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Gigabyte 3D AURORA Case
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Date: Sep 07, 2005
Section:Misc
Author: Matt Beauvais
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Introducing Gigabyte's 3D AURORA

The beige box; you had one, I had one, just about everyone and their mother had one. It wasn't that long ago either, that we all had our generic cases on display for no one to notice. Of course, this was back in the day when megahertz ruled, megabytes were plentiful, and a 56K modem was a bragging right. Fast forward a bit, and now we're running on high speed connections, Gigahertz is the word, and Gigabytes don't really seem that big. With all these new technical advances, it was only a matter of time before the boring beige box was given a makeover.

A quick trip to just about any major hardware retailer will quickly reveal just how big the PC enclosure industry has become. Cases can now be found in all different sizes, shapes, and colors. Some trade looks for functionality, and vice versa. Not only are the retailers interested in providing exotic looking cases, but case modding has become a pastime for the computer enthusiast. The creativity of some companies and of our community has paved the way for some interesting designs. Gigabyte, taking its first step into the PC chassis market, has put out a beast of a case which has been designed to be a source of eye candy, as well as a hefty house for your hardware. Today, HotHardware.com will show you the ins and outs of Gigabytes first stab into the case market, the Gigabyte 3D AURORA.

Case Features and Specifications
Package Contents

Package:
Gigabyte 3D AURORA Case

Manuals and Books:

Multi-Language Installation Guide

Specifications:

Material: Lightweight Aluminum
Colors: Black, Silver
Dimensions: 205 x 522 x 510 (W X H X D)
Net Weight: 7.1 kg (15.65lbs)
5.25" External Drive Bays: 5
3.5" External Drive Bays: 2
3.5" Internal Drive Bays: 5
System Fans: 1 Front, 2 Rear
I/O Ports: 2x USB 2.0, 1x IEEE 1394, 1x Audio
Motherboard: ATX, Micro ATX

Additional Contents:

Additional Lightbeam Projector Cover
Screws & Cables
2x Security Keys
10x Tool Less Drive Rails

Pricing and Availability:

Around $130 USD MSRP





Notable Features:


100% Brushed Lightweight Aluminum
Multimedia Interface (2x USB, Firewire, Audio & Speaker Port)
Supports Liquid Cooling Systems
Front Blue LED Fan(120mm) 3-way air intake, Dust Filter

2x Rear Blue LED Fans(120mm)
Tool less design
Interior Tool Box
Lock and Keys


 

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Inside The Belly Of The Beast

Pretty on the outside
Spacious Within

If your in the market for something unnoticeable, a case that you can neatly tuck away and blend into your surroundings, this is not the case for you. However, if you want something that will grab the attention of anyone close enough to see the bright blue lights emanating from the front, back, or sides, you'll probably want to keep reading. The front of the 3D Aurora can seem rather plain when you consider some of the more flashy cases out there, but once it's powered up, the front grill emits a fairly strong blue light. If you take a little closer look, you'll notice a unique feature of this case, the light beam projector located at the bottom. We'll touch more on that later, but for now, let's venture into the belly of this beast.

  

 

We're going to start from the top and work our way down. With the Gigabyte 3D Aurora, space probably won't be an issue for most of you. There's plenty of room at the top for PSUs of all sizes. We have a Aspire ATX-AS520W PSU inside, and while some have complained of the size of this PSU, it's not an issue here. Heading over to the drive bays, it's nice to see Gigabyte has gone with the toolless case design. Installing a CD/DVD-ROM, hard drive, or floppy drive requires you to push the drive in all the way, and then press the lock button -- no screws are necessary. Further down, you'll find a small storage compartment. Gigabyte has included a small compartment in their case, big enough to hold extra power cables, screws, thermal paste and a host of other items. Fortunately the box can be removed, slightly increasing the airflow from the front intake fan, and also providing room for more hard drives.

  

Gigabyte has included three massive fans as their standard cooling solution. Two 120mm exhaust fans are located at the back, with one fan located in the front grill. The left side panel of the case contains a screen, so air is also drawn in from the side, cooling your motherboard, CPU, and video card(s). While the fans are big, they're extremely quiet. Because of their size, they are able to move a decent amount of air through the case without creating a substantial amount of noise. If air cooling isn't enough for your beast of a machine, this case is all ready for water cooling as well. Along with the case, Gigabyte has also released it's own water cooling solution, the 3D Galaxy LCS. The two holes found on the bottom right on the back of the case can be used for connecting the tubes to the radiator.

 

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Installing A System & The Final Result

Getting the guts in
Can also be used as a night light

Thanks to the spacious interior and tool free design, getting your rig together doesn't take much time at all. As we mentioned earlier, there's plenty of room for a power supply of just about any size. There's also plenty of room to hide any unneeded cables and power chords, without disrupting the airflow in the case. We installed two different socket 939 motherboards into this case, the ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe and the Abit AV8, and both fit right in. We did run into a slight annoyance when installing the Abit AV8 though. Abit has put the IDE ports on the very edge of the motherboard. Because of this, plugging in the IDE cables was a bit tricky, but not impossible. Before purchasing this case, we recommend that you take your motherboard layout into consideration. The vast majority of motherboards shouldn't be a problem though.

 

With everything assembled and the juice flowing, the final result looks pretty impressive. As you can see, with the lights on, the case emits a fairly strong blue glow. With the lights off, however, the case really shines. While a clear side panel window would have been nice, especially for those of you who really like to show off your rig, the wire mesh side panel Gigabyte has chosen goes really well with the rest of the case. The green PSU cables are clearly seen, and we imagine a water cooling kit with light reactive liquid would work with the case. Gigabyte's light beam display is also a flashy touch, and they even include instructions on how to make your own.

 

 

Looks pretty impressive, doesn't it? If you're anything like us, you'll probably want to show this case off to a few people once your entire system is assembled, but to so it you might want to invite people over to your place. Though the 3D Aurora is built out of lightweight aluminum, the case isn't exactly light as a feather. And with a full complement of hardware inside, moving the case became somewhat of a chore. It's not so much the weight of the case, but the size that makes holding it a bit awkward (as the UPS guy found out when delivering this puppy to the lab).

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Final Thoughts & Conclusion

Final Thoughts & Conclusion
Is it hot? Is it not?

Gigabyte has produced just about everything from CPU Coolers to Video Cards. But the PC enclosure / chassis market was uncharted territory for them.  But that's been changed with the introduction of Gigabyte's 3D AURORA case. With the market still flooded with cases ranging from the old style beige box, to flashy animal themed designs, Gigabyte opted for something in between those two extremes. Just as important as it's looks, is the 3D AURORA's functionality and attention to detail. And while it's not perfect, the 3D AURORA is an excellent case for a wide range of system builders.



All things considered, we're quite impressed with Gigabyte's first PC enclosure. The 3D AURORA has solid design that can house a lot of hardware. The storage compartment they've included is an excellent idea, and while you may want to remove it in order to create better airflow or to add extra hard drives, it is a convenient place to store extra cables and screws. Going with a toolless design was also a good decision that really becomes evident when constantly swapping hardware. Though missing a side panel fan, airflow in the case is good thanks to the three large 120mm fans they've included, and the perforated side panel.  And if you're in the market for water cooling, you might want to check out Gigabyte's Galaxy LCS, which is 100% compatible with this case.

We had a fairly smooth ride with the 3D AURORA.  Our only complaint being possible clearance problems with certain motherboards. This is a problem with just about any case though, so make sure to do some research before purchasing this, or any other case. The sheer size of the 3D AURORA may also be a problem for some. In all honesty, you could probably fit some other popular cases into the 3D AURORA!. Other than that though, we're very pleased with the 3D AURORA, and were impressed by Gigabyte's first stab into a new market. For its design, features, and cooling performance, HotHardware gives the Gigabyte 3D AURORA a 9 out of 10 on the Heat Meter.

_Durable lightweight aluminum
_Support for 3D Galaxy LCS
_3x Near silent 120mm case fans
_Extra Features: Storage Compartment, Lightbeam
_Toolless Design
_Space issues with Abit AV8's IDE connectors

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