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Braebo Aurora review

Richard Easton
3 Oct 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
700
inc VAT

A decent mid-range gaming PC in an eye-catching and unconventional case

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 4.4GHz Intel Core i5-4690K, RAM: 8GB, Front USB ports : 2x USB, 2x USB3, Rear USB ports: 2x USB, 4x USB3, Total storage: 1TB SSHD, Graphics card: 2GB Palit Nvidia GeForce GTX 760, Display: N/A, Operating system: Windows 8.1

The Braebo Aurora has a striking, bright orange case that makes it look every bit as funky and exciting as a gaming PC should. The case in question is the Aero Cool Dead Silence Cube, which measures 41x265x381mm, which is wider than a typical tower but a fraction shorter.

This leaves the Aurora looking rather squat but certainly makes for a nice change from the norm. However, it does mean that its footprint is a lot larger than most desktop towers, which is worth taking into consideration if you’re planning on placing the system on top of your desk.

Thankfully, the system runs almost silently, thanks in part to a large 200mm front air intake and a 120mm exhaust fan at the rear. The case is also pleasant to the touch, with a leather-like coating across its orange panels.

Due to the Aurora’s unconventional shape, the Aurora’s Gigabyte Z97M-D3H motherboard is mounted horizontally. Typically, you’d gain access to a PC’s motherboard and components by removing the side panel, but you access the Aurora’s motherboard and components by removing the chassis’ top panel. You can still remove the side panel to gain access to the PC’s hard drive bays and power supply, though. This means you should have no problem upgrading or removing components.

The Aurora uses a quad-core Intel Core i5-4690K Devil’s Canyon processor that has been overclocked to 4.4GHz, a decent leap from its standard base clock speed of 3.4GHz. The processor is paired with 8GB of 1,866MHz DDR3 RAM, and the Aurora uses a 1TB SSHD hybrid drive for storage, which helps improve desktop responsiveness while still providing adequate space for software and media.

In our application benchmarks, the system scored 125 overall, which shows that the Aurora is more than capable of handling most computing tasks, whether it’s browsing the web, working on an Excel spreadsheet or video editing. 125 overall isn’t the highest score we’ve seen Core i5-4690K-based PCs achieve, but it isn’t bad for air-cooled systems such as the Aurora. The case has pre-drilled holes for installing a liquid cooler if you want to explore overclocking further.

While the Aurora is well-equipped for desktop use, it also does well as a mid-range gaming system. It has a Palit 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 graphics card with HDMI, DisplayPort and two DVI outputs for connecting external displays, and the Aurora performed well in our gaming benchmarks. The Aurora had no problems whatsoever with Dirt Showdown, producing 133fps with the game set to a resolution of 1,280x720 with 4x anti-aliasing and High graphics quality. Even at 1,920x1080, 4x anti-aliasing and graphics quality set to Ultra, the system produced a silky 64fps.

Crysis 3 is much more graphically challenging than Dirt Showdown, but even here the Aurora performed admirably. At a resolution of 1,920x1,080 with 4x anti-aliasing and High graphics quality the Aurora produced a great average frame rate of 50fps. This shows the Aurora is more than capable of most gaming challenges, although you may have to compromise on graphics quality for more graphically challenging games.

The Gigabyte Z97M-D3H motherboard provides reasonable upgrade potential, but there are some limitations due to the shape of the case and orientation of the motherboard. There are six SATA3 ports, and only one is used, so you’ll be able to add more hard disks and SSDs should you need them.

One 3 1/2in bay is occupied by the SSHD, but there are two additional drive trays that can hold either 2 1/2in or 3 1/2in drives. The final HDD bay can hold up to two additional 2 1/2in drives. There’s an external 5 1/4in slot free for an optical drive, should you need one.

The motherboard supports up to 32GB of memory and only two of the four modules are occupied, so there’s great upgrade potential here, too.

There are also two PCI-E x16 slots, although one is occupied by the graphics card. The second slot only runs at x4, and is also rendered unusable for a second graphics card due to the motherboard’s orientation. The second slot is located almost flush with the edge of the motherboard, meaning it won’t fit in the case due to the side panel. The case can support graphics cards up to 320mm in length, or 350mm if you remove the front fan. There are two legacy PCI slots, but one is obscured by the graphics card.

In terms of connections, there are two USB3 and two USB ports on the front of the Aurora and four USB3 and two USB ports on the rear. The motherboard also has connections for a PS/2 keyboard or mouse, Gigabit Ethernet and six jacks for up to 7.1 channel audio.

The Braebo Aurora was a solid performer in both our application benchmarks and our gaming tests. We’re also fond of its squat, cubed chassis, but we think the Chillblast Fusion Slipstream is a better PC overall due to its better upgrade potential, separate SSD and 1TB hard disk, and its optical drive. At the time of writing, the Chillblast Fusion Slipstream costs the same as the Braebo Aurora. However, the Braebo Aurora is much prettier than the Fusion Slipstream, and is a good buy if you're willing to sacrifice a little practicality for a splash of style.

Core specs
ProcessorQuad-core 4.4GHz Intel Core i5-4690K
Processor socketFCLGA1150
RAM8GB
Memory typePC3-15000
Maximum memory32GB
MotherboardGigabyte Z97M-D3H
Motherboard chipsetIntel Z97
Ports and expansion
Front USB ports2x USB, 2x USB3
Rear USB ports2x USB, 4x USB3
Other ports1x PS/2
Networking1x 10/100/1000
Case typeCube
Case size HxWxD381x265x41mm
PCI (free)2 (1)
PCIe x1 (free)2 (1)
PCIe x16 (free)0 (0)
Serial ATA (free)6x SATA3 (5)
Memory slots (free)4 (2)
Drive bays 2 1/2" (free)2 (1)
Drive bays 3 1/2" (free)2 (1)
Drive bays 5 1/4" (free)1 (1)
Storage
Total storage1TB SSHD
Memory card readerNone
Optical drive typeNone
Graphics
Graphics card2GB Palit Nvidia GeForce GTX 760
Graphics/video ports2x DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort
Sound
Sound cardRealtek ALC892
Sound card outputs7.1 audio, microphone
SpeakersNone
Display
DisplayN/A
Native resolutionN/A
InputsN/A
Other hardware
KeyboardN/A
MouseN/A
ExtrasN/A
Software
Operating systemWindows 8.1
Operating system restore optionRestore partition
Buying information
WarrantyThree-year RTB
Price including delivery (inc VAT)£699
Price excluding monitor (inc VAT and delivery)£699
Supplierwww.braebo.com
Detailswww.braebo.com
Part CodeAurora

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