Alienware refines the Aurora and updates this otherworldly gaming PC with better cooling, 13th Gen Intel and an RTX 4090
Alienware Aurora R15 Gaming Desktop Computer: Starting at $1399, $4588 as tested
The Alienware Aurora R15 is the culmination of both a thermal overhaul and a silicon platform refresh, resulting in excellent gaming performance.
Sleek and spacious design and aesthetics
Powerful PC gaming performance
Cool and quiet even under gaming load
13th Generation Intel Core Series Desktop Performance
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 is a PC gaming beast
Competitive price for a prefab
Easy-to-maintain design, mostly tool-less
Proprietary power supply and motherboard
Limited DDR5-5200 memory speed
No thunderbolt 4
Expensive as tested
We’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that Alienware’s Aurora systems have had their ups and downs in previous iterations, with noise and thermal performance weighing down what was otherwise a powerful and well-built PC Gaming desktop. However, with this latest version of the Alienware Aurora R15, Dell’s gaming product group has not only amped up the machine’s thermal solution with a new 240mm heat exchanger that’s 2x larger, but also a total of five 120mm intake and exhaust fans. Additionally, Dell has adopted Intel’s 13th Gen Core series processors, with a Core i9-13900KF in our test bed, as well as NVIDIA’s powerful GeForce RTX 40 series, in this case a GeForce graphics card. Rugged RTX 4090 for tons of pixel pushing firepower.
In fact, Alienware claims the Aurora R15 delivers up to 58% more CPU power with a 19% increase in airflow and a 5 degree Celsius drop in temperature, and much quieter operation under gaming and content creation workloads. You will also notice a perforated side panel, which also contributes to the said increase in airflow over the GPU in particular.
All told, we’re talking about a cooler, quieter and more powerful machine. Sounds like a win-win-win, right? Take a look at our quick hands-on video preview below, then we’ll dive deeper into the details of this new gaming desk’s design, setup, and build quality, along with a run around our test track of reference of course…
Alienware Aurora R15 Features and Specs
Other high-end specs are a 2TB NVMe PCIe Gen 4 SSD, 32GB of DDR5-5200MHz RAM, and a custom motherboard based on an Intel Z790 chipset. System performance could probably be improved with faster memory. Intel’s 13th-gen platform officially supports speeds of up to 5600MHz, but Alienware has to guarantee systems at a much larger scale than boutique builders, for example, and high-end DDR5 speed can be more temperamental than previous generations. Also on board is a custom, but beefy, 1350 watt power supply powering this beast and its GeForce RTX 4090 GPU.
Under the Hood: Alienware Aurora R15 Genetics and Design
Getting under the hood of this alien spacecraft is as easy as pulling a lever on the back of the machine and releasing that perforated plexiglass side panel…
This is the Alienware Aurora in its Lunar Light color, which has a lovely satin white finish that contrasts well with the black accents on the front and side panels, for a striking yet still understated appearance. Again, this is a mostly tool-less design and removing the side panel from the machine is as easy as pulling the latch you see above.
Once inside, we’re treated to a well-organized layout that’s much cleaner than previous-gen models that relied on a pivoting feed cage to be pulled out of the way to access the feeding area. motherboard and other major components. The custom Alienware 1350 watt PSU resides in the bottom of the chassis now in a more traditional configuration, though it’s proprietary and not something you might maintain with a standard ATX PSU replacement.
Either way, this is a minor issue, as Alienware’s new Platinum-certified PSUs, which range from 750W to 1350W, are high-end components. Here you can also see the 2.5-inch bulk storage hard drive bay, although you can also configure the system in a dual SSD configuration, with its spare M.2 slot.
As you can see the chassis setup in general is now much more traditional, with enough space to accommodate the massive stance of a GeForce RTX 4090 GPU. This also has a 120mm fan and fan shroud directing the fresh air intake on the card itself. There’s a cable guide that could use one more clip to keep the GPU power connector better together, but you could easily modify something yourself if you were in neat freak mode.
A cleaner chassis with a significantly more powerful cooling system
Descending a little closer, we can see the new Alienware Aurora CPU cold plate and pump assembly, which is of course also adorned with soft RGB lighting. It’s a cleaner, more substantial water block compared to some of the previous-gen designs, with Dell’s alien head logo shining and peeking through the plexiglass.
The OEM version of the Alienware GeForce RTX 4090 GPU is supported by a GPU spacer and retention bracket at the bottom of the chassis that mounts to the edge of the PSU cage.
If we pull the backlit Alienware logo light bar that covers the new 240mm heat exchanger, we can see two more 120mm fans pushing hot air through the radiator and up the machine. . Again, the Dell-Alienware team has toed the line of style and function here, with a sturdier CPU heat exchanger that’s nicely lit in RGB quality.
Then there’s the Alienware Aurora R15’s redesigned front panel and chassis shroud. This design has been present since at least the Aurora R13 series and has a perforated honeycomb insert that lets in a lot more cool air at the front of the chassis, but also provides good structural rigidity. Thanks to the rear IO panel (above on this page), you get a bunch of extra USB-A and Type-C ports, but none of them are Thunderbolt-equipped, which is a downside, and don’t only supports up to 20 Gbps. There are also various USB-C and Type-A ports on the front panel, which max out at USB 3.2 Gen 2 (20 Gbps) speeds with Powershare.
Alienware also threw some peripherals into the fray with its 420K keyless gaming keyboard and 720M gaming mouse, all of which coordinate RGB lighting in Alienware’s Command Center software. The compact TKL keyboard does away with the numeric keypad to save on some desk space, but with Cherry MX Red key switches it has a satisfying click-free, linear bounce.
Before moving on to the benchmarks, take a look at Alienware’s Command Center software, which has undergone recent revisions and improvements. It is a comprehensive suite of utilities for system health monitoring, lighting control, and performance tuning, including overclocking. In fact, our system was perfectly stable with Alienware’s “Overclock 2” factory configuration, which puts a bit more juice into the CPU. As you can see above, it maintains a lukewarm 60C range while gaming, so it’s how we tested the machine of all our benchmarks is ahead.
We’ll make sure to properly torture this alien beast though, with 100% CPU and GPU loads, so let’s get into some benchmarks and stress tests, next…