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Alienware Aurora R8 Review: A Compact RTX Gaming Powerhouse

Dell-Alienware's Aurora gaming desktop PC lineage continues with the latest 9th Gen Intel Core processors and a fresh injection of ray-tracing courtesy of NVIDIA's Turing GPUs. The Alienware Aurora R8 promises richer image quality for ray-tracing supported titles while continuing to push performance boundaries for a compact gaming PC with evermore powerful platform hardware and self-contained liquid cooling.

alienware aurora r8 three quarters view

RTX equipped configurations can span from an Intel Core i7-9700K paired with a GeForce RTX 2070OC, 16GB of DDR4 2666MHz RAM, and a 128GB SATA SSD + 2TB HDD system for around $2,159, on up to a Core i9-9900K with a GeForce RTX 2080Ti OC (or dual GeForce RTX 2080's), 64GB of HyperX DDR4 3200MHz RAM, and a 2TB NVMe SSD + 2TB HDD fully-loaded powerhouse for a wallet-busting $5,500 and change. All of these configurations include Alienware's high performance liquid cooling for the processor. GPU liquid cooling is reserved for its bigger sibling, the Area-51, however.

alienware aurora r8 cpu cooler

Alienware delivered our review unit to the lab a few weeks ago and we have been running it through its paces ever since. The test unit weighs in much closer to the base model at $3014.99. It is fueled with a Core i7-9700K, a single GeForce RTX 2080 OC, 32GB of HyperX's DDR4 2933MHZ RAM, a 512GB M.2 PCIe NMVe SSD + 2TB HDD for storage, and Killer's 1535 802.11ac 2x2 Wireless LAN. This represents a respectably balanced system for buyers seeking a well-rounded, high-performance gaming PC. Check out the full specifications below...

Alienware Aurora R8
Processor Intel Core i7-9700K 8-Core/8-Thread 3.6GHz (Max Turbo 4.9GHz)
OS Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 OC 8GB GDDR6
Storage 512GB NVMe M.2 SSD
Memory 32GB HyperX DDR4-2933MHz Dual Channel
Power Supply Alienware 850W Multi-GPU Approved PSU
Networking Killer 1535 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi + Killer 2500 Gigabit LAN
Ports: Front 3x USB-A 3.0 (5Gbps)
1x USB-C 3.0 (5Gbps)
1x Headphone Jack
1x Microphone Jack
Ports: Rear 5x USB-A 2.0
3x USB-A 3.0 (5Gbps)
1x USB-A 3.1 (10Gbps)
1x USB-C 3.1 (10Gbps)
1x DisplayPort
1x RJ-45 Killer Gigabit Ethernet
1x SPDIF Digital Output (Coax)
1x SPDIF Digital Output (TOSLINK)
1x Rear L/R Surround
Monitor Dell UltraSharp U3219Q 4K USB-C (Sold Separately, $849)
Weight 32.67 pounds (14.819 kg)
Dimensions 18.6" x 8.35" x 14.19" H x W x D (472.52 x 212 x 360.5 mm)
Warranty 1-year limited
Price Starting at $2159.99 ($3014.99 as configured)

While gamers are the natural primary audience for a system like this, the Aurora also makes a strong proposal for creative professionals. Video and photo editing, CAD modeling, neural network programming, and more workflows all benefit from the same high-end hardware gamers want. Users who pull double duty will get all the more value out of a premium system like this one.

Dell UltraSharp U3219Q

alienware aurora r8 full system

The Aurora R8 did not arrive alone, Dell also shipped over their UltraSharp U3219Q 4K USB-C monitor to provide the best experience. As is the case with other UltraSharp monitors, this one arrives factory calibrated, with 99% sRGB coverage, and also touts VESA certified DisplayHDR 400 for HDR playback support.

alienware aurora r8 u3219q rear

Its narrow bezels, high resolution, color accuracy and expansive size makes it a compelling option for photo and video editing in particular.

alienware aurora r8 u3219q usb c

The USB-C cable cleans up the desk by driving both the display itself and the integrated USB hub. The connection works perfectly using the Type-C connector on the RTX 2080 in the Aurora R8. The U3219Q also has DisplayPort, HDMI, and a USB 3.0 Type-B uplink for use as needed with "legacy" equipment.

alienware aurora r8 u3219q ports

The U3219Q does not come cheap at around $850, but it does deliver unquestionably professional results. If you are in the market for pure gaming, however, a 1080p or 1440p panel with a high refresh rate and adaptive sync is probably the better course of action.

Enough about the display, let's check out the rig...

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