BitFenix Aurora Case Review
It’s been a while since we’ve seen something from BitFenix but that’s all about to change thanks to the arrival of the new BitFenix Aurora. The Aurora is a midi-tower case capable of supporting Motherboards up to EATX size. The Case is equipped with tempered glass side panels, is available in black or white (that’s the version we have) and also features BitFenix’s RGB Chroma (Asus Aura certified) control. Out of the box there’s one pre-installed fan and room for four more, in addition to this there’s also space for up to three radiators; front – 280mm, rear – 120mm and top 280mm. Storage is catered for with three SSDs bays (x1 with RGB Chroma supports) and four HDD bays, there are also no 5.25″ drive bays.
The BitFenix Aurora arrived at pcG in a large Eco friendly brown cardboard box with a wire-frame image of the Aurora on the front. The back of the box further highlights the removable PSU dust filter, RGB Chroma controller, Alchemy SSD Chroma and the 20-25mm of cable management space. Also in addition to this BitFenix highlights the support for Graphics Cards up to 400mm in length, dual 280mm radiator support and the removable drive cages.
On opening the box the BitFenix Aurora was found to be adequately packaged and presented with the case supported by two hard foam blocks and covered by a plastic bag.
In the box, other than the case itself we find a Quick Installation Guide and a small cardboard box containing some drive rails, the RGB Chroma SSD mount, some cable ties and a plethora of screws etc.
At the time of review the BitFenix Aurora is retailing at Overclockers UK for approximately £87 and comes with a 1 year warranty.
courtesy of BitFenix
|CPU Cooler||Up to 160mm height|
|Graphic Card Length||Up to 400mm|
|3.5” Drive Bays||2 + 2|
|2.5” Drive Bays||2 + 1|
|I/O||USB 3.0 x 2│USB 2.0 x 2│HD Audio MIC & Headphone|
|Front Cooling||120mm x 2 or 140mm x 2|
|Rear Cooling||120mm x 1 (Included)|
|Top Cooling||120mm x 2 or 140mm x 2|
|Power Supply||Up to 220mm|
|Weight||10.58kg (net)│11.94kg (gross)|
|Dimensions||215 x 490 x 520mm|
|Highlights||BitFenix LED Lighting Controller & SSD Lighting Bracket│20-25mm Cable Management Space│Graphic Length up to 400mm│Support Dual 280mm radiator│Removable HDD cage│Removable PSU Dust Filter|
Before I talk about my first impressions of the BitFenix Aurora there something I need to get of my chest: This particular product has proved to be the most awkward product I’ve ever had to photograph. Why? Well here at pcG we normally photograph everything on a white background to match with the website. But if the product is white (often the case with Cases) we swap to a black background. But this BitFenix Aurora is both black and white and it’s the edges that have differing colours, this means it’s impossible to photograph on a black or a white background. Argghhh! I even tried green but that didn’t work out well either, so in the end I gave up and just photographed the case best way I could…
First impressions of the BitFenix Aurora are very good, it’s certainly quite the looker and that ying/yang look works well too. The plastic used though feels a little odd, not necessarily bad in any way just a little, well brittle actually. I’m also somewhat disappointed to see only one included fan, but…
Both the left hand side and the right hand side of the Aurora is dominated by a tempered glass panel. On the left the panel is smoked and you can (within reason) see through to the inside. The right panel features a heavy smoke (it might even be painted) and is therefore opaque and you can’t see into the back of the case, which makes perfect sense when you think about it.
Looking at the top the Aurora we can see that it’s dominated by a white plastic panel that has some curved cutouts for cooling purposes as well as adding to the aesthetics. Note that the sides of the top panel also feature vents to further improve airflow through the top of the case. Near the front we have a comprehensive Front Panel control set consisting of x2 USB 3.0, audio ports (headphone & microphone), power LED (blue), drive activity LED (red), x2 USB 2.0 ports, RGB illumination control, power and reset buttons.
The front of the case is similar in design to the top, in that it features the same curved design with a smart looking BitFenix logo at the bottom. But the panel itself actually sits proud of the front of the case allowing for significantly improved airflow into the front. The inner section comprises of a non removable black grill, but the panel itself can be removed in its entirety for cleaning as well as to allow access to the fan mount within.
Looking at the back of the case we see a simple layout with IO shield cutout in the top left flanked by a 120mm exhaust fan. Below this we find seven expansion slots and a couple of water cooling holes with grommets. At the very bottom we find the main Power Supply cutout.
The base of the case again is simple with a small removable PSU filter at the back. The case itself sits up off of the desk courtesy of four silver legs with rubberised feet. This lifts the Aurora off of the desk by approximately 12mm. The four screw ends that you can see near the front of the case allow (from the inside) for the removable of the lower drive cage.
As you can see from the image above left the front panel is removable, simply pull (gently) at the base and the panel should come off. Note the integrated filer that can be cleaned but not removed.
Removing the front panel allows us to see more easily the mouthing bracket for either a radiator and or fans. The front of the Aurora supports radiators up to 280mm and there’s also support for two 120 or two 140mm fans; that I really wish had come with it to be honest… 😉
Removing the left tempered glass panel (by removing four screws, that also feature rubber washers) allows us to see a good sized interior space. Things to note are the large CPU cutout, PSU rubber mounts, single SSD mount, two 3.5″ drive cages, cable management holes with grommets and all black cabling.
Removing the right tempered glass opaque panel allows us to see into the back of the Aurora where there’s plenty of cable management space, around 20-25mm. Over on the left we can also see the other two SSD mounts bringing the total 2.5″ drive support up to three.
Taking a tour around the BitFenix Aurora first let’s take a look at the only included fan. The rear exhaust fan is 120mm in size with no illumination, rotational speed and CFM was difficult to find, but speed appears to be 12,000 RPM.
The Power Supply bay features rubber mounts to keep vibration to a minimum and supports PSUs up to 220mm in length.
Looking at the front of the case from inside we can see the location that’s crying out for a couple of 140mm fans. Note that both fans and radiator live inbound of that front panel but there’s plenty of room even for a thick radiator. Both the lower and upper 3.5″ drive cages can be removed which is great as this will only further improve airflow in through the front of the case.
Around the back we can see the two SSD mounts that are easily removable courtesy of a single thumb screw. Your SSD is simply can the be attached to the bracket by way of four screws.
At the back is where you’ll also find the RGB controller for the front BitFenix SSD Chroma mount (not shown here see below). This connects with the supplied mount directly and can also be connected to BitFenix’s own Alchemy LED light strips.
|Case||BitFenix Aurora||Power Supply||Corsair Professional Series AX 760i|
|Motherboard||ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 GAMING K6||CPU||Intel Core i5-6600K|
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U12S||RAM||G Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB|
|Graphics Card||EVGA GeForce GTX 980Ti Classified||SSD (M.2)||Samsung SM951 512GB|
|SSD||Kingston SSDNow 200 v+ 60GB||HDD||Seagate 2TB SSHD|
The first task was to put together the motherboard assembly (MB, CPU, CPU Cooler & RAM) for this review. This consists of our test motherboard an ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K6, an Intel Core i5-6600K CPU, a Noctua NH-U12S CPU Cooler and x2 4GB G.Skill Ripjaws 4 RAM modules. This Motherboard assembly can be seen above left.
Next I looked at the supplied SSD Chroma mount and its associated wiring. The bracket itself was removed from the front of the case, as there’s very little point in having RGB lighting at the back! The bracket is then attached to the back of the SSD with the four screws provided and then in turn this assembly can be attached to the mount by a further two screws. Simple!
The next task was to fit the Corsair AX760i Power Supply, this sits at the bottom of the Case with the fan pointing downward to take advantage of the PSU filter below. The PSU sits atop four simple rubber mounts to keep vibration to a minimum and was secured using the regular four screws. Note that maximum Power Supply length is quoted at 220mm.
With the PSU in position I set about fitting the MB assembly after first fitting the I/O shield of course. This was a simple task as there’s plenty of room to manoeuvre with the Aurora. I did have to add an extra stand-off to support the ten screws for the ASRock motherboard and extra stand-offs were supplied. Also the fitting of the CPUs 8-pin power cable did not have to be done before motherboard installation as there a good sized hole that can be utilised after the event.
All in all general cabling was good with well placed grommets and plenty of cable management space. The only downside being the HD audio cable needs to be trailed across the bottom of the motherboard as there no space (and no hole) above the PSU.
As you can see from the image above left the BitFenix Aurora swallowed our test EVGA GTX 980Ti with ease despite its long 300mm length. It’s also quite a tall Graphics Card too, but again within the case there’s still plenty of height also.
Cabling at the back of the Case was also easily swallowed by the Aurora thanks to its 20-25mm of cable management space and there’s also plenty of cable tie points too. That I, somewhat obviously didn’t use. One disappointment was the fact that the BitFenix RGB Chroma Control required the use of a Molex connector, meaning that I had to fit an additional (unwanted) cable. This really should have been a SATA power connector and not a Molex.
At pcGameware we use Prime95 and ASRock’s F-Stream utility to evaluate CPU temperatures and voltage, and we use MSI Afterburner to evaluate the GPU temperatures. Of course Prime95 being a CPU stress test also helps to generate heat for us to check the case thermals. We also use UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0 for GPU temperature testing.
CPU performance testing is carried out using Prime95 (Small FFT) to stress the CPU. Each run is timed for 15 mins and the maximum temperature is recorded for all cores and then the average core heat is taken. Testing was carried out with an overclocked Intel Core i5-6600K at 4.4GHz courtesy of the ASRock UEFI.
GPU performance testing is carried out by running UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0 for 15 minutes and then by recording the maximum GPU temperature.
* All case fans (x1 in the case of the BitFenix Aurora) and the CPU Cooler (Noctua NH-U12S) are run at 100% throughout testing. To ascertain case noise levels, the GPU fans are set to their lowest setting and the CPU Cooler fan is unplugged, whilst the dBA is recorded from 1m away.
|Case||Ambient Temperature||Max CPU Temperature (core average)||Delta Temperature|
|Lian Li PC-X510||22.00||58.00||36.00|
|Cooler Master HAF XB||21.00||58.00||37.00|
|Corsair Carbide 600C||23.00||60.00||37.00|
|Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 5||22.00||60.00||38.00|
|In Win 303||21.00||60.00||39.00|
|NZXT S340 (Special Edition)||22.00||61.00||39.00|
|be quiet! Silent Base 600||23.00||62.00||39.00|
Talking about the cooling performance of a Case with only one exhaust fan is a little pointless, I know! But as we’ve stated before here at pcG we have test all Cases as we receive them as adding additional fans becomes complex; as we begin to question what fan, what’s speed, how many additional etc.
So there no surprise that in the CPU cooling stakes the BitFenix is near the bottom of the list, but it’s still not last with a maximum CPU temperature of 67.00 (44.00 Delta) degrees Celsius. No doubt this would be improved greatly if a couple of fans were added to either the top or the front of the case.
|Case||Ambient Temperature||Max GPU Temperature||Delta Temperature|
|Lian Li PC-X510||23.00||77.00||54.00|
|Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 5||22.00||77.00||55.00|
|NZXT S340 (Special Edition)||22.00||79.00||57.00|
|Corsair Carbide 600C||23.00||80.00||57.00|
|Cooler Master HAF XB||22.00||79.00||57.00|
|be quiet! Silent Base 600||22.00||81.00||59.00|
|In Win 303||21.00||83.00||62.00|
Of course Graphics Card cooling was also poor, again as to be expected. But there’s plenty of options to improve upon this result with four positions for an additional four 140mm fans. If it were me I would start by adding two 140mm fans to the front of the case, as this would allow the Graphics Card to take in some cool air.
Of course where the BitFenix Aurora does score well is in the acoustics department thanks to the single 120mm 1200RPM fan. Using our test equipment we measured a maximum of just 38dBA, quiet but certainly not inaudible. This is likely to increase though when adding additional fans, so bearing their rated speed and dBA is advisable.
Over the last week the BitFenix Aurora has really grown on me. For one it’s a good looking case and on top of that it offers up a good set of features and offers up a nice simple build and its well priced too.
The BitFenix Aurora arrived at pcG in a Eco friendly large brown cardboard box that gave very little away as to the contents within. The case itself was found to be adequately packaged and presented.
Once out of the box I was immediately impressed with the design of the Aurora, although it’s black ‘n white design did prove to be somewhat of a challenge to photograph. It’s well made too with only a slight question over the rather strange feeling plastic used on the front and top of the case. The two tempered glass panels really help though to lift the overall aesthetic and help to give the case a premium look.
Looking the case over we find a decent feature set too, although the single included 120mm fans is a slight disappointment. What we have though is a mid-tower case with seven expansion slots that can swallow an EATX motherboard, there’s room for a 400mm long Graphics Card and a 220mm Power Supply. There’s also room for two 280mm radiators to should water cooling be calling your name. Finally we have room for x3 SSDs and x4 HDDs as well as an included RGB SSD mount with Asus certified BitFenix RGB Chroma Control. General layout is also good with plenty of room within the case, plenty of cable management space and well positioned cable management holes with grommets.
Installation was a breeze thanks in part to the large size of the case itself and the aforementioned layout. The only slight fly in the ointment being the use of a Molex connector on the RGB controller, that should have been SATA.
Obviously with only one fan fitted the out of the box cooling performance of the BitFenix Aurora is poor. Of course adding more fans is the answer and a further four 140mm fans are supported and you’re going to have to budget for at least two IMHO. Acoustics is again, thanks to the single fan very good, but adding more is likely to add more noise above the 38dBA measured by our test equipment.
The best part of the BitFenix Aurora though is what it looks like, especially when power on. There’s obviously the illumination of the SSD mount, that’s really rather nice, especially as it offers RGB support and even a colour cycling breathing type mode. Any further lighting that you have in the case seems to simply be further enhanced by the smoked side panel. It certainly punches above its weight (and price) when it comes to what it looks like on the desk.
The BitFenix Aurora really offers a great deal at a very fair price, although you’ll need to budget for a couple of fans. But considering the great looks, ease of build and a good feature set, including RGB support any niggles are soon forgotten.
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Many thanks to BitFenix for providing this sample for review