Alienware has gone all-out with some pimpin' refreshes to both the design and the technology of its high-end Aurora gaming desktops. A new angular look replaces the familiar rounded alien-head shape of the old models, and eye-popping features such as motorised air vents and a specialised hard-drive layout give Alienware some unique selling points.
The most interesting feature of the new case is the motorised air vents that Alienware calls its Active Venting louver system. As Alienware describes it, when the temperature inside the case reaches a certain level, the fins on the top of the case will open up automatically to increase its airflow. We have a hunch Alienware wasn't exactly aiming for subtlety when it dreamed up this theatrical venting system.
Rather than inserting the drives into the main cavity, Alienware has carved out a series of six flat-lying drive bays. The benefits of this design are more apparent than the venting system, in that it lets you add more internal storage than you could normally, allows for easy drive installation, and also frees up room for airflow inside the main case compartment. No other vendor we know of offers such a design.
Specs for the Intel X58 chipset-based Aurora ALX include CPUs up to and including Intel's Core i7 Extreme Edition chips, Nvidia SLI and ATI Crossfire multigraphics card support, up to 24GB of DDR3 SDRAM (although only 6GB is currently available in the customise options), as well as graphics cards from Nvidia.
The non-ALX Aurora has reduced overclocking options and slower RAM, but oddly, more RAM options at the moment -- up to 12GB of 1,333MHz memory. Prices for the Aurora start at £1,099 and the Aurora ALX at £1,899, with both available now from Dell's Alienware UK Web site.