The Gigabyte 3D Aurora case is a product aimed squarely at computer enthusiasts - with one small caveat.
A full tower, all-aluminum cabinet, the Gigabyte 3D Aurora comes with a bunch of extra features for system modders and overclockers.
Let’s get the basic specifications out of the way first. The Gigabyte 3D Aurora's all-aluminum construction means that the case weighs only 7kg; this is much lighter than a steel case of comparable size.
The Gigabyte 3D Aurora case is available in two colours - black and silver. We got the black version, and it definitely looks like it means business. The front of the case is divided into two sections. A massive door covers the external drive bays and power and reset buttons. Crafted out of aluminum, it feels solid and the silver groove running down the middle adds a touch of class.
The door is fastened magnetically, and can be locked as well. The lower half of the Gigabyte 3D Aurora's front is taken up by a large perforated grille. Behind this spins a 120mm fan, the first of three in this case.
A blue LED illuminates this area, and you have a nifty little logo projected on to your desk surface. Usefully, Gigabyte has included a blank template for you to create your own logo. This easy bit of customisation will appeal to a certain audience.
Two USB ports, one FireWire 400 port, audio I/O, and the case LEDs lie nestled on the Gigabyte 3D Aurora's righthand side. This can be a little irritating if you normally place the case on the floor, since they are all but unreachable. Given the sheer size of this case, it’s likely to be placed on the floor, and Gigabyte could have rethought the placement of the ports.
The left panel has a big acrylic panel for you to keep an eye on things inside the case. And it’s the insides that make the Gigabyte 3D Aurora stand out from the others.
Two 120mm fans, complete with glowing blue LEDs, keep things cool. Add the front intake fan, and you know that the Gigabyte 3D Aurora will keep the air moving. And since the large fans spin only at 1,000rpm, they don’t make much noise.
With the side panels on, you can barely hear them in a quiet room. The Gigabyte 3D Aurora also boasts a completely tool-less design. The only time you need to use a screwdriver is while fastening the motherboard and power supply to the case. Everything else - adding expansion cards, hard drives, DVD drives and so on - is totally tool free.
Gigabyte has included intake and outlet ports for those who are into water-cooling. This is pretty useless to the vast majority of us, but those who need it will be very thankful indeed.
Cables are neatly tucked away and the general fit and the Gigabyte 3D Aurora's finish is of a high quality.
The Gigabyte 3D Aurora has only one glaring flaw - the largest video cards simply will not fit. We tried plugging in an Nvidia 8800 GTX, and realised that there is no room.
This is because the Gigabyte 3D Aurora's cabinet was originally released way back in 2005, when the world was simpler and graphics cards were not the all-consuming behemoths they are today. Smaller cards such as the Nvidia 8800 GT or the ATI HD 3850 fit easily, but don’t buy this case if you intend to plug in the latest and greatest video cards.