Alienware, Dell's subsidiary responsible for designing gamer-centric PCs, has updated its lineup of desktop PCs with the Alienware Aurora R4. Like all Alienware offerings, the specs are customizable with the Aurora R4 offering a choice of Intel Core i7 3000-series six-core CPUs, dual high-end GPUs from AMD or NVIDIA and up to four HDDs or SSDs. It's also equipped with liquid CPU cooling, active venting and an easily openable micro ATX chassis with external and internal lighting, while the famous alien head logo serves as a power button.

Poetically touted as "a serenade to raw gaming power," the new arrival is the successor of a couple of units unveiled back in 2009. At the heart of the new offering are Intel's factory overclocked high-end i7 CPUs running at 3.9 - 4.2 GHz, up to 16 GB of Quad Channel DDR3 memory, as well as a choice of powerful GPUs which can be configured with AMD Radeon HD 6870, HD 6950, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti, GTX 580, or GTX 590. Up to four hard drives are placed in specifically designed bays allowing quick and easy access. You can choose SSDs, or RAID technology.

Single or dual DVD/Blu-ray burners are located on the front and covered by a drop-down lid. The internal cooling is enhanced via active venting that utilizes fins on the top of the chassis that open and close automatically depending on thermal conditions inside. The rig is powered by a 875-Watt power supply designed to accommodate future upgrades.

According to Alienware, the upgrading of the Aurora R4 and its maintenance is user-friendly and hassle-free with toolless entry to the case thanks to the use of clips instead of screws. The Alienware designers have assumed that Aurora's owners may wish to open the case often not only to upgrade its components, but simply to show off the rig's insides to their fellow geeks. Thus, there's some automatic lighting powered by a separate rechargeable battery that turns on when you take off the side of the chassis even when the PC isn't connected to mains power. This is also designed to allow users to upgrade or service the unit without having to wedge a torch in between their teeth.

The outer lighting is composed of eight different "alien effect" zones around the chassis and it's user-customizable via special software. What's more, the company says the lighting works with over 20 different games to offer synchronization with in-game events.

The new Alienware Aurora R4 is currently listed on Dell's website, starting at US$2199 for the base model.

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