ProsExcellent aesthetics and materials; ultra-quiet; cool features like Qi charging and USB Type-C Gen 2
ConsModularity causes major usability issues; many aspects of the design are antiquated
We always start our case reviews by noting that we've reviewed more PC cases than any other category of product, and with this review we're up to 26. Gluttons for punishment, perhaps, given how much time it takes to review cases, but PCs are ultimately defined by the cases they use, so it's a critically-important component to get right! Because we've seen so many, we have a pretty good sense of what makes a great case, and where the rest of PC cases fall behind.
Perhaps one of the most respected names among niche manufacturers in the market is be quiet!, based in Germany. Specializing in cases, CPU coolers, and fans, it has cultivated a following around the world for its excellent engineering and craftmanship. As befits its name, be quiet!'s products focus on silent computing, and the case we're reviewing here, the Dark Base Pro 900 Rev. 2, is no different. But being the flagship of be quiet!'s fleet, the 900 Rev. 2 has a few tricks up its sleeves. The question is, however, whether the 900 Rev. 2 is more than the sum of its numerous parts, or perhaps just a little bit less. We'll be spelling out our findings in this review.
Special thanks to be quiet! for providing us a sample of the be quiet! Dark Base PRO 900 Silver Rev. 2 featured in this review.
Description and Features
First off, the Dark Base Pro 900 is a very large case. According to our tape measure, it comes in at 23.25" tall x 23" deep x 9.65" wide (not including thumb screws on the side and rear). That makes it by far the largest case we've ever tested, far eclipsing, for example, the similar Thermaltake A500 that we reviewed not long ago, as well as the gaming-centric Cooler Master H500P Mesh. Interestingly, despite this large size, it doesn't have a tremendous amount of capacity, and part of the reason is that the entire case is built to be modular, in that you can flip its internals 180 degrees. In the exploded photo below, be quiet! shows off what the case looks like when inverted:
While this is surely novel, it does mean there's a lot of excess space taken up by countless additional mounting locations to allow components like the PSU caddy and the motherboard tray to be flipped. Also taking up a large amount of volume are the vents along the top, bottom, and front of the chassis, which allows for shielding that directs noise away from the user. Basically, ever opening of the Dark Base Pro 900 is indirect - put another way, there isn't a single intake that you can look straight through.
In terms of aesthetics, the Dark Base Pro 900 does not disappoint. The top and front panel have a brushed aluminum "veneer," meaning it's a thin layer mounted on plastic. Not as impressive in the hand as the Thermaltake A500's solid-aluminum panels, but it looked nearly as good. One side panel is tempered glass, the other standard steel, but it is lined with noise-absorbing material, as is the front and top. Speaking of the top, there's a very novel Qi wireless charger up there. We're not sure this is a feature PC enthusiasts have been clamoring for, but it surely is interesting. We also like the true USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port up top, which is joined by two standard USB 3.0 ports (aka, USB 3.1 Gen 1). Make sure your motherboard has the required header if you intend to use that Gen 2 port, by the way.
Rounding out the features list are a whole range of quiet-enhancing tidbits, such as rubber mounts for all five included hard drive sleds, rubber padding around the PSU, plus three Silent Wings 3 140mm PWM fans with a built-in fan controller. By the way, we should just add that the Dark Base Pro 900 does have RGB lighting, but it comes uninstalled, which is quite unusual, especially considering that the two included strips are mounted on hard PCBs, not flexible plastic that would be easier to place in various positions. This is doubly-odd given that there's actually an RGB controller built into the case.
We like to keep our builds as modern as possible, and here's the full build list for our Dark Base Pro 900 review:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
- Motherboard: Asus ROG X470 Crosshair VII Hero WiFi
- Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Hybrid 11GB
- RAM: Corsair 4x8GB Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4-3600
- Solid-State Drive #1: Samsung 960 Evo 500GB M.2
- Solid-State Drive #2: Samsung 860 Evo 500GB 2.5"
- Solid-State Drive #3: Crucial MX100 512GB 2.5"
- Power Supply: EVGA 1000 PS
- CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i RGB Platinum AIO 240mm Liquid
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home
We'll dive into our experience building up this system in the Dark Base Pro 900 on the next page, where you'll also find performance benchmarks and our overall thoughts.