With all the exciting components one can use for a new PC, the case is usually the least exciting part of the bunch. Sure, you can spruce it up with LEDs and other trim that wouldn't look out of place on a third-grader's concept of a sports car. But at the end of the day, most would agree that the typical ATX-style case is a standard affair.
For most cases, you get some room for a graphics card, a stationary PSU mount, and some bays for 3.5-inch storage. Tack on some USB and audio ports for the front I/O panel, and you're done. You really don't have a choice about how you position those components either, so you're stuck with what the manufacturer gives you.
But be quiet! Designed the Dark Base Pro 900 far from standard, and we were floored when we got our hands on the premium case.
The Dark Base Pro 900 is be quiet!'s premium offering and features enough room to fit graphics cards up to 18.5-inches in length and CPU coolers up to 7.25 inches in height in its 9.5 x 23 x 22 inch body.
However, where the case's real potential lies is with the flexibility of its many moving parts, which can be configured and swapped around in a variety of different and practical ways. Not only that, but you also get two USB 3.0 Type-A connectors and a full-fledged Qi wireless phone charger on the case's front I/O panel.
What's not to like? Not very much, actually.
While this isn't our first encounter with be quiet!, whose Silent Base 600 orange case was featured as part of our Gigabyte X-99 build, we knew that the company was onto something big. But after spending time with the Dark Base Pro 900, it was hard to walk away from it without an overall good impression. The little design touches, of which there are many, add up to make a great case.
Let's Talk About Fans, Baby
The Dark Base Pro 900 comes with three SilentWings 3 140mm fans; two on the front and one mounted above the motherboard tray on the back. If you're up for removing the top and bottom panels, you'll have access to enough room for mounting 240mm radiators or even more 120-240mm fans. Between that amount of space and the fan header breakout board, you'll have more than enough space for fans to work.
If that isn't enough room, the Dark Base Pro 900’s non-glass side case panel also has spots for two 120mm fans. All you have to do is pop up — not pop out — the panel with the be quiet! logo. Just remember that fans take up space, so you can only use the panel fans if your glass panel is facing the back of the motherboard.
The Dark Base Pro 900 also has a useful ventilation feature at the bottom of the case. Resting on four feet that keep the case 1 inch off the ground, there are lower vents that line the sides — and not the bottom — of the case.
That means even if you place the Dark Base Pro 900 on carpet — pro tip: PCs hate carpets. Don't put them there if you can help it — the air will be sucked in from the sides, bypassing all of the stuff that accumulates on the floor. That's the type of nice touch that merges form and function in a pleasing way.
Yes, It's an All-Glass Door
While we've seen translucent paneling on more than a few cases, we haven't been as impressed as we have with the Dark Base Pro 900’s take on the trope. Instead of some lightweight plastic placed in the middle of a panel, be quiet! went all-in with full-sized tempered glass. The panel, which is rather heavy and covers the case’s entire left side, features a stylish tint that minimizes any superfluous glare from the included internal LED strips.
The panel is held on by four mounting discs that attach to screws, each of which protrudes outside and inside the case. The outside-facing screws have rubber washer-type sleeves, which help absorb any vibrations and help dampen sound. These screws can be moved to the other side of the case, so you can move the glass panel there too.
I/O, Looks, Etc.
Speaking of panels, the Dark Base Pro 900 also features a magnetic-locking front hinged door with sound-dampening material on the back of it. Open it and you'll find two stock be quiet! SilentWings 3 PWM 140mm fans along with two removable filters; the first for the aforementioned vertical fans, and the second for the bottom of the case, where you can attach two more fans if needed. There's also a button for cycling through the LED strips' five colors and a switch for controlling your PVM-connected fans.
As for overall looks, we like it. The choice of orange trim on black is the right touch of color. The case has a few angles where its corners would be, but these are conservative and not an eyesore. Following the colors are the case’s contours, which strike the right balance between conventionally rounded and "EKG."
Opinions will differ — I smell a Josh Ray Second Opinion blurb — but we like how the case comes off as unassuming and goes on to offer so much in the form of quiet and extensibility.
In fact, extensibility may be just scratching the surface, because there's a lot you can do with the Dark Base Pro 900 that you can't do with other cases.
Journey to the Center of the Dark Base Pro 900
Thanks to that glass plate, you'll be able to see the insides of the case before you take it off. Once you do, you'll have access to a modular heaven that be quiet!'s engineers have created, which includes removable drive cages and a virtual test-bench in a box. All you need is a screwdriver and some imagination.
First, let's talk about that drive cage. It comes with seven racks, each of which can hold one 3.5-inch drive or two 2.5-inch drives. Your vast library of Linux distributions you've built over years and years will have a place to stay. Each drive bracket is held in place by three thumbscrews and can be removed from the rack in case you need more room.
Should you decide to use them, you can take advantage of the four orange rubber screw holes, which — again — will absorb any vibration your drive makes and will help mitigate excess sound. The drive cage features nine spots, but the last two are blocked by 5.25-inch slots for optical drives and such.
If you don't have any 3.5-inch drives and want to remove it, you'll be happy to know that the cage itself is removable. The downside is that you'll need to remove the side panels, face, top panel, Qi charger and 5.25-inch drive cage — in that order — to get at the 19 screws required to remove the entire 3.5-inch drive bay assembly (not something everyone will do, admitedly). Aside from one stubborn screw that actually broke one of our cheaper screwdrivers, we were able to remove the cage in less than 15 minutes.
Next, even the motherboard tray — inclusive of that be quiet! fan — is also modular. Before you move it, however, note that there's a 2.5-inch drive caddy in the back and one of those SATA-powered fan breakout header boards — four PWM and four non-PWM headers — of which OEMs can't seem to get enough. That SATA cable is of the 15-pin variety, so make sure your PSU can take it. Finally, you have three Velcro straps that can be attached to the back of the motherboard tray with cables making their way through three orange ports.
But we digress. The motherboard can either be swapped to the other side of the case, moved lower to accommodate things you mount on the top — such as a radiator — or removed from the case entirely. In fact, in the instruction booklet, be quiet! states the motherboard tray can be used as its own test bench. This can be handy if you want to do component installation outside of the case and don't mind having to re-attach headers.
Finally, the PSU gets mounted on its own bracket on the bottom of the Dark Base Pro 900, which can be placed in different ways to accommodate how you decide to mount the motherboard. Move it away from the back wall to the right, or to the left depending on how you configure the rest of your system. However it’s set up, it'll connect through a proxy AC cord that leads to the outside of the case.
Whar Build Whar!?!?!
The be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 isn't a conventional case. As opposed to other cases, this one gives us a plethora of choices. When faced with these new types of choices, such as where to put the motherboard and how many fans are enough, we hit a bit of a mental roadblock — a beautiful, wondrous roadblock.
Yes, we could have mounted a radiator in any other case, but this one gives us choices on where to mount it. Top? Front? Bottom? The Dark Base Pro 900 makes it all possible, and that flexibility leads to lots of barely productive daydreaming.
To make a long story short, we'll wake up soon, and afterwards plan to publish an article that showcases the flexibility of the case. Will we move the motherboard to the other side? Will we mount two radiators on the top and bottom of the case? Will we stop worrying about ambient dust and learn to love the test bench?