Alienware Aurora R6 review

Great gaming performance without breaking the bank

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The huge range of Alienware Aurora R6 models, which can all be customized, means performance will vary depending on what specifications you choose. However, given the options available, there’s no doubt that whatever setup you go for you’re going to have a very good gaming experience.

The CPU in the Aurora R6 we tested was an Intel Core i7-7700K. This quad-core processor may seem quaint in a world of 16-core CPUs like the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X, but it continues to be a truly excellent card – and it currently sits at the top of our best processors 2017 list. It’s an excellent chip for gaming, and it comes with plenty of overclocking prowess if you want to eke out that bit of extra power.

Our Alienware Aurora R6 also came with a GTX 1080 Ti, which for its part currently sits at the top of our best graphics cards of 2017 list. With this GPU installed the Aurora R6 will easily handle even the most demanding games at 1080p resolutions, and can even put in a good show at higher resolutions too, including 4K with a bit of tweaking.

Meanwhile, 16GB of RAM is plenty for a desktop that’s going to be used mainly for gaming.

Benchmarks

3DMark: Sky Diver: 39066; Fire Strike: 19603; Time Spy: 8018
Cinebench CPU: 968 points; Graphics: 135.95fps
GeekBench: 5176 (single-core); 16570 (multi-core)
PCMark 8 (Home Test): 4540 points
Total War: Warhammer (1080p, Ultra): 103.1fps; (1080p, Low): 264.2fps
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (1080p, Ultra): 28fps; (1080p, Low): 117.7fps

Benchmarks

In the gaming benchmark tests, the Aurora R6 did very well, achieving 28fps (frames per second) in the graphically-demanding Deus Ex: Mankind Divided test at ultra-settings, meaning you’ll get a playable experience with all the graphical bells and whistles. 

However, if you tweak a few graphical settings here and there you’ll easily surpass 30fps and even 60fps; remember, the higher the frame rate, the smoother the gameplay. 

Lowering the graphics to the lowest settings and re-running the benchmark showed just how much raw power this machine has, with it scoring a very impressive 117.7fps. It’s clear that if you use a mix of ultra and high settings, or even high and medium, you’ll get some amazing performance out of this machine.

We also ran the Total War: Warhammer benchmark. This is a game that traditionally stresses the CPU more than the GPU, so it’s a good way to measure the Intel Core i7-7700K’s performance – and sure enough our results show that the i7-7700K is still a fine CPU for gaming, with the Aurora R6 hitting 103.1fps at ultra settings.

We also got to play various games in our real-world tests, and the Alienware Aurora R6 handled everything we threw at it. It also continued to run cool and quiet – this is definitely a gaming PC you can put on your desk without worrying about noisy fans.

One thing though: after playing a number of games we swapped out the included keyboard for one of our trusted mechanical gaming keyboards. It’s nice that a keyboard is included for free, but the flat keys and their low travel left the keyboard feeling less tactile and responsive than we’d like.

We liked

The Alienware Aurora R6 has a very well thought-out design both inside and out. On the outside the machine has an impressive look, with RGB LED lighting, sharp corners, and grilles for airflow, and while it’s relatively compact compared to other gaming PCs it still has real presence.

On the inside, some canny design decisions ensure there’s a lot of power packed into the diminutive body. The price is also very reasonable for the quality of the machine you’re getting.

We didn’t like

There wasn’t much we didn’t like here. The keyboard and mouse that are included aren’t great, but it’s not a deal-breaker – they're good enough to tide users who don't already have dedicated gaming peripherals over until they buy better replacements. 

The only other issue is that the wide range of Aurora R6 configurations available on the Dell website may be confusing and overwhelming to some.

Final verdict

Like the Alienware Aurora R5, the Aurora R6 is an excellent gaming desktop for people who don’t want to spend obscene amounts of money on a completely over-the-top rig. That’s not to say it's cheap – it isn’t – but it does manage to hit the sweet spot in terms of balancing price and power.

The bespoke chassis it comes with is attractive and eye-catching without being too gaudy, and it’s compact enough to easily be placed on a desk, or even carried to LAN parties.

The flexibility Dell offers for customizing the specs of the Alienware Aurora R6 is impressive, if you don’t mind spending a bit of time researching the options. If you do, then you may find the process of buying an Aurora R6 more of a chore than with other gaming rigs that come in a single configuration (or at least very range of builds).

However, given Dell and Alienware’s well-earned reputations for build quality, and support and service if something goes wrong, the Alienware Aurora R6 is a fantastic gaming PC that’s future-proof for the next few years.