be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 Case Review
be quiet! is a PSU, cooling and enclosure manufacturer from Germany. The firm has won numerous awards including Manufacturer of the Year nine times in a row from the German PC Games Hardware magazine. Its Base chassis product line is joined by new high end cases, which include the feature-packed Dark Base Pro 900.
The steel frame is encased in painted aluminum. A sleek design is contrasted by orange accents around the beveled edges of the case, following the circuit cooling system featured in the Dark Base Pro 900. From E-ATX to Mini-ITX, this case can fit it all. Entirely modular in its design, you can configure your components, cooling setups and cables in any way you choose. This case is fairly large. Our measured dimensions are 23 1/2” x 23 1/8” x 9 7/8” (L x H x W). It’s worth noting that anywhere the case has the brushed aluminum panels, fingerprints are sure to be found.
The front panel features two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports. Headphone and microphone jacks are also present, along with power and reset buttons. The power button and HDD light on the front glow orange, matching the edge accents of the case. The logo is presented towards the bottom.
On the back, there are hexagon-pattern air holes with a single 140mm fan on top. The case features eight PCI slots.
The motherboard side panel has a concealable fan mount that hosts two 120mm fan slots. There are some space concerns here. If you choose to occupy both fan mounts, they may interfere with cable management space. You could, however, only open the cover partially to allow for extra air intake. Since this is the pro version of the case, only this side panel is secured with thumb screws that resist full detachment from the panel. You can however, switch which side each panel is on.
Beautiful, tinted, tempered glass covers the other side of the enclosure. It is secured by 4 thumb screws in each corner. Caution is advised when removing this pane of glass since not much is supporting the bottom once the screws come off. The Pro version of the case is differentiated by the tempered glass panel, which runs $50 more than the standard Dark Base 900 model.
The bottom of the case has no ventilation, but there are two internal fan mounts that draw air from between two panels. The case is raised from the surface it’s on by four feet, with great quality rubber grommets on the bottom. The rubber has a small total surface area, though a great grip.
The top of the case has some exhaust vents towards the back and a built in Qi charger towards the front. If you have a higher end smart phone that supports wireless charging then this will be a very convenient feature. The top panel is difficult to remove, requiring some coordination to unlock the eight clips that secure it.
Outside edges feature a circuit ventilation system. The holes are L shaped to prevent the air from traveling in a straight line. Breaking up the air like this reduces noise.
Depressing the front panel door inward, only in the upper left corner, produces a tactile click, then the door swings out smoothly. On the other side of the door is a thick layer of noise dampening foam. Inside the front panel there are slots for two 140mm fans, a fine mesh dust filter over them, and two optical drive bays on top. Above the optical drive is an analog fan controller. A case-length dust filter slides out from the bottom.
The two optical drive covers are held in place by a pinching mechanism. The circuit air flow system provides airflow throughout the case, and does an exceptional job of cooling the components. The case is entirely modular, providing the ability to install the side panels on any side that’s desired. The HDD storage system is modular as well. Basically, if you can think of a way to configure your system then this case can support it. The only thing that can’t move is the power supply (which, by the way, is separated from the frame of the case in order to reduce vibration noise.
The case supports water cooling, with radiator mounts in the front, back, top and bottom. The top supports radiator sizes of 120, 140, 180, 240, 280, 360 and 420mm. The bottom supports 120mm, 140mm and 280mm. The front supports 120, 140, 240, 280, 360 and 420mm. The rear supports 120 and 140mm. The support for water cooling is exceptional. Combined with the modularity of the case, enthusiasts should be pleased with the options available for customization with the Dark Base Pro 900.
Orange rubber grommets for cable routing are positioned alongside the motherboard. The inside also features a PCB fan controller board, which also powers the Qi charger on top.
The included installation kit comes with the owner’s manual, velcro straps, an extra rubber grommet, a rubber stud, assorted screws and extra storage trays.
The tempered glass does a great job of showcasing the enclosure with great views on the inside of the case. Finally, the case comes with two led strips to really light up your high end case.
Results & Conclusion
We’ll be using our reference PC with its reference overclock for case testing. Noise is measured .5m from the case’s front corner, on the side that opens. The numbers are corrected to the 1m industry standard – used by many loudspeaker ad fan manufacturers – by subtracting six decibels.
The Enthoo Evolv ATX TG and the Corsair 760T are the competition for the new installation in the Base product lineup. How does it fare against the competition?
The Dark Base Pro 900 performed well compared to the other compared cases. Its GPU temperature readings were comparable to the others, but the CPU temperature readings were a bit higher than the rest.
As for noise, we can see the case does a good job of mitigating noise even when the fans are on the high setting. The case is fantastically quiet when idle. Just internet browsing will have this machine sounding like it’s asleep. Even when under a heavy graphics load, the case remains quieter than similar enclosures.
The Dark Base Pro was quieter than the other cases, but was way hotter at the same time. Therefore, it’s efficiency is lower due to the reduced fan power not effectively cooling the components.
The Dark Base Pro 900 costs more and is a little bit lower in performance, resulting in a lower value rating.
The Base Pro 900 costs $250, with the only added feature being the tempered glass side panel. The Enthoo Evolv ATX TG fits a similar side panel for $50 less, the same price as the non-Pro version of the new be quiet!. If you’re going to spend $250 on a case, then you’re going to expect performance. The Dark Base Pro 900 offers good performance by itself, but not when compared to similar cases on the market. It’s hard to justify a jump to the Pro version of this chassis considering the price of similar tempered glass panel cases.
I would have liked to see more air intake on the bottom of the case with a dust filter. This addition could possibly make the air cooling performance of this case highly competitive. I was very impressed with the thick noise-cancelling foam found within the Dark Base Pro 900. The build quality is outstanding. The case looks beautiful, and it’s so modular you could configure it in dozens of ways to fit your specific needs. That’s where the Dark Base Pro 900 shines. If you’re looking for a larger case, with fantastic water cooling support, unique looks, and what is essentially a playground inside a computer case, then this case is worth a look. If you’re planning on water cooling your rig, then the Dark Base Pro 900 would be a fantastic option. If you could pass on a glass side panel, than the $200 non-pro version would be a better value.
The Dark Base Pro 900 delivers astounding modularity for the high-end enthusiast. If you want complete control over the configuration of your build, consider this chassis. The water cooling support provides vast options. Even with good performance, it’s hard to justify the $250 price for this pro version. Buyers who want neither the glass nor the charger will find better value in the non-pro Dark Base 900, which is priced at $200.
Noise dampening foam
Price (compared to other tempered glass side panel cases)