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Thread: be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900

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    be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900

    After being lucky enough to bag the lovely Dark Base Pro in a recent forum competition, I've put together a build log/review of my experiences. Thought I'd go more visual so there's lots of pictures.

    So it turns out I can only add 20 images per post, so I'll split this up - sorry!

    TLDR: It's a nice case, but it's supremely frustrating.

    First Impressions
    The box was a bit roughed up, but it was seemingly shipped from Germany so I'll forgive that. Inside there is some polystyrene packing blocks and the case itself, wrapped in a nice black bag (mine was ripped at the back). It's also rather heavy, which is good. There's a box of bits inside, another box containing the LED strips and a worryingly thin user manual. Here's some pictures of it prior to starting work from all the relevant angles, also a comparison in size to my Fractal Arc Mini R4 (another lovely Hexus prize!):



    Pre-build
    Here's a snap of the inside of the Fractal, pretty cosy in there. The box-o-bits had a few bags of screws (no "spares" which I'll come to later..), an additional square rubber grommet for.. something? And a couple of metal supports for holding reservoirs etc (not used here). The LED strips looked standard. The manual is small, and has the usual 6 or 7 languages. The diagrams are tiny and not well illustrated and there's very little in the way of "instruction". Most of the operation was guesswork.


    Let's go!
    I'd done a bit of reading on the case while I was waiting for it to arrive and was interested in testing out the movable motherboard tray. I wanted to lower it down so the graphics card got a direct squirt of cool air from the front fans. There were bright orange grommets signalling which screws needed to be removed, so these came out and the tray dropped. I decided I'd be best mounting the board first before deciding on the tray position so all the screws went back in. I thought the next sensible thing would be to mount the PSU, so I happily unscrewed the bracket and attached the unit - only to find the screw holes for reattaching it to the case were now blocked. Wonderful - would be a good thing to mention in the manual. So I removed the PSU and re-attached the bracket. Turns out you have to take all the back panels off so you can fix the PSU in place from behind. After finally getting the PSU in place (and the extension cable fitted, I fastened all the back plates on again. Then I realised the switch was off and had to go and unscrew everything again to turn the PSU on. It was at this point I found the first design flaw - the screw holes that hold the back plates in place have a void underneath. I managed to drop one of the screws in to the rolled metal and couldn't get it back out - and no spare.

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    Re: be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900

    Motherboard
    I wanted to just move the whole motherboard/cooler in one (Id taken out the GFX card and de-dusted it seperately), so I ran them outside and air blasted the dust away, there was very little in there which is testament to the Fractal's filtering as I live in dust central. There seemed to be a few standoffs missing for mATX and I think only managed to get 4-5 screws in as opposed to 8 or 9 for the Fractal. Still seemed fairly sturdy, just some flex when connecting the cables. Once the board was attached, it was clear my Corsair H100i GTX wasn't going to fit in the top, so all the motherboard mounting screws came out again and I slid the lot down 1 "position". All screwed back in and blanking plate relocated to the top (still missing a screw). To get access to the screw holes at the top of the case you need to remove the front panel, then the top panel. This was fairly easy with big plastic tabs, but I worried they could easily snap. I'd had a couple of beers by this point and forgot what I was doing and started pulling out the drive caddies. I liked the drive cage design, each one is held in with 3 thumb screws and can be pulled out independently. Nice job!

    I thought I'd whack in an extra 120mm intake fan at the bottom to pull in some more cool air - had some Aerocools left over so thought I'd pop off the bottom cover as well and fix them in. The screws that came with the aerocools were too big to fit in here (that or the DBP screw holes were too small). It was getting late so I gave up. Also no sign of the screw I lost earlier, was sort of hoping it would have dropped down in to the bottom panel.


    Fixing the radiator and cabling
    The radiator was simple enough to fit and cable routing was very easy as there's lots of space to work with. Dropping the motherboard tray meant I could poke cables over the top, which turned out to look fairly tidy. I could have done a tidier job of the back cabling, but it was getting late and I had got through a couple more beers by this point. I was concerned that the sticky pads on the LED strips looked fairly single-use, so I didn't try anything crazy with them and just put one at the front (pointing backawards) and one at the top pointing down. Boring. I decided to space out my drives so the air could pass through from the front fans. Not sure I really like this and may move them all to the bottom. The 5.25" bays were easy to work with and the blanking plates are quality. The glass window also went on fine - the screws have rubber washers so nothing crunches when fastening it on.



    All done
    Everything screwed together nicely and the LED strips worked fine, not really pictured but you can imagine. I was going to run it on the floor like the Fractal, but I managed to squeeze it on to the desk - excuse the poor cabling behind. Also the most satisfying part of the build..peeling the film off the logo.



    Conclusion
    In summary, I found it quite a frustrating case to build in to - I don't tend to use many new cases but don't remember having as many problems before. I think part of this is due to the complexity of the case and it certainly is flexible. The instruction manual really needed to be bigger (A4) and hold more information.

    I also found the fan controller slider to be a bit temperamental. There's very little difference in speed between "Low" and "High", and sliding it all the way to the left (the lowest) seems to bug out and turn the fans to full speed. The LED activity light is a bit bright too, if I were to be nitpicky. I like the idea of the Qi charger, but I haven't got a device to test it with.

    Sound-wise it's pretty quiet, noticeably quieter than my last case but it's right next to me now so I can hear the water pump whirring.

    All the above sounds a bit negative, but I still think the case is fantastic. It looks brilliant, is superbly put together and will hold pretty much any crazy configuration you could imagine. At the RRP it's out of my league though.

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    =assassin= (30-08-2016),DR (02-09-2016),gupsterg (01-09-2016),SUMMONER (02-09-2016)

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    Re: be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900

    That's a gorgeous looking case. Thanks for the nice review, with plenty of pictures; you've done the case justice by doing a proper build that shows off the features and pros/cons of the case nicely. Congrats on the win

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    virtuo (31-08-2016)

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    Re: be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900

    Quote Originally Posted by =assassin= View Post
    That's a gorgeous looking case. Thanks for the nice review, with plenty of pictures; you've done the case justice by doing a proper build that shows off the features and pros/cons of the case nicely. Congrats on the win
    Thanks for taking the time to read it!

    So after a couple of weeks here are some additional thoughts:

    The 5-colour LEDs are a nice touch, but it looks silly with them on (except maybe the white), they are very bright. I think for a colour-coordinated build they'll be alright, but not for me and my mish-mash of components.

    The fans situation is still annoying me - I didn't mention the SilentWings 3 that came with it in my review - they are good fans and very very quiet. I just don't think the controller can crank them up fast enough - might have to add some mobo-connected fans for when I'm encoding/rendering to get some cool air in.

    Fingerprints! I noticed a lot of other reviews complained about fingerprints on the brushed aluminium. Not sure what kind of greasy apes have been reviewing the case before but I didn't really notice it. You can see the odd mark after opening/closing the door but it wipes away easily. The glass seems to get smudgy much more easily. You might see a mark on the door in the photos from where I was opening/closing it.

    On the topic of the door, it feels a bit flimsy in honesty, you can rattle it when it's closed. The process of converting it to open the other way, even though it's a supported feature of the case, looks really tricky and very easy to break the clips that hold it in. It has sound dampening material and it makes a big difference when closed, but I wonder how much having it closed limits the front intake fans - I've been keeping it open when gaming.

    I was worried the orange would look a bit naff when a more classy black or silver finish was available, but I think it's a nice accent colour, my RAM is nearly orange and I can set the H100i to orange as well. The orange grommets make it look a bit more interesting through the window. Still not worked out what the square grommet was for, not particularly fussed though.

    The dust filters are working very well, still not a speck inside which is a miracle as I'm currently having 100-year-old plaster pulled down just outside the office door.

    Temperatures are good, I run a healthy OC on my CPU and GPU. The 4970k idles at 40-ish and maxes out at 85-86 under heavy load running a tickle under 5Ghz. The GPU is factory overclocked and idles 35 up to around 80 before the fans kick up to full and rip a hole in the space/time conduit. I was honestly expecting temps to be better, particularly for the GPU and they are marginally lower than in the Fractal, but that ran lots of extra fans and had great airflow. Again I think it might be an iffy fan controller holding me back here and I would hope to see an improvement on the GPU with some air volume moving through.


    I think one of the biggest selling points on the case really is the appearance. I've found myself dragging non-techies up to my office to show them. Just look at it!

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    Re: be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900

    That Be Quiet would appear a based on a generic design internally as it looks very similar to my Phantek Enthoo "whatever" (I think Prime).

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    Re: be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900

    @OP

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on case . As I like inverted ATX cases and this allows that, it's on my short list for when change my case or do a build for another.
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    Re: be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900

    Good review of the case and fully agree with your thoughts on it.

    A couple of things I have found..
    1. There is actually room between the metal framework and the top cover for fans to sit. I didn't know this which is why my h110i seems to be very low down in mine.
    2. The LED strips are bright. I have mine turned off at the moment due to the brightness of them.
    3. The blanking plates above the PSU need to be moved to the top if you move the motherboard tray around. Didn't see this at the time so i still need to refit mine.
    4. Onboard fan controller seems to be a bit weak or the silent wing fans are really quiet! I need to do further research on this.
    5. The wireless charge is great for giving your phone a boost while you are sat at the computer.

    My build:


  11. #8
    DR
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    Re: be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900

    Fantastic Reader Review - thank you

  12. Received thanks from:

    virtuo (05-09-2016)

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    Re: be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900

    Quote Originally Posted by DR View Post
    Fantastic Reader Review - thank you
    No problem, keep sending me the stuff and I'll keep rating it

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