With the ever increasing trend for RGB in the computer gaming market, BitFenix have hopped right in with what they are best known for – their cases. BitFenix made a name for themselves with the introduction of the Prodigy a few years ago now, which became one of the more popular choices for enthusiast grade mini-ITX systems. BitFenix hope to have a repeat hit in the form of the Aurora, and with a starting price of £86.99 on OCUK they’re off to a good start.
Today we have the BitFenix Aurora, in white. BitFenix have opted to go for something a little different to the traditional side panel with window, they instead just decided to use windows as side panels. The focus here is two things: watercooling and RGB lightning. They make this clear in their product video showing support for multiple large radiators and use of lightning strips.
With the case is their RGB SSD tray to add a little more flair to storage solutions, and of course BitFenix do sell their own lighting strips which they’ll very much want you to use with this build. BitFenix are very keen to show off the looks of this case, even providing multiple high-res galleries on their website.
But one key question remains… is it a good case?
|Model||BitFenix Aurora (White)|
|Motherboard Support||E-ATX, ATX, Micro ATX, ITX|
|Dimensions||520mm(L) x 215mm(W) x 490mm(H)|
|Maximum GPU Length||400mm|
|Maximum CPU Cooler Height||160mm|
|Maximum PSU Length||220mm|
|3.5″ Hard Drive bays||4|
|2.5″ Hard Drive bays||3|
|Fans included||120mm (rear)|
|Cooling Layout||Front: 2x 140mm/120mm
Rear: 1x 120mm
Top: 2x 140/120mm
|Radiator Compatibility||Front: 1x 280mm
Top: 1x 280mm
Rear: 1x 120mm
|Dust Filters||Front and Bottom|
|Front I/O||2x USB3.0, 2x USB2.0, 3.5mm headphone & microphone.|
Closer Look: Exterior
The first thing you notice when taking the BitFenix Aurora out of its wrapping are the two large, tempered glass side panels. Wow do they look great. In the box they are covered by a protective film of plastic that you peel off. The panels aren’t totally see through – instead they are tinted. The panel that is on the rear of the case has a matte black coating to retain the glass look without giving you vision of the cables hidden behind the motherboard. Bravo.
The panels are secured by 4 large thumbscrews on each corner, and upon unscrewing them you can simply lift the panels off.
At the top and front of the BitFenix Aurora is an angular look not unlike things we’ve seen in the past. Some people like this style of aesthetic, some people don’t. Personally I prefer more simple aesthetics – but the angles do allow for some nice touches which I will cover later. Where the gaps in the white plastic construction are there is a black mesh to assist with airflow.
I couldn’t help but notice a few rough edges like the one in the picture above. Where the plastic constructions appears to have been molded and then broken off into each part. It’s not the end of the world but it is a little disappointing to see on an otherwise good looking case.
At the bottom of the case we have 4 rubber feet which are quiet small, but they are fixed in position. The BitFenix Aurora also has a fairly small dust filter & ventilation hole for the power supply.
Towards the back of the BitFenix Aurora we see the area for the power supply in the bottom, the seven PCIe expansion slots and the rear 120mm fan grill. Nothing to report at the back of the BitFenix Aurora.
At the front we find a fairly standard I/O layout consisting of two USB3.0 ports, two USB2.0 ports, a 3.5mm headphone and microphone jack. Next to these are the power, reset and an extra button to cycle through colours on their SSD Chroma controller.
Closer Look: Interior
After removing both the heavy & thick glass panels that could’ve been stolen from a military SUV we get to the interior of the BitFenix Aurora. Inside the Aurora is a fairly standard layout with the power supply situated at the bottom, drives on the right and then the motherboard takes up most of the space.
Pre-installed in the BitFenix Aurora are standoffs for the ATX layout. The BitFenix Aurora does support all common standards up to E-ATX and included in the little accessories package is a standoff removal bit to make life easier. It would’ve been nice if the BitFenix Aurora had a raised centre standoff, as that makes installing motherboards easier.
Tied to the case is an accessories pack in a plain cardboard box. Inside this box is the SSD Chroma utility, along with a screw pack and HDD rails. BitFenix also provide some cable ties albeit a bit small.
At the top of the BitFenix Aurora is where we would generally see the 5.25″ bays, but in the BitFenix Aurora they’ve been swapped out for a 3.5″ HDD bay that can hold up to two drives. You can also remove this bay using the thumbscrews that hold it to the chassis, which from looking at the press photos BitFenix fully expect you to do this. I like and don’t like this move, it is a good way to make use of space that previously was taken up by mostly obsolete technology. However this inclusion (or exclusion) does mean using a dual bay reservoir is not possible.
Around the back we find the two extra SSD bays found in the BitFenix Aurora. BitFenix opted to put one around the front to show off their SSD Chroma feature. The controller for the Chroma feature can also be found at the back.
At the bottom of the BitFenix Aurora is the power supply area, which supports 220mm length power supplies, which should cover pretty much everyone. Nearby is the second 3.25″ HDD bay which like the top bay- is also removable. BitFenix wisely placed some cable management holes near the drives in the BitFenix Aurora which makes routing cables to them very easy and neat.
Over towards the back is the single 120mm fan provided by BitFenix. The fan appears to be a Spectre model so it is of retail quality, however it is the only fan you get pre-installed in the BitFenix Aurora. This makes clear that BitFenix designed this case with watercooling in mind, and expect builders to use radiators with fans as intake. A fair assumption, but it would’ve been nice to have a single intake fan.
Upon taking the top of the BitFenix Aurora off we find the raised portion which is designed to allow for the installation of radiators, although the top is really only suited for thinner radiators or AIO systems. BitFenix provide a mounting bracket for reservoir mounting, although it doesn’t include pump mounting so most combo units will have the pump free-hanging. The structural strength is poor as the metal is quite thin and bends very easily in this area.
At the front of the BitFenix Aurora is a similar setup to the top with the protruding area to install a radiator. While not as essential as having extra clearance than the top of the case, it is still a good inclusion as many cases may require you to remove the drive bays to make use of radiators in the front. This is not a problem in the BitFenix Aurora.
Building in the BitFenix Aurora was pretty straight forward. The two protruding radiator areas in the BitFenix Aurora made possible by the angled design are a good addition, particularly as BitFenix want you to watercool a computer built in this case. Building a custom loop in the BitFenix Aurora shouldn’t be too difficult, there is plenty of space in the front for a large radiator and the BitFenix demonstration images show the reservoir mounted up top. For the test system I opted to use an all-in-one liquid cooler though as that is the solution most people opt to use.
I started like most people do by installing the motherboard, it was a little difficult to get it all to line up with the padded I/O shield used on the Z170X-UD5 I built with here. Including a protruding standoff would’ve solved this problem. Otherwise there is plenty of space for motherboards up to E-ATX as well as mounting grommets and holes placed conveniently around the main tray. The BitFenix Aurora also allows you to change the cooling solution later on without removing the motherboard as there is a large cutout on the tray for backplate swaps.
After the motherboard the power supply went in, there was plenty of space and no issues installing my large 1200W unit. The grommets were also sufficiently wide for me to route all the necessary cables through to the back of the motherboard tray to keep things tidy.
The provided hard drive grommets were very simple to use, although they are not sound dampening. BitFenix used rails which just snap into place rather than requiring screwing onto the drive. After that you can just slide it into the bay of choice and it will go in with a click. You then use push tabs to remove the drive from the bay later. Pretty standard stuff, but standards are essential to building good cases.
Routing all the cables in the BitFenix Aurora was very easy, near all the drive bays there are well positioned gaps in the metal construction to fit connectors through. The main grommets for the motherboard are all lined with rubber, something we’re also used to seeing on cases with a more premium price tag.
Installing a radiator in the front or top is very easy – but it is worth noting long tubing is required if you have an AIO like the system here. Luckily there’s plenty of clearance in the top as well. I opted to use the front in the BitFenix Aurora to improve airflow to the rest of the system as well due to the lack of pre-installed front fans.
To finish off, I added a red LED strip in the top and the bottom to add a little light to the system inside. With the black-tinted windows the BitFenix Aurora gives off a nice glow, but isn’t too bright so it highlights parts nicely without lighting everything up. Personally I think this aesthetic looks great. Although some people would’ve preferred a completely clear window.
To wrap up, the BitFenix Aurora is a very compelling case for a few reasons, although it is not perfect. The BitFenix Aurora offers great looks with strong watercooling support – and comes in at a fairly modest price point of £86.99 (at time of review) which is a more premium price for a mid tower, but is still sensible. With this said it stacks up very well against other premium cases. What it lacks in noise optimisation it makes up for in features, offering support for multiple large radiators which is an area other mid towers fall down on.
The build quality wasn’t perfect, the BitFenix Aurora has a few rough edges here and there as well as some thin metal in places such as the radiator/fan mounting points. But these sacrifices were made to add two large glass panels to a case that comes in very favorably priced compared to other glass cases. I feel most people will find it worth it as the glass panels are more noticeable than a few imperfections with the plastic construction and build process.
The overall air flow inside the case is good as well, there are no major design problems preventing the cooling of components. Although the single fan does mean that I would have no intake if I didn’t opt to use an AIO watercooling solution. So that may be a problem for some.
BitFenix opted to make most of the construction tool-less with use of thumbscrews which is always nice. Although most people do keep at least a Phillips screwdriver handy. Still, it’s better to have it than not have it, so I’ll give BitFenix marks here.
The lack of 5.25″ ODD bays is a problem for some, although use of these bays is becoming increasingly uncommon. However given how watercooling is the spotlight for the BitFenix Aurora including compatibility for 5.25″ bays might not have been a bad idea, as a lot of people use dual-bay reservoirs for their watercooling setups. Removing the extra 3.5″ bays does give a nice bit of room to install a tube reservoir instead so it’s not a bad sacrifice.
The main takeaway for the BitFenix Aurora is how it looks. Once the system is in, up and running it is possible to build a great looking machine at a fair price. Plastic windows can’t beat the clear, sharp look of glass. BitFenix wanted in on the current direction the market is heading- RGB lighting. And they certainly did it very well with the BitFenix Aurora.
The BitFenix Aurora is ASUS AURA certified, which means you can control the cases RGB lighting with supporting ASUS AURA motherboards. I don’t have much to say on this feature as I haven’t got a supported motherboard, but we’ve seen it implemented successfully on other cases before so I have no reason to expect the BitFenix Aurora is any different as it carries the certification.
I found with my test system keeping the SSD illuminated didn’t quite give off the look I wanted – so I opted not to use it. Yet the option is there and does work quite well, although I suspect most people will find a colour they like and not change it.
BitFenix also opted to exclude any other lighting as-is with the case, not even an LED fan. This is a bit of a shame as it does introduce a bit of hidden cost to the BitFenix Aurora if you want to take full advantage of its design.
Cooling performance was very strong with the high amount of mesh present in the BitFenix Aurora, the components were getting plenty of air and temperatures were excellent.
Otherwise the it offers a good build experience, acceptable build quality for the price and good aesthetics. There are a few design choices that make you scratch your head a little, but for the most part things are done well.
BitFenix Aurora (White) Review
– Good looks
– Two glass windows
– Easy build process
– Strong watercooling support
– Removable drive bays
– Responds very well with case lightning
– More expensive for a mid-tower
– Some questionable design choices
– No noise-isolation
– SSD Chroma feature seems a bit novel
– No other LED features included (fans, etc)
User Review( vote)