Alienware’s new Aurora adds transparent side panel and better airflow

Alienware celebrates 25 years in business by looking back and forward. The company announced the new Aurora, a desktop computer focused entirely on improving airflow, acoustics, and thermals using an open-air design and new component layout.

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

Alienware has hidden internal components in the past for a reason – our review of the Aurora R10 showed an unsightly blue PCB for the motherboard. The new Aurora places more emphasis on aesthetics, with black components throughout and eight lighting zones (double what was available on the R12).

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

This is not entirely true. The new case measures 23.2 inches long, 20.1 inches high and 8.86 inches wide. The width is almost the same as the Aurora R12, but the new design is 6 inches longer and 1 inch taller. However, the length usually doesn’t make a case look larger, and the extra length is in part due to the angular design of the new Aurora.

Alienware says the new case has positive implications for performance.

More space means better possibilities for air circulation. With the help of up to four 120mm fans, Alienware claims the new case is 13-16% quieter than the previous generation. Additionally, Alienware claims the new case can lower CPU temperatures by up to 3% while reducing noise by up to 15% when overclocked.

Cooler and quieter is fine, but Alienware says it has performance implications. Testing the same RTX 3090 in the new and old case design, Alienware claims it scored 5% higher in 3DMark Time Spy than the Aurora R12.

We don’t have any specs news yet, but it looks like the new Alienware Aurora will initially be available with what the R12 currently offers. This represents an Intel Core i9-11900KF processor, 128 GB of RAM and an Nvidia RTX 3090. In the future, we also expect to see models equipped with the upcoming Intel Alder Lake processors.

Alienware has yet to announce the price or release date. That said, we do know that the new Aurora comes in the same Dark Side of the Moon and Lunar Light colors as the previous models. Alienware is hosting a live broadcast at noon PT (3 p.m. ET) to celebrate its anniversary and provide a more in-depth look at the new Aurora.

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

The new Alienware Aurora shows that the company’s crazy case designs aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Now, however, it looks like these designs are better optimized for airflow to withstand the best gaming PC cases.

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