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I've got a bad feeling about this, I thought to myself when I first heard that Alienware was going to build a Star Wars branded PC. The problem is that I know how much licenses like these cost, not only does my wife work in licensing, but she actually used to work in licensing for LucasFilm. Believe me, Mr Lucas knows all too well the power of his brand, and he's never likely to undervalue it. That said, if any PC company could construct a Star Wars box that looked great and could make point five past light speed, it's Alienware.
Alienware actually offers two very different Star Wars chassis, one for the Light Side and one for the Dark Side. I was briefly tempted by the Light Side version, but then I remembered that its feeble skills are no match for the power of the Dark Side. Besides, the black and red theme of the Dark Side system looks far more imposing, and let's face it, you're buying this machine as much for how it looks on the outside as what's on the inside, maybe even more so.
Now when I first saw images of these PCs I thought they looked awesome with visions of hand airbrushed imagery filling my mind. I was therefore a little disappointed when I finally got my paws on my Star Wars box and realised that the artwork is actually an adhesive sticker. That's not to say that it doesn't look great, because it does. It just loses a bit of that quality feel that I was hoping for - you know what I mean, like the feeling of walking barefoot on a silk Persian rug, or the sound of the engine catching when you turn the key in a classic carburetted Ferrari 308GTS. Of course I realise that the cost of airbrushing each case by hand would be immense and as I'm sure you already know, Alienware PCs are far from cheap in the first place.
So what I've got in front of me is a standard Aurora full tower case with Darth Vader and The Emperor on one side and Boba Fett, the Death Star and a legion of Storm Troopers on the left. The red theme is continued with the lighting and the alien head on the front door has red eyes, while an ambient red glow emanates from the silver grille at the bottom - impressive, most impressive. In fact, the Star Wars Aurora looks like it has been constructed to the same exacting standards as the Death Star - without that pesky thermal exhaust port of course.
At the front of the case at the bottom are four USB 2.0 ports - I usually say that this is the last place you'd want USB ports on a full tower case since it will probably be sitting on the floor, however, this machine is most likely going to take pride of place on your desk. Conspicuous by its absence is any form of audio connectors at the front, so you'll be fiddling around at the rear of the system to connect up your headset.
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