Alienware Aurora’s Aging Grace: When to Upgrade and When to Overhaul


I’m curious to know whether these crashes are more indicative of a failing processor or graphics card, and if upgrading these components would resolve the issue. Alternatively, is the system’s age the underlying problem, necessitating the purchase of a new computer altogether?

For reference, here are the system specifications:

  • Model: Alienware Aurora
  • Chassis: Matte Black 875W
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-3820 (Four Core, 10MB Cache, 3.60GHz)
  • Memory: Initially 8GB (4x2GB) 1600MHz DDR3, upgraded to 16GB Quad Channel
  • Storage: 1TB SATA 6Gb/s (7200RPM) 32MB Cache
  • Cooling: Alienware CPU Liquid Cooling
  • Graphics: 4GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690
  • I

appreciate your guidance on this matter. Thank you..


When a PC crashes during graphics-intensive tasks, it’s natural to wonder whether the issue lies with the processor or the graphics card, or if it’s simply a sign that the system is too old. Let’s delve into the possible causes and consider whether upgrading components or purchasing a new system is the best course of action.

  • Model

    : Alienware Aurora

  • Chassis

    : Matte Black 875W

  • Processor

    : Intel Core i7-3820 (Four Core, 10MB Cache, 3.60GHz)

  • Memory

    : Initially 8GB (4x2GB) 1600MHz DDR3, upgraded to 16GB Quad Channel

  • Storage

    : 1TB SATA 6Gb/s (7200RPM) 32MB Cache

  • Cooling

    : Alienware CPU Liquid Cooling

  • Graphics

    : 4GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690

  • Potential Causes of Crashes:



    : Both CPUs and GPUs can overheat, especially in older systems. The liquid cooling system should be checked for functionality.


    Graphics Card Limitations

    : The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690, while once a top-tier card, is now outdated for modern games. Its 4GB of VRAM may struggle with today’s demanding titles.


    Processor Performance

    : The Intel Core i7-3820 is a robust processor, but modern games can benefit from newer CPUs with more cores and threads.


    Power Supply

    : An aging power supply may struggle to provide consistent power during peak loads, leading to crashes.

    Upgrading vs. New System:

  • Upgrading Components

    : Replacing the graphics card could provide a significant boost in performance and stability. However, this might lead to a bottleneck if the CPU can’t keep up with the new GPU.

  • New System

    : Considering the age of the system and the pace of technological advancements, investing in a new PC might be more cost-effective in the long run.

  • Conclusion:

    It’s likely a combination of factors contributing to the crashes. Upgrading the graphics card could be a temporary fix, but for a future-proof solution, purchasing a new system designed to handle current and upcoming game requirements would be advisable.

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