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Alienware Aurora R15 review: Cool under pressure

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Alienware improves on a classic with the new Aurora R15, which looks like its predecessors but runs cooler and quieter.

Editor’s Choice

(Image: © Future)

Tom’s Guide Verdict

The Alienware Aurora R15 is an excellent gaming PC that improves upon its predecessors in a few key ways, packing the most powerful components you can afford in an attractive, easy-to-open chassis that stays cool under pressure.

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    Compact, attractive case design

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    Top-tier performance (if you pay for it)

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    Easy to open, plenty of ports

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    Stays cool and quiet under load

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Alienware Aurora R15 specs (as reviewed)

Price: $4,588 as reviewed
Processor: Intel Core i9-13900KF
RAM: 32 GB
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090
Storage: 1 TB SSD, 1 TB HDD
Ports: USB-A, USB-C, 3.5 mm audio, Ethernet, DisplayPort, HDMI, SPDIF, surround sound
Size: 23.2 x 20.1 x 8.86 inches
Weight: Up to 36.4 pounds (depending on config)

The Alienware Aurora R15 ($1,399 to start) is an excellent gaming PC that improves upon its predecessors in a few key ways, packing the most powerful components you can afford in an attractive, easy-to-open chassis.

Though that chassis looks awfully similar to the Legend 2.0 case which debuted last year with the Aurora R13, Alienware claims to have redesigned it to run cooler and quieter, and my experience putting our review unit through its paces bears that out.  

But while case design is a surprisingly important part of choosing the best gaming PC for you given that their internals are typically highly customizable (and thus not a meaningful differentiator between PCs), it’s far from the most exciting aspect of these machines. No, what we get most hyped about is how well a gaming PC plays the latest and greatest games with all the settings cranked to max. 

When Alienware sent us a tricked-out Aurora R15 review unit with an RTX 4090 and a high-end 13th Gen Intel CPU I did everything I could to bring it to its knees, but even when gaming at 4K with every bell and whistle firing it ran whisper-quiet and delivered great framerates. That level of performance is far from cheap, but if you can afford it this is a gaming PC that will last you for years to come. 

Alienware Aurora R15 review: Price and availability

  • Starts at $1,399, but you can easily pay over $5k if you want the best
  • Highly customizable with the latest from AMD, Intel and Nvidia

The Alienware Aurora R15 is available for purchase right now via Dell’s website in either white or black (Lunar Light and Dark Side of the Moon, technically), and you can order a stock config or customize your own. The price tag on this Windows 11 gaming PC starts as low as $1,399 (at time of review), and for that you get a 13th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, 8GB of DDR5 RAM and a 256GB SSD for storage.

That’s a decent machine for the price and it should be able to run many games well enough (though 8GB of RAM really isn’t much, so you should probably add more), but it won’t play the latest and greatest PC games at high resolution with great framerates.

(Image credit: Future)

Of course, Alienware is happy to sell you more power if you can afford it. The company offers at least 7 pre-configured builds of the Aurora R15 on its website, some with Intel CPUs and others with AMD chips. 

The price tag for these builds ranges as high as $4,499, and for that you get a top-of-the-line liquid-cooled R15 with a 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900KF CPU, an Nvidia Geforce RTX 4090 GPU, 32GB of DDR5 RAM and a 1TB SSD for booting plus another 1TB hard disk drive (HDD) spinning at 7,200 RPM for added storage. It’s a beefy rig, as befits a nearly $5k price tag, and it’s what Alienware sent us to review. 

But for true enthusiasts, Alienware offers the option of configuring your own build. In addition to the remarkably powerful Intel Core i9-13900KF CPU and GeForce RTX 4090 GPU, you can configure an Aurora R15 with up to 64GB of DDR5 RAM (at either 4800MHz or the faster, more expensive 5200MHz) and up to a 4TB SSD + a 2TB hard drive.  Such a rig would cost you roughly $5,500, though it could climb even higher if you splurged for a Pro copy of Windows 11 and some of Alienware’s gaming accessories.

Alienware Aurora R15 review: Design

  • Redesigned Legend chassis runs cool and quiet, still looks great
  • Those fins on the back can leave wicked scratches on your wall

The Aurora R15 looks very similar to its predecessor the Alienware Aurora R13 at a glance, from the reclining oval face to the stubby fins on the back that left a few scratches on the wall behind my desk.  

Dig deeper and you’ll see how Alienware has redesigned the case to improve airflow by, among other things, punching some hexagonal holes in the side and expanding the cooling complement for high-end models (those with an Intel CPU ending in “K”, denoting overclock capabilities) to a set of five 120mm case fans.  The company also changed up the motherboard’s design and relocated some things within the case to try and make room for today’s beefy GPUs while ensuring the R15 runs quieter and cooler.

(Image credit: Future)

After spending some time with our review unit I can’t say for sure how much quieter it is than the R13 I reviewed last year, but I can say I barely noticed any fan noise or heat from the R15, even after spending hours playing a game like Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K resolution with all setting maxed. This is a nice change from when I was playing the same game on the older R13, since I can remember that machine getting a bit louder and putting out a noticeable amount of hot air after I’d been playing for an hour or two.

I barely noticed any fan noise or heat from the R15, even after spending hours playing a game like Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K with all setting maxed.”

Like the R13, the new Alienware Aurora R15 has an optional clear glass side panel (not available on all models) which lets you peer inside your PC to watch the components at work. New to the R15 is the afore-mentioned grille of hexagonal cutouts along the bottom half of the panel for improved airflow. If you want to get inside the PC this is the panel you want to remove, and it’s easy to do: simply unscrew one screw on the back of the PC and then (gently) prying it off. You can pull the other side off as well, and even the top of the case if you want to break out a screwdriver, but you can get to most of the PC’s innards just from the left side panel.

You can get around inside to just about anything you need to, but expect it to take a while—the case is tightly organized, and there are more than one or two brackets and stays between you and some areas of the case. This is the trade-off you make for the Aurora R15’s attractive case design and relatively compact size: Limited upgradability.  

Still, it’s not hard to see the appeal of the Aurora R15 at a glance. The oblong case is easy on the eyes and, if not exactly light, at least more convenient to lug around than many full-sized gaming PCs. Not long ago I reviewed the Acer Predator Orion 7000, another great gaming PC that comes in a full tower case, and if I had to pick one to carry up a flight of stairs, I’d go Aurora every time. 

Alienware Aurora R15 review: Ports and upgradability

  • Plenty of ports on front and back, though none up top
  • Case is easy to open, but difficult to work in

That removable side panel is one of the nicer aspects of the Aurora R15’s design because it makes it awfully easy to get into the PC and start mucking around. I really like this ease of access to the case, even if I’m less fond of the way Alienware routes as many cables as possible behind the motherboard and up the right side. This keeps cable clutter minimal in the case (which looks great) but can make it tricky to modify or add your own touches since you’ll need to work within the limits of the case.

This is true for working within the case in general: It’s easy enough to get in there and start fiddling with things, but you’ll be hampered by Alienware’s design work. While swapping in new RAM is easy enough, expect to have to remove brackets and move components around to do more complicated things like swap out a GPU in the case. Since Alienware uses a proprietary motherboard, your options for upgrading it (and by extension the CPU) down the road are limited at best. 

Alienware’s Aurora R15 sports all the ports a PC gaming enthusiast could want, with some on the front and the rest on the rear. However you won’t find any top-mounted ports on this PC, which might be a bummer for those who like to keep their gaming rig on the floor. 

While plugging things into the front of the case does mar the clean lines of the R15 somewhat, you can’t beat the convenience. Up front you get a headphone jack and a vertical lineup of USB-C ports: 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, another USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 with PowerShare (which just means the port delivers power to connected devices even when the PC is switched off) and a USB-C Gen 2 port with PowerShare. 

(Image credit: Future)

But that’s just a teaser. The real port smorgasbord is on the back of the PC, where you get a quartet of classic USB-A 2.0 ports as well as a newer USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port and a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2×2 port. As far as graphics go, your GPU choice will dictate what sorts of port options you have for outputting to monitors, and the 4090 in our review unit offers 3 DisplayPort jacks and one HDMI out.

The Aurora R15 also comes with a detachable cover you can slide over the rear to cut down on visible cable clutter. (Image credit: Future)

If you want to invest in a serious speaker setup to go with your new gaming PC, the Aurora R15 sports the ports you want. In addition to side, rear and center/subwoofer output ports you get line in and line out, a microphone in, and two SPDIF digital outputs: one for Toslink cables and the other for coax.  

You’ll want to plug into a high-speed wired Internet connection for online gaming, of course, so it’s nice to see the Aurora R15 also includes an RJ-45 jack with support for Intel’s Killer E3100G Gigabit Ethernet.

The Aurora R15 also comes with a detachable rear cover you can slide over the back of the PC to help route cables and hide them from view.

Alienware Aurora R15 review: Gaming performance

  • Our ~$5K review unit excels at 4K gaming thanks to Nvidia’s RTX 4090
  • …but you can get nearly as good gaming performance from a PC over $1k less

The Alienware Aurora R15 unit we received for review is an excellent gaming machine thanks to its GeForce RTX 4090 GPU, Core i9 CPU and 32GB of DDR5 RAM. I enjoyed my time reviewing this PC immensely, as it had no trouble running any game I cared to launch. 

At home I have a dual-monitor setup, one 1080p and one 1440p, and our Aurora R15 was able to run everything from Cyberpunk 2077 to Death Stranding to Marvel’s Midnight Suns at 1440p with all the settings maxed out. With most games it had no trouble delivering 60 frames per second or better, especially when I flipped on Nvidia’s DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) in games which support it. 

(Image credit: Future)

Even when I (carefully) dragged the Aurora R15 over to my LG C2 OLED TV and hooked it up to see how well it could spit game at 4K, I was not disappointed. While our Aurora R15 review unit could only manage between 30-40 fps while running Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K with all settings cranked to max, that was before I flipped on Nvidia’s DLSS. 

Nvidia rolled out a new version of the tech (DLSS 3) alongside its GeForce RTX 4000 series, and Cyberpunk 2077 was one of the first games to get updated with support for DLSS 3. Not only does DLSS 3 tap the Tensor Cores in Nvidia GPUs to dynamically enhance image quality while you’re playing, it actually inserts new frames in between frames of gameplay. It can be confusing to understand when you read about it, but once I saw it in action on our Aurora R15 I was impressed by how much it improved my experience of playing Cyberpunk 2077 without any noticeable graphical issues. When I would use older versions of DLSS in times gone by I would often notice graphical distortions cropping up that made it appear as though the image was being smeared or blurred out slightly, especially during scenes of fast action.

If you want a great PC for gaming at 4K, Alienware delivers with the Aurora R15—assuming you’re willing to pay for the privilege.”

Not so with DLSS 3 and Cyberpunk 2077. When I flipped on DLSS 3 in the game’s settings, that 30-40 fps at 4K shot up to 100-120 fps, with no noticeable degradation in image quality. If DLSS 3 can do for every game what it did for my experience playing Cyberpunk at 4K, call me a believer.

Of course, we don’t just rely on or own anecdotal experience when reviewing PCs here at Tom’s Guide. We also run every machine through our testing lab (don’t miss our guide to how we test products), where we subject it to a battery of performance tests to see how it stacks up against the competition.

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Gaming benchmarks in fps @ 1080p/4K
Row 0 – Cell 0 Alienware Aurora R15 Corsair One i300 Origin PC Millennium Origin Chronos V3
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla 200/116 122/70 115/62 184/91
Dirt 5 243/183 175/68 171/92 241/127
Far Cry 6 129/109 143/82 112/67 125/89
Grand Theft Auto V 186/53 181/66 178/67 185/56

As you might expect, our nearly $5K review unit achieved high scores across the board in these tests. In fact it significantly outperformed some of the most powerful gaming PCs we’ve tested in the last year, including the Origin PC Millennium (2022) (i9-12900K, GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, 32GB RAM) and the Corsair One i300 (i9-12900K, GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, 64GB RAM). 

(Image credit: Future)

However, keep in mind those are older PCs packing last-gen parts. We haven’t tested a ton of 2023 PCs with the latest and greatest components yet, but we did recently test a cheaper Origin Chronos V3 gaming PC (priced upwards of $3.5K) with only slightly less powerful guts—specifically, it arrived with an Intel Core i9-13900K CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 GPU and 32GB of RAM. Our Aurora R15 review unit still managed to outperform this Origin in nearly every gaming benchmark, but as you can see from the chart of results above, the two were neck-and-neck in many of them. 

So if you want a great PC for gaming at 4K, Alienware delivers with the Aurora R15—assuming you’re willing to pay for the privilege.  

Alienware Aurora R15 review: Overall performance

  • 13th Gen Intel Core i9 CPU blazes through performance benchmarks
  • Excellent ray tracing, but cheaper PCs outperform this monster elsewhere

You shouldn’t need to worry about performance when using a gaming PC for day-to-day work tasks, especially when that PC cost you nearly $5K. The Aurora R15 meets that expectation with flying colors, as it ran whisper-quiet and never hitched or froze  no matter how many browser tabs, productivity applications and streams of data I opened at once.

(Image credit: Future)

Our performance tests reveal that this is an excellent machine for running demanding applications for work like video editing, game development and the like, but you could have guessed that from the smorgasbord of high-powered parts inside. However, it was again neck-and-neck with the new Origin Chronos V3 we just tested, which managed to outperform the Aurora R15 in a few key areas.  

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Row 0 – Cell 0 Alienware Aurora R15 Corsair One i300 Origin PC Millennium Origin Chronos V3
Geekbench 5 22,494 17,965 18,096 24,054
25 GB File Copy (MBps) 1,340 3,006 1,023 1,809
Handbrake (Min:Seconds) 3:12 3:28 3:22 2:48

Notably, our Alienware Aurora R15 review unit was less speedy than the Origin Chronos V3 in terms of CPU performance (22,494 vs 24,054), file transfer speeds (1,340 MBps vs 1,809) and video editing performance (3:12 vs 2:48), which we measure by timing how long it takes the PC to transcode a 4K video down to 1080p using Handbrake.

We also run every PC we review through a few benchmarks designed to evaluate how well it performs at tasks like rendering graphics (3DMark), editing media like photos in Adobe Photoshop Elements (HDXPRT 4), or more esoteric computing tasks like facial recognition (CrossMark).  As you might expect, our Aurora R15 performed quite well in these tests, putting up high scores across the board. 

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Row 0 – Cell 0 Alienware Aurora R15 Corsair One i300 Origin PC Millennium Origin Chronos V3
CrossMark 2,232 2,268 2,286 2,385
HDXPRT 4 140 DNR 156 163
3DMark Port Royal Ray Tracing test 25,695 12,803 12,486 17,522

Here again that Origin Chronos V3 put up better numbers than our Aurora R15 review unit in CrossMark and HDXPRT 4, though the difference between the two is relatively small. However, the power of the RTX 4090 helped the R15 achieve a far better score than the Chronos in 3DMark’s Port Royal test, which evaluates how well a PC handles ray tracing.

Given that this is a machine tuned for gaming it’s nice to see that it excels in the ray tracing department, since ray tracing tech is showing up in more and more games every year.

Alienware Aurora R15 review: Software

  • Minimal bloatware, which is great
  • Alienware Command Center is the MVP 

There wasn’t much installed on our Aurora R15 review unit when it arrived save Windows 11 and a few Dell/Alienware applications you’ll rarely touch, including My Alienware, Alienware Customer Connect and Alienware Update (which you use to do things like update your BIOS).

(Image credit: Future)

The one piece of pre-installed software you’ll likely use a lot is the Alienware Command Center. This is the most feature-rich Alienware app on the system, as it allows you to do things like monitor and manage your system cooling, create and implement system overclock profiles, customize the case’s RGB lighting and more.  

Alienware Aurora R15 review: Verdict

The Alienware Aurora R15 is a great gaming PC that improves upon its predecessors in small but meaningful ways. While how well it plays games will depend on what you can afford to put in it, getting in there is easy thanks to the accessible design of the case. 

The fact that our Aurora R15 review unit never got hot or loud during the review process, even when playing demanding games at 4K for hours with all settings cranked to max, suggest Alienware’s efforts to improve the case design paid off. While ours is admittedly liquid-cooled with Alienware’s Cryo-Tech cooler, which is only available on the higher-end models (the cheapest Aurora R15 units are simply air-cooled), the cost of adding such cooling to an R15 is a few hundred bucks. Not cheap, but certainly not on the level of upgrading the GPU to the 4090 in our review unit.

And really, that’s the main appeal of this PC: You can get one with the latest and greatest components inside, and my experience playing games on one suggests its worth the high cost of entry. Of course, more and more PCs with 13th Gen Intel chips and 40-series Nvidia GPUs are hitting the market every week, some of which (like the Origin Chronos V3 we’re reviewing) might actually outperform the R15 in some areas despite costing less. 

But even the truly flush who are out there scouring storefronts for the perfect RTX 4090-powered gaming PC would be well-served by the Aurora R15 thanks to its easy-to-access case and excellent cooling. Plus, it looks real good on a desk.

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice. 

Corsair One a200 gaming PC review

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(Image: © Corsair)

Our Verdict

Corsair delivers a welcome burst of gaming performance to its compact gaming PCs with the a200, bringing the best of AMD Ryzen and Nvidia GeForce into a single, compact machine.

  • Unfettered performance for 4K gaming
  • Simple and easy to set-up
  • Superb silicon
  • Surprisingly quiet
  • CPU runs a little too hot for my liking
  • Not as easily upgradeable as some Mini-ITX cases

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Corsair bucks the trend with many of its pre-built PCs, instead offering a high-performance package in a diminutive and compact case where many would opt for a more standard mid-tower. The Corsair One a200 is no less an exciting proposition, bringing together the latest AMD Ryzen and Nvidia GeForce technology in a surprisingly neat and well-managed package no bigger than a bread bin.

If you’re familiar with Corsair’s compact One lineup, you’ll know that looks can be deceiving. This isn’t Corsair’s first attempt at a compact gaming PC, and we’ve previously ranked its compact machines as some of the best gaming PCs going, small form factor or not. Being only 20 x 17.3 x 38cm in size seemingly has very little impact on these PCs’ performance—the new and improved a200’s specs list is every bit as mouth-watering as it should be.

That all starts with the a200’s AMD Ryzen 9 5900X CPU, which is powered by the highly-successful and well-rated Zen 3 architecture. It’s a 12-core/24-thread chip with plenty of grunt, rated to 3.7GHz at its worst and 4.8GHz at its best. Since it’s our top pick for the best CPU for gaming today, I expected a lot out of it even before getting the a200 out of the box.

Corsair One a200 specs

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
Memory: 32GB DDR4 @ 3200MT/s
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
Front I/O: 1x 3. 5mm audio jack, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C.
Rear I/O: 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (Type-A and Type-C), 4x USB 3.2 Gen 1, audio ports, 2.5G ethernet, 3.x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, LAN
PSU: 750W SFX 80 Plus Platinum
Dimensions: 200mm x 172.5mm x 380mm
Price: $3,800 / £3,300

Playing the supporting role for this performant package is 32GB DDR4-3200 memory. That’s loaded into a bespoke motherboard with B550 chipset alongside a 1TB NVMe SSD of Corsair’s own design, the Corsair Force MP600. That’s a PCIe 4.0 drive, too, for faster load times and transfer speeds.

The recent introduction of SFX PSUs capable of driving over 1000W has helped cement the concept that a small form factor PC can also be a high performance one. Yet even the compact a200’s 750W SFX PSU offers enough wattage for a commanding PC build. Efficient wattage, too, rated to 80 Plus Platinum.

Crucially for our gaming needs that 750W PSU is enough to give the a200 surreptitious command over an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080. Coming in as our favourite graphics cards today, we couldn’t ask for much more from the Corsair One. Without anything holding it back, the RTX 3080 makes quick work of 4K and 1440p.

And I’m pleased to report that nothing is seemingly holding it back.

In Metro Exodus at 4K, the Corsair One manages to stay abreast of our desktop Founders Edition RTX 3080. No small feat for such a tiny machine. It’s only negligibly slower than our desktop test bench in Horizon Zero Dawn, too.

(Image credit: Corsair)


Gaming performance
3DMark Time Spy: 11,601 (CPU) 17, 563 (GPU)
Hitman 3 (Dubai): 228fps (1080p) 176fps (1440p) 102fps (4k)
F1 2020 (Ultra, DX12): 216fps (1080p) 167fps (1440P) 127fps (4K)
Metro Exodus (Ultra, DX12): 126fps (1080p) 101fps (1440p) 66fps (4K)
Horizon Zero Dawn (Ultimate) 155fps (1080p) 129fps (1440p) 77fps (4K)
3DMark Port Royal: 11,640
Metro Exodus (RTX) 109fps (1080p) 88fps (1440p) 63fps (4K)

System performance
Cinebench R20: 8,020 (Multi) 601 (Single)
X264 v5. 0.1: 67.87 fps
Sandra (memory bandwidth): 31.48 GB/s
Hitman 3 (Dartmoor) : 117fps (1080p)
Final Fantasy XIV Game load time: 9.016 Sec

What that means for the actual gaming performance is 60fps or more at 4K in some of today’s latest games, which is what you might expect from these parts on paper, but perhaps not so much from the form factor. 

Perhaps the key to the a200 puzzle lies with its thermal performance. When so much of CPU and GPU performance now lies with thermal headroom, increasingly so with Zen 3 and Ampere, it is also increasingly important to over-spec your thermal solution to hit max performance potential. Thankfully, the a200 does just that, allowing the CPU and GPU to deliver their best in line with less confined desktop parts.

That’s by and large thanks to the twin liquid cooling solution of Corsair’s design. Both CPU and GPU are liquid-cooled, independently of one another, with each component’s respective radiator located on either side of the PC’s case. Fresh, cool air is then whipped up past either radiator through the use of a single fan located at the top of the PC.

The result is a max GPU temp during benchmarking of 69°C, the envy of even some discrete desktop coolers. The max CPU temp may not spark quite so much envy, however, coming in at 91°C. That’s notably within AMD’s thermal spec, but also in excess of usual operating temperatures for such a chip with a reasonably chunky liquid cooler.

The single system fan also has to work hard at times to keep the PC operating comfortably, which means it can get quite loud under load. That said, it is a single-fan system, which is notably quieter than some desktop builds I’ve had with four or five fans all running on an identical fan curve.

Simplicity and usability, though, are something that Corsair can deliver in swathes with the a200. The ports are within easy reach on the rear of the machine, and there’s a handy USB Type-C port on the front to make life just that much easier. The innards can also be exposed through the top, too, which means you could access the SSD or RAM if you fancied a shakeup.

I’m coming away impressed from Corsair’s latest small form factor PC.

You could even access the GPU and CPU blocks if you so wished, although finding compatible boards with the current cooling solution may be a bit of a struggle.

Then to the overall aesthetics of the Corsair One and the a200 is quiet tame for a gaming all-in-one, it must be said. There’s just two addressable lighting strips extending nearly the entire length of the machine, which is some miracle. Its smart exterior would definitely fit the role of powerful workstation in a pinch, too.

So I’m coming away impressed from Corsair’s latest small form factor PC, especially now that it’s running with the latest cutting-edge technology. It’s clearly a well thought out gaming PC and designed with the user in mind. By its nature, it’s more restrictive for future upgrades than some other small form factor cases, but it’s nonetheless a brilliant machine for today.

Corsair a200: Price Comparison

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Corsair delivers a welcome burst of gaming performance to its compact gaming PCs with the a200, bringing the best of AMD Ryzen and Nvidia GeForce into a single, compact machine.

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he’s not writing about GPUs and CPUs, however, you’ll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.

How to choose a gaming computer and which system unit is better? Recommendation from HYPERPC


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Category: Gaming PCs

The gaming computer is a special technique in which each component is selected for maximum performance in games. Even expensive equipment does not guarantee comfortable gameplay if the platform is not originally designed for games.

How to choose a PC?

The easiest way is to focus on the budget. Perfectly compatible components are selected in all price categories, assemblies are checked, adjusted and tested. If the budget is not the main thing, then focus on your gaming needs.

  • For occasional immersions in the play space, work and study, the basic series is suitable.
  • The necessary power reserve and stable performance from 60 FPS will provide machines of the optimal level.
  • Passionate gamers and athletes will appreciate the arsenal of eSports machines.
  • If it is important not only to play, but also to stream, choose cars from a special streaming series.
  • For the most demanding gamers, a line of exclusive hand-built computers.

Where to start choosing?

For games, the most important thing is the video card, it should be chosen for those projects that are of interest to you.

Video card

The card is responsible for visualization, the more powerful the video processor, the more effects you can add to your field of view. The amount of video memory is responsible for the quality of the textures you see on objects.

The card is responsible for rendering, the more powerful the video processor, the more effects you can add to your field of view. The amount of video memory is responsible for the quality of the textures you see on objects.

High monitor frequency and game display refresh rate (FPS) has aesthetic and practical value. The picture will become smoother, and in competitive online games, this will help you quickly react to changes in your surroundings. If we compare the numbers, then at 60 Hz (FPS) the picture is updated every 16.7 milliseconds, but if your monitor supports 120 Hz or 244 Hz mode, then the update will occur every 8.3 and 4 ms. Watch the video.

Choosing a gaming PC should take into account the power reserve for the next few years. That is, you look at the “maximum speeds” of any top AAA project and add as much power to them as your budget allows.

Take a look at the NVIDIA GeForce RTX series cards – this line takes its name from the revolutionary technology of light tracing in 3D scenes, which is now supported by almost all new games. The developers also made full support for virtual reality glasses, if at the time of the release of the GTX series it was just an interesting novelty, now the VR world has grown a lot.


Computer requirements for VR projects are 1.5-2 times higher than for regular games. The effect of three-dimensional perception is achieved due to the fact that a separate image stream is fed to each eye with a certain distance from each other. That is, the computer almost always has to process much more information. If we add to this the fact that the detailing of the virtual world should be much more serious, then the load is appropriate.

How to choose a video card

Let’s conditionally divide gamers into those who play multiplayer projects and single games.

  • Modern online toys tend to reach as large an audience as possible, so they are most often well optimized and work even on weak PCs.
  • Solo gaming, especially projects with a big budget, is done with beautiful graphics, it requires a lot of power.

A vivid example of the difference in FPS in some popular games on the example of NVIDIA gaming video cards.

For online games

The most popular multiplayer simulator in the CIS region is World of Tanks. And even if Dota 2, Counter Strike: Global Offensive or World of Warcraft is closer to you, then this comparative test will still be useful when choosing a computer, because. The graphics in WoT are among the most demanding among all the most popular online games. And there is no point in buying gaming computers that cannot run WoT at maximum speed in 2020.

Conditionally more demanding can be called PUBG, Blade and Soul, TERA online, Warframe and others. If you prefer such projects, then choose a map one level higher than you need for WoT.

Performance depends directly on resolution and graphics settings. The results are in the table. Testing was carried out on a stand, in which all components are conditionally more productive than a video card, and cannot negatively affect the number of frames per second.

1920×1080 (FullHD) 2560×1440 (2K) 3840×2160 (4K)
RTX 2080 Ti 244 191 98
RTX 2080 227 151 66
RTX 2070 203 133 66
RTX 2060 165 107 53

Average frames per second for each video card at maximum WoT requirements

For comfortable gameplay, you need at least 60 FPS. You can, of course, compromise and lower the graphics settings, but the next time you update the game, the computer may already be rather weak. In addition, now FullHD monitors are already fading into the background, serious gamers are striving to get hold of a 2K or non-standard wide monitor with a resolution 1. 5 times greater than that of 2K. If you also want to use a resolution higher than 2K, but less than 4K, then take the card at the top bar, so you will definitely avoid performance problems.

It should be remembered that the table shows an average, in more demanding scenes FPS can drop by 20-30%. Consider the margin when choosing a gaming system unit.

As for the number of FPS, 80% of monitors have a limit of 60 frames (in the specifications they write 60 Hz or hertz). And if your card gives out more than 60 frames, then you will not notice this – the monitor itself can only display 60. Game models allow you to display more frames, if you have one of these – choose a card of such power that can provide it with the necessary performance.

For example, if you want to play WoT in 2K at 90 FPS, then the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 card is best suited, which has a small headroom and handles it perfectly at maximum graphics settings.

Do you have a video blog? NVIDIA cards can record video in Shadowplay mode – this is one of the best technologies today with minimal hardware loads.

For uncompromising gaming

Here we will compare cards on the game 2019of the year – Total War: Three Kingdoms. Strategies, despite their modest system requirements, allow for better PC testing due to the huge number of models that can be generated on the battlefield. While shooters are designed to have a certain number of enemy and allied models in one scene, so that there is no FPS drawdown.

The figures are also relevant for other games – TW: Three Kingdoms is quite demanding on the power of the video card, so if it works, then most modern ones will work.

1920×1080 (FullHD) 2560×1440 (2K) 3840×2160 (4K)
RTX 2080 Ti 110 90 48
RTX 2080 Super 93 73 40
RTX 2080 87 69 37
RTX 2070 SUPER 84 65 35
RTX 2070 77 61 33
RTX 2060 SUPER 72 58 31
RTX 2060 66 50 26

As you can see, in top games, a PC with one video card is not able to cope with 4K resolution. The only way to run at this resolution is to install a block of two video cards. Ideally, top models such as the RTX 2080 Ti, 2080 Super, and 2080.

Naturally, the better the card, the more novelties your computer will be able to pull in the next 3-4 years. With top solutions, you can be sure that their performance will last another 6 years, given that you will reduce graphics settings in new games in 3-4 years.

Look at the comparison of graphics cards in other games. Don’t be put off by small FPS differences in different reviews – it depends on the build on the bench. But in any case, it is clear what to focus on.

How it looks live – in the video. Testing GeForce RTX 2080 8GB, GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER 8GB, GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB in Battlefield 5, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, HITMAN 2, Forza Horizon 4, Rainbow Six Siege, Metro Exodus, Rage 2, Kingdom Come Deliverance, The Witcher 3.


In any computer, the CPU coordinates the work of all modules, and in games they calculate the work of physics and the interaction of the engine with objects.

  • Most CPU usage is in online shooters and offline strategies.
  • Offline shooters, slashers, adventures, etc. are not demanding on the processor.

For any new computer, whether it’s a workstation or a gaming build, it’s best to get the latest generation processor from Intel. The frequency of the core and their number affects performance, but even more depends on the architecture.

Old sockets are not upgradeable – if you buy a processor for an old socket, you will have to throw away half the hardware when you want to add some power.

Intel has a clear distribution of lines – from basic to professional: i3, i5, i7 and i9. Each line has a series, at the moment the latest series is 10.

  • For an entry-level computer, the Intel Core i3-9100F will be a good choice – this is a good entry-level CPU with 4 cores for old toys like Warcraft 3 Remastered, Starcraft: Remastered, Heroes of Might and Magic 3, TES V: Skyrim Special Edition and others.
  • Gaming PC for modern games must start with Intel Core i5-9The 600KF is a previous generation processor, but it’s not bad. It differs from the new 10th in the absence of Hyperthreading technology, which allows each core to process two streams of information instead of one. For games, many threads are not needed, 6 cores of this pebble are enough for any gamer’s tasks if you are going to play at FullHD. If you buy it as part of a professionally built computer, you can overclock it to increase power. This will help the water cooling system.
  • For high-level gaming computers, it is better to choose a brand new Intel Core i7-10700 or its equivalent from the previous Intel Core i7-9 series700F. Both processors are powerful enough to run games on a 2K monitor or FullHD+ stream.
  • For 2K and 4K gaming and streaming, buy an Intel® Core™ i9-10900X processor or 20X, 40X, and 80X models. If we talk about games, then these stones are for extreme loads. It is better to buy from the finished assembly, as they have a high level of heat dissipation. An improperly configured cooling system can simply burn it.

Ready made or made to order?

If you’re an amateur, but still want a quality platform, it’s best to turn to those who are well versed in the intricacies of iron. HYPERPC will tell you how to choose a gaming machine with the right features. And not only tell. Engineers will assemble, configure and test it. Those who know exactly what parameters their computer should have can choose their own configuration based on one of the ready-made options or create a complete set from scratch.

Other things to look out for

  • Good RAM.
  • Sophisticated cooling (a must for high loads!).
  • SSD drive – for heavy games, this is almost a must.
  • Power supply and motherboard. The total power of the power supply and its efficiency can be calculated even by a person who is far from this business. But the motherboard is a jungle, even for many specialists. Since it transmits power to all components of the system, except for the video card, it must have good cooling at all key points.
  • Ergonomics and appearance. The power supply can ruin the entire interior space, as the stretching multi-colored wires will simply cover everything. Modular power supplies allow you to disconnect extra wires and run the necessary ones along the edge of the motherboard in gaming system units.

Computers for those who want more

Liquid-cooled, RGB-lit, war-painted or engraved chassis are all available from HYPERPC.

How to choose a good gaming computer from ITmag

The current desire for portability is turning gamers into the laptop-loving segment. But a good gaming PC is ideal for handling complex applications, easily adapting to changing software.

How to determine that you have a powerful gaming PC in front of you:

  • component balance. If it has a powerful video card installed, then the processor and RAM are selected so as to fully reveal its potential. The power declared by the manufacturer will be clearly demonstrated in modern games;
  • reliable thermoregulation. The cooling strategy is ideally thought out by the developers, even with a margin for a possible upgrade;
  • easy scalability. In the system unit, you can install the required number of memory bars, additional drives, a more advanced graphics accelerator, and even a processor.

High gaming performance is possible on a PC where all components are high-end. The desire to save on one module will not allow everyone else to “accelerate”. Compatible structural elements contribute to active work without delays, lags and braking.

What is a good computer for games:

  • equipped with a convenient monitor, peripherals;
  • adapted to your wishes – mobility with a compact system unit or without reference to dimensions, because it is always permanently installed in one place;
  • CPU with support for multi-threaded tasks. 2-4 cores is enough for Full HD mode. CPU Core i5 / i7 are suitable, only the frequency is not lower than 2.5 GHz;
  • RAM from 8 GB;
  • internal storage 512 GB or more;
  • fully equipped with interfaces for connecting peripherals, keyboards, mice.

It’s convenient that a modern good gaming PC can be neat and tidy without a bunch of wires. Only the connected monitor and all. Other external devices can be connected via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi.

What parameters should a good computer have?

Only examples will help to better understand the big picture. In deciding how to choose a PC for gaming, the microprocessor (Intel Core i7-7700, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X), RAM (8/16/32 GB and above) and video card (GeForce with at least 3 GB of video memory) should be key.

There are other accessories to consider as well. A hard drive for storing video content and media files is better to pick up at least 2 TB, it’s good when there is a high-speed solid-state SSD for installing the OS, for example.

The more powerful the “stuffing”, the more power each component needs. The power supply must be from 600 watts. When the system unit is completed, select a monitor. You need at least a Full HD screen with a minimum response (no more than 5 ms) so that dynamic scenes are not blurry.

How to choose a gaming computer – the question is individual in each case. It all depends on the planned budget.

Which accessories to choose for your gaming PC

The foundation of the system is the motherboard. In recent years, Intel has pursued a policy of authoritarian upgrades – changing the processor, you will need to replace the entire motherboard. Only the standard case, power supply and hard drive will remain.

You can assemble a good PC for games on your own with the possibility of further upgrading it. It’s much cheaper and easier than upgrading a laptop. Gaming equipment is similar to choosing a workstation for specific tasks (working with 3D). The main trio:

  • maximum processor power (4 cores, 8 threads or more). Hi-end “pebbles” make a good gaming computer more expensive;
  • graphic software is processed precisely on RAM, so its volume must be sufficient;
  • is only a discrete video card (unless you have only Photoshop in your arsenal, then an integrated module will suffice).

When choosing components for specific purposes, you know for sure that every penny of the budget is rationally invested. And in the event of a repair, you are not left without computer equipment (this will be the case with a laptop), but you can only give a failed part to the service.

Purchase in Kazakhstan

Confused in the parameters, do not know how to choose a computer for games? Itmag.