A new Alienware gaming PC has landed, and I can’t get over the shape

Alienware Aurora R16 on desk with orange LEDs and person on left playing Lords of the Fallen
(Image credit: Dell)

Dell just launched the Alienware Aurora R16, and the company’s latest gaming PC looks surprisingly normal. Not only does the rig’s case feature an almost traditional cuboid design, but it takes up less space than its R15 predecessor and allegedly makes less of a racket. You could say this is the most down to earth Alienware system yet, but it still packs all the high end specs you’d expect from a PC with space age vibes.

There’s a good reason why budding PC gamers are drawn to the best Alienware gaming PCs out there, but I’ve always found Dell’s case designs a little obnoxious. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen worse cases in my time, especially at LAN events around 13 years ago. However, Aurora builds like the R15 feel needlessly chonky, and its curves are arguably ageing like milk in terms of setup gaming PC aesthetics. 

Thankfully, the Alienware Aurora R16 looks to go back to basics in terms of shape, and I’m totally on board with the philosophy behind this build. In a press briefing, Dell revealed that the new 2023 rig will reduce total case volume by 40%, all while maintaining the same internal space. This fact hammers home how much extra, needless bulk was strapped onto the R15 in the first place, especially since the R16 is still a 25.2L system.

Side views of Alienware R15 and R16 gaming PCs side by side with white backdrop

(Image credit: Dell)

In addition to the volume reduction, Dell says Alienware Aurora R16 is 20% quieter and maintains cooler CPU and GPU temps thanks to the new design. We’re still talking about a similar AIO cooler setup as the R15, but subtle changes to airflow channelling appear to make all the difference. The R16 even still has that glowing ‘AlienFX stadium loop’ for air intake, which feeds from the side of the case to a 120mm fan at the front.

As for specs, the Aurora R16 is undeniably top of the line, armed with your choice of the best graphics cards by Nvidia and 13th gen Intel CPU. The base model comes in at $1,749 and is rocking an Nvidia RTX 4070 paired with Intel Core i7-13700F, but you can max things out with an RTX 4080 and a top of the line Core i9-13900F. You’ll also be able to opt for up to 64GB RAM and dual drive storage options include two 4TB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD or a 1TB SATA hard drive. 

Closeup of R16 Alienware badge with blue LED backlighting

(Image credit: Dell)

 Are absurd Alienware designs gone for good?

The R16 looks to be a huge turning point for Dell’s Alienware approach, but there’s a chance that oddball designs could return in the future. During the press briefing, the company’s PC Gaming Lead Matt McGowan revealed that “new and radical” system designs are already in the works, meaning the traditional cuboid R16 system might just be temporary. Not that I think we’ll necessarily end up with a spherical R17 that’ll roll off your gaming desk, but I hope Dell sticks with its new approach of removing needless case heft. 

We’ll hopefully be able to share an R16 benchmarks with you soon, and we’ve got an Alienware Aurora R15 review for you to check out in the meantime. That latter closer look should help you decide whether to opt for the subtle new build or pick up the older system with that infamous bulky case. I mean, some of you out there might actually prefer the old design, and we’re not going to dunk on you for your personal preferences. The biggie, at least for me, will be whether the redesign is easier to upgrade, as I have a sneaking suspicion that proprietary parts will still serve as a burden.

The Alienware Aurora R16 officially launches August 3, but we're still waiting for stock to hit Dell's storefront. For now, why not take a peek at the best Alienware gaming PC deals available now, as you could save a few pennies on a previous version.

Looking for something portable? Check out the best gaming laptops for a collection of great mobile rigs. We've also got you covered when it comes to the best gaming monitors, as your rig deserves a spectacular screen to go with.

Phil Hayton
Hardware Editor

I’ve been messing around with PCs, video game consoles, and tech since before I could speak. Don’t get me wrong, I kickstarted my relationship with technology by jamming a Hot Wheels double-decker bus into my parent’s VCR, but we all have to start somewhere. I even somehow managed to become a walking, talking buyer’s guide at my teenage supermarket job, which helped me accept my career fate. So, rather than try to realise my musician dreams, or see out my University degree, I started running my own retro pop culture site and writing about video games and tech for the likes of TechRadar, The Daily Star, and the BBC before eventually ending up with a job covering graphics card shenanigans at PCGamesN. Now, I’m your friendly neighbourhood Hardware Editor at GamesRadar, and it’s my job to make sure you can kick butt in all your favourite games using the best gaming hardware, whether you’re a sucker for handhelds like the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch or a hardcore gaming PC enthusiast.