During Computex 2005 in Taiwan we noticed a very funky looking computer case from Gigabyte. The Taiwanese company has since released their futuristic-looking and all aluminum body "3D Aurora" enthusiast computer case into the market and we've taken a closer look at the product. If you're on the market for a new and quality computer case with a lot of classy features, read on and learn more about the Gigabyte 3D Aurora.
IntroductionWhen you hear the term "Gigabyte 3D Aurora", what do you instantly visualize in your mind? Maybe you're thinking a new version of the 3D Cooler or the new 7800 GTX 3D Aurora graphics card? If you thought either of these, you couldn't be much further away. If you paid attention to our Computex Coverage and what Gigabyte showed, you would know that the 3D Aurora is Gigabyte's first attempt at an enthusiast computer case.In a category that is flooded with expensive quality cases like Lian Li and cheap imitations, it's not going to be easy for someone to bring out a new case and do well with sales. If you have a look at companies like Cooler Master who make some of the best looking and quality cases then actually have a look at how many are sold and compare that to a $20 case that looks similar but is made from steel, you will clearly see that these cases out sell anything else.In our normal case review fashion, we'll have a look at the outside, the inside and see how it feels when having a play around to sum it up. If first impressions are anything to go by, this case looks to be a beauty.
3D Aurora - The Package
The PackageWhile we try not to put any emphasis on the manual, we have to say that this is a great looking cover and almost makes you want to turn it over and have a read of it. We can't stress the fact enough that we used the word almost because after quickly coming to our senses and realizing it was a manual, it was thrown to the side so we could look further inside.
While we aren't complaining, the inclusion of power splitters is quite unusual addition to a case package - two are included and it splits from a normal molex connector to one molex and one SATA power connector. These always come in handy so it's nice to see that Gigabyte have included them.
We have our normal group of rails to attach to our CDROM's, HDD caddies and anything else that uses a 5 1/4 drive bay. This makes it extremely easy to add and remove these devices without the need of a screwdriver. These have become quite common in most of the more up market cases and it is nice to see that Gigabyte have also included the feature.
All our necessary screws have been included so we can get straight to installing the motherboard. As you can see we also have a set of keys included, while you can figure what these are for when we have a look at the case in more detail, we will look into it further.
With the package out the way let's have a closer look to see what the case has to offer us.
3D Aurora - The Exterior
The ExteriorThe 3D Aurora is a great looking case and it really seems like they have designed it themselves from the bottom up which is something that a lot of companies don't do these days. With a silver finish and a bit of colour in the right places, it does look fantastic. You can also choose a black version of the case which will be available soon.Before we continue on, Gigabyte provided these finer details about the case:Dimension - 205 x 522 x 510 mm (W x H x D)Front bezel Material - AluminumColor - Silver / BlackSide Panel - Elegant Vent DesignBody Material - AluminumNet Weight - 7.1 kg5.25" drive bay (External) - 53.5" drive bay (External) - 23.5" drive bay (Internal) - 5Expansion Slot - 7Compatible Motherboard - ATX / Micro ATXSystem Fan(front) - One 120 mm silent fan equipped with blue LEDsSystem Fan(rear) - Two 120 mm silent fans equipped with blue LEDsI / O Ports - Two USB2.0 / One IEEE 1394 / One audio
We can see our normal Power and Reset button just behind the door and 2 x 3 1/2 bays for your floppy disk, ZIP drive or some funky mod item. We then see a blue grill which does nothing but split the colours up and finally we have all the holes for the fan to pull cool air from the outside in.
Moving to the side of the case we can see that we haven't got a window but a vent to help cool air get into the CPU/Video Card area which is always helpful. You can see we have a handle on the side with a lock under it. This is where one of the set of keys come in, giving you the ability to lock and unlock the side panel - making it difficult for people to get access to all your expensive hardware.
Moving to the other side we have another lock which lets us lock the front door so no one can access the front area including those original games in your CDROM drive and power and reset buttons.Included on the right side of the case at the front are several ports including two USB 2.0, FireWire, audio out.
Moving to the back of the case the biggest item that stands out is the inclusion of two giant 120MM fans with blue LED's which exhaust hot air from within the case. Not only is it nice to see that Gigabyte have made a spot for the fans but also actually included the fancy looking and effective fans.As you can see there is no Power Supply included in this case which is quite common across more well known manufactures as they don't make power supplies but with the rate Gigabyte are going these days, it surely won't be long before we see "GigaPower" PSU's.
One thing you notice about this case is the weight or lack thereof - it is quite light thanks to the all aluminum body making it an absolutely awesome case for anyone who is going to be carting their PC around from LAN to LAN.
3D Aurora - The Interior
The InteriorMoving from the outside of the case to the inside we can see all our clips for the 5 1/4 bays so we can get some plug and play action with your CDROM's and other devices. This makes this part of the installation completely screwless which saves a lot of time when it comes to setting up a new PC.
Moving to the bottom right of the case we find where we can install our hard drives. The black box holds all the accessories but if you didn't need the extra room it can come in extremely handy for holding a small group of tools. Thanks to the lock on the side panel, nobody would be able to get in and access it.
There is a single 120mm fan at the front of the case which works as a typical intake fan to push air through the case. Due to the design of the front of the case, this fan draws cool air into the case through the front and both front sides of the case which is a good design for cooling purposes.Moving to the main area of the case we can see that we have a bucket load of room to play. While the tray isn't removable we do have enough room to play with and since most people aren't reinstalling hardware as much as us, we have become use to the fact that it isn't a must have feature for most people.At the bottom you can see the two black rubber holes and some may be wondering what these are for. They are designed for people who want to make use of water cooling as one of the most annoying things is getting the pipes out the back into a reservoir.
3D Aurora - Final Thoughts
Final ThoughtsThe Gigabyte 3D Aurora is a fantastic case in terms of features and looks and it's good to see that it's far more then just a slightly readjusted design of another brand's case. One of the cool features that you can see on the front page is the inclusion of the Customizable Light Beam Projector. While the case comes with one that says 3D Aurora, you have a customizable one included that can have your own classy message on it. This is great as you could have something like your nick name shine out when you're at your local LAN event - very cool.While the only price we could find was in pound (using the current exchange rate), you are looking at just over $100 USD or roughly $140 AUD to pickup the 3D Aurora case. At these prices it does make it a very tempting upgrade for someone who has a steel case or feels like its time to upgrade their current aluminum case which they've had for a while.The Gigabyte 3D Aurora has got a lot of classy features and while it isn't the cheapest case you will find, you pay extra for a quality case and in fact it's quite a reasonable price for a case of these standards.When a company ventures into a new product like Gigabyte has with the 3D Aurora you more often then not find a lot of little faults that can be put down as first time errors. It seems though that the Gigabyte R & D team has been hard at work as there is nothing to fault with this product. Overall, we have a great looking case, excellent price and some nice little features pushing it to the top of the to-buy case list which is excellent considering it is Gigabyte's first attempt at an enthusiast computer case.- ProsExtremely light aluminum designGreat value for moneyLooks very neatThree 120mm LED fans included (1 front and 2 rear)Good packageLight Beam Projector is very cool- ConsNeed to buy a separate PSUNo removable motherboard tray but not a big dealRating - 9 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Best Features Award
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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.
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