Dell’s Alienware brand launched its new generation of Aurora desktop gaming systems today, helping to kick off this year’s Gamescom in Cologne, Germany.
The “Legendary” design aesthetic, which features a kind of futuristic industrial look with beehive-like hexagons, began with the super high-end Area-51m portable systems in January. It was later brought to its m15 and m17 notebooks. Now the PC gaming brand is completing its design change with its desktop computers, bringing with it accessories such as Alienware-made headsets, mice, and keyboards.
The Alienware Aurora R9 PC gaming desktop
Alienware’s new Aurora R9 mid-tower desktop looks like a kind of jet engine or Dyson fan from the front, with buttons and USB ports running down a center strip. But it’s not all about looks, since the entire front is a fan that takes in air while remaining super quiet.
It features a tool-less chassis with a side panel that pops off with a single push button. The PSU cage also swivels out for easy access to the motherboard. So, you don’t have to struggle around it when upgrading memory or graphics cards.
Similar to the Legendary-style notebook systems, the desktop is available in either black or white.
“The gaming industry, from a desktop space, has gotten stale and pretty boring. Everything has RGB lighting and has a very geometric look. We call it a sea of sameness,” said Justin Lyles, VP of consumer design at Dell.
Alienware is out to establish a new look and feel in the desktop space.
“We’re trying to change the direction of the desktop market,” he added. “Right now, people are chasing down one visual path, and we think the desktop can be a beautiful thing. It doesn’t have to be a black box that you put under your desk, that might have lights or a clear side door. It can be beautiful with a great thermal system.”
The Alienware Aurora R9 is launching with Intel processors ranging from the 9th Gen Intel Core i3 9100 to the 9th Gen Core i9 9900K, which has eight cores, 16MB Cache, and can be overclocked up to 4.7GHz across all cores. There’s no word yet on when the desktop will support AMD Ryzen processors. But gamers can choose to outfit their systems with either Nvidia GeForce RTX or AMD Radeon RX 5700 graphics cards.
Truly Legendary monitors
Alienware is also rolling out a series of monitors to coincide with its desktop system launch. These include a 27-inch IPS monitor with a 240Hz refresh rate, 1.9ms response time, AMD Radeon FreeSync, and 1080p resolution.
The hardware maker is also offering a 34-inch curved gaming monitor. It supports 3440 x 1440 resolution, a 120Hz refresh, and 2ms response time with Nvidia G-Sync technology. They also have two USB 3.1 and a 3.5mm audio jack built in for easier port access.
But Alienware’s truly big reveal is the 55-inch OLED gaming monitor. It might look like a television, except that you can’t hook an antenna up to it, but it has all the features of a high-end PC gaming monitor. It supports 4K resolution, a 120Hz variable refresh rate, and a 0.5ms response time in addition to AMD Radeon FreeSync. Connections include three HDMI ports, a DisplayPort, four USB 3.1 ports, a headphone jack, and an S/PDIF line-out.
Like a television, it has two built-in 14-watt speakers and even a remote control. It’s a clear, eye-catching presence that’s hard to look away from, and it’s surprisingly responsive given its size. My first thought when seeing this monitor up close was that it might actually be too much screen. Although it’s clearly made for far away experience, preferably playing from a couch with a gamepad, gamers like me usually prefer to be up close with a mouse and keyboard.
The screen can be a bit overwhelming up close, and it’s almost impossible to see the entire screen when your face is only about two or three feet away from it. I grew tired of moving my head around to keep track of everything. However, a representative noted that during testing, players often liked to have their games in windowed mode while filling the screen with other tasks like livestreaming and chat windows, so it could be an alternative to a multi-monitor setup.
But with a price tag of about $4,000, which may far exceed the cost of a modestly configured Aurora R9 desktop computer, it is definitely a big-ticket luxury item. This is Alienware’s “go big” showcase product that complements its shiny new desktop. In fact, the 34-inch curved monitor seems like a bargain at $1,500. You could buy two of those and still have plenty of money to spare compared to the cost of a single 55-inch screen.
But for those who can afford it, this is probably the biggest, best, and most insane monitor you can possibly get for a supreme PC gaming experience.
Alienware gaming accessories
Alienware is following up its branded headsets with revised versions of its gaming keyboards and mice. They include two mechanical gaming keyboards with fully programmable keys. The main difference between the two is that one is relatively straightforward while the other is completely decked out with RGB lighting.
The differences between Alienware’s three new gaming mice are a little more apparent, although they all feature tail fins and hexagonal thumb buttons on the side. Two of them are wireless, with the least expensive AW310M costing about $63 and having a 12,000 DPI sensor along with two side buttons. Its sibling, the AW610M, costs $100 and has a built-in lithium-ion battery instead of using a single removable AA battery, giving it about 350 hours of use before it needs to be recharged. It’s also decked out with RGB lighting and sports a 16,000 DPI sensor.
Although it’s not wireless, the $75 AW510M makes up for it with sheer versatility. It has RGB lighting, a 16,000 DPI sensor, and a total of 10 programmable buttons. It even has a switch at the top that changes the scroll wheel to change between 12 or 24 steps so that players have more precise control when they need it.
Full Legendary status
With the launch of the Aurora R9, Alienware has fully upgraded all its products with the Legendary design aesthetic. With the inclusion of the updated monitors and accessories, fans of the brand can fully immerse themselves in the company’s premium look and feel that matches both its desktop and notebook systems.
As Lyle states, “It’s all about making a statement around the beauty of gaming.”