Design and Build Quality
Although the Aurora ALX comes in a modest package, it carries a considerable amount of weight. Alienware opted to use a heavy duty steel chassis covered by a plastic outer shell to keep the system safe and stable, but also to reduce noise and vibration. The black outer shell is smooth to the touch and gives off a soft reflection.
Another distinguishing feature of this case is the sliding front door that hides three external 5.25" bays. The mechanism is very similar to the sliding door found on Silverstone's Raven RV01 enclosure. To open, simply push the Alienware logo found on the top edge. The door slowly lowers to reveal the drive bays and settles into position gracefully. To close, pull the door up to its original location until it locks into place.
Above is the Alienware logo that releases the sliding door cover and allows access to the drive bays. Our review unit came with a Blu-ray 6x dual layer disc burner installed. Two slots are readily available for future expansion. The front panel ports are found behind the Alienware logo, hidden by the first vent on top of the system. They consist of two USB ports, a 1394 connection, microphone jack, and headset port.
Besides sporting high end hardware, one of the major selling points of this system is the AlienFX lighting system. This eye catching, over the top feature allows you to change the exterior chassis lighting to the color of your choice using a software based utility. With eight different zones to configure, you can set each one individually or select a common theme for all. In addition, you can have the colors remain solid, morph from one to another, or pulsate. After playing around with the settings, we kept the colors solid as the pulsating option was a bit distracting for our tastes.
The active venting system found on top of the system can also be configured. Active venting is controlled through the Alienware Command Center and allows the user to open or close the vents based on internal fan speeds, as well as keeping them in a certain position. This exclusive feature helps the system stay cool as the five mechanical vents are triggered when internal chassis temperatures reach a certain point.