This is the ninth version of alienware’s small PC for players and, for the occasion, its case changes its design. The Dell Alienware Aurora R9 now uses the same lines and codes as the brand’s latest laptops. And just like them, it makes no compromise on power.
Dell Alienware Aurora R9
The Aurora R8 is no longer, here is the mini PC R9. For a few generations, the Aurora had become very square, reminiscent of a jerry can of gasoline. But for 2019-20, everything changes. The all-new version of this fixed PC gaming “made in Alienware” relies on its pretty curves and LEDs to seduce. Nothing ostentatious, just what it takes to catch the eye and please lovers of low-clutter machines. But make no mistake about it. Like the Model 8, version 9 is a small gaming machine by the size… but not by what it contains.
The The Dell Alienware Aurora R9 comes in about ten versions on Dell’s website. They sometimes opt for white cases, sometimes black but all are cut for the game in 1080p minimum. The nom de guerre of our test configuration is d00awr907. It is on sale on the brand’s website for 2330 euros, excluding promotions and delivery costs.
Even smaller and still as. Dell’s Alienware Aurora R9 is one of those fixed mini PCs for players who have a knack for cracking us. They are well designed, powerful and their assertive lines are pleasant enough if one is more inclined to show them off than to hide them under the desk.
In fact, if the Aurora R8 could be landed without worry, in the case of the R9, it will already be much more complicated. The size of the case, its shape and the positioning of its connectors are intended to be placed on a desk, so that everything is at hand. At first glance, this might be a concern, but in fact it is not.
Traps and clad in sockets
Its compactness is indeed really impressive (48 x 22 x 43 cm). The The Dell Alienware Aurora R9 stands out, for sure, but does not disfigure an office or a living room. Its weight of just 15 kilos (at worst) allows it to sit on the tray of a piece of furniture without risking breaking it. Or find its place in a converted office foot, if you want to hide it.
Keep in mind, however, that given its size, the further you move it away from you, the more long cables you will need to connect your keyboard, screens, mouse, etc. The possibilities of connection are in any case multiple since there are a total of 14 USB sockets of all generations, divided between the front and the back, audio sockets (analog and digital) abound, an HDMI output and three DisplayPort, without forget the entire network connection (Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0).
We appreciate the fact that Dell has not multiplied the light strips throughout the case. They are strategically placed… almost aesthetic. To control LED lights, you have to use the homemade software suite.
The interface that drives them is very well made and offers, in addition to color control according to the games launched for example, more and more options. Those who like to get lost in the settings are going to be spoiled.
The fact remains that its Command Center no longer has menus as clean and clear as before. Year after year, Dell adds features. And sometimes too much. An example? The fact of having an umpteenth component that informs about the games installed on the machine. Was it necessary when Nvidia’s GeForce Experience is already doing it? Or that it is possible to simply display installed games depending on Steam.
Whether it’s all black or black and white, the case remains the same. The entire structure is made of solid steel, covered with plastic, matte and excellently crafted elements. There are only a few bright parts on the front that can catch fingerprints. The cleaning is easy, a blow of rag and it no longer appears.
Possibilities for upgradition in The Dell Alienware Aurora R9
One of the great strengths of The Dell Alienware Aurora R9 is the layout possibilities offered by their case. With each version, the Texan enhances the interior of his tower with subtle touches, while keeping all the good recipes. Recurring ergonomic tricks include the power supply mounted in a swivel basket, which, in a snap, gives you access to the rest of the machine’s components.
Despite the tight space, the cables are all passed so as not to interfere with the flow of air that passes through the front, bottom, sides and top of the machine.
We also note that the Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics card (a 2070 Super in the case of our configuration) is securely secured to the case thanks to rear fasteners and a thick plastic arm. Removable, it can be removed in case you change your graphics card and the chosen model is equipped with a thicker cooling device.
Of course, given the small internal space and the power of the components present, Dell is obliged to use a water cooling system. It has become a classic in desktop PCs dedicated to the game and hit the head of Alienware. The radiator and fan combo is attached to the top of the chassis and is responsible for both evacuating the calories from the processor but also the hot air generated by the other components.
In the back of the case, two 2.5/3.5-inch hard drive or SSD slots are free. Better yet, the SATA and power cables are already present and are just waiting to be used. To add storage afterward, it will be a breeze. You don’t even have to have to pull out a screwdriver because the fastening system doesn’t use any screws. Also in the field of evolution, there are two slots for empty memory bars, enough to add a pair of modules if you had some missing on this side.
Our only regret: the lack of dust filters on the lower part and on the walls of the machine. Also, cleaning the radiator from the cooling device is really not easy. You have to disassemble the top of the case and play the screwdriver to extract everything cleanly and then pass large blows of dry air bomb. A point to improve for the R10.
No lag with gaming in Full HD and 1440p
We said in the introduction, the machine we received is not the most powerful of the lot. However, it has a nice technical record, which leaves no doubt as to its ability to run the games in Full HD and 1440p, without suffering.
There is a Core i7-9700K, 16GB of DDR4 HyperX memory (Kingston brand), 512GB of M.2 NVMe standard, 2TB of classic disk and a GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER from Nvidia.
A few tests later, the verdict falls: it’s a gamer. There’s no doubt about it. It spins old games at more than 250 frames per second, even in 4K. On the other hand, as soon as the graphics engines are newer, the effects and textures more complex and the Use of DirectX 11 or 12, we cut the pear in half. Literally. It’s Full HD or 1440p mandatory, don’t try to squirm. This ensures that more than 100 frames per second on average rain. Scores in line with those we obtained in our record on RTX SUPER and Radeon RX, despite a slightly different testing platform.
In Ubisoft’s first The Division in DX11, with High details and some home modifications, the R9 delivers 140 frames per second. Pushing in Ultra, we fall to 112 (in 4K, we do not exceed 60 …).
With Rise of the Tomb Raider (Square Enix), in full, in DirectX 12, we reach 146 frames per second average (and still not the 60 in 4K, do not insist).
We then had fun trying to put this mini PC in trouble with a test software that puts large amounts of tessellation on everything that goes on the screen. The RTX does not flinch: in Full HD, it’s 125 frames per second on average. A gamer, you’re told!
Alienware, from gaming to screen
With the The Dell Alienware Aurora R9, Dell sent us the Alienware AW3420DW. It is one of the largest screens in the range since its ultra wide slab is 34 inches. Format 21/9 obliges, it displays a definition of 3440 by 1440 pixels. The speed of refreshment of images can reach 120 Hz. This is enough to take advantage of the G-Sync technology that Dell has not failed to put behind the matte slab.
This screen obviously takes the colors and graphic codes of Dell products for current gamers, but does not go frankly unnoticed. Its foot is quite wide, like… The image displayed. We also note that it is really expensive for a monitor of its category (1200 euros) and does not insures in all areas. To learn more about it, we invite you to check out his test sheet, but also the duel between him and an Asus screen of the same size (and which costs twice) and our small folder concerning large screens in which this Alienware has managed to make a place for itself.
Consumption and low noise are the image of the case: content!
Also in our tests under extreme conditions, we tried to mishandle the ventilation of the machine. However, there are only two fans, watercooling and graphics card. By launching the R9 at full speed, the decibels gradually climb to 40.7 dB. It is not unbearable but audible. If you watch a video, there is almost complete silence, 32.8 dB.
On the take, no surprise. 436 watts are consumed if you stress all the components at the same time, 42.8 watts when only the Windows 10 desktop is displayed on the screen. Data quite within the norm.
TECHNICAL FACT SHEET : Dell Alienware Aurora R9
- Intel Core i7-9700K processor
- 16GB of RAM
- Main SSD storage type
- Total capacity calculation (in GO) 2512
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER Graphics Processor
Dell Alienware Aurora R9
Dell Alienware Aurora R9 is small, but very strong. An agreed conclusion, but admit that it is difficult to take fault this fixed PC cut for gaming. It offers pretty rounded lines, sober colors -without LEDs that flash in all directions – and above all power galore. Not to mention its very significant possibilities of evolution. Besides, we dream of being able to buy his case, alone. It would be the perfect container for our personal setup and would fit perfectly with our interior. Our advice? Wait for Dell to launch promotions on this model before you crack. Then you’ll make a great deal. The Texan makes discounts on his gaming machines regularly, which can sometimes save several hundred euros.