HomeTechnologyAlienware’s new Aurora R16...

Alienware’s new Aurora R16 desktop sheds gobs of plastic for a 40 percent smaller build

Alienware has clearly heard the feedback. Its prebuilt Aurora desktop PC needs work, particularly in the cooling department. So the new Alienware Aurora R16 is laser-focused on fixing that — to the point the company is largely ditching its trademark out-of-this-world look.

The new Aurora R16 has largely the same basic steel chassis inside, with the same 25.2 liters of space for your components. But its boxy new design ditches multiple pounds of plastic to make the entire computer 40 percent smaller in volume — shrinking all the way down from 60.7 liters to 36 liters in total.

Alienware R15 vs. Alienware R16. They have the same internal volume.
Image: Alienware

The goal of not being “impeded by plastics” was specifically for increased airflow, Alienware told journalists.

The new R16’s layout. Blue tabs mean toolless removal.
Image: Alienware

The result is “up to” 10 percent lower CPU and 6 percent lower GPU temperatures, and a 20 percent quieter system on average. It’s the quietest Aurora that the company has ever built, says long-time Alienware vet Eddy Goyanes.

Suit of armor not included.
Image: Alienware

The PC now pulls its air in through the “Stadium Loop”: large looped vents on both sides of the front of the rig, with a single 120mm intake fan behind them. The window-side of the loop is covered in 44 distinct LEDs for lighting, one of three RGB LED zones in the computer. (The 120mm rear exhuast fan and the alienhead logo in the front also have RGB LEDs inside; there’s also an optional 240mm liquid cooling radiator with twin 120mm fans up top. The other side of the PC has no lighting.)

The side of the chassis is also covered in hexagonal vents, the front of which it expects to intake air, while the rear ones exhaust it too — likely depending on your GPU.

An image illustrating the Aurora R16’s cooling with wavy lines showing where the air goes in and comes out.
Image: Alienware

The new R16 comes standard with Intel AX210 Wi-Fi 6E, a 500W 80+ Platinum power supply and 12-phase voltage regulation, and two memory slots and two M.2 SSD slots for up to 64GB of DDR5-5600 RAM and up to 8TB of PCIe Gen 4 storage. (Aftermarket storage and memory prices are currently at historic lows, by the by.)

You can fit a 3.5mm spinning hard drive in there as well. There’s also an optional 1000W 80+ Platinum power supply depending on your CPU and GPU.

Here’s what the default air cooling will look like.
Image: Alienware

The 33.8 pound (maximum weight) chassis also has quite a few ports: just around front is a USB-C port running at 10Gbps, three 5Gbps USB-A ports and a 3.5mm headset jack, and the rear offers a 20Gbps USB-C port, a 10Gbps USB-C port, two 5Gbps USB-A ports, and a pair of USB 2.0 ports as well as 2.5Gbps ethernet and an array of audio out.

There’s no cover for the front ports — they’re merely recessed.
Image: Alienware

Proprietary motherboard has lots of USB and audio ports. Also 2.5Gbps ethernet.
Image: Alienware

It’s available today starting at $1,750 in the United States (or $2300 CAD in Canada) with an air-cooled Core i7 13700F and Nvidia RTX 4070 graphics. You won’t get much higher in the GPU department for a bit: Asia and Europe can start with a RTX 3050 or upgrade to a RTX 4080 if you like, but in the United States the only other GPU option is the RTX 4070 Ti until later in the year. A 13th Gen i9 13900F is also available, though, and the company says the R16 will become its most powerful desktop by the end of the year.

Also missing from this new model is proper upgradability: the power supply and Z690 motherboard are still proprietary. Alienware lead Matt McGowan tells me that’s down to focus and time: “It was more efficient for us to move forward with this architecture and iterate on that than it was for us to completely redesign the product.”

Liquid cooling does not come standard, but those neat honeycomb vents do.
Image: Alienware

McGowan told journalists the team iterated around the previous-gen Alienware R15 to focus on space savings, complexity, and airflow before it potentially considers upgradability for future models — but no promises there. “We’ve obviously talked about how much upgradability we want to have with this product given all the other advantages it provides,” he says.

The company’s also not commenting on whether it will offer an AMD version of the R16. “We’re looking at that for future roadmap but not commenting on that at this time.”

A better look at the liquid cooling module.
Image: Alienware

One loop is RGB-lit, the other is not.
Image: Alienware

Wi-Fi antenna.
Image: Alienware

Cable management.
Image: Alienware

A last look.
Image: Alienware

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