Alienware Aurora R4 Review

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We review a lot of system components at Kitguru, but sometimes we like to target the audience who have no interest or time to build their own computer. The system we are looking at today might appeal to that audience, because it is the latest high specification Core i7 Aurora R4 which is shipped inside a very sexy custom chassis.

Alienware are a little like Marmite, you either love them or hate them. Over the years of working with the company and reviewing their products, its been a bit of a mixed bag for me. I really do appreciate their high spec custom gaming laptops (such as the stunning M18x), but have found some of their desktop systems to be a little uninspiring, even utilizing some questionable components.

The Aurora R4 which we are reviewing today however looks like a good move forward for the company. The basic system starts at an affordable £1,199, and can be scaled to satisfy the biggest, fattest wallets. The specification we have on our test bench today comprises an Intel i7-3930k, 8GB of DDR3 memory, SSD/HDD combo and a 1.5GB GTX580 running on 64 bit Windows 7.

At £2,734.00 inc vat it really does need to deliver the goods.

Alienware Aurora R4
Base Alienware Aurora Matt Black 875W Chassis
Microsoft Operating System English Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
Memory 8192MB (4x2GB) 1600mhz DDR3 Quad Channel
Keyboard Alienware TactX keyboard UK QWERTY
Monitor Display not included
Video Card Nvidia GTX580 1.5GB
Hard Drive 256GB SSD & 1TB SATA 6Gb/s (7,200) 32 mb cache
Floppy Drives and Additional Storage Devices Alienware 19-in-1 Media card reader
Mouse Alienware TactX Mouse
Optical Drive DVD+/-RW (Read/Write) 24x
Sound Cards Integrated HDA 7.1 Dolby Digital capability
Wireless Networking 802.11n WiFi & Bluetooth 2.1 EDR USB
Shipping Documents English Documentation
Warranty 1 year Business Day Hardware Support
Processor Intel Core i7 3930K (six core, 12MB cache)
Dell System Media Kit Alienware Aurora Resource DVD
Total Price £2,734.00

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
Alienware Aurora R4 Review, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating
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  • Robert

    beautiful indeed, but its too much cash really for me. I admire the work on the case though. wish they would sell those cases.

    Silverstone help make the case? sure as hell looks like their design.

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  • Brian D

    wozzers. id buy that if I could afford it,. im crap at making cases and I like warranty support. I suck I know, but i love this ! ill have a look at something closer to £1,500, see what I can get. or get the cheapest option and buy the graphics card for it and install myself later.

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  • davisd

    Ive never owned an alienware, but i am put off by some of the comments i read on forums, that they are unreliable and problems can occur.

    I would be worried about this complex case breaking down. how long can you extend the warranty for this kind of machine?

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  • Raymondf

    Overpriced, but quite good looking. I wouldnt buy it, id want a better motherboard and overclocked out of the box for this price. system builders in the UK wuold offer a better system for less. like cyberpower

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  • Brian Talbot

    I bought one of these and I want to add my views to the review

    1: the case is brilliant, but I find the top flaps annoying after a while, they make a fair bit of noise when moving and at night its a little distracting, even though it looks great.

    2: the cooler can sometimes go very loud for no reason, well on mine it does. did you experience that Zardon? the temps might be 50c and the fan just seems to go very high without a reason.

    3: bios is very poor. we could get the processor to 4.4ghz easy enough, the cooler can handle it, so why not allow for it?

    4: the top panel is annoying, I have to bend over the machine to find the USB ports as they aren’t visible if the case is under a table. you have to ‘feel around’ for the port without being able to see it.

    5: sometimes my machine hangs on start up

    overall though im impressed with it, it looks great and is very tiny in regards to height. so it suits me totally.

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  • http://www.kitguru.net Zardon

    Hi Brian,

    The flaps don’t seem that loud to me, perhaps in a silent room they might be a little noticeable? I also didnt experience any problems with the radiator fan ‘spiking’. did you adjust the settings in the software for improved cooling?

    Bios isn’t great, yes I agree.

    The top panel ports, yes I can see how that would be a problem, especially if you attach and detach lots of devices regularly.

    When the machine hangs. have you a USB drive connected? where does it hang, on the bios number page or after as windows is starting?

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  • Brian Talbot

    Zardon, the top port idea is great if you have the machine out in the open all the time, but to work from the front over a ‘ledge’ to get access to the ports from a rear mounted position is tricky and needless. a cover is great, but mount them forward for ease of accessibility, right?

    The system sometimes hangs when its posting and the little bar should ‘grow’ to the right. a reset sorts it, and it only seems to happen from cold. not in relation to a connected USB drive. I need to report it and see if they have a solution. ive been waiting on a new bios update tosee if it sorts it.

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  • Brian Talbot

    some other problems too here http://arena.cevo.com/forums/topic/12765/hardware/aurora-r4-problem/?quote=328408&who=krishnooof

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  • Clappers

    Do not buy ALIENWARE AURORA R4!
    I bought one of these 5 months ago, never had so many problems with a computer. Multiple blue screens of death. Couldn’t play any games. It was unbearable. The tech support staff was nice and they tryed to fix the problem. but they couldn’t. I finaly got a complete refund, and bought a custom build from NCIX. Very satisfied with my new one. Dell does have exelent service, but the product was just not up to par.

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  • Marvin

    I want to give a little background First,

    I am a systems administrator by trade. I’ve worked with computers all my life. I have built and rebuilt more then my fair share of computers with various components across the board. I can say with at least some fair confidence that I work with computers as more then just a hobby. For me the PC Master Race is more then just my enjoyment it’s my livelihood.

    About a year ago I decided to go with an Alienware computer for a number of reasons

    1.I was employed and wanted to build my credit, but did not have enough money to buy individual parts. So I figured getting one of Alienware’s higher end computers on Credit would be a good way to get a new computer and build my credit

    2.I had worked with Dell on countless things at a corperate level and thought to myself that there was /no/ way that the horror stories I heard about them were all true. It was just uniformed “PC Gamerz” who knew only what the goofy websites they read told them and had never actually worked with hardware / software / whatever else

    3.I was sure that a company as big as Alienware with as much backing as it had did countless test on their hardware and built their computers with a sense of pride for gamers and the like and were more then just “Cool LED’s” that the hardware had to have a basis in heat testing and the like.

    Tonight I’m here to tell you that no… none of that is true, Alienware is the horrible company you’ve all come to know and hate. I wanted to believe that all the talk, all the years were just built up misguided opinions.

    So I bought an Alienware Aurora R4 with an OEM version of the Radeon 7990, which was supposed to be a decent card. A 4930k Which is supposed to be a nicely overclockable 4930. 16 Gigs of Ram and a Nice 256GB SSD. I expected that this computer would last me more then a few years so the admittedly even with company discount gross amounts of money that I allowed myself to spend would be worth it….

    At this time I have (Under the 1 Year Warranty) had the Video Card Replaced 3 Times, the Motherboard, Hard Drive, and Ram all replaced at least once. Spent countless hours on the phone with Alienware support attempting to express my frustrations at having a machine that cost me upward of 3,000$ Blue Screening on things as simple as HTML 5 and Flash videos, unable to play World of Warcraft.

    You see…. the Video Card overheats, and I don’t just mean “Oh man that’s hot” I mean it’s sitting at 90C when Idle or simply playing a game like WoW. It sits at 84 – 80C when it’s generally just doing not much of anything, and the best part is the Fan refuses to spin up above 50% during all of this. Oh now don’t get me wrong, the liquid cooling on the processor works great… but any company making a Gaming Computer should know VERY well that the Graphics Card is the /worst/ heat source in the box.

    So I have reinstalled the OS, had Alienware technicians in my house (even though I’m certified to swap out Dell parts), had their Costa Rican Call Center Agents on the phone with me for hours at a time running the same test over and over again to show me that the Graphics card works just fine (Despite me showing them the BlueScreenViewer of it not being ok at all).

    Despite having a ticket open since febuary I can’t seem to get past the level 1 Agents to yell at someone, and good luck trying to find out who’s /actually/ responsible for the company. So after Countless hardware swaps with promises that the Card, the Driver software, and the likes wasn’t the problem, assurances that if we just reformatted my OS one more time and downgraded the drivers that maybe just maybe things would be fixed.

    Of course none of this is the actual problem, you see Alienware put this lovely little piece of plastic to cover the Video Card, and a huge case Cover that so far as I can tell has NO Heat dissipation in at all. On top of the card’s already worrisome performance and refusal to step up it’s fan above 50% without manual control in the name of “Quiet” it will overheat constantly.

    Even the most basic of heat testing during engineering would have seen this in a moment, realized that the Card’s air ventilation was primarily to it’s side and NOT out the back because the card is a /very/ long Crossfired Device so it can’t shove all it’s heat out the back. So… once I pulled off the cover, pulled away Alienwares stupid plastic Bit, and forcefully pumped the card up to running at 100% whenever I’m playing a game it hovers around 53C which in my mind is FAR more reasonable, 60C if things are very graphically intensive.

    So the long and short of it? All this crap that you’ve seen written? All the defenses I’ve made about Aliewnare ultimately still trying make good gaming computers?

    No… They truely are shitty computers, overpriced. The Customer Service is Terrible and even now as I am pressing their Legal Department in Civil Court on a Lemon Law, almost impossible to convince that they are in the wrong. So Stick to what you know and keep building your own. You’ll be much happier for it.

    tl;dr – Build your Own Computer, a system’s admin who learned that all the negative hype had a reason.

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