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Alienware Aurora 5500 - Alienware Aurora 5500 Gaming PC
The motherboard is from Asus in the shape of the A8N-SLI Deluxe, which as the name suggests is an SLI motherboard. However, there is only one graphics card installed, although for most this is going to be more than plenty as it’s a 7800 GTX card from XFX. Having a second slot as an upgrade path is great, but I have to point out one major flaw of the Aurora 5500 here and that is the PSU.
Normally I wouldn’t complain about a 460W PSU, but if you were to add a second 7800 GTX card you would require two PCI Express power connectors. However, the Enermax PSU is rather old and doesn’t have any. Alienware has used an adaptor for the current graphics card, but it’s impossible to fit a second one using this PSU as there aren’t enough spare power connectors for another one - something of a flaw in a supposedly SLI ready system. Also worth mentioning is the fact that nVidia recommends 500W PSUs for dual graphics cards, although depending on your system configuration you could get away with less, so 460W might still be good enough.
The hard drive is a 200GB SATA unit from Western Digital with 16Mb of cache while the optical drive is an NEC ND-3540 DVD writer which you can find a full review of here. Apart from this there’s very little to mention apart from the 7.1-channel AC97 audio courtesy of the Asus motherboard.
I’m not overly keen on the internal workings of the case either. Let’s start with the good. The rear 120mm fan is definitely a good thing and both of the case fans are low noise models from Vantec. There’s also room to fit another three hard drives – all cooled by the front mounted fan.
However, it seems like a lot of space has been wasted inside the case. The lower part of the case consists of what seems to be a support for the hard drive cage. The hard drive cage protrudes quite far inside the case as the cooling fan takes up quite a lot of space. This means that if you upgrade to a longer graphics card in the future, this won’t fit as there is not a lot of space between the graphics card and the hard drive cage.
On the upside, you won’t need a screwdriver to fit any new expansion cards thanks to a screwless mechanism that consists of a small lever for each rear slot. The only card fitted is the graphics card and no rear brackets have been installed. However, Alienware has supplied all of the motherboard accessories in the box, so if you want to use any of the extra brackets these can be installed at your leisure.