Alienware Aurora R16 sitting on a desk.

Alienware has a distinct style that certainly attracts potential buyers all on its own. But if you’ve already decided on Alienware as a brand for your next gaming PC, that makes the choice fairly simple, as Alienware has cleaned up its lineup quite a bit and now sells only the Aurora R16 and R15.

The newer offering, the Aurora R16, which was launched earlier this year, is our pick of the best Alienware gaming PC that you should buy today.

One of the biggest reasons for choosing the Aurora R16 is the redesigned chassis. It isn’t as flashy as the previous-generation models, but that is actually a good thing. Gone are the large plastic bits covering the entire frame, making for a cleaner and more refined look. It is also way more compact, without compromising on the components that go inside. It looks and feels a lot like a regular gaming desktop, which should appeal more to the masses. The chassis is 8 inches deep, 16.5 inches tall, and about 8 inches wide, while the large air intake on the front is surrounded by Alienware’s Stadium Lighting, which looks like a neat light bar. Other RGB elements include the Alienware logo power button and the rear exhaust fan.

The side panel is made out of acrylic instead of tempered glass and offers a clear view of the internals. Notably, the bottom half of the side panel is tinted. By doing this, the company has managed to hide all the cable mess below. The lower portion of the side panel also includes a honeycomb pattern with mesh perforations, allowing the system (especially the GPU) to pull in fresh air. Even the top has ventilation, something that the previous models struggled with. Alienware also offers the desktop with an air-cooled CPU and a solid side panel, if that’s something you prefer.

Alienware Aurora R16 sitting on desk
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Aurora R16 represents more than just a substantial design shift for Alienware; it also introduces a reduction in price. The starting configuration is priced at $1,300, offering an Intel Core i7-13700F, an RTX 4060, 16GB of DDR5 RAM, and a 1TB NVMe SSD. However, the options for customization are extensive. At the high end, you can elevate your experience with an Intel Core i9-13900F, Nvidia RTX 4090, 64GB of DDR5-5200 RAM, and an 8TB storage solution for $4,980.

While there are multiple configurations to choose from, we recommend going for an Intel Core i7-13700F, RTX 4070, 32GB of DDR5-5600, and 1TB of NVMe storage, paired with a 1,000-watt PSU, 240mm all-in-one liquid cooler, and a clear side panel. The configuration should cost around $1,750, which is a very competitive price compared to the Lenovo Legion Tower 5i.

Memory, M.2 storage, Wi-Fi and other internal components of the Alienware Aurora R16.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Getting to the internals is a lot simpler too. There’s now a single screw on the back and a tab that easily pops off the side panel. You still get a proprietary Alienware motherboard, along with a thin power supply, making them non-user upgradable. One can, however, swap or add more storage using the two M.2 slots, as well as a 2.5-inch SSD or 3.5-inch HDD. Other than that, you can replace the Wi-Fi card and potentially upgrade to a 14th-gen Intel Raptor Lake refresh CPU, since the motherboard comes with an LGA1700 socket.

Depending on the configuration, you can get plenty of performance from the Aurora R16. Having said that, this year Alienware has opted to use non-K Intel CPU models. Not only do they lack the capability of overclocking, but the chips have been tuned slightly lower to ensure better thermals and fan noise. While it may not be a significant concern for gamers, it holds more weight for users seeking a balance between productivity and gaming performance. During our testing of the Aurora 16, we found that the Core i7-13700F was a little slower than the K model inside the Dell XPS Desktop 8960.

The Alienware Aurora R16 with the side panel removed.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

You can expect excellent gaming results on the Aurora R16. With the above recommended configuration (Intel Core i7-13700F with RTX 4070), the system is capable of handling most games at 4K resolution and ultra graphics settings at 60 frames per second (fps). It even managed to score very close to a custom RTX 4070 desktop with AMD’s Ryzen 9 7950X in 3DMark benchmark tests.

For most gamers, the Alienware Aurora R16 should offer an impeccable gaming experience. Just make sure you choose the right configuration based on your use case. You can still opt for the Aurora R15 with the latest hardware, including the option of unlocked Intel CPUs, but in our experience, the older chassis design is not really worth spending extra money on.

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