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Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition Metareview

AMD Ryzen 9 3950X processors will hit the streets on November 25th and the company strongly recommends Asetek liquid cooling solutions utilizing a 280mm radiator or higher. With little coincidence, Dell Alienware is one of the first system integrators to employ the 16-core/32-thread behemoths in their new Alienware Aurora systems – effectively giving birth to the Aurora Ryzen Edition of gaming PCs. The design is captivating and surprisingly small thanks to their stunning Legend ID.

Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition

Moreover, the embargo has lifted, so reviews are beginning to surface. We pooled opinions from some of the first reports to craft a virtual roundtable discussion for you to easily digest in one sitting. Let’s begin by talking about the processor itself. 

What’s the best cooler for Ryzen 9 3950X?

We were not surprised at all that AMD insisted on liquid cooling for the Ryzen 9 3950X. Although, less prudent builders may opt for a “high-end” air cooler. However, liquid cooling provides more adequate heat dissipation to fight thermal throttling and maintain smooth system operation over extended work or play sessions. It also enables deeper and more sustainable overclocks. The power user that loves PC games is most assuredly the target market. That includes the film editor, high-volume YouTuber creator, Twitch Streamer, Adobe Premiere, and Sony Vegas professionals who also take their productivity just as serious as their gaming grind time. Work or play, the Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition fits seamlessly into dorms, offices or full-RGB gaming dens.  

More cores to punch above its weight class

Under the hood, the new Ryzen chips from AMD sport some compelling drool-worthy features. The architecture is laid out on a TSMC 7nm FinFET. In contrast, the i9-9900K is a 14nm, so Ryzen 9 is a tiny process. It also does not come prepackaged with a cooler. The tiny architecture and no cooler really bolster the need for adequate liquid cooling. The Ryzen 9 3950X 16-core 32-thread CPU also brings to bear the highest boost frequency out of all the 3rd Gen Ryzen CPUs – from a Base Clock of 3.5GHz to 4.7GHz Boost Clock. While the Ryzen 9 uses the chiplet design, take note that a discrete GPU is required – there’s no on-board GPU here. The default TPD is 105W and oh yes, this is an unlocked CPU. So, expect higher power usage when overclocking. For those who crave speed, there’s support for blazing-fast PCI Express® Version PCIe 4.0 x16, like the rest of the 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ Processors. Plus, the Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition can be configured with NVMe storage solutions to leverage that extra speed.  

No tools. No hassle!

The system’s power supply is nestled on a tool-less swing-arm and is cleverly incorporated into the main side panel. This ingenious design allows for the diminutive stature, where most systems place the PSU at the top or below all other components. The swing-arm permits easy access to the system internals, while the components are carefully arranged to prioritize airflow. Rounding out the features on all configurations are tweakable FX lighting effects that can be synced with peripherals and easily managed from the new FX Command center utility. The Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition comes in Lunar Light or Dark Side of the Moon colors in a smooth satin finish.  

HotHardware was thoroughly impressed with the numbers being thrown up by the tiny little beast. They summed up their time with the unit with the following, “The Aurora Ryzen Edition’s performance didn’t disappoint, either, as it consistently turned in results that placed near or at the very top of our charts time after time. The system draws a pretty reasonable amount of power while getting its work done, too. When it comes to heavier non-gaming or content creation tasks, all of those cores combine for some pretty incredible performance, especially in 3D rendering which can easily use all 32 threads of the Ryzen 9 3950X’s cores. On the gaming side, 4K is on the table for basically every game on the planet. Gears 5’s performance was most impressive, with this system exceeding an average of 60 frames per second at the Ultra preset and a 4K UHD resolution. And despite its 16 Zen 2 cores and having the biggest consumer GPU on the planet, the system only draws a little bit over 450 watts while under a maximum theoretical load, too.” 

Digital Trends calls the new gaming PC from Alienware “A new dawn for AMD.” We concur! The company is experiencing well-deserved praise for this latest generation of Ryzen processors for performance, efficiency, and thermals. For DT, the design is “unique” while the processor itself is noted to be “Insanely fast”. They love the lighting effect, dubbing them “beautiful” and found that key components were very “easy to upgrade”. Moving outside the chassis, DT makes a point to discuss the overall design, stating, “The Aurora R10 takes it a step further. The mid-size tower features the company’s new “Legend” design philosophy, meaning fewer harsh angles and aggressive vents. I’ve seen it (and loved it) on laptops like the Area-51m and Alienware m15, but here, it’s even more pronounced. You’ll never mistake the Aurora R10 for another computer.” 

Like most, PCMag set the Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition loose against a fleet of Intel-powered competitors. We have their test results featured below for your perusal. Data was collected using Cinebench, Handbrake and Photoshop CC.   

We encourage everyone to check out each of these reviews in length for the full scope of opinions and context for testing. Regardless, Alienware has a winner on its hands. The Aurora Ryzen Edition is a phenomenal system that glides over the most grueling applications with little effort. It shaves time off crucial creative productivity while allowing professionals to game with all the eye-candy turned up to the max. It skillfully straddles both worlds and doesn’t discern between the two. 

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