We are really happy to have received a very rare computer case – be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900. You may be wondering why we used the word “rare” – well, it’s because the model sold like hotcakes in Europe, and it may be temporarily unavailable in some countries. It is namely for this reason that we decided to share with you a few words on the merits of this case, and disclose before your eyes the putting together of a BTX configuration. So if you want to learn more about Dark Base Pro 900, take some time and enjoy this review.
You can visit our YouTube channel and watch our be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 – full assembly video, and if you like the content, you can give us a thumbs up and hit that “Subscribe” button. Before beginning the review itself, we would like to tell you a few words about the hardware components that you will see in the lines below. The processor we used is Intel Core i5-6600K and, by some chance, for its cooling we resorted to be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3. Additionally, in our review you will find a GeForce GTX 1080 GameRock Premium Edition – we figured that the second most powerful NVIDIA GPU would be the best graphics card both for the tests conducted below and the overall appearance of the configuration.
If you are interested in Dark Base Pro 900, you can check its price and availability here: http://amzn.to/2btQe65
In order to fit an E-ATX motherboard, you need a big computer case. Well, a big retail package is needed in order to fit a Dark Base Pro 900. Apart from the alarming dimensions of the case, its weight is also on the heavy side – according to the manufacturer, everything in the box weighs 17 kg. We note this so as to save you some unwanted carrying around if the delivery of the case is not directly to your home. It is doubtful that you feel comfortable carrying around 17 kg in a 655 x 325 x 680 mm form factor (length x width x height). Of course, for those of you who are enthusiasts, we can say that there are two openings on the two sides of the cardboard box, which will help you carry the product to your home.
Once you’ve opened the box, you will find a black “cloak” like the one that was present in In Win 904 Black’s box. Of course, the two companies are very different but this is one of the few traits that the two products have in common. Anyway, to remove the cover, you need to take the case out of the box because the down ends of the “cloak” are pressed by pieces of styrofoam. Naturally, the top is also accompanied by styrofoam, and we found it interesting that there wasn’t a package that could have contained all necessary things for the installation of a motherboard and storage devices – in short, all accessories. The only thing we found when unboxing was a user manual.
Fortunately for us, we also found the Dark Base Pro 900 case that shall be discussed in detail further down. be quiet! have included two smaller boxes on which they’ve printed “LED Stripes” and “Accessories”. The first one contains two LED lights that can be placed wherever you desire. As far as the second is concerned, there are a few packages with bolts, velcro strips, one rubber seal (it hides the cables in the rear part of the case), additional rubbers for fitting the tray to the base of the case, a user manual, and a fan bracket – fortunately for all of us, all elements needed for the installation of a motherboard have been pre-installed, which can further facilitate our work.
be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 on the outside
The dimensions of the case are 577mm x 243mm x 585mm (length x width x height) and it weighs 14.4 kg. With a little help from a friend, we managed to take the product out of the box and remove the styrofoam pieces that held the “cloak”. Once we got that out of the way, we beheld a case of an impressive scale, awesome design, and aluminum base (in its greater part). It is unlikely that you will be surprised by the fact that the dominant color is black, and there is an orange lining, which makes the case more stylish and pleasant to look at. Of course, these are the mandatory colors for be quiet! – you may have noticed that the fans of this German company are in the same colors, and we can admit that we are somewhat addicted to them.
We begin our tour of the case’s outside with its face or to put it in simple words – with the front of the box where the lid is. The latter uses a clear design language and the only thing to be found on it is the “be quiet!” inscription. It is made of aluminum and ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene – a thermoplastic that increases the build quality of the lid). Another good news about the Dark Base Pro 900’s build quality is that every component features ABS with the exception of one of the side panels, which is a bit different and we shall touch upon it in a short while.
Apart from the company inscription, on the top you will find a sticker which says “Important! Please secure the door before transportation”. They have put it there because the front lid can be easily opened – just a light push on the upper left section and you can access the front components, which have been mounted to the chassis of Dark Base Pro 900 beforehand. Unfortunately, a slight tilt of the case results in an “automatic” opening of this lid (if the sticker has been removed), so do bear in mind this detail if you want to keep the integrity of your case’s front when transporting it in a tilted position.
The panel which holds the Power button is on the front, and it’s actually at the border between the front and top panels (this is why we decided to discuss it here where we go through the top part). If you decide to remove the top, the I/O panel will be removed with it, and that’s another reason to talk about it now. Apart from the Power button, you can find two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports, as well as separate jacks for headphones and a mic. Of course, there is also a Reset button and an LED indicator, which gives us information about the system disk’s workload.
As we already mentioned, the materials used here are ABS and aluminum, and this means that the case is a fingerprint magnet but it is quite easy to clean, though. The rear part of the top lid has some intriguing cut vents that contribute to a more efficient airflow – depending on how you configure your fans. These vents, however, are too small for us to confirm that they are good enough for a reasonable system cooling. In order to keep the design simple, be quiet! have added a top side vent with small round vents on Dark Base Pro 900, so that fresh air may come in. This vent is divided into three sections (a front one around the lid, a top, and a bottom one) so that it may be visible from either case’s sides.
Apart from the simplistic design and I/O panel, the Pro version also comes with an additional feature that will really appeal to users who have modern smartphones. It is located on the top and is easily noticed – a module that seems to be integrated into the top panel at first sight. For a moment we were unsure as to what its function is but after a while, thanks to the user manual in the package, we learned that this is a Qi charger.
In other words, this is a Wireless smartphone charger. The catch, however, is that you can charge your phone only if it supports the Qi standard. It must be also mentioned that in order to charge your smartphone’s battery, the case has to be turned on (in this way the PSU ensures the needed current for Qi charger to operate). Immediately after we put together our configuration, we decided to test this extra by placing Samsung Galax S6 upon the wireless charger – the battery began charging without any issues. That’s undoubtedly a great advantage that be quiet! have implemented in their model, facilitating the user in need of a charger, considering how “durable” contemporary batteries are.
On the case’s right side there is a matte lid, which is made of metal and ABS (no aluminum here). Despite this, its design is unique (just like those of the top and front parts) thanks to the available module we shall touch upon a bit later, in our “Dark Base Pro 900 on the inside” section. The module occupies a central position and carries an engraved “be quiet!” inscription, again reminding the user that this product has been produced by the German company. Additionally, the lid can be removed from the chassis after you’ve unscrewed two screws that remain on the panel, even after you’ve taken it off – although insignificant, for some users this is yet another merit because it happens very frequently that small screws are lost due to some light carelessness when disassembling.
On the left, there is a tempered glass panel. It is 4 mm thick and is held by four screws – this is the second and final common feature between this product and In Win 904 Black. Despite this, be careful when removing it because the screws are quite short. Thanks to this transparent lid we were able to see the remaining accessories are in the case and not in a separate package, as it is the case with most such devices.
Taking a look at the back, you will see one of the three pre-installed 140 mm SilentWings fans. Apart from it, you can observe the mandatory openings for the installation of graphics cards (covered by plates), and the one which is occupied when a motherboard is installed. What caught our attention here, however, was the lower part where we found a switch which controls the supplied electrical current.
Dark Base Pro 900 does not come with an additional PSU when you purchase it, and this means that be quiet! have hidden a peculiarity that shall be discussed in the lines to follow, as it is part of this computer case’s interior. You will not be surprised, we expect, by the fact that the bottom does not feature any vents either. Dark Base Pro 900 is raised thanks to four plastic legs that have a rubber finish for extra stability and no unpleasant noise when moving the case around.
Dark Base Pro 900 on the inside
It is not without any intention that the title of this publication contains the word “Transformers” – it is a key term for this review and you the next lines will explain why this is so. In comparison to our previous discussion of In Win 904 Black, where we started with the motherboard, today we shall begin with the front section and then continue to navigate on the inside of the chassis because Dark Base Pro 900 offers many peculiarities that can be missed if we directly focus on the central position where the motherboard stays.
As it was already mentioned, the front panel is like a door, and the “key” is in the upper left corner (assuming that you are facing the front of the computer case). By pressing it, the lid opens up to 120 degrees, and the rear side attracts one’s attention. This is caused by the soundproofing foam that stretches along its entire length and width. Even though Dark Base Pro 900 features SilentWings fans, characterized by unique design, which reduces the unpleasant noise, be quiet! have decided to stay on the safe side exactly by adding this kind of soundproofing. In the front section, there are two fans, 140 mm in diameter. They are covered by a filter which is easily removable – you just press the protruding plastic element slightly down and then pull it toward you – a useful feature which is more than welcome, considering how easy dust accumulates when there are a lot of fans.
Above the filter, there are two grills that can be removed in case you wish to add a CD or DVD to your configuration. Removing or installing them is quite easy and happens within seconds – you press the two plastic “ears” toward each other, and in this way, they will be released from the frame. If you think that you will not need such optical drives, you can effortlessly install one additional 140 mm fan to have a total of 3 fans – you just need to remove the tray (you will see how to do this in the lines below).
This is not all be quiet! have integrated into the front panel. Above the ODD (Optical Disk Drive) cell, we can find a slider and a button beside it. The German company has also added a fan controller, which is great news for those of you who want to enjoy as silent operation of your configuration as possible. By sliding to the rightmost direction, the rpm will be increased to the max, and if the slider occupies the leftmost position, the fans are spinning at a lower speed but have not ceased their operation. Additionally, the button beside the slider can come in handy only if you have installed the LED stripes found in the box labeled “LED Stripes” – in this way you can control the lights in your computer case. Also, we must not forget that the pre-installed fans are in the traditional black color with an orange “be quiet!” inscription, without backlighting, thus fully preserving the harmony in Dark Base Pro 900.
In the lower front section, there is another filter that prevents dust from entering the case from below. It is again positioned along the entire length and can be removed by sliding it toward yourselves. Now that we know that the case’s front offers a great number of options and peculiarities that can be useful in the putting together of your dream configuration, you may be wondering if the lid is removable. Our answer to this question is positive – as we already mentioned, the keyword in this review is “Transformers”. To remove the front panel, you need to remove the two sides, and this will help you reach the four pins with which it’s attached to the main frame. What worked in our case is the following – you press the lowermost/uppermost pin along with the one besides very lightly. After that, you long press the second one and slightly undo the third one – this is the method you can use to remove the front panel. It is nothing that complicated, you just need to be patient and gentle.
The I/O panel, albeit located in the front, can be removed only when the top cover is detached. This is why we shall discuss what you will find after taking this panel off, and the potential upgrade options. We begin directly with the detachment of the lid since there is nothing special to be observed on it. In order to remove it, you need to detach the two side panels. Just like the front one, the top lid is held by four pins on either side. You can follow the very same procedure and after a minute, you will have detached the top panel of Dark Base Pro 900. Do not worry, the Qi charger is not attached to the panel, and you will not come across other cables or obstacles.
After you have detached this part, you are left with the I/O panel which is actually a part of the Qi charger – attached via three screws. Enthusiasts will be immediately fascinated to find the option of installing up to a 420 mm radiator or even up to four 120 mm fans. Indeed, the top part is a pleasure to look at for those users who want their machine to have a really awesome appearance. Apart from the aforementioned dimensions, you could install 3x 140 / 1x 180 / 1 x 200 mm fans and 120/140/180/240/280/360 mm radiators – the ODD tray has to be removed if you have chosen the last sizes.
In comparison to the components that we reviewed thus far, the removal of the ODD cell is related to the detachment of several other elements. The first component, which hides four screws, is the front lid. The other two are placed under the Qi panel, which can be removed after unscrewing four screws – after that you need to remove the other two (if you have removed the four on the front) and the tray is now detached from the chassis of Dark Base Pro 900. The I/O panel features all cables to be found in the case, and it is for this reason that we would like to warn you to be careful when faced with the seemingly easy detachment. Taking a look at the lid itself, we find the soundproofing foam once again, which is a plus if you plan on using a large number of fans, spinning at high rpm.
In the lines above we shared that one of the side panels features a module with a “be quiet!” inscription that makes the outer design more interesting. Well, it is there for a reason and it will be no surprise if we tell you that it can be detached. After it is removed, you can add two 120 mm fans but you may encounter a problem if your motherboard is there – yes, it is not without intention that Dark Base Pro 900 allows the detachment of every component it has (we shall see why this is so a bit further down). Now let us go back to the side panel because it has one other function. If your motherboard occupies a standard position and you have issues installing additional fans, the panel can be opened to an intermediate position and let air flow through it again. The soundproofing foam is also present for the most part of this side panel.
As far as the lower rear part is concerned, apart from the plates that you need to remove when installing graphics cards, we found three other plates one of which is somewhat unconventional. The function of the first two will be discussed in the section where we talk about the position of the motherboard because they are related. However, the third plate features a cable that supplies electrical current to the PSU. This means that the power unit is installed in the internal part of Dark Rock Pro 900, and not as in most standard computer cases where it protrudes at the level of the chassis. Additionally, the PSU is mounted onto a dedicated tray which features rubber feet – be quiet! have taken all kinds of measures to further reduce the additional noise and vibrations, thus ensuring maximum comfort.
To install your power supply unit we suggest that you remove the back plate so as to have access to the tray, which is supposed to hold the PSU in one place. When detaching it, you have to unscrew four screws (2 for each side) and by pushing from the inside to the outside connect all necessary cables to the motherboard. We should also mention that the max allowed PSU length is 284 mm, and if you remove the trays for the HDDs or SSDs, you can easily fit any kind of PSU.
The bottom part is easiest to remove because it is held by only two screws – after you get them out of the way, you need to slide the chassis to the front and remove the last component from Dark Base Pro 900’s exterior “shell”. Immediately after this you will see that there is an option of installing up to two 140/120 mm fans, as well as a radiator 120/140/280 mm in length – all this depends on the PSU model, the way you have positioned it and whether you have removed the HDD trays, which actually disclose the second fan opening.
Now we shall focus completely on the interior of Dark Base Pro 900 where you can find the HDD slots and the motherboard tray. We would like to save the best to be discussed in the concluding part of the present section and now touch upon the positions dedicated to the HDDs. They are seven in number, which means that you can effortlessly set up RAID configurations with up to 7 storage devices.
These positions keep the same design language and we can again observe orange rubber covers on either side of each tray. This is meant to protect these slots when installing a storage device. Apart from 3.5-inch HDDs, on the top and bottom parts of each slot you will find four holes (unfortunately, there are is rubber protection here), and this means that you can install up to 14 SSDs or another kind of 2.5-inch storage units.
You can attach or detach each of these slots quite easily – you just need to remove the three screws that are holding the tray to the chassis. The entire HDD section can be completely removed, too – you have to unscrew four screws located in the front part, and three screws in the top and another three in the bottom.
The icing on the cake with Dark Base Pro 900 is the motherboard tray. We can’t seem to think of many computer case models that offer entire disassembly of the case, including the motherboard tray. Well, be quiet! have crafted Dark Base Pro 900 and after unscrewing 9 screws, the tray can be taken out of the case and you can thus put together your components directly on it – there is no space limitation, you can achieve good cable management, and most importantly – it is very easy to install it back in Dark Base Pro 900. Apart from the option of detaching this part of the case, you can also adjust its height thanks to the three holes to which you can screw in the available screws. Thus, this case supports the following motherboard types: E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, M-ATX, and Mini-ITX.
We had an E-ATX motherboard and managed to install it without any issues, however, it turned out that the cable holes were almost covered, which can be considered as a small disadvantage. The two small plates we mentioned earlier come in handy exactly after the height adjustments. If you place the tray a bit down, an opening will be uncovered in the upper part of the case, which is not very likely to appeal to you. The great number of options allows you to remove one of the plates and fit it in this opening, and thus preserve the beautiful and simple design of Dark Base Pro 900.
The most intriguing aspect of the motherboard tray is the fact that it can be transformed from ATX into BTX (although it’s not included in the list of supported form factors). This standard was “discovered” in 2004 in order to reduce the accumulated heat coming from the hardware components. Despite this, it did not manage to gain market positions because Intel started developing energy efficient CPUs in 2006.
The BTX standard is quite fascinating if you are after a more unconventional interior design of your computer case – let’s not forget that one of the side lids is made of tempered glass, which means that you can peep at your “craftsmanship” at any moment. When disassembling the tray, you can perform a 180-degree vertical flip – in this way the graphics card can be found in the upper part of the case, and the cooler and CPU – in the lower. Now you can easily mount two fans on the right lid, where the “be quiet!” inscription is to be found because the motherboard is no longer there.
With this type of a system configuration, you will have to change the placement of a few other components for a more convenient and complete appearance of Dark Base Pro 900. We would like to begin with the power supply unit – the plate has to be moved to the right (its standard position is on the left). Additionally, you need to flip the back plate, in which you have a socket for the power cable. Another part of the chassis that you need to perform a 180-degree flip on is the entire HDD section. That is because the third supporting point of the motherboard tray is located namely on the frame of the section where we install our HDDs/SSDs.
In the rear section of the tray is the controller that powers all extra features that Dark Base Pro 900 boasts. It has eight power outputs for fans, and the Qi charger and fan controller also draw energy from it. If you have installed LED strips to your case, they will also be connected to the controller in the back of the tray. Next to it you can find a plate thanks to which you can install an SSD in the rear part, thus hiding cables and the device itself as much as possible.
|Choice of materials||Aluminum, ABS, and tempered glass|
|Motherboard support||E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, M-ATX, Mini-ITX|
|Optical drive||2x 5.25-inch|
|HDD/SSD||seven 3.5-inch slots and one 2.5-inch|
|Dimensions||577 mm x 243 mm x 585 mm|
System photos and temperature tests
You might be slightly confused by the “Specs sheet” section and the components we talked about in our review. We had two configurations that we managed to put together in Dark Base Pro 900. The first one was our testing unit because its the CPU is more powerful than Intel Core i5-6600K. On the other hand, the second one, which is listed in the lines above, can be observed in the photos below. After we assembled a BTX configuration we decided that it would be more interesting to see what temperature values we’ll get after loading each component, and the photos below display how a standard ATX computer system looks like.
Before sharing the temperature values we registered in our tests, we would like to clarify the fact that the case was completely closed and the room temperature was around 26 degrees Celsius. As usual, we started with a 100 % CPU stress test. After 30 minutes of this load, we measured a maximum of 57 degrees and an average around 53-54 degrees. The graphics card was in “idle” mode and it kept temperature values around 39 degrees – we must not forget, however, that the fans do not engage until 50 degrees are reached. We managed to register 36 degrees on the memories, which we reviewed a while ago – Crucial Ballistic Elite.
After getting these decent results, we decided to launch the GPU stress test. We can’t deny that the temperatures of all components increased after an hour of workload, but this is more than normal, considering the fact that the system is uses three fans for cooling – two located in the front section and only one that pushes hot air out of the case. We can note that the CPU temperature rose with 6-7 degrees, and the GPU, which has a really solid cooler, reached 78 degrees, which is great news – HERE you can see how Palit GeForce GTX 1080 GameRock performed after being overclocked exactly in Dark Base Pro 900.
Photos of the configuration
Most often the “Verdict” section begins with the advantages of the component or device we have reviewed. However, we will move away from this tradition because the negative aspects of Dark Base Pro 900 are not many. What is more, some of you will not find anything negative in the next couple of sentences. We would like to touch upon the first thing that we stumbled upon when working with this case – the installation of an E-ATX motherboard on the tray. Unfortunately, the openings, through which our cables were supposed to pass for the purpose of a better-looking interior, were covered to an extent that made them unusable. Despite this, after putting some effort to it along with a few unconventional ideas, we managed to hide most of the cables.
The second disadvantage is again related to the tray, and this time we can not overlook it (if we say that the first negative aspect allows us to install a smaller motherboard). Because of the ability of the motherboard to be adjusted in three positions, there is no opening through which we can push the cables of the power supply unit. Thus, if you remove the lowest HDD/SSD slot, the power cables remain unconcealed, and some users may not be very happy about that. And the last negative thing we have to mention is related to the plate that holds the PSU. Yes, it does have rubber feet which reduce vibrations, it hides the power supply unit, but there is also a not so practical side to it. You will discover this trait if you are planning to set up a BTX configuration. In order to shift it from one place to the other, you need to remove and then screw in 6 screws, and there are four additional screws that you have to use in order to fix the PSU in one position. Furthermore, you will need to flip the plate with the socket for the power cable – you will need a total of 24 screws for the installation of a power supply unit. On the other hand, you will not encounter this “problem” if you are performing a standard configuration.
After this detailed review, we can conclude that Dark Base Pro 900 really is a computer case of the Transformers type. Each element found on it has a purpose, and the most pleasant news here is that you can detach any of them if you decide to configure your system in a more unconventional way. It does not matter if you want liquid or air cooling for your computer, Dark Base Pro 900 will satisfy your needs. We managed to fit a Dark Rock Pro 3 cooler and then put the tempered glass panel back to its place without any issues. Disassembling the case is not difficult at all, you just need to be patient. In our opinion, the greatest feature of this case is the option of putting together a BTX configuration – it does not happen every day that we come across a computer case whose motherboard tray can be completely detached. It was namely this that gave us freedom when installing the chosen components and great looks when everything was set up.
There is no chance that we will miss mentioning the soundproofing foam that can be found on the front, top, and side panels. If you are still hearing some unpleasant noise, be quiet! have included a fan controller, which can further reduce the rpm of the fans connected to the chip located at the back of the tray. You can install up to 8 fans, and if you are afraid that a lot of dust may come in the case, the German company has added two filters – one front and one bottom filter. The build quality of this computer case, as well as its design really appeal to us. We were very happy when we learned that the greater part of the chassis is made of aluminum andABS, and the black and orange colors truly appeal to us with the way they have been combined.
If you are interested in Dark Base Pro 900, you can check its price and availability here: http://amzn.to/2btQe65
- Stylish and sturdy
- Option of installing a liquid cooling for the entire system
- Fan controller and soundproofing foam
- All components attached to the base are removable
- Supports E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, M-ATX, Mini-ITX motherboards
- Lack of an opening whose purpose is to conceal power cables
- If you decide to install an E-ATX motherboard, the cable openings will be covered