Building, Testing, And Final Analysis
The Aurora installation kit includes an Asus Aura-branded SSD light that connects to the controller seen on the previous page. Mounting rails for 3.5” hard drives use pins for slip-in installation. All screws and standoffs are delivered in a single bag, including four course thread thumb screws and enough fan screws to secure four more fans.
Most of the Aurora cables are ribbon style, which helps keep them organized and slim for easier crossing behind the motherboard tray. The HD-Audio cable was originally manufactured too short to reach bottom-rear-corner motherboard headers, and includes a 6" extension to correct that deficiency.
The Aura SSD light is only useful on the front SSD tray, and screws directly onto a 2.5” drive. Since this is a basic screw-together configuration, component installation followed our instructions in How To Build A PC.
Configurable across an RGB spectrum, here’s what the Aura controller looks like through the smoked tempered glass side panel.
With the case turned to hide the SSD, its Aura lighting still casts an aura across other components.
Features And Dimensions
Here’s how the BitFenix Aurora compares to our cheapest previous glass-paneled case, as well as our most recently reviewed mainstream gaming case. These will be the basis for performance comparison.
Fractal Design Define C
*Shared on 3.5" tray **w/o Center Cage ***By 5.25" Adapter Tray ^Slot 1-4
We retain the hardware configuration from previous ATX case reviews to maintain result consistency. It includes a Core i7-5930K at a very small overclock and moderate voltage level cooled by the mid-sized Noctua NH-U12S, and a Gigabyte triple-fan GTX 970 with its fans cranked to full speed during load testing. The motherboard is set to a 115°C throttle point, and temperatures in the chart are above ambient (the thermal reading, minus the room temperature).
A look at temperature data shows a direct correlation with the number of fans, where the Aurora has but one, the Define-C has two, and the Cullinan has four. It could be stated that the Define-C didn’t need the front fan because it’s designed for liquid cooling systems that usually ship with fans, but we’re testing these as-delivered and you can see what removing the front fan did to the Aurora’s as-delivered performance.
Having the fewest fans, the Aurora is quietest at full speed. Yet because it has just one fan, it ran too hot to retest at a lower fan setting.
Glass does a great job of deadening fan vibration, but increased temperatures plagued the glass-sided Aurora in the cooling-to-noise comparison. A single fan simply doesn’t do the job with our hot platform.
Even after falling behind in the overall performance calculation, the Aurora places halfway between the Define-C and Cullinan in value. It might be the best value in a glass-paneled case, and may have even produced competitive performance data in a review that used front-panel radiators. Our test bed is designed to fit a wider variety of cases, including those with radiator restrictions.
While aesthetics would lead us to believe that the Aurora might be the cheapest high-end case on the market, a deeper dive showed that it was really just a cheap case with some expensive features. It still compares favorably to other cheap cases like the Z9 Neo and MasteBox 5. The Z9 Neo balanced the performance boost of its five included fans against design flaws such as its inaccessible power supply, and the MasterBox 5 balanced good airflow and design against a short feature list that even lacked top-panel radiator support.
That puts the Aurora in a precarious position concerning any award of its own. Like the Define-C to which it was compared in the above charts, it’s really only suitable for builders who plan to add more fans. Like the Define-C, its target market is primarily builders who plan to at least add a front-panel radiator with its own fans. Like the Define-C, the Aurora might have won a broader recommendation if only it had more fans, and like the Define-C, the Aurora’s good price and reasonable manufacturing quality make it worthy of consideration . . . exclusively by buyers who plan to add a front panel radiator.
MORE: Best Cases
MORE: All Case Content