I think everyone knows at this point that I’ve been on a big ITX kick for a while now. But sometimes when you need to build something completely crazy you have to go bigger. I did that with our Fridge build years ago. But what cases are a good pick to do that now? Well, it just so happens that I’ve had the Dark Base Pro 900 in the orange model from Be Quiet! sitting around the office for FAR too long. It’s about time I build something in it and see what it is all about. With a tempered glass side panel, orange highlights, and a lot of modularity it has the potential to be a great case. Let’s take a closer look and see if it is.

Product Name: Be Quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 Orange

Review Sample Provided by: Be Quiet!

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE

 

Specifications

PSU form factor

ATX PS/2

Motherboard compatibility

E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, M-ATX, Mini-ITX

Dimensions (L x W x H) (mm)

577 x 243 x 585

Side Panel Window (L x W), (mm)

479 x 525

Color option

Orange

Weight (kg)

14.39

USB 2.0

2

USB 3.0

2

HD Audio I/O

1

Expansion slots

8

Fan mounting locations

10

Qi charger

Yes

RGB LED illumination

Yes

Materials

Top Cover - ABS, Aluminium

Side panel - Steel, ABS

Side panel window - 4mm Tempered Glass

Front panel - ABS, Aluminium

Stands - ABS

Drive Bay Capacity

5.25 - 2

3.5 - 7

2.5 - 15

HDD Cage Specifications

HDD cages total - 7

Cage capacity (HDDs) - 1

Removable HDD cage - 7

Relocatable HDD cage - 7

Fans

Fan @ front

2x be quiet! SilentWings® 3 |140mm PWM / 1,000rpm

Fan @ rear

1x be quiet! SilentWings® 3 |140mm PWM / 1,000rpm

Optional Fan Installation

Front (mm) - 1x 140 (w/o ODD cage)

Top (mm) - 3x 140 / 4x 120 / 1x 180

Bottom (mm) - 2x 140/120

Optional Radiator Installation

Front (mm) - 120 / 140 / 240 / 280 / 360 / 420

Top (mm) - 120 / 140 / 180 / 240 / 280 / 360 / 420

Bottom (mm) - 120 / 140 / 280

Rear (mm) - 120 / 140

Cooling

Max. construction height of CPU cooler unit (mm) - 185

Airflow channel - Full circuit airflow system

PSU Compatibility

Maximum dimensions excl. bottom fan (mm) - 284

Maximum dimensions incl. bottom fan (mm) - 150

Graphics Card Compatibility

HDD cage (in height of graphics card) installed (mm) - 323

HDD cage (in height of graphics card) removed (mm) - 472

Insulation and Damping

Top panel insulation mats

Front panel insulation mats

Side panel insulation mats

Anti-vibration decoupled HDD

Anti-vibration decoupled fan

Anti-vibration decoupled PSU

Anti-vibration decoupled motherboard-tray

Removable Dust Filters

Front

Bottom

Side panel

Warranty

3 Years

 


Packaging

The Dark Base Pro 900 is a large case so to keep all of it safe the box for it is even larger. It barely fit on my case shelf. The box is all blacked out and in the center on the front there is a somewhat small photo of the case. Below that they have the model name along with the trim color. Up in the top right, you have the Be Quiet! branding. The top left has three short features mentioned but it isn’t until you look on the back of the box where we find more information on the case. The back has a larger photo of the case with the side panel off along with six smaller pictures. Each of the smaller photos highlights a case feature and below them Be Quiet! explains the feature.

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Inside the box, the case comes wrapped up in a microfiber bag to keep it safe from small scratches and it sits in between two Styrofoam panels.

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Other than the case itself, they did pack a few things inside. You get a user manual and unlike some cases, I think it is important on this case. You might need it to figure out all of the modular capabilities. Inside they have instructions with line drawings. My only complaint is that they have things split up by what you are doing, not by languages. So to flip through to find something you can’t do it quickly or you might miss it.

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For accessories, you get a big bag filled with them. There is a group of Velcro wire management ties. There are all of the screws needed for your motherboard, PSU, and all of those drive bays and each is split up into their own bag. The orange grommets over on the right are for if you pull out any of the drive bays. You can fill the holes to keep a clean look. Then the X looking mount is a water pump mount. The other bracket is the upper fan bracket and you get three more motherboard standoffs for when you run E-ATX boards.

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Other than the included water cooling bracket, I think the two LED strips are the coolest accessory included. They are a little different than what you typically see. They are solid PCB so they aren’t like the flexible LEDs than you can pick up. They are also proprietary to the controller in this case, they don’t have a standard LED connection. I love the black PCBs and they include double sided tape in a few spots on the back to install them. The lights themselves are white, I was expecting Orange given the case, but white is a great choice.

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Outside

So the Dark Base Pro 900 is a beast. This isn’t the biggest case I’ve had in the office by a long shot, but it is still a big one. Large cases typically feel old to me as a lot more companies have moved to more compact designs and to shorter double wide designs for their larger models. This one though has a nice modern styling. It has a very slightly tinted tempered glass side panel and on the outside a brushed aluminum finish. The shape has contoured edges all around the front of the case and a really defined orange stripe that goes around the case starting at the top, to the front, then around the bottom. The orange accent also comes in black, this is the orange model and frankly, this is LanOC why wouldn’t we get the orange model. Orange is one of Be Quiets colors, with black being their main color. The overall case color is more of a black than the picture below shows, the front panel just looks grayer with a reflection on it.

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So here is the main side of the case. The glass side panel obviously takes up most of this side. I love tempered glass in cases and for the most part, this looks really good. You can tell that they added it on here though. You can see the steel frame around the outside edge, cases built with glass in mind normally don’t have this. I don’t mind it, but painting a small ring around the inside of the glass to block it out might have looked better. The glass also gives full view of the power supply area as well, this is partially because there isn’t a cover inside and I will talk about that later, but the full glass window makes it more obvious. The glass is held on with four thumb screws. They also used a rubber grommet around the peg to keep the glass safe. Beyond the window, the side panel does have that orange accent and next to it there is a metal mesh as well. The mesh areas are intakes for the bottom mounted fans including the power supply.

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From the back of the case, we can finally get a better idea of the overall size. There are 8 PCI slots meaning this is an e-ATX case and if you look there is a lot of room above and below the motherboard areas. The bottom is especially interesting because while we don’t have a power supply in the case we do have a power plug. The power area is as tall as a standard power supply, but Be Quiet! actually mounted the power supply just inside and used a power pass through. This is because the Dark Base Pro 900 is very modular. You can actually slide the motherboard tray down an inch and just have the power supply inside covering up the last few slots on a long motherboard. Doing that gives more room up top for water cooling. For ventilation, there is a 140m exhaust fan just next to the rear I/O and then vents above the PCI slots and in the entire power supply area. The screws that hold the side panels on look like your normal thumb screws but they are locked into the side panels, so you never have to worry about losing them.

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So the top of the case has an interesting angle shape on both the front and the back of the case. On the back, they used the angle to slip in two slot vents along with three more near it. Then on the front, that same angled design is where they put the front I/O. Be Quiet! went crazy on the front I/O. You have a large power button in the center with a status LED ring around it. On the left of the power are the microphone and headphone jacks and to the right is a small reset button and a hard drive status LED. You get two USB 3.0 jacks on the left side and two USB 2’s over on the right. I love having four USB ports on the front panel and I don’t mind that they aren’t all the fastest, not everything needs USB 3.0. It’s the rectangle up on top that is the interesting part though. They actually integrated a wireless phone charger right into the case. They use the Qi standard and there are a lot of devices that support it. Sadly my current phone doesn’t have wireless charging built in. If every phone had Qi charging having it built into the case would be huge but sadly it does mean people who don’t have it also have to pay to have it in their case.

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The right side panel has a traditional panel rather than the glass like the left side. This panel is steel, just like the base frame to add strength to the overall case construction. They then used aluminum on the top and bottom panels as well as on part of the front. Then plastic in the front, top, and bottom to add shape to the case. This side has a plastic panel in it as well that can be popped out to open up more venation. When closed it has the Be Quiet! logo on it.

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The front of the Dark Base Pro 900 has a clean looking front door that is held in place with magnets and can be opened using the top left corner by pushing on it. Behind the door, there are a few things going on. For starters, there are two large 140mm fans pulling in air here. They are using the mesh vents on the sides of the front panel for air flow when the door is closed. They are covered by an intake filter that can be removed with a tab right at the top for quick cleaning. The bottom fan filter also pulls out from the front for cleaning as well. Then up top, there are two removable 5 ¼ panels should you want to use a disc drive or any other bay devices. The front door itself is also pulling double duty. The back of the door has a thick sound absorbing material on it to help keep the two front fans quiet.

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The bottom of the case doesn’t have too much going on. But remember we have a bottom mounted power supply how is that. Well, they used the mesh vents along the side of the case along with a small chamber above this bottom panel and below the bottom of the inside of the case. The end result is a solid bottom panel and less noise because the sound can’t go straight out the bottom. The four feet are really solid as you would expect from a big case like this. They have 2 inch wide and 1-inch tall rubber pads on each foot, once you get some weight in this baby it’s not sliding anywhere. This bottom view also gives us a great look at the aluminum finish that Be Quiet! went with.

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Inside

With the glass side panel off we can see just how much space we have to work with in the Dark Base Pro 900. Remember the motherboard tray does have a list of options for modularity including being flipped all the way around to face the other direction if you want. With the stock layout, it leaves enough room for the power supply down at the bottom without the power supply getting in the way of any of the PCI slots on a full-length board. The layout as the case ships is actually very traditional with the 5 ¼ inch bays up in the top right and the rest of the right being filled with hard drive bays. Most cases these days have a lot less for hard drive options, people who are looking for lots of storage are going to love this case.

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So up top in the case, there are mounting options for both 120mm and 140mm fans and you can fit as many as three wide of either size if you remove the drive bays to make room. The gap at the top for a radiator is a little tight with the motherboard mounted where it currently is though. The rear fan that comes with the case isn’t your standard cheap fan, Be Quiet! included one of their 140mm SilentWings 3 fans, a high-quality fan. It is mounted as an exhaust fan in this setup.

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The 8 PCIe slots all have vented covers as well as the vented area just above the PCI slots for more airflow for your video cards.

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So this is the power supply configuration. This is a modular design as well, it can move between three spots. Then, of course, you have the power cable inside that plugs into the power supply and feeds it to the switch and plug on the outside of the case. You can see that below the PSU there is a filtered air vent and the bottom of the case also has two more 120/140mm fan mounts depending on how long the PSU is as well as the bottom hard drive cage.

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While the case does have an old school configuration it does have some wire management holes in the motherboard tray. Frankly, how could you miss them, the Orange model has bright orange grommets in the holes.

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So on the right side of the interior, you have two 5 ¼ inch bays up top and then 7 3 ½ inch hard drive cages. The top two bays don’t have any toolless mounts or anything, sticking with traditional screws. The bays are removable with four screws in the front and two up top and if you look closely the hard drive cages can actually be mounted up in place of the drive bays. Speaking of the hard drive cages, they are a unique design. Unlike old school hard drive cages, each of these cages holds just one drive and they are spaced out in a way to get airflow over each drive even if they are all used. They have four bright orange rubber mounts where you can screw mount the hard drives while cutting down on vibration and noise. They also have vents cut into their sides for airflow as well. This is aided by the two 140mm fans included on the front and the three 120/140mm fan mounts across the front if you don’t use the drive bay up top.

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Moving around to the back, when I pulled the side panel off I was blown away by how heavy it was. You would think the glass side panel would be the heaviest but it wasn’t. This panel is a thick gauge steel and then the inside is covered in a thick sound dampening material, just like the inside of the front door. The back side of the door also gives us a better look at that removable panel as well that can be taken off to add airflow. The specifications don’t list these as fan mounting locations but you can see the fan mounting holes. I’m just not sure you could fit fans between it and the frame, nor would I want to have wires running from the side panel back into the case.

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With the panel off we get a better look at the back side of the interior. There is between a half inch and ¾ of an inch of clearance between the framing and the side panel, so things are a little tighter than most of the modern cases, but it is still doable. The main thing that stands out though is how open it is to the other side. The power supply area is completely open as are all of the hard drive cages and then, of course, the grommeted holes for the motherboard. There is also a huge hole for access to the back of your CPU for installing cooling.

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Back here we can better see how the hard drive cages can be modular as well. Each cage has three thumbscrews holding it in place, one up top and two at the bottom. Removing those and you can slide the cage right out. So if you only need one or two you could remove the rest, opening up room for water cooling.

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Also on the back of the case, you can find a small PCB control board. This powers the three installed cooling fans as well as one more PWM fan and four 3 pin fans. There are also hookups for lighting including the two PCB based white LED light strips that were included with the case. Next to the PCB Be Quiet! also slipped in one 2.5 inch drive bay for an SSD. With this one, you can use the thumbscrew to pull the tray off then mount the drive to the tray and reinstall.

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Installation and Performance

Before I could get into testing the performance of the Dark Base Pro 900 I did have to build a PC in it. But I ran into an issue, all of my test power supplies were tied up in project builds. Be Quiet! was gracious enough to send over a power supply so before I get to building let’s take a quick look at what they sent over. They sent over the Pure Power 10 500w model and the box matches the same look of the Dark Base’s packaging, all blacked out, photo on the front and simple and to the point branding. Inside the power supply, itself is wrapped up in bubble wrap and the cables are twist tied up next to it. This is a basic 80 plus silver power supply and they didn’t waste any packaging with fancy velour bags or a bag for the extra modular cables, though I wish they did include a cable bag for later.

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It is only semi modular so the main 24 pin and the CPU power are hard wired. For the rest of the cables you get two PCI cables and they are both labeled 1 and 2. There is one cable for Molex connections and then two SATA cables, one having an additional FDD (floppy) connector as well. Then you also get a power cord, four black screws, and a small bag of zip ties to clean up your wiring when you get it installed.

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The power supply itself looks great for a basic power supply like this. There are just the connections needed on the modular end and the outside has a switch and the power connection with some venting. It has a nice looking 120mm Be Quiet! fan inside with an orange ring around it that perfectly matches the Dark Base Pro 900 Orange. One side of the power supply has a clean look with the Be Quiet logo embossed in it and the other side has a huge sticker with all of the details on it. Sadly it looks like if you install the power supply fan down in most cases the good looking side will be hidden and you will have to pull that sticker off to keep a clean look. I would prefer it be opposite of the fan side and leave both sides clean.

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Okay now let's get a PC built in this huge case! I grabbed our X299 test setup and it already had the i9-7900X installed with a Noctua tower cooler, and 32 gigs of HyperX memory. That alone saved a bunch of time, not that getting that stuff installed in this case would be an issue, there is enough room to get at all of the sides of the CPU for the heatsink install for example. I then dug out a GTX 1080 Ti, it might not be Threadripper but the X299 and 1080 Ti is still a monster setup and that is exactly what this case needs. Now the power supply, it has enough power but it does stand out a little in this build. Speaking of the power supply, getting it installed required me to dig out the book and figure out a few things. I originally thought I would need to pull the two panels off the rear to get at the four power supply screws. They actually provided thin thumb screws specifically for this but even with the two inches of space using the middle mounting location, this was a little tight and not as easy as I would have liked. Here is a view of the three PSU mounting locations, that left one is jammed all the way over to the left. For that one, you might want to remove the bracket and install the PSU to it first then mount it.

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Now in doing all of this, I did remove a few of the long screws for those rear modular brackets and I made a grave mistake. When I went to reinstall the screws I dropped one down into this rail. From what I can see the rail is riveted in place and has four walls all around it. I think that screw is going to be rattling around in this case for the rest of its life. So be VERY careful if you are installing these.

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From there I went around back and installed our SSD and then started getting everything wired up. While the power supply itself doesn’t have a shroud to cover up the wires, the rest of the wire management isn’t too bad. The space behind the motherboard tray is tight so you will have to be careful about overlapping any cables. I used the included Velcro strips and cleaned up most of the wiring. Sadly I forgot to install the LEDs until everything was done. I had a hard time running the wire without it being right in the way. If I had the wire stick out the right side it wouldn’t reach the PCB on the back and on the left, it was up next to the power supply so it would be visible run on the front or back of it. I might even consider using the lighting on the sides to make things easier rather than the traditional top and bottom.

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So with everything installed and running, I then set off to see what life would be like with the Dark Base Pro 900. The most obvious thing was just how quiet it runs. The Noctua cooler isn’t a loud one but with three fans plus the power supply and GPU this setup should make a little noise. The 140mm SilentWings fans on the front and back of the case though were quiet and the thick padding on the front and the side panel kept things quiet as well. Now all of that made the whole thing really heavy. The case itself was almost 32 pounds before adding everything inside of it. Imagine a bigger power supply and one or two custom water cooling loops. It’s obvious this isn’t the case for someone who moves often or is taking their main rig to LAN events.

The tempered glass side panel looks amazing in person. It is so reflective that all you can see in photos is me or everything in the background. While I toyed with the modularity, my test setup didn’t really require it at all. I did like messing around with those hard drive cages though, the drives would slide right in and out.  

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Overall and Final Verdict

Well, this may have been the first large case I’ve had in the office for a little while but it is certainly an interesting one. Putting aside the orange that everyone knows I love, the Dark Base Pro 900 is a great looking case. Be Quiet! went with a clean design, hiding everything behind the front door and top and bottom plates. This unique design that uses the mesh around the outside edge of the sides for all of its airflow looks great and also helps keep the noise down. Combined with sound dampening materials in a few areas and their high-quality fans this is a good setup for anyone who wants a quiet PC without packing it all behind a solid side panel. The design was a lot more modular than I expected with multiple ways to move the motherboard tray, power supply, as well as all of the drive bays and cages. Being able to remove those cages and the included LCS bracket makes this a good pick for custom water cooling as well. Of course, you can keep the drive cages and build a monster storage PC as well.

The Dark Base Pro 900 does have a few issues with the overall weight being a huge one. At nearly 32 pounds without anything inside, once you get a PC in it with water cooling or with all of those hard drives you aren’t going to want to move it. I also ran into an issue where I found out that you can drop one of the screws down into an impossible to get out location. Beyond that, while the case is forward looking with its glass side panel and modularity it feels a little behind in wire management with things being tight behind the motherboard tray and without any good way to cover up the cables coming out of the power supply. Both are common on even entry level cases anymore.

With an MSRP of almost $250, this isn’t a cheap pickup as well. But the focus here is on high-end crazy builds with one or more custom water cooling loops or with 70TB of storage. With both types of build, the higher case cost would be nothing compared to the rest of the components. With Threadripper coming out, X299 recently launched, and Vega on its way it seems like now is the perfect time for higher end cases like the Dark Base Pro 900. Plus how many other cases can wirelessly charge your phone?

fv5recommended

Live Pricing: HERE

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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