Truly unique chasis with multicolor perimeter lighting.
Needs backup drive for storage; outperformed by overclocked machines.
One of the PC’s weaknesses is the tendency to be generic. That’s certainly not a weakness of Alienware’s new Aurora ALX. Using a new redesigned chassis, there’s no way your Aurora ALX will be confused with a bland black box.
And how could it, given its signature Xenomorph look? Previous Alienware cases have felt like rebadged commodity cases, but this new case is clearly unique. When we plugged the PC into the wall socket, the set of ventilation vents on top slowly flapped open and closed—as though the ominous black creature were alive and just took a breath.
Getting inside of the case added to the mystery. Like a caveman hammering away on a flying saucer with a rock, we just didn’t know how to open the thing. We finally found that lifting the very last ventilation flap unlocks the side hatch. With the door off of the blowing, pulsing, and breathing Aurora ALX, was it alien technology we saw? Fortunately, it was more Earth-bound. Inside, we found a water-cooled Core i7-975 Extreme Edition on a custom Micro ATX X58 motherboard. Graphics were in the hands of the latest hotness, two CrossFired ATI Radeon HD 5870s. Along with 6GB of RAM and a Blu-ray combo drive, there wasn’t much wanting in the rig. We do take issue with the storage configuration, which comprises two 1TB drives in RAID 0, with no local backup drive. Scary. However, we like the mounting system, which gives you easy access to drives.
Also quite cool is the Aurora’s new lighting system. Multicolor LED lights are embedded in the case, and the lights on the included keyboard and mouse can be changed in Windows to pulsate or even alert you if you have email waiting. The same application also lets you control the vents on top. It’s well done and far beyond what you can get from the typical boutique vendors, whose main customization is exotic paint.
|Zero Point ||Falcon Northwest Talon |
|Premiere Pro CS3||496 sec ||459 |
|Photoshop CS3 ||94 sec ||79 |
|ProShow ||513 sec||504 |
|MainConcept||977 sec ||935 |
|Crysis||37 fps ||66 |
|Unreal Tournament 3||198 fps ||230 |
Our current desktop test bed consists of a quad-core 2.66GHz Intel Core i7-920 overclocked to 3.66GHz, 6GB of Patriot DDR3/1333, a Radeon HD 4870 X2, and a 1.5TB 7,200rpm Seagate 7200.11 hard drive. The motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-EX58-UDR3 motherboard and a Corsair TX850 PSU. OS is Windows 7 in 64-bit mode.
|Processor||Intel 2.93GHz Core i7-870 @3.83GHz |
|MOBO ||MSI P55-GD65|
|RAM||8GB Crucial DDR3/1600 |
|Videocard ||Two MSI Radeon HD 5970 in CrossFire mode |
|Soundcard ||Onboard |
|Storage ||Two Intel X25-M 80GB in RAID 0; 1TB Samsung Spinpoint 7,20rpm hard drive|
|Optical ||Lite-On 22x DVD burner |
|Case/PSU ||Silverstone case with Exotix paint job and 1,000 Silverstone PSU |