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
So, while in previous case reviews we've told you what it's like to build inside a case the old-fashioned way, using words and photos, this time around we've compiled a build video, showing you all the ins and outs of the Dark Base Pro 900, as well as some of the more challenging design issues we faced. In fact, this video is a full stand-alone review, so you may not need to read the rest of this article if you watch the whole thing!
But, don't worry, dear readers, we've saved something just for you - our performance benchmarks below actually provide an additional configuration not discussed in the video!
The design of the Dark Base Pro 900 is clearly focused on optimizing noise more than it is on minimizing temperature, and our benchmarks bore that out. We compared it to a dedicated gaming case, the excellent Cooler Master H500P Mesh, which we reviewed here. Coming in at around $160, it's both far cheaper and far cooler, but it's not nearly as quiet nor as professional looking. Note that we actually tested the Pro 900 in two different configurations. We first tried it with both of our radiators mounted to the top, but finding the temperatures to be somewhat alarming, we then moved our GPU's radiator to the back fan mount, which helped a great deal.
At idle, there isn't too much difference between the systems:
When a CPU stress test is applied, things get hot pretty quick:
Note how having a top-mounted GPU radiator actually causes the CPU to heat up more. Our theory is that the exhaust space is so incredibly constrained in the roof of the Dark Base Pro due to the need to install the CPU radiator up there that putting additional hot air in there, even from an idle GPU, makes things worse.
In an online Battlefield 4 multiplayer match, which taxes both the GPU and the CPU, we see that the Dark Base Pro 900 is certainly decent in terms of thermals, but its noise levels are what really make this case:
Keep in mind that our liquid-cooled GPU is really keeping temperatures down. The spread between the Dark Base Pro 900 and a dedicated gaming case like the H500P Mesh would widen if you were using air-cooled components. Again, though, you really can't install two radiators to the roof of this system, even if there's mounting rails for them. The airflow is far too limited.
We just can't escape the feeling that be quiet!'s engineers got way ahead of themselves when designing the Pro 900 Rev. 2, almost as if they said why don't we add X, Y, or Z to our existing designs, and then decided that they'd just do it all. The end result is a case that's uncommonly forward-looking in some regards, beautiful to look at, and impressively quiet. The USB port layout is perfect for a 2019 case, with dual USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports and a Type-C port offering full Gen 2 speed, and the Qi charging pad is a welcome bonus. We also loved how light the case was, despite the enormous size and high-quality materials.
Yet at the same time, the Pro 900 Rev. 2 is maddening to build in and painfully behind the time in terms of the overall layout. Simply put, the Pro 900 Rev. 2's full modularity is its Achilles' heel, making it a poor choice for users who'd just like to build a PC using the standard ATX layout. We were baffled at the PSU shroud design, which itself hides an over-engineered PSU mount required to enable its repositioning while in the process blocking nearly all PSU airflow. Then there's the issue of the pop-open front panel that seems straight off of a PC from the early 2000s. We also question the utility of the dual optical drive bays it's there to give access to, which will go unused in a modern system. At least be quiet! provides a fan mount in the box to install in place of the optical drive bay. And though the Pro 900 Rev. 2's exterior looks nice, we're none too pleased with the antiquated thumbscrew mounting system used for the glass panel, which we thought had been relegated to sub-$70 cases by this point. So overall, while there's a lot we like in the Pro 900 Rev. 2, there's a lot we really don't like, meaning that it's clearly bested by its competition in the ultra-high-end chassis market.
The be quiet! Dark Base PRO 900 Rev. 2 is available for $269.99 shipped free from Amazon as of our publication date.
As always, to see all of our recommended cases, simply browse TBG's PC Buyer's Guides, which highlight our top 24 favorite cases on the market!