Alienware Aurora 7500 Review - Alienware Aurora 7500 Review

Then again there are a few odd choices in this machine, but first, let’s start with what’s good. Not surprisingly the CPU is the fastest overall CPU around – an AMD Athlon FX-60. I say overall, as a single core FX-57 has a higher clock speed at 2.8GHz, but the dual-core 2.6GHz FX-60 makes much more sense especially as more games are written to support dual-core. The FX series also has the advantage of being multiplier unlocked should you want to overclock.

This CPU is sitting in an Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe. Based on an nForce 4 chipset SLI chipset, this offers dual 16-times lanes and a 8-phase power design for performance and stability. It’s a decent board and Trusted Reviews uses it in its testbed motherboard, which is all the recommendation you need. However, it does have one major flaw, which I’ll come to later. One advantage is that it offers a heatpipe design so that there’s no noisy fan on the northbridge.

Oddly though, Alienware has supplied the 2GB of memory over four DIMMs. I really can’t understand why manufacturers do this, when they should provide it on two DIMMs. This will increase performance as the memory controller on the Athlon 64 runs at only at 2T memory timing with four DIMMs, and it also blocks upgrading to 4GB DIMMs without ditching memory. I criticised Wire2Fire for doing it, and I’m certainly going to criticise a £3,992 Alienware. A bad move.

Of course the highlight of the interior are the two nVidia GeForce 7900 GTX based graphics cards. These are from XFX and as such are clocked at an above average speeds of 665MHz for the core, and 815MHz, (1,630MHz effective) for the memory. This is an OEM only spin as the XFX cards available at retail are actually clocked even higher. If means that there could well be potential for overclocking these. The 7900 GTXs are absolute powerhouses – not quite as fast as an ATI CrossFire setup but it’s undoubtedly the more established platform. In typical fashion the cards are firmly held in place by large retainers, so even if you move this system around it’s very unlikely that anything will come loose.

The nice thing is that the coolers on that GTX cards are fairly quiet so they don’t cause too much noise. Alienware has also done well with the Thermaltake fan over the CPU heatsink and the Vantec Stealth 120mm fan at the rear. It’s baffling then why it has gone and ruined this good work by supplying a power supply from SilverStone with a very noisy fan. As a result the machine isn’t nearly as silent as it could have been. Does this system really need a 650W PSU? Perhaps a quieter 600W PSU would have been a better option.

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