Oct 09, 2023

Alienware’s Newest Desktop Design Leaves the Mothership and Heads Back Down to Earth

Alienware’s latest mid-sized tower PC looks far more like a desktop and less like something that broke off an extra-terrestrial spacecraft.

Alienware has not been the type of company to shy away from outlandish, expensive, and sometimes gaudy case designs. That being said, Alienware is trying something a little more quaint compared to previous years, as the latest in its Aurora mid-sized desktop PCs, the R16, now features a boxier design that the company said reduces the tower’s footprint while making it both cooler and quieter.

Alienware’s mid-tower desktop PC line has been straining the bounds of tower cases with more out-of-this-world looks. The Aurora line and its “Legend 2” silhouette had become the epitome of this design philosophy. The entire case was angled up like a howitzer and it featured a large, floating LED oval eye in front.

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By comparison, the Aurora R16 is far more constrained and compact than earlier iterations. It’s shorter, and now measures only 16.5 inches tall compared to past versions’ over-20 inches. This so-called “Legend 3” design has seen a return of the traditional square shape so it will fit in amid the other mid-sized towers.

There’s still the optional see-through plastic panel to look into the machine’s guts, but it now far more resembles an actual PC tower, with only a single glowing LED “Stadium” lighting loop found circling the primary vent on the case. There are additional airflow vents on the side and top, and Alienware claimed it’s done some better cable management to improve the desktop’s airflow.

There are some added benefits to this design, at least according to Alienware. The company said this “streamlined” latest case is a 40% decrease in total volume compared to the R15, so more people can actually fit it under their desk. The Aurora 16 should also be 20% quieter and run 6% cooler on the GPU than previously, according to the company.

As far as actual components, the R16 comes with options from Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 40 Series and either the 12th or 13th gen Intel processors. There are options for either 64GB of 5200 MT/s DDR 5 or 32GB of 5600 MT/s DDR5 RAM. The rig can come with up to 8 TB of SSD storage (through two, 4 TB drives) and another optional 1TB of hard drive storage. And if you already couldn’t guess, this is a Windows 11 PC.

The case also comes with the new Commander Center 6 dashboard to change out the lighting strip color, as well as monitor and customize the internal thermal profiles. Over time, Alienware said it will come out with newer GPU and CPU options for supposedly beefier cards. Considering some version of the RTX 4090 are around 6.4 inches wide, that’s going to be a lot of real estate for a case that’s stated width is just 7.76 inches

The Aurora R16 should be available from Dell starting Thursday for $1,750. The unit contains a 13th Gen Intel Core i7 and a GeForce RTX 4070 GPU. Supposedly, we’ll see more versions in the future with different pricing points.

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