A known fact is that Dell’s Alienware series of gaming rigs are meant for serious gamers and enthusiasts. Not too long ago, we tested one of the most powerful machines, the Alienware Aurora gaming PC, which was quite powerful and offered very good gaming experience, click here to see the full review . However if you thought that the Aurora was fabulous, think again.
Today we have with us an even more powerful variant, the Alienware Aurora ALX, yes, the one with motorized vents on top of the tower. Now, the design of this machine is almost identical to the previous Aurora gaming rig we tested, expect for the presence of active vents. The entire cabinet is plastic and black in color, except for the stylized translucent acrylic strip at either side that have LED lights behind them. Click here to read in detail about the design of this machine.
Calling this machine feature-rich would be a sheer understatement, it’s too powerful to be called just a gaming rig. When it comes to gaming and performance machines, it’s the hardware that makes all the difference. Built around an Intel X58 chispet, the Aurora ALX is powered by an Intel Core i7 Extreme 980X processor, which has six cores, is clocked at 3.33 GHz and has 12 MB L3 cache.
With a hyperthreaded CPU running six cores and 12 threads simultaneously at 3.33 GHz, you can imagine the kind of performance this machine would offer. For the record, the Alienware Aurora ALX is by the far the most powerful machine we’ve tested till date, not only in terms of processing power but also the graphics.
Speaking of which, there are two ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics cards, in CrossFire, and each of them have 2 DVI ports, an HDMI and a display port. Now these cards, along with the rest of the hardware, seamlessly handle the most demanding games at maxed out settings. Before we start raving about how brilliant the gaming experience is, let’s first take a quick look at the rest of the hardware.
Equipped with a whopping 24 GB RAM (a very rare scenario) the machine has two 320 GB hard drives. The latter is something meager to have in such a powerful machine, as in they might as well could have thrown in atleast two 500 GB drives. Onward, on the front panel you’ll see a series of memory card readers for different formats and a Blu-ray combo drive, so if you’re connecting an HDTV to the machine, it could double up as an HTPC, a very expensive one of course.
At the back of the machine, the ports of the motherboard include 7 USB ports (out of which, one is USB3), an Ethernet jack, six audio jacks and optical out. The machine even has a Kensington lock slot, not that someone can easily just carry the machine. Finally the rig comes pre-loaded with Windows 7 Ultimate.
Let’s get to the point here shall we! So what does one expect out of a machine like this one? You want to be able to play any game, no matter how heavy it is, at maxed out settings and you want the best gaming and multimedia experience possible.
Now, as far as the graphics is concerned, you can throw any game at this machine and it will run very smoothly. However, to experience that level of true-to-life gameplay, you need a very good full-HD monitor or TV. We connected an HDTV and a set of high-end speakers, the experience was simply awesome, for HD movies as well as for games.
As far as the processing is concerned, name an application, be it video/audio encoding and editing, photo-editing suites, design software, anything, this rig will chew on it like it’s a jujube and spit it out before you even know it. Basically, it is one powerful machine, you don’t want to underestimate. Take a look at the table of scores, you’ll know what we’re talking about.
Gameplay and effects
Taking the example of Crysis Warhead, let’s talk about the gameplay and how good (or bad) it is. We ran the Crysis benchmark over and over at different settings and the one thing we noticed was that, although the frame rates fell as the settings got more intense, the effects were more and more realistic. However, even in the Enthusiast mode with 8X AA, the machine seamlessly churned 40 fps. Now, that’s really something. So basically the game play is very smooth no matter how high the settings are.
Here’s the best part, when we usually test this game at higher settings, these effects do show up to some extent, but the frame rates get compromised, in effect it becomes impossible to play at 18 or 23 fps. But in this machine, the game play is superb even at maxed out settings and with 8X AA switched on.
A step further
After we finished the testing processes, it was time to take things to another level, so went to the BIOS settings and did, you know what. That’s right; we increased the multiplier for all six cores to get higher clock speeds. The default multiplier being 25, the default clockspeed was 3.33 GHz, which increased as we gradually increased the multiplier.
With a multiplier of 32, the PC froze, but at 31 we got the highest clockspeed of about 4.14 GHz. Now there was slight difference in performance after overclocking, where the tasks like video encoding and file compression were faster by three or four seconds. Even the gaming scores were higher by a couple of frames per second, but there was no considerable difference.
The truth is that an ultra high-end gaming rig doesn’t need such a powerful CPU for gaming, and the price of this machine has shot up because overall, it uses ultra-high end hardware. So essentially, it isn’t just a ‘high-end gaming machine’, but it is overall a very powerful computer, which has fantastic gaming capabilities.
- Chipset: Intel X58
- Processor: Intel Core i7 Extreme 980X, 3.33 GHz, 12MB L3 Cache, 6 Cores
- RAM: DDR3 24 GB
- Hard drive: 2 x 320 GB
- Graphics: 2 x ATI Radeon HD 5870 (CrossFire)
- Optical Drive: Blue-ray / DVD combo drive
- Ethernet: Gigabit
- Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
- Price: Rs 3,00,000 (approximately)
|Processor||Intel Core i7|
|Display Size||21.5 inch,|
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Published Date: Oct 22, 2010 06:11 pm | Updated Date: Oct 22, 2010 06:11 pm