurora R8, particularly in the Core i9 avatar. Go ahead and buy one, if you are rich enough. This is one gaming laptop where you really don’t have to fiddle with the settings of the graphics card on the PC, or the resolution settings of the game you are playing, to get the best gaming experience—just set everything to max and you are good to go. It is unlikely that you will have a game title anytime in the near future that would make this gaming PC even stutter momentarily. Future proofing at its very best, for those with a bank account solid enough to invest in this wizardry.