Performance wise this machine is definitely fast – ok, so it won’t do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, but it’s still pretty nifty. If Half-Life 2 is your game, you’re going to be getting frame rates over 60fps all the way up to 1,600 x 1,200 with 4x FSAA enabled, although it drops to 56fps once you pile 8x AF on top of that. But to be honest, 1,280 x 1,024 seems to be the sweet spot, with both 4x FSAA and 8x AF enabled – at this setting you’re looking at silky smooth frame rates while still enjoying some sweet image quality enhancements.
However, if you want to enjoy some of those Shader Model 3.0 goodies that nVidia keeps singing about, it’s a slightly different story. Firing up HDR lighting has a serious negative effect on frame rates, and it really makes you realise how badly you want SLi, or at least a GeForce 7800GTX in the x16 PCI Express slot. As I’ve already mentioned, do yourself a favour and go for the graphics upgrade at point of purchase, you won’t be sorry.
Talking of purchase, I guess I have to cover the subject of price at some point, so here goes. Configuring a machine exactly like the one I have here on the Alienware website results in an astronomical price of £2,715.42. I’m not going to compare that price to the cost of the base components, because this system really is more than the sum of its parts. However, a similarly specced non-Star Wars Aurora will cost you £200 less, so the artwork and Windows skin don’t come cheap. Well, to be fair it’s not just the artwork and the Windows skin, you also get free membership to the Star Wars fan club, although I can’t help thinking that if you’re enough of a fan to buy a PC like this, you’d probably already be a member.
Ultimately though, you either want a super-cool Star Wars computer or you don’t, and if you do the extra cash is going to be a small price to pay in order to realise your dream. And don’t forget that Alienware is an aspirational brand that’s targeting buyers who want a super-fast, beautifully built PC, but don’t have the time, skills or inclination exhibited by the guys over on our sister site Bit-Tech.net. The guy who’s going to buy this machine is a hardcore Star Wars fan who wants a seriously cool machine to show off to all his mates when they come round. For that man, the look on their faces will more than justify the price.
The Alienware Aurora Star Wars Edition is a truly stunning computer. It looks fantastic on the outside and the build quality on the inside is nothing short of staggering. The only downside is the price, and it’s a pretty major stumbling block to be honest. If you’re a Star Wars fan and money really isn’t an issue for you – and I envy you if that’s the case – then you’re going to jump at the chance to own a special PC like this. If it was me though, I’d go for a standard Aurora and put that £200 towards a second GeForce 7800GTX.