Good news, American readers: an Alienware desktop is going cheap. Yes, yes, I know pre-builds aren’t for everyone, especially when we’re all locked inside and have precious little else to do except click RAM into motherboard sockets and contemplate the best way to negotiate airflow. But for some, would you believe, that doesn’t sound like fun at all, and that’s where Alienware’s pre-built Aurora R8 desktops come in. Granted, they’re generally a bit more expensive than doing the building yourself, but this one seems like good value for a mid-ranger, and Alienware themselves claim it’s $340 less than its “estimated value.”
You be the judge. For $1070 you’re getting a 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9400 CPU, 16GB of RAM clocked at 2666MHz, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics and a 512GB solid state drive.
But because these machines are built to order, that’s just the starting point, and pretty much anything from its processor and RAM to graphics card and storage can be chopped and changed – some for a surcharge, and some completely free.
One freebie that’s worth taking advantage of is opting to halve the 512GB SSD to a 256GB model and add a 2TB HDD for a lot more storage space. After all, only you know how big and ungainly your Steam library has grown over the past few years. You may also want to consider paying an extra $70 to switch out the GTX 1660 Ti for an RTX 2060 or AMD Radeon RX 5700 to make it more of a 1440p capable gaming machine (though our pick is the former, if you’re torn).
By default you just get the desktop PC, but you can get Alienware to throw in an optical mouse and multimedia keyboard at no extra cost as well. Frankly, I’d be astonished if this wasn’t wasting both of your time, and you’re probably better served consulting our guides to the best gaming keyboard and best gaming mouse instead for something a bit more substantial.
Oh, and be sure to take off the sneaky monthly subscription premium support, unless you want to give Dell $10 a month for the rest of time.
Katharine reviewed a much higher spec of the Alienware Aurora R8 this time last year, and while the case’s small size ended up being a detriment to the Core i9-9900K / RTX 2080 Ti combo in her review sample, it’s unlikely that the $1070 model on offer here will face the same issue thanks to its less power-hungry components. As a result, if the thought of building a PC yourself fills you with dread or you’re after something a bit more powerful than our own £1000 RPS Rig build, then the Aurora R8 is well worth considering.