If there’s one downside to the Asus A8N32-SLi Deluxe it’s that the BIOS won’t let you change the CPU multiplier. In most cases this wouldn’t be a problem, but considering there’s an FX chip in this machine, it’s a bit of a shame. One of the big selling points of the FX series is that they’re unlocked, allowing the end user the option of overclocking. That said, there will probably be a BIOS update soon to resolve this problem and it’s not like the Aurora 7500 is slow as it is.
All four DIMM sockets on the motherboard are occupied – there are four 512MB modules for a total memory complement of 2GB. We’re definitely getting to the stage where 2GB is necessary for a high-end gaming system – titles like Battlefield 2 need as much memory as possible, even if you have a high-end CPU and graphics card. That said, considering the rest of the spec and the price of this machine I would have liked to have seen four 1GB modules in place, although you can always spec more memory at purchase if you think you’ll need it.
Complementing the cutting edge CPU are a couple of white hot graphics cards courtesy of nVidia. The 512MB GeForce 7800GTX is a lightning fast graphics solution, but when you put two of them together you’ve got a truly awesome gaming platform. The twin x16 PCI Express slots in the motherboard create the perfect home for the two 512MB 7800GTX cards, and the large heatpipe coolers on the cards keep noise down despite the performance they provide.
Talking of noise, it amazed me how quiet the Aurora 7500 is. Alienware has fitted a heatpipe Thermaltake CPU cooler to the FX-60, which is pretty quiet in operation. There’s a 60mm fan in the side panel pulling in cool air, while a large 120mm rear fan pumps the hot air out again. Non of the fans spin particularly fast so they don’t make a huge amount of noise. Alienware has also stuck sound insulation cladding to the inside of the case. Obviously when you fire up a demanding game the fans spin up, but even then the Aurora 7500 isn’t that noisy.