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The Alienware Aurora R14 is the company’s latest flagship AMD-powered gaming PC released to mark Alienware’s 25th birthday in the gaming category. Released alongside the Alienware Aurora R13, both gaming machines feature a redesigned chassis (the Legend 2.0) that’s a bit different from the other Auroras we’ve reviewed before.
The new angular design isn’t just for aesthetics. Alienware claims that it allows for more internal real estate, resulting in better airflow and cooling. And from experience, a bigger case usually means that the machine can stay relatively quiet for hours during intense gameplay. However, that’s not always the case, we’ve seen the latest 4K games drive up fan noise on behemoths like the CyberpowerPC GXiVR8080A34 with bigger cases.
With newer components in the market, including Intel’s 4000 Series chipsets and Nvidia’s 4000 GPUs, is the Aurora R14 still worth it? Definitely, if you don’t have the money to purchase one of the most kitted-out gaming PCs like the CUK OMEN 40L (Intel Core i9; RTX 4090), and simply like Aurora’s Sci-Fi-inspired aesthetic. In this Alienware Aurora R14, I’ll explain why this is one of the best midrange gaming PCs to get at this price.
About Alienware Aurora R14
Alienware released the Aurora R14 and R13 in October 2021, immediately after Intel released the 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs – and that was perhaps the best time to release a flagship gaming machine. As a result, Alienware pushed new designs onto two new PCs: the Intel-based Alienware Aurora R13, as well as our review unit, the Alienware Aurora R14 (Ryzen Edition) which uses existing high-end AMD processors.
Both the R13 and R14 boast the same graphics, ranging from the base models with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 up to an RTX 3090 for the Nvidia models, and AMD choices from Radeon RX 5300 up to the RX 6900 XT. They also both get up to 750W Platinum-rated power supplies.
Also, both desktops have the same storage options, ranging from a 256GB M.2 SSD to a 2TB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD paired with a 2TB SATA HDD. But there are differences, too. 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.
On the other hand, the Ryzen Edition R14 version we’re reviewing is just limited to just the dark side of the moon, black. It features a redesigned chassis (the Legend 2.0) that’s a little more laid back than usual.
Alienware Aurora R14 vs Aurora R13
|Alienware Aurora R14||Alienware Aurora R13|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 9 5900||Intel Core i7-12700KF|
|GPU||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080|
|Storage||1TB SDD, 2TB HDD||2 TB SSD, 2 TB HDD|
|Ports||USB-A, USB-C, 3.5 mm audio, Ethernet, DisplayPort, HDMI||USB-A, USB-C, 3.5 mm audio, Ethernet, DisplayPort, HDMI|
|Size||23.2 x 8.86 x 20.1 inches||20.8 x 20.1 x 8.86 inches|
|Weight||27.1 – 34.2 pounds (depending on config)||27.1 – 34.2 pounds (depending on config)|
Price and Availability
The Alienware Aurora R14 is available for purchase right now in one color: Bark Side of the Moon (Black), while the Aurora R13 is available in Lunar Light (white) and Dark Side of the Moon (black).
You have a lot of configuration choices with the latest Alienware models. You could end up paying as little as $1,300 for a low-end model, to well over $5,000 should you decide to trick out your rig with the best components, including a liquid-cooled, top-of-the-range Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti GPU.
Our Alienware Aurora R14 is a bit more modest and doesn’t include some cosmetic flourishes that would push the price to over $5,000. It packs a liquid-cooled AMD Ryzen 9 5900, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD + 2TB HDD, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 (10GB GDDR6X) graphics card.
Design and Features
The Aurora R14 is housed in Alienware’s new Legend 2.0 chassis. This design sports a familiar tubular case of Alienware’s earlier Aurora desktops, but it leans a bit back, giving the desktop a more angled oval face that inclines backward. This new case measures 23.2 x 20.1 x 8.86 inches and weighs 36.4 pounds. The result is an R14 that’s just a smidge lighter than some previous Alienware gaming PCs, such as the Alienware Aurora R11, which weighed 39 pounds in the Old Legend chassis.
Apart from weight, there’s also one huge change over previous models – and that’s the side panel. Instead of a solid plastic panel on both sides of the PC, the left-hand side of the Aurora R14 now has a glass panel, which lets you see the internal components. Sure, this being a mass-produced gaming PC, it isn’t as beautiful inside as a Maingear rig or anything of the sort, but Alienware did make things a little prettier now that you can see the inside.
On the inside, there are lots of customizable RGB lighting, including a lightbar and a light on the back fan so that you can see it spinning through the grille on the front of the case. It looks beautiful without being too gaudy, much like the Aurora R14 itself.
Ports and upgradability
With the Aurora R14, Alienware offers a healthy selection of ports that should allow you to hook up your favorite gaming gear seamlessly. On the front panel, you get a headphone jack and a vertical array of USB-C ports; two USB 3.2 Gen 1, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 with PowerShare, and another USB 3.2 Gen 1 port with PowerShare. This means that you can charge your connected peripherals even when the PC is switched off.
Around the back, you get extra ports including 4 x USB-A 2.0 PORTS, 2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, and 2 x USB-C ports with varying max speeds: one 10Gbps and another 20Gbps USB 3.2 port. There’s also a plethora of audio jacks for setting up a surround system for your rig.
Getting inside the case for upgrades or swap components is pretty straightforward. Alienware has made the process painless, unscrew one key screw on the back of the R14 and the side panel snaps open, allowing you to remove the panel and fiddle with the PC’s innards.
Our review configuration of the Alienware Aurora R14 debuts with an AMD Ryzen 9 5900 CPU, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD + 2TB HDD, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 (10GB GDDR6X) graphics card. This is a beefy configuration for a gaming desktop, and there’s pretty much no game that won’t be blown out of the water with this piece of kit.
This gaming PC has absolutely no problem playing any game on the market at 4K with every setting maxed out, and it will remain relevant for some time. It’s particularly fluent with games such as Cyberpunk 2077, Death Stranding, Total War: Warhammer II, and Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous in 1080p at buttery smooth frame rates, with all settings maxed out.
Elsewhere, cranking up the resolution of those games up to 4K will see performance drop to below 60 fps in a few games, but still playable. Cyberpunk 2077 is a real culprit here, with a performance of around 30 fps on RTX 3080 GPUs with all settings maxed.
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As a productivity machine, the Aurora 14’s powerful components give it more than enough muscle to handle pretty much any work you need to run on it. Out of the box, the R14 starts up really fast, is very quiet during daily use, and can handle however many Chrome tabs, YouTube videos, and other apps you might decide to open in the background while playing games.
Particularly, the Aurora R14 should be pretty decent at photo/video editing, and it will surely match the performance of more expensive rigs. It arrives with a clean install of Windows 11, which is a nice touch. A few Dell/Alienware proprietary apps are pre-installed, but most of these are to be safely ignored.
The Alienware Aurora’s SSD is quite fast as well, which is beneficial when you’re moving game installs around. In tests, it transfers 25GB of multimedia files at a speed of 1,896 Mbps. That’s pretty fast for a gaming machine, outperforming peers like the Origin PC Millennium (1,024 MBps) and the Acer Predator Orion 3000 (741 MBps), but the Corsair One i300 tops the list (3,008 MBps).
Perhaps the only useful app is the Alienware Command Center, which you can use to customize lots of settings. You can use it to create custom RGB lighting patterns, manage your GPU overclock settings, modify cooling fans performance, and adjust your audio settings.
There’s also an Alienware Mobile Connect app that lets you use your phone simultaneously with the PC.
The Alienware Aurora R14 is just as beautiful and as powerful as it’s ever been, only now with a glass side panel that lets you see the guts of the machine. Also, with the level of hardware in our review unit and the sheer configuration options available, you can get some serious gaming performance.
If you can afford it, the Alienware Aurora R14 is the ultimate gaming rig you can invest in, with top-of-the-line components that make it a top-tier gaming PC. Just don’t expect blazing-fast frame rates at 4K – for that, you can check out the Alienware Aurora R13 with an Intel Core i9-12900KF, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080Ti, and 32GB of DDR5 RAM.
At nearly $3,000, our review unit isn’t anywhere close to cheap, but it’s powerful enough to play the latest and greatest games for years to come.
Finally, if I had a few extra thousand dollars to splurge on a new gaming PC this year, the Alienware Aurora R14 would be a strong contender. It sports a compelling, attractive new design and as much muscle as you can afford, it’s certainly one of the best gaming PCs I’ve reviewed this year.
Alienware Aurora R14
The Alienware Aurora R14 is a capable gaming PC with a redesigned chassis, top-tier components and solid gaming performance.
- Excellent gaming performance
- Eye-catching design
- Runs quiet and cool
- Lots of ports and easy upgrades
- Weak 4K performance vs. pricier PCs
Last update on 2023-12-04 at 05:16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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Alienware Aurora R14 Gaming Desktop - AMD Ryzen 9 5900, 32GB 3466MHz RAM, 1TB SSD + 2TB HDD
9 used from $1,292.42