Alienware Aurora Review

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Most critics say similarly priced systems outperform the Aurora, accusing it of offering more style than substance. Having said that, the Aurora still offers plenty of substance and is one of the most eye-catching systems you'll ever see.

The Alienware Aurora includes quite a few bells and whistles you won't find on other budget gaming PCs, such as a stylized case with intricate lighting. From an aesthetics standpoint, the Aurora is tops compared with the other systems we looked at. But an expert at PC World seems to speak for most reviewers when he says he likes the design but considers the system expensive for the performance it delivers. Other PCs in this price range outperform the Aurora in PC World's tests. It should be noted, though, that the model PC World evaluated in its Alienware Aurora review had only 4GB of RAM, instead of the 8GB the machine usually includes. On the other hand, it also included two video cards, whereas the basic (and less expensive) version includes only one. CNET likewise tested a version with 4GB of memory and two video cards, according to the site's Alienware Aurora review, and found the Aurora slower than other comparably priced gaming PCs. An Alienware Aurora review at Hardware Heaven looks at a version that's closer to the default configuration, with one video card and 8GB of RAM. While the reviewer deems the Aurora's performance a bit lacking considering its cost, the video card performed well in the site's testing.

The Alienware Aurora (starting at $1,499, Amazon)comes with an Intel Core i7-3820 quad-core CPU that's been overclocked to 4.1 GHz. The default version includes 8GB of RAM running at 1,600 MHz, as well as a 1TB hard drive. For video power, the Aurora depends on an Nvidia GeForce GTX 555 video card, and the system also includes a DVD-RW drive.

There are certainly plenty of gamers who like a flashy system that looks at least as good as it runs, but that extra eye candy increases the price. Most budget PCs forego frills to keep the cost low and performance high. From a value point of view, you can get more computing power from other PC makers for the same price. But the Alienware Aurora holds its own on the performance front and appeals to those who won't be satisfied with a boring box.

Michael Sweet

Michael Sweet writes about consumer electronics. If something runs on electricity or ones and zeroes, he's interested in it. Sweet has written about PC technology and consumer electronics for 14 years.

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