A DECENT desktop rig is the best way to experience full-power PC gaming, allowing for all the customisation gamers need and the ability to upgrade as new parts become available.
While a lot of enthusiasts prefer to build their own, there’s a substantial number of people out there who just want something that works so they can get on with gaming, which is where a pre-build system comes in.
I’ve reviewed the Alienware R11 previously and was impressed with it (high price tag aside), and have now had a chance to play around with its replacement.
The Alienware Aurora R13 makes full use of Alienware’s distinctive, sleek style with curves and tasteful RGB lighting helping create a tower that’s as much statement piece as it is functional gaming platform.
The design has been updated from previous models and I also liked the addition of a window on the side allowing a view of the internals and components – also tastefully lit with customisable RGB and really lifting then tower’s desk presence in the process.
The unit is made of plastic rather than metal, which was a shame given the price, but there construction was solid and well thought out. There’s also plenty of room inside, which will be helpful a couple of years down the track when you want to start swapping out components.
The catch, as with most things these days, is money. The system as reviewed costs AUD$8,210 and to be brutally honest, I just didn’t see the value – although that’s partly because I don’t think I’ll ever be in a position to spend $8k on a gaming computer. There are cheaper systems in the line-up, however, starting from a less sticker-shock inducing AUD$3700 for the system with 16GB RAM and a Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU.
Don’t get me wrong: The review system configuration itself is great, with a 12th gen Intel i9-12900KF processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 GPU, 32GB RAM, a 1TB SSD and a 2TB HDD – but even taking into account the global chipsets and GPU shortages, AUD$8k is a pretty big ask.
In the system’s defence, it can handle literally any game you throw at it, and in 4K as well. I didn’t notice any issues with excessive fan noise or heat, but at that price I wouldn’t expect to either.
Performance-wise, I put the Aurora R13 through its paces with 3DMark’s TimeSpy benchmark, where the system scored 18,531 – not surprising, given all the power under the bonnet.
The Crystal Diskmark tests on the storage units returned a read/write speed of 6241/4127MB/s for the SSD and 228/169MB/s for the HDD – so basically, use the SSD for your “main” games.
On the actual gaming front, the performance was similarly top-notch, with everything from God of War to Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla running beautifully in glorious 4K with the settings cranked up.
The few issues I had were not related to the system itself, but rather the Windows 11 software, which doesn’t always seem to play nicely with older games – my son was not impressed we couldn’t seem to get Napoleon: Total War working, even with all the usual tricks like “run in compatibility mode”.
Right now I think the price is too steep for the as-reviewed system, but when it comes down a bit the Alienware Aurora R13 will be well worth considering as a top-end pre-built that can play pretty much any PC game the way it should be experienced.