The German brand be quiet! has unveiled its latest high-end case, the Dark Base Pro 901. This case offers a combination of versatility and innovative design. Users have the option to choose between a mesh or aluminum trim on the front panel, depending on their preference for airflow or a quieter setup. The case’s design allows the motherboard to be positioned in an inverted manner. The fan bracket comes with an integrated hub, simplifying installation and cable organization. Additionally, the top IO panel boasts a touch-sensitive interface, giving it a modern touch. To emphasize its premium status, the case also offers a Qi wireless charging feature on the top.
Specifications of Dark Base Pro 901:
- Color: Black
- Supported motherboard sizes: E-ATX to Mini-ATX
- Dimensions without stand: 604 x 254 x 539mm
- Dimensions with stand: 604 x 275 x 569mm
- Capacity: 82.69L
- Weight: 16.3kg (product only), 20.8kg (with packaging)
- Maximum expansion slots: 8
- Fan capabilities: Top (3 x 140mm), Front (3 x 140mm), Side (3 x 120mm), Rear (1 x 140mm), Bottom (1 x 140mm)
- Fans included: Two Silent Wings 4 140mm PWM (front) and one Silent Wings 4 140mm PWM (rear)
- Maximum cooling radiator support: Front 360/420mm, top 360mm, side 360mm, rear 140mm
- Graphics card length restrictions: 350mm (if HDD bracket is used), 495mm (without HDD bracket)
- Maximum CPU cooler height: 190mm
- Expansion slots available: One 5.25”, Seven 3.5” (two included), Sixteen 2.5” (six included)
- IO Panel features a USB-C 10Gbps port, four USB-A ports, two 3.5mm audio ports, and a 15W Qi wireless charging pad.
You can choose between silent or cooling double-sided panels | be quiet! Dark Base Pro 901 case unboxing
be quiet!’s Dark Base Pro 901 is their premier case offering, reflecting the distinctive German engineering in its dimensions, aesthetics, and interior layout. It’s a blend of advanced tech and robust materials, yet it maintains a serene and understated look.
The Dark Base Pro 901 by be quiet! stands at 604 x 275 x 569mm and weighs a substantial 16.3kg. The hefty feel of steel is evident upon first contact. To bolster this sizable case, a special steel base has been incorporated. Its front, top, and back panels feature expansive metallic mesh vents which not only facilitate airflow but also become a significant visual element of the design. These are further accentuated with brushed aluminum accents.
Being a full-tower case, the Dark Base Pro 901 can house E-ATX motherboards and offers 8 PCIe slots. The CPU cooler can be up to 190mm in height, and in the absence of a side-mounted hard drive bracket, the graphics card can span 495mm. Even with a side bracket, the length allowed is still a generous 350mm. Ventilation options include space for three 140mm fans each on the front and top, three 120mm fans on the sides, and a single 140mm fan both in the rear and at the bottom. Radiator compatibility goes up to 420mm at the front and 360mm at the top. Storage-wise, it can accommodate up to seven 3.5″ HDDs or sixteen 2.5″ SSDs, showcasing its impressive expandability.
For its premier status, this case boasts a comprehensive IO suite. It includes a USB-C port with 10Gbps speed, four USB3.0 ports, dual 3.5mm jacks for headphones and microphones, and touch-sensitive controls for adjusting fan speeds and lighting effects.
The Dark Base Pro 901 features an integrated light bar on its front panel, utilizing contact points for connectivity. This design removes concerns about accidentally damaging wires during disassembly or reassembly, eliminating the need for tedious cable management. Similarly, the front and top fan brackets are equipped with contact point connection fan hubs. When setting up the fans, you simply connect the fan cables to these hubs. This streamlines the internal setup, making it convenient, though it comes at a higher cost.
The Dark Base Pro 901 comes equipped with three Silent Wings 4 140mm PWM fans. Introduced by be quiet!, these fans are designed for quiet operation. They incorporate a three-phase six-pole motor that can reach up to 1100RPM. The uniquely designed fan blades deliver ample airflow while concurrently minimizing noise levels.
The Dark Base Pro 901 features a 4mm solid glass side panel. It’s securely attached using screws and sliding rails. For disassembly, simply unscrew and slide the panel towards the rear to remove it.
The Dark Base Pro 901 by be quiet! showcases a layered design on its top section. The external layer features an aluminum alloy decorative panel accompanied by a ventilation mesh, while the inner layer boasts a noise-reducing cover and a fan bracket. Moreover, situated near the front IO on the top, there’s a Qi wireless charging zone capable of 15W fast charging.
The Dark Base Pro 901 is designed to accommodate a 140mm fan at the back and comes pre-fitted with a Silent Wings 4 140mm PWM fan. Its 8-slot PCIe can be reoriented vertically for graphics card installation. The power supply situated at the bottom has a pull-out design.
The Dark Base Pro 901 features an extended ventilation mesh on its rear panel, complemented by a full layer of sound-dampening cotton on the inside. This side panel, being notably weighty, can house either three 120mm fans or up to seven 3.5-inch hard drives. While the package includes two hard drive racks as standard, additional ones would need to be bought separately.
On the lower front section of the case, there are provisions for two 3.5-inch hard drive slots, which offer tool-free installation. Once these are removed, a 14cm fan can be fitted in their place. However, after adding the fan, the top cover should be swapped out for a louvered style to ensure proper ventilation.
The case’s front side can accommodate five additional hard drives using the same type of hard drive rack, which would necessitate a separate purchase. This panel can also be swapped out for a fan bracket that can hold up to three 12cm fans.
The base of the Dark Base Pro 901 is equipped with a comprehensive dust filter. To access it, one must first remove the front panel and then extract the filter from the front. If employing the conventional rear-extraction method, especially when the case is positioned against a wall, it would necessitate shifting the entire case to access the filter. Given the substantial weight of the Dark Base Pro 901, this can be a bit cumbersome and inconvenient.
Currently, the need for optical disc drives has significantly diminished. In our setup room, there isn’t even a demonstration of how to install one. Nevertheless, the Dark Base Pro 901 does accommodate a single 5.25-inch optical disc drive. Positioned beneath the front panel logo, the drive can be accessed by opening the bottom cover. To install it, you’d need to forfeit the lower two hard drive spaces and utilize the optical disc rack that comes as a part of the included accessories. While the overall installation process is quite straightforward, the bottom cover of the front panel feels somewhat snug. One might be wary of either damaging a fingernail or potentially snapping a part of the panel while trying to open it.
Inverted view, right side glass | Inverted motherboard RTX structure installation experience
The be quiet! Dark Base Pro 901 offers an innovative feature – a reversed or inverted motherboard RTX layout. With its ingenious design, the motherboard tray can be adjusted to flip the entire configuration, encompassing the bottom hard drive rack, shielding plate, and the top IO cables. For those looking to set it up, it’s advised to consult the brand’s official installation video.
This RTX layout brings several benefits to the table. For one, with the right side being transparent, the case can be positioned on the user’s left-hand side, making it optimal for certain desk arrangements. Moreover, due to its proximity to the top fan, the graphics card’s heat dissipation efficiency sees a boost. However, a point to note is that many computer components today are designed with the traditional ATX layout in mind. As a result, when components are mounted in this inverted setup, logos or designs might appear upside-down.
The Dark Base Pro 901 includes a graphics card bracket designed to counteract GPU sagging, ensuring the card remains level and secure. Notably, this bracket is intended for the inverted structure. If one opts to utilize the graphics card bracket within this reversed setup, they’ll have to compromise on some cooling capabilities. Specifically, based on where it’s positioned, only two fans can be accommodated on the top, which is a slight drawback.
In addition to its primary function, the graphics card bracket in the Dark Base Pro 901 features an integrated cable management channel, facilitating a neat arrangement by concealing the GPU power cable. Nonetheless, in terms of aesthetics, the bracket’s finish appears somewhat inconsistent with the case’s hairline metal trim.
The rear of the Dark Base Pro 901 offers roughly 3cm of space specifically designed for cable management, along with numerous cable management slots. These slots are among the most user-friendly I’ve encountered. They essentially consist of U-shaped steel plates. Users can simply tuck the cables into these slots without the need for Velcro or zip ties, making the process straightforward and efficient.
The be quiet! Dark Base Pro 901 features subtly designed light bars located on the side power compartment and the front panel. Coupled with the matte finish of the pre-installed fan, the case exudes a refined and understated aesthetic.
How effective is the ventilation of the silent panel? be quiet! Actual temperature measurement of Dark Base Pro 901
The be quiet! Dark Base Pro 901 was subjected to thermal tests using a specific setup. A 360mm AIO cooler was front-mounted to intake air, while a Silent Wings 4 140mm PWM fan was placed at the rear for exhaust. The top’s silent cover was removed and left fanless. This testing environment featured the powerful i9-13900K and RTX4080 combination, known for their substantial heat production.
For the CPU benchmarks, a consistent methodology was followed. In the BIOS, CPU LLC was set to LV.1 with the P-core pinned at 5.5GHz and E-core at 4.3GHz. Two sets of tests were carried out – one with silent panels and another with mesh panels.
- Processor: Intel Core i9-13900K
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Strix Z690-E GAMING WIFI
- Graphics card: NVIDIA RTX 4080 FE
- Memory: CORSAIR VENGEANCE RGB DDR5-6000 (16G x 2)
- Operating System: Windows 11 PRO 21H2
- Cooler: 360mm AIO
- Power Supply: 1000W 80PLUS Gold
Results from the I9-13900K benchmark, under maximal stress from AIDA64 FPU, indicated a slight drop in frequency regardless of the panel used. However, the mesh panel resulted in temperatures that were 2-6°C cooler than its silent counterpart – a difference that, though minimal, is within acceptable bounds.
For the RTX4080, a somewhat counterintuitive outcome was observed. The silent panel yielded cooler GPU temperatures. This can be attributed to the fact that when the silent panel was in use, the elevated CPU temperature caused an uptick in fan speed, inadvertently benefiting the GPU’s thermal performance. Yet, with a peak temperature of only 72°C, there’s no immediate concern regarding the GPU’s thermal management within this chassis.
Review Summary: be quiet! Dark Base Pro 901
- Pragmatic Design: The Dark Base Pro 901 epitomizes be quiet!’s ethos of functionality over flamboyance. In an era where most flagship cases are vying for attention with flashy exteriors and features, this case opts for a pragmatic, user-first approach.
- Innovative Fan Hub: The contact connection hub streamlines the fan and wire management process. Once users experience this simplified setup, it’s tough to consider anything else.
- Efficient Cable Management: The metal U-shaped grooves for cable management are both effective and aesthetically pleasing, trumping traditional Velcro or plastic buckle methods.
- Reverse Configuration: A novel feature that offers versatility in motherboard installation. Especially useful for those who place their PCs to their left and want the transparent side facing right. It also provides added flexibility for modding enthusiasts.
- Signature Silence: True to be quiet!’s name, the case prioritizes sound dampening. With soundproofing materials on its front and rear panels, coupled with the Silent Wings 4 140mm PWM fans, the noise is kept at a minimum. However, the case’s inherent silence comes chiefly from its robust steel construction, which minimizes resonance.
- Sturdy Construction: Weighing in at 16.3kg, the case’s weight is a testament to its solid, high-quality build.
- Price Point: Retailing at 10,990 yuan in Taiwan, its premium price tag might deter some potential buyers. However, for those who appreciate its build quality and versatility, it may very well be worth the investment.
Conclusion: The be quiet! Dark Base Pro 901 may not be the flashiest case on the market, but it’s one of the most thoughtfully designed. Prioritizing usability, flexibility, and quality, it offers a refreshing take on what a flagship case should be. It stands as a testament to the brand’s commitment to deliver not just products, but solutions that truly cater to users’ needs.
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Title: Be quiet! Dark Base Pro 901: A Deep Dive into the Flagship Case with Stellar Design and Performance