be quiet! Silent Base 800 Case Review
It’s always nice when a new manufacturer comes to pcG, this time around it’s Power Supply, CPU Cooler and Case specialist be quiet! A company that not only prides itself on the quiet operation and high performance of its products, but is also proud of the fact that it’s a German based company. What we have here today is the first of two products from be quiet!, this is the be quiet! Silent base 800 (Orange).
The Silent Base 800 is a full tower case supporting ATX, Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX Motherboards. The case measures in at 495mm (W) x 266mm (H) x 559mm (D), weight is at around 9.3kg and the case is available in Black, Silver and Orange; we have the Orange version (and we know how much I like Orange!). There are also windowed versions of the case and the side window is also available separately (here). There’s support for x3 5.25″ drives, x7 3.5″ by way of two removable drive cages drives and x4 2.5″ drives. The case is supplied with three pre-installed fans, two in the front and one at the back. There’s support for CPU Coolers up to 170mm in height and Graphics Cards up to 290mm in length (with drive cage, 400mm without). The be quiet! Silent Base 800 is made from plastic and steel, features 7 expansion slots and has a control panel supporting x2 USB 3.0, x2 USB 2.0, HD audio ports (Headphone/Microphone), power and reset buttons. In addition to this the be quiet! Silent Base 800 comes with sound insulation and anti-vibration mounting elements that help to aide in quiet! operation.
The be quiet! Silent Base 800 arrived at pcG in a very large predominately black box, with a large image of the case on the front. From the image above left you can clearly see that we have the Orange version. The front of the box also highlights the following features:
Looking at the back of the box we find an About be quiet top left while to the right of this there’s further detail on the Concept, Cooling and Silence and Usability. Below this there’s a central section comprising of two images of the case highlighting eleven specific features of the Silent Base 800.
On opening the box we can see that the be quiet! Silent Base 800 case is well protected by two polystyrene bumpers and covered by a soft foam bag. Note also that all doors/flaps and accessories were taped in position to stop them moving around during shipping.
Within the case we find a small brown cardboard box, within there’s a User Manual, rubber drive rails (orange of course!), some cable ties, and various bags of screws. Now while these screws are identified within the manual, it would have been nice if the bags were labelled.
At the time of review, the be quiet! Silent Base 800 is retailing at Overclockers UK for approximately£99 and comes with a 3 year warranty.
courtesy of be quiet!
– Form factor: ATX
– Motherboard compatibility: ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
– Case size incl. stands (W x H x D), (mm): 495 x 266 x 559
– Case size excl. stands (W x H x D), (mm): 495 x 230 x 542
– Color options: Orange, Black, Silver :
– Weight (kg): 9.31
– USB 2.0: 2
– USB 3.0: 2
– HD Audio I/O: 1
– Expansion slots: 7
– Covers: ABS Plastic
– Side panel: 0,7mm Steel
– Front panel: ABS Plastic
– Stands: Nylon, Fiber
Drive bay capacity:- 5.25″ x 3, 3.5″ x 7, 2.5″ x 4
HDD cages total: 2
Removable HDD cage: 2
Relocatable HDD cage: 1
Optional fan installation:-
– Optional water cooling system (Radiator in mm): Front: 120/140, Rear: 120, Top: 120/140/240/280
– CPU cooler dimensions without fan in side panel (mm): up to 170
– Airflow channel: Top, Bottom
– Special cooling feature: Side panel with adjustable 3 in 1 air intake
– Maximum dimension incl. bottom fan (mm): 160
– Maximum dimension excl. bottom fan (mm): 290
– Standard (mm): 290
– Without middle HDD cage (mm): 400
– Dimensions, package: (L x W x H), (mm): 651 x 305 x 572
– Gross weight, package (kg): 11.06
First impressions of the be quiet! Silent Base 800 are along the lines of wow that’s a smart looking case. The Silent Base 800 looks purposeful, it’s not got angular, jutting out accent pieces anywhere, it’s not trying to look cool (yet is probably is!). It’s one of those simple yet elegant designs and the accent (Orange) inlays at the front just help to add that little bit of flair. Simply put, it’s a good looking case…
Both sides of the Silent Base 800 are effectively the same, they are made from steel and have very little of flex to them, what flex there is, is mainly due to the large size of the panel. Each panel features a centrally mounted vent (with be quiet! logo), this vent can be either; closed to keep noise levels down, open to allow for a little more air flow, or removed to allow a 120mm fan to be fitted! Each panel is secured to the case by way of x2 (really nice feeling) thumb screws.
Looking at the front of the case we can appreciate more that simple yet elegant design that I was talking about. On the side we have two Orange inlays (Silver and Black also available) that seem to be the only intake area for the two installed 140mm fans. These two fans sit behind the lower section; the upper section allows access to the four 5.25″ drive bays. Please note that only the lower three are usable, as the top one is effectively a blank. At the bottom of the case these’s a simple be quiet! logo in silver. Obviously both of these panels open up, but more on that further down…
Looking at the back of the case we are greeted with the standard layout that we have come to expect with ATX Cases. At the very top of the case we can see some ventilation allowing for warm air to escape out of the back of the case, below this and left we have the main I/O shield cut-out. To the right of this we find one of be quiet’s 120mm Pure Wings 2 fans, below which we find three grommets for external water cooling support. Then moving on down and working left to right we find seven expansion slots and another vented area aiding better airflow. Below this we find the main Power Supply cut-out, and its associated fan filter. At the very bottom we have another set of vents allowing the PSU to pull in cool air from the bottom of the case.
The main control panel sits atop the case and comprises of an illuminating (more on this in a minute) power button, combined drive activity LED and Reset button, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports and audio ports (Headphone/Microphone). The positioning of all of this seems a little odd (although it doesn’t bother me!) as if you have a windowed version of this case, where the window is on the left, the controls are now found on the right, furthest away from you!? Also I’m not to sure what colour the illumination of the power/reset buttons was supposed to be, but it seems to be a dirty yellow colour to me! Maybe it should have been orange…
As you can see the top of the case features the main control panel outlined above, and at the back we find some more vents again allowing air to naturally escape from this area of the case, where warm air can often pool. I very much like the angles of the case as it adds some interest to what would otherwise have been a basic box design. The top panel itself is made from plastic and can be removed (must remove front panel first), but more on this later…
As you can see from the image above left the front of the case comprises of two panels, the top panel opens up and is held by way of magnets, and the lower panel hinges down and is held in place by clips. Opening the top panel allows access to the four (three usable) 5.25″ drive bays. The door covering the top section can also be removed and hinged from the other side if so desired. Opening the lower panel allows access to the fan filter found in front of the two intake fans. The dust filter can be unclipped at the top (it’s a little tight) and removed for cleaning. The two fans at the front are 140mm be quiet! Pure Wings 2 fans and have a maximum rotational speed of 1000rpm. The front panel itself can also be completely removed as it’s simply held on the inside of the case by plastic clips.
Removing the left side panel by way of those two lovely feeling thumb screws, we find a sizeable interior space and also some orange grommets! The layout inside the be quiet! Silent Base 800 case is very much standard, there’s really nothing new here, but on the other hand there also seems to be nothing missing! There’s a large CPU cut-out, a be quiet 120mm exhaust fan, seven expansion slots, a PSU bay, two removable drive cages and three tool-less 5.25″ drive bays, oh and those orange grommets! We can also now see that all of the cables are black, which is always nice to see. And, if you look at the back of the case (at the inside of the other panel) you can see the extensive use of sound-deadening material.
Removing the right side panel allows us to see how much cabling room we have, from a pure depth perspective I would say there’s approximately 20mm. The most important aspect of this side of the case are the two SSD mounts found below the CPU cut-out. The cut-out above the PSU area seems a little odd as this will be covered as soon as the PSU is in place. Also there’s not many cable tie points, I can only see two…
Taking a tour around the be quiet! Silent Base 800 and looking at the bottom of the case we can see a generous sized PSU bay, with rubber mounts helping to keep noise/vibration to a minimum. In addition to this, at the rear we find a large pull-out PSU dust filter, that simply clips into place. Turning our attention to the top of the case we can see that there’s no fitted roof fans in the 800 but there’s room up here for a radiator up to 280mm in length. Although I will say here and now, I don’t feel that this is a case for custom water cooling…
Looking more closely at the fans pre-installed in the be quiet! Silent Base 800, we’ll first take a look at the two front intake fans. These two 140mm fans are be quiet’s own Pure Wings 2 fans and have a maximum rotational speed of 1000rpm. Each fans produces 18.8 dBA of noise with a CFM of 61.2 at 12v. Looking at the rear fan we find another be quiet! Pure Wings 2 fan this time though it’s only 120mm. This fan has a maximum rotational speed of 1500rpm, while producing 19.2 dBA of noise and 51.4 CFM of airflow, again at 12v. I noticed that there’s a pre-installed fan speed reducer plugged into this rear fan that (from what I can see) reduces the fan speed down to approximately 1150rpm. A total of seven fans can be installed into the Silent Base 800, two in the top, two in the front, one at the back, one in the floor and one in the side.
At the back of the case be quiet! have supplied two SSD mounts, these simply unscrew by way of a single thumb screw and hinge out, the drive can be attached (4 screws) and the mount then simply can be slotted and screwed back into position.
Overall at this point I’m pretty impressed with what I’ve seen, there’s no denying that this is a well thought out case and it’s extremely well made. The only worry at this point other than the attention to Silence, there’s not much to separate this case from many others in the same price bracket!
|Case||be quiet! Silent Base 800||Power Supply||be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11|
|Motherboard||ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 GAMING K6||CPU||Intel Core i5-6600K|
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U12S||RAM||G Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB|
|Graphics Card||XFX AMD Radeon R9 290X DD Black Edition||SSD||HyperX FURY 120GB|
For the installation of our 3.5″ SHDD (Seagate 2TB) it was necessary to attach a couple of those lovely orange rails, this was done by using four of the thumb screws provided. For the 2.5″ HyperX Fury SSD, I decided to mount it to the back of the case (thus keeping it out of the way and hidden) courtesy of one of the SSD mounts provided. The SSD simply attaches by way of four screws (also provided).
As I wanted to get as much airflow from those two front mounted intake fans as possible (to aide GPU cooling), I opted to remove the larger of the drive cages and reposition the smaller one. Both of the drive cages can simply be removed by undoing seven thumb screws (although I needed a screwdriver!). Please note that you can also remove both drive cages and install one of them in the area reserved for the 5.25″ drives, wow I’ve not seen that before! 🙂
Next up was the installation of the Power Supply, and luckily (and thanks to be quiet!) we just happen to have a be quiet! Dark Power Pro 850W Power Supply (review coming soon) to hand. 🙂 As you can see this particular PSU (measuring in at 150mm (W) x 193mm (L) x 86mm (D)) fitted without issue, but due to the rubber anti-vibration mounts on both the PSU and on the back of the case itself it is necessary to use special screws. Luckily (yes James!) these are supplied with the Power Supply.
Installation of our new Skylake based Test Rig motherboard assembly (MB, CPU, CPU Cooler & RAM) was simple enough, with just an additional stand-off required for our ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 GAMING K6. One thing to note though is the central pillar (instead of a stand-off) in the middle of the motherboard tray, now while this may aide in motherboard alignment it doesn’t really help with installation, especially when the I/O shield has protruding metal flanges on it! Cabling up was a pretty simple affair, but I did feel that most of the grommets were not in the usual (if there is a usual!?) position, with the lower two feeling particularly low. There wasn’t much room in the top corner to get the CPU 8-pin power cable plugged in either, and I struggled with this more than normal. There’s also no holes along the bottom edge of the motherboard, so any cables requiring connection to this edge of the board will have to come in from the side (see below left). To be fair these are niggles, as the installation in general went well, with the high points being the SSD brackets and the removable drive cages. But it’s also worth noting that those rubber drive rails, do hold the drive in position well enough, but make no mistake it’s not Locked in position in any way!
As you can see from the back of the case, the cable management options are a little basic, this meant I got a little lazy and just left the cables naturally where the fell, to some degree. There’s also not much cable management in the way of cable tie points, but I’m sure with more time and creative thinking you can make a better job than I did! 😉 Note the inclusion of the fan speed reducer that’s attached to the rear fan cable. This is installed by default by be quiet!, so the case was tested in this configuration. Removing this may improve thermals slightly…
Looking across the inside of the case the build looks pretty tidy, with plenty of room for long Graphics Cards, like our 295mm long XFX R9 290X DD Black Edition. Overall the end result is a good one, a few tweaks here and there could improve things further though.
The last part of the installation was to add (the optional!) feet, these plastic rails with rubber feet simply clip into the base of the case. This not only raises the case off of the surface by approximately 18mm, but also gives the case additional stability. In addition to this (IMHO) it also improves the Silent Base 800’s aesthetics. Maybe these could have been colour coded also, but then I like orange… 😉
The end result is a good looking case, that offers an relatively clean and simple install and there’s plenty of room in here for a high end Gaming rig, with multiple Graphics Cards. But what this case is all about is offering great cooling while keeping noise levels to a minimum. So let’s fire it up, play some Games and do a little testing…
At pcGameware we use Prime95 and ASRock’s F-Stream utility to evaluate CPU temperatures and voltage, and we use MSI Afterburner to evaluate the GPU temperatures. Of course Prime95 being a CPU stress test also helps to generate heat for us to check the case thermals. We also use UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0 for GPU temperature testing.
CPU performance testing is carried out using Prime95 (Small FFT) to stress the CPU. Each run is timed for 15 mins and the maximum temperature is recorded for all cores and then the average core heat is taken. Testing was carried out with an overclocked Intel Core i5-6600K at 4.4GHz courtesy of the ASRock UEFI.
GPU performance testing is carried out by running UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0 for 15 minutes and then by recording the maximum GPU temperature.
* All case fans (x3 in the case of the be quiet! Silent Base 800) and the CPU Cooler (Noctua NH-U12S) are run at 100% throughout testing. To ascertain case noise levels, the GPU fans are set to their lowest setting and the CPU Cooler fan is unplugged, whilst the dBA is recorded from 1m away.
|Case||Ambient Temperature||Max CPU Temperature (core average)||Delta Temperature|
|Cooler Master HAF XB||21.00||58.00||37.00|
|be quiet! Silent Base 800||22.00||62.00||40.00|
Apologies first for these grids being a little sparse, but we have just cut over to a new Gaming Test Rig. As we have changed the motherboard, CPU, CPU Cooler and RAM all of the old thermal results are simply no longer comparable. Please bear with us as we expand our range of tested hardware…
What I can tell you though is the at the CPU performance of the be quiet! Silent Base 800 is pretty good, although it’s not quite as good as our Test Rig’s HAF XB case. But what’s easy to ascertain is that the Silent Base 800 along with the Noctua NH-U12S has no problems keeping our overclocked (4.4GHz @ 1.312v) Skylake CPU at 62 degrees or below and that’s while running Prime 95! Now that’s plenty good enough for most of us (I think!) and plenty good enough for modern day Gaming at any resolution. Also, by default there’s a fan speed reducer attached to the rear exhaust fan, if this were to be removed thermals could be improved further. At the expensive of noise though…
|Case||Ambient Temperature||Max GPU Temperature||Delta Temperature|
|Cooler Master HAF XB||22.00||82.00||60.00|
|be quiet! Silent Base 800||22.00||84.00||62.00|
Keeping our toasty XFX R9 290X DD Black Edition Graphics Card cool is no easy task, and we often see this card thermally throttling at around 94 degrees Celsius! But not here, the be quiet! Silent Base 800 manages to keep the card in check with a maximum recorded temperature of 84 degrees. Cooling may have been better if both drive cages were removed from the front of the case, but the metal work behind the fans is already quite restrictive which may be a factor.
If there was any aspect of the be quiet! Silent Base 800 (there’s a clue there in the name!) that should shine it’s surely in the area of acoustics, or lack thereof! 😉 With all of the case fans at 100%, with CPU fan disabled and GPU at Idle, our test equipment struggled to read anything above 38 dBA, which is impressive to say the least. But what’s even more impressive is that with the three case fans at their silent setting (via the ASRock UEFI) the noise was non existent (around 30dBA), yes that’s right what most people would call Silence! There’s no doubt that be quiet! have put a lot of work into trying to keep this case quiet; de-coupled fans by way of rubber grommets, PSU rubber mounts on both the base and on the back and of course all of that sound deadening material. Well it looks (or is that hears) like it’s paid off!
There’s a word that comes to mind when I think about the be quiet Silent Base 800 and that’s ‘All-Rounder’, because although the Silent Base 800 may not break any new ground, everything that is does do, it does well!
The be quiet! Silent Base 800 arrived at pcG in a large black box (always nice not to see just a plain brown cardboard box) with a large image of the case on the front. The contents therein were also well packaged and protected. Once out of the box the sheer size of the case becomes apparent, measuring in at 495mm (W) x 266mm (H) x 559mm (D) the Silent Base 800 is one big case. It’s pretty cool looking thanks mainly to those orange (silver and black also available) intake sections at the front of the case. Also the angular feet, that seem to be optional also add to the case’s aesthetics, making it look a little more purposeful. Overall I very much like the design as it has an air of simple elegance about it!
Inside the be quiet! it’s a pretty standard affair, everything you see here has been seen before within reason. PSU cut-out, removable drive cages, tool-less drive bays, anti-vibration PSU mount, support for 280mm radiator etc. What’s is new, are those orange rubber grommets, all of that sound deadening material and the fact that you can move one of the drive cages into the upper 5.25″ drive bay, now that is novel! And useful to be fair as it helps to promote maximum airflow through the front of the case. Everything that is here is good and everything is also of a high quality, my only concern is that there’s not too much to separate this from other cases in the same price bracket!
Installation of our new Skylake Test Rig into the be quiet! Silent Base 800 case was pretty straightforward, helped mainly by a relatively spacious interior. I did feel that some of the grommets were not as well placed as I would normally find them, the lack of any holes on the bottom edge of the motherboard is also disappointing. I’m also not a fan of that post in the middle of the motherboard tray, as it can (if your I/O shield has metal flanges, you know those sticky out bits!) make installation of the motherboard more difficult. I did very much like the SSD mounts at the back of the case though and the removable (and re-positionable) hard drive cages and their associated orange rubber rails.
Performance wise the Silent Base 800 performed well, with the maximum recorded Core temperature from our overclocked Intel Core i5-6600K at 4.4GHz being just 62 degrees Celsius at an ambient of 22. Graphics Card cooling was also pretty good as the maximum recorded temperature of our toasty R9 290X was only 84 degrees at the same ambient temperature. Of course the best part of this is the fact that this cooling also came with very little noise, with all case fans at 100% the maximum noise level recorded was just 37dBA. Winding back the fan speeds via the ASRock UEFI saw this noise level drop to 30dBA, which to all intents and purposes is Silent!
There’s no doubt that the be quiet! Silent Base 800 is a good case, it offers pretty much everything that most enthusiasts would want. It’s well made, it looks good (especially if you like orange, and come on who doesn’t!?), it’s pretty cool and undeniably quiet and it can easily swallow an epic Gaming Rig. My worry is, at this price (around £100) I’m not sure this is enough to make this case truly desirable…
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Many thanks to be quiet! for providing this sample for review