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Alienware celebrates 25 years with new Aurora, finally adding clear side panel

Alienware is celebrating 25 years in business by looking back and forward. The company announced the new Aurora, a desktop squarely focused on improved airflow, acoustics, and thermals by utilizing an open-air design and a new layout of components.

For most, the biggest difference is the clear side panel. Breaking from the closed design of the Alienware Aurora R10 and R12, this new design features an optional scratch-resistant clear side panel, which will be available on all Alienware Auroras.

Alienware hid the internals in the past for a reason — our Aurora R10 review showed an unsightly blue PCB for the motherboard. The new Aurora pays more mind to the aesthetics, with black components across the board and eight lighting zones (double what was available on the R12).

The new internal layout helps the visuals, too. Now, the power supply won’t cover up all of your components like it did on the R10. Alienware says there was a practical reason for changing the layout, though. The new design features around 50% more internal volume compared to the R10 and R12 “without significantly expanding the overall footprint of the chassis.”

That’s not entirely true. The new case is 23.2 inches long, 20.1 inches high, and 8.86 inches wide. The width is almost identical to the Aurora R12, but the new design is 6 inches longer and 1 inch taller. Length doesn’t usually make a case feel bigger, though, and the extra length is due in part to the new Aurora’s angular design.

Alienware says the new case has positive implications for performance.

More space means better opportunities for airflow. With the help of up to four 120mm fans, Alienware says the new case is anywhere from 13% to 16% quieter than the previous generation. In addition, Alienware says the new case can lower CPU temperatures by up to 3% while reducing noise by up to 15% when overclocked.

Cooler and quieter is great, but Alienware says that has implications for performance. Testing the same RTX 3090 in the new and old case design, Alienware says it achieved a 5% higher score in 3DMark Time Spy than the Aurora R12.

We don’t have word on specs yet, but it seems the new Alienware Aurora will initially be available with what the R12 currently offers. That is up to an Intel Core i9-11900KF CPU, 128GB of RAM, and an Nvidia RTX 3090. In the future, we expect to see models sporting Intel’s upcoming Alder Lake processors, too.

Alienware hasn’t announced the pricing or release date yet, either. That said, we know that the new Aurora is coming in the same Dark Side of the Moon and Lunar Light colors featured on previous models. Alienware is hosting a livestream at noon PT (3 p.m. ET) to celebrate its anniversary and offer a deeper look inside the new Aurora.

In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Alienware shared a slew of retro photos dating back to the first Alienware desktop released in 1996. It’s a trip down memory lane for Alienware, but also a dose of nostalgia for anyone who remembers how PC gaming was in the late ’90s and early 2000s, with loud case designs screaming on the sleeves of a local Fry’s.

The new Alienware Aurora shows that the company’s crazy case designs aren’t going anywhere soon. Now, though, it seems those designs are better optimized for airflow to hold up to the best gaming PC cases.

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Jacob Roach
Senior Staff Writer, Computing
Jacob Roach is a writer covering computing and gaming at Digital Trends. After realizing Crysis wouldn't run on a laptop, he…
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