Feeds

The Alienware Aurora ALX has arrived on Earth

The desktop that weighs more than a fridge

Security for virtualized datacentres

Review In a month when laptops outsold desktops for the first time, it's a brave move to launch a desktop that weighs more than your fridge.

The Alienware Aurora ALX is a no-compromises gaming PC which turns up in a box the size of a Marshall 4x12 with a box of accessories the size of a Marshall amp. Just in case I'm not being clear enough here – this thing is huge.

Img_1328Standing alongside my humble G5 the ALX also chucks out an astounding amount of noise: The cooling solution within it is served by the two expected fans on the back of the case plus a further two, even bigger ones, blowing through the vents at the top.

If you're playing Doom3 with a suitable pair of speakers attached to the Creative sound card you probably won't notice it, but this is certainly the noisiest computer I've ever heard and you definitely wouldn't use it, for example, in an audio recording environment.

Theoretically, you could always quieten the unit by disabling one or more fans - there are controllers for the various fans sited, significantly, next to the temperature monitor, which rather discouraged me from messing with them!

The casing is also a pretty subjective thing. One visitor described it as the ugliest computer she'd ever seen, whereas I personally really liked the whole Sky Captain future-retro aesthetic.

Certainly, with the machine powered up and glowing blue from within and the temperature monitor LEDs  shimmering away this is a computer that makes a statement, and the statement is:"I love computer gaming, I've got a good deal of money to spend on it, and I haven't got the time to mess about building my own PC."
Img_1324You certainly could build a comparable gaming workstation and save yourself some cash, but I want to stress that this thing is the Ferrari of computer games. From the minute you put the key in the lock (really!) to start it up every aspect of the ALX radiates power and quality.

The front panel, behind the trademark Alienware door, features a DVD rewriter, a multi card reader, and even a floppy drive. There are four front-sited USBs and a further four on the back for specialised controllers, and so on.

The previously mentioned temperature monitor is visible all the time and averages around 42°C in normal use (although tests were run on probably the hottest day of the year!). Bearing in mind the twin 256MB Geforce 7900s that seemed a pretty moderate working temp.

I downloaded a selection of recent shooters (DOOM3, Half-Life 2, and Prey) and gameplay was, as you might reasonably expect, smooth and immersive with faultless graphics.

There was 2GB of system RAM on the test unit and Windows XP Pro (SP2) ran beautifully on the Athlon 64 FX-60 Dual-core. Tasks in basic apps like Office ran too quickly to even measure properly.

Img_1327The included Logitech keyboard and Razer Diamondback mouse enhanced the overall feeling of quality and attention to detail.

For some reason you also get a briefcase and a really large polo shirt, which would probably fit the only man capable of dragging this monster along to a LAN party. As long as you have the space, the budget, and the need for this kind of PC overkill, the Alienware ALX is pretty much a dream purchase.

The rest of us will just have to limp along with our Frankenstein hand-builds until we finally get some sponsorship for our call of duty clan. ®

Other stories

Sony Micro Vault Tiny Arrives in Europe
Vodafone/Sony Ericsson V630i review
Who will Apple choose? Blu-ray or HD-DVD?
New Vodafone Simply noddy phone reviewed
Ricky Gervais' World Cup vid

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
Adorkable overshare of words like photobomb in this year's dictionaries
And hipsters are finally defined as self-loathing. Sort of
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.