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I've seen some pretty fast PCs pass through the TrustedReviews lab, but this system from Alienware is, without a doubt, the fastest machine ever to grace the pages of this publication. Anyone who knows Alienware will be aware that it has built its reputation on creating fast, beautifully built and downright desirable computers, and the Aurora 7500 continues that tradition.
It comes as no surprise that I'm reviewing this machine today, because at about 5am this morning AMD launched the Athlon 64 FX-60 - the fastest chip in its lineup - and that's exactly what's sitting inside the Aurora 7500. The FX-60 is, to all intents and purposes, two FX-55 chips in one package. So, what you have is two unlocked Athlon 64 cores running at 2.6GHz - a pretty formidable power source by anyone's standards. Our own review of the FX-60 shows it to be a welcome successor to the FX-57, which although clocked faster, was only a single core chip.
Alienware has made sure that the FX-60 has been surrounded by equally high-end components. The chip is sitting in an Asus A8N32-SLi Deluxe motherboard, complete with twin x16 PCI Express slots. This is a great motherboard and one that we liked when it was reviewed back in November. The chipset is cooled passively thanks to some good looking heatpipe equipped coolers - this helps keep overall system noise down to a minimum.
The Asus motherboard is stacked to the gills with features, including an external SATA port for high-speed external storage. There's integrated 7.1-channel sound complete with optical digital output, but Alienware hasn't made use of this, instead fitting a Creative X-Fi soundcard. It's definitely good to see an X-Fi card in a gaming system, allowing the user to take advantage of the latest environmental audio effects. The list of games with native X-Fi support is growing, with A-list titles like Battlefield 2 and F.E.A.R. taking advantage of Creative's new baby.