The Bottom Line
- High Performance Graphics Card
- Well Designed Tool Free Case
- Wide Range of Customization Options
- Older Generation Phenom
- DDR2 Memory
- AMD Phenom X4 9950 Black Edition Quad Core Desktop Processor
- 4GB PC2-6400 DDR2 Memory
- 500GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 20x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 Graphics Card With 2GB Memory
- 7.1 Audio
- Dual Gigabit Ethernet
- Eight USB 2.0, Two FireWire, eSATA
- Vista Home Premium
Guide Review - Alienware Aurora Performance Gaming Desktop PC
Jun 2 2009 - Alienware's Aurora is a lower cost performance desktop option that is based around AMD technology rather than Intel's Core i7. This means that systems have a starting price of around $800 but the model for this review is their high end gaming design priced around $1500.
Powering the Aurora is the AMD Phenom X4 9950 Black Edition quad core processor. This is currently the highest clocked version of the original Phenom design made. This does give it a fair amount of performance but it provides it with limitations compared to the newer Phenom II X4 processors. The most notable of these is the reliance on DDR2 memory with its lower bandwidth. These two factors put it fairly far behind systems based on Intel Core i7 and DDR3 memory.
Alienware makes up for the slightly lower overall performance with a higher end ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 graphics card with 2GB of memory. This give the system a much higher level of graphics performance than many similarly priced Core i7 systems that have to keep costs down by using older or lower performance graphics cards. Users can expect to be able to play most games up to the 2560x1600 resolution of 30-inch displays and easily support more common 1920x1200 resolution panels in all games.
Storage is one area where the Aurora systems seem to suffer slightly. It isn't necessarily unusual for some performance systems to but back on drive sizes, but the 500GB is on the smaller side now. The dual layer DVD burner is pretty typical though.
Like most Alienware systems, users have a wide range of configuration options including varying the processor, memory, storage, cooling and even appearance of the Aurora system. Just be aware that some options can quickly raise the price of the system versus installing your own components after market.