Home / Component / Cases / be quiet! Dark Base Pro 901 Case Review

be quiet! Dark Base Pro 901 Case Review

Rating: 9.0.

Just when think you have seen every possible feature for a PC case, a vendor comes along and adds a whole new take on what a high-end chassis should include. That’s precisely what has happened today because be quiet! has updated its Dark Base 900 series with this new Dark Base Pro 901 – which includes Qi wireless fast charging, touch-sensitive controls for fan speed and ARGB lighting, as well as a dual-purpose attachment that reduces GPU sag and conceals cables. So could this be the most technologically advanced PC we have ever seen? Let's find out.

Timestamps:

00:00 Start
00:57 A close look
03:03 Accessories
03:30 Features/disassembly
04:10 Front I/O (touch panel and QI charger)
05:57 Front panel
07:15 Top panel
08:18 Main Compartment
09:48 Fan and radiator support
10:41 Other support (CPU/GPU)
11:22 Case Modularity / PSU
12:18 Top Radiator Fan bracket
12:59 Rear panel slot
13:44 The other side / drives
17:14 GPU anti sag cable concealer
18:45 So much to talk about
19:05 Floor of the case
19:44 Hardware for the build
21:33 Timelapse Build
29:10 Interesting findings – James thoughts
32:55 Technical test results
33:47 Closing Thoughts

The be quiet! Dark Base 900 was already a very high-end, high spec and large PC chassis capable of housing the most advanced systems with the potential for loads of storage support, multiple radiator installations and much more. But be quiet! has expanded the Dark Base 900 series which now includes the brand new Dark Base Pro 901 with integrated features such as 15W Qi wireless fast charging, a state-of-the-art touch-sensitive panel for adjusting fan speed and controlling ARGB lighting as well as a modular design that gives the user more installation options than you could imagine. It really does look like the most advanced PC case we have ever seen here at KitGuru.

Dark Base Pro 901 is a huge full tower case that supports up to EATX motherboards, multiple large radiator installations and has space for up to sixteen 2.5-inch storage drives or seven 3.5-inch drives, as well as modular accessories like a dual-purpose VGA bracket which reduces GPU sag and conceals cables, a rotatable rear I/O for vertical GPU mounting and a flexible motherboard tray which can change orientation for inverted layouts, this big case also comes with a big price tag, you can pick the Dark Base Pro 901 Pro up now for a staggering £320!

Features

  • Interchangeable top covers and front panel can be switched out for either maximum airflow or virtually inaudible operation.
  • Front and top fan/radiator brackets feature integrated fan hubs for easy connection, quick installation and neat cable management.
  • 3 Silent Wings 4 140mm PWM fans included (2 x front and 1 x rear) for a virtually inaudible operation and optimal cooling performance.
  • Touch-sensitive I/O panel for state-of-the-art fan speed adjustment and ARGB lighting effect control as well as a front I/O Qi wireless fast charging base on top of the chassis.
  • Generous dimensions ensure support of E-ATX motherboards and multiple radiator installations up to 420mm long.
  • Dual purpose VGA holder prevents graphics card sag and conceals cables for a tidy-looking professional install.
  • A highly modular design including a flexible motherboard tray allows for inverted layouts.
  • Subtle 5v ARGB lighting is integrated into the front panel and along the PSU Shroud.

be quiet! Dark Base Pro 901 Specifications:

  • Motherboard compatibility – E-ATX / XL-ATX / ATX / M-ATX / Mini-ATX
  • Dimensions incl. stands – 604 x 275 x 569mm (L x W x H)
  • Weight (kg) – 16.3
  • PSU form factor – ATX PS/2
  • Expansion slots – 8
  • Max CPU Cooler Height – 190mm
  • Maximum Fan Installation – 3 x 120/140mm (Top), 3 x 120/140mm (Front), 3 x 120mm (Side), 1×120/140mm (rear), 1 x 120/140mm (Bottom)
  • Pre-installed Fans – 2 x Silent Wings 4 140mm PWM (Front), 1x Silent Wings 4 140mm PWM (rear)
  • Optional Radiator Installation – 120/240/360mm (Top), 120/240/280/360/420 (Front), 120/240/360mm (Side), 120/140mm (Rear)
  • Max Graphics card Length – 495mm (Side HDD Cages removed), 350mm (Side HDD Cages Installed)
  • Drive bay Capacity – 2 x 3.5” (Included) 7 x 3.5” (Max), 6 x 2.5” (Included) 16 x 2.5” (max) 1 x 5.25” (Included/Max)
  • Lighting – ARGB 5V
  • Front I/O Panel – 1 x USB 3.2 Gen.2 Type-C, 4 x USB 3.2 Type-A, 2 x 3.5mm Mic+Audio, 15W Qi Quick charger
  • Insulation and Damping – Top, Front, Side Insulation panels, Anti Vibration Decoupled HDD, Fan, PSU and Motherboard Tray
  • Removable Dust Filters – Front, Side, Bottom

Thermal Performance Testing

To simulate thermal demand we run the Cinebench R23 multi-thread benchmark and 3DMark Time Spy Extreme stress test simultaneously in a loop for 60 minutes to fully load the system. This gives the CPU and GPU enough time to reach constant steady-state temperature. With this data, we can compare how the system handles the thermal demand and measure peak noise levels.

Thermal performance is measured with the case in various configurations, such as the default, with the tempered glass left-hand side panel removed and with the front panel removed to see how these configurations affect the CPU and GPU temperature. During testing, only stock case fans are used unless otherwise specified. All water pumps are set to maximum RPM and fans are set to a custom RPM curve by the Motherboard software/BIOS.

All temperature measurements are presented as Deltas – meaning the ambient temperature has been deducted from the CPU temperature giving us a Delta. Data shown in the charts represent the average component temperature over the length of the test as measured by HWiNFO and then the last 15 minutes of the data are calculated to get the average. The ambient temperature during thermal tests is between 19-21⁰C.

Test System:

Thermal Performance/Noise Overview:

Thermal Performance:

When stress testing with the case in its default configuration with all side panels installed using the mesh front, both CPU and GPU temperatures are right where we would expect from a good high airflow setup. Removing the tempered glass side panel didn’t have an adverse effect on either the CPU or GPU temperature. Swapping out the mesh front for the solid front increased system temperature by a couple of degrees C but nothing to worry about, however installing the solid top panel added a little more heat to the CPU.

Noise:

Noise levels were pretty consistent when swapping case configurations, the only noticeable drop in noise came when both the solid front and top panels were installed. In this scenario, you can trade off the noise for a slightly higher CPU temperature, so if you use the system in an environment where low noise is critical this would be the configuration to choose but if temperature is more important then run the case with full mesh configuration.

Closing Thoughts

Some might say that the be quiet! Dark Base Pro 901 is over-engineered, for your average gaming PC it probably is more than you need, but it is designed in a way that allows it to be adaptable, which means that it can be used for almost any PC setup scenario. The flexibility of the chassis allows for huge storage configurations with up to sixteen 2.5” drives supported and It's great for building an elaborate water-cooled rig with dual large radiators. Alternatively, the whole thing can be stripped out and a system built up outside the chassis for test benching hardware or the orientation completely flipped for inverted layouts.

The Dark Base Pro 901 also includes some pretty cool features like Qi Wireless charging and state of the art touch-sensitive controls for fan speed adjustment and ARGB lighting effects. The included VGA support bracket, that also doubles up as a shroud for concealing PCIe cables, works perfectly and the modularity of panels means that the case is easy to disassemble to improve access during system installation and switch between high airflow or low noise configurations.

Like every PC case, there are some minor compromises. The wireless charging pad takes up space at the top of the case which could have been used for larger top-mounted radiators – without the wireless charger at the top be quiet! could have made the case support top 420mm radiators, though there is still space at the front for 420mm radiator installation so it's not a great problem. An included panel to replace the wireless charger might have been a good alternative for users who would prefer to use the space for 420mm radiators up top, maybe be quiet! could provide that as an option.

An issue I found during the build with the side radiator bracket not aligning correctly with radiator screw mounting holes meant I had to modify the bracket slightly to allow a 360mm radiator to be installed. To me this looked like a design oversight as there are additional screw holes on the chassis frame to move the bracket up which meant the radiator aligned correctly, but the locating tabs didn’t line up at all so maybe the radiator bracket was not intended to be moved. This is something be quiet! needs to solve as it would make 360mm side radiator mounting more simple.

Other than that issue with the side rad alignment, building a system inside the Dark Base Pro 901 was a joy. With all the modular panels removed, there's so much space inside the chassis to work, the removable radiator brackets with integrated hubs are a good addition as it means you can install radiators/fans to the bracket, connect up the wiring to the integrated hubs, managed cables and then drop the whole thing in position very easily. If you find that you need to remove the fans/radiator later for maintenance then it's all contained on the bracket and very quick to disassemble to gain access.

The Dark base Pro 901 is a very large case, it’s a full tower design that supports EATX motherboards and 8 rear expansion slots should allow for XL-ATX boards to be installed too. If you are a fan of compact and small form factor PCs then you are probably not going to like it, but for anyone that needs lots of storage space or custom water cooling for a high-end system and likes the idea of the included gadgets such as the wireless charging and touch-sensitive fan controls then it’s a great option, I can’t think of any other case on the market like it.

Build quality of the case is also very impressive, as soon as you take the case out of the box you know it's something special. The solid front panel with brushed aluminium is quality, the case weighs over 16kg empty so you know it's not made from cheap thin steel. It feels very solid, removing and installing screwless panels all have a satisfying click into place. The sheer amount of additional accessories and panels that come with the case is more than I've seen included with any other case yet.

I guess the only real downside to all this is the price. The be quiet! Dark Base Pro 901 is very expensive in terms of PC cases, priced at £320. You will need to have a very big budget for your whole system if you want this case, otherwise you will have to make compromises in other areas of your build which could mean you might have to trade some system performance which isn’t good, but if you have the budget for it and want a big case with all these features then it's certainly one to put on your parts list for your next high-end build.

The be quiet! Dark Base Pro 901 is available to pre-order now from OcUK priced at £319.99 HERE.

Pros:

  • Huge amount of space to work with.
  • Qi Wireless fast charging built-in.
  • Removable fan/rad brackets with integrated fan hubs.
  • Touch-sensitive fan speed and ARGB controls.
  • A dual-purpose VGA bracket reduces GPU sag and conceals cables.
  • Support for custom cooling and multiple large radiator installation.
  • Highly modular design allows for inverted layouts and more.

Cons:

  • Large dimensions might not suit some users.
  • It's not cheap.
  • The side fan/radiator bracket can be problematic.

KitGuru says: It's expensive at £320 but there's no other case like it on the market in terms of the included features and potential for swapping configurations to suit your needs. If you have the money in your budget this is an astonishing feat of engineering from be quiet!

Become a Patron!

Rating: 9.0.

Check Also

iiyama GCB3480WQSU Review (180Hz Ultrawide)

iiyama's latest ultrawide monitor offers a 180Hz refresh rate for less than £350