VR-ready. The market hasn’t even started, and the buzzword is already grating. Virtual Reality is here except for the past decade; the average consumer has been told that less is more. We could get by with the smartphone in our hands. Now? The lack of graphical horsepower is glaring.
High fidelity VR with locked in frame rates? There’s not an app for that. Instead, it’s a not-so-subtle push to get people to upgrade desktop PCs in the home. For gamers, we look at the push and shrug. We are already there. For people wanting an Oculus or other VR headset, suddenly the tablet isn’t going to cut it.
Enter the DIY crowd with scores of tutorials on building a VR-ready PC. Or, hit the easy button and buy one. That’s what Dell’s Alienware division wants you to do. The Aurora brand has released new models starting at $800. Yeah, the marketing of ‘starting at.’
The Reality? A VR-ready Aurora starts at $1100 and is optimized for the HTC Vive. Want the best? A model with the GTX 1080 will set you back $1950. Can you build it cheaper?
Absolutely. When Intel released its absurdly expensive extreme chips, we built out a PC complete with a GTX GPU, SSD hard drive and plenty of RAM to spare. The $1950 price tag on the Aurora? It comes with a 7200RPM SATA HD. That’s a no when it comes to performance gaming. Adding an SSD pushes the price towards $2300, and you still have to add on peripherals, an optical drive (if needed) and a monitor.
It’s not all bad news. If you have the cash to go all in with the Alienware Aurora, it is sleek as hell. The case is gorgeous, and the cable management is spot on. My least favorite part about build a custom PC? Cable management. It sucks, and I have on more than one occasion said screw it and start stuffing everything into corners. With Dell, everything is right where it needs to be.
The Aurora line offers tool-less access to to the expansion bays. Want to dump new memory into the case? It’s easy to access. New GPU or plan to SLI the new GTX cards? Done and done.
It’s a solid option for those that don’t want to piecemeal a new PC together. Personally, I’d just build my own to cut costs, but if I had ‘why not money?’ Sure, I’d sit on Alienware’s customizer and scare the hell out of my checking account.