It’s time to have a look now at BeQuiet!’s main top tier PC case generation. Just as the name implies, this Dark Base 900 V2 means that it is the latest upgraded/revisited design of the original 900 series. Since we already reviewed the 700 RGB and that one got our maximum rating because it truly rocks, let see how the 900v2 will compare, since it borrows some elements from the 700, but it is priced higher.
BeQuiet! is a premium brand manufacturer of power supplies and cooling solutions for your desktop PC. With numerous awards under their belt they are considered the best German power supply manufacturer from Germany since 2006 – proved by being awarded with, no less than nine times in a row, the “Manufacturer of the Year” in the power supply category by the readers of the well-known German hardware magazine PC Games Hardware. In the category “fans”, be quiet! earned the first rank five consecutive times and belongs to the Top 3 CPU cooler brands for more than three years in a row. The community of Hardwareluxx also voted be quiet! as “Manufacturer of the Year” in the PSU category for four consecutive years.
Prices and Availability
This is the most expensive case you can get from BeQuiet! but it promises the ultimate combo modular and silence experience. It comes in three different color options – Orange, Black and Grey. We have the Orange version. The colors affect only the outside strips and the internal rubber grommets.
Presentation and Specification
* Courtesy of their website
OUTSTANDING FLEXIBILITY AND SILENCE
The Be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 Orange rev. 2 is the perfect case for all who expect the highest standards when it comes to modularity, compatibility and design.
* Motherboard tray and HDD slots with enhanced possibilities for individual requirements
* Three Silent Wings 3 PWM fans
* Stepless dual-rail fan controller is switchable between Silence and Performance modes
* Ready for radiators up to 420mm
* PSU shroud and HDD slot covers provide a neat interior
* Side panel made of tempered glass
* Eye-catching RGB LED illumination
* Three years manufacturer’s warranty
* German product conception, design and quality control
Besides the build quality and features, why does this case matter? Well, because it does what very few or none can do today – to choose the internal layout, remove everything and do what ever you want to it, basically. We will explore each feature in the next chapters.
The specs, as you would expect, make up a big list.
You want a home server? Done. You can put up to 14x (!) 2.5″ SSDs in this thing! You still rocking that Lightscribe DVD writer? Shove two in there. Or you don’t like them, well the tray is removable. It already comes with 3x 140 mm Silent Wings 3 which are PWM and rated up to 1600 RPM.
Then you can easily add up to a dozen 140/120 mm depending how big the radiators are. Speaking of these, you can put up to 2x 420 mm at the same time. The possibilities and combinations are amazing. This is a case for those who like to experiment.
Changes V1 vs V2
Before we see the case, let’s do a recap to see what it is actually new.
1) PSU Shroud: This is a cue taken from the Dark base 700 RGB (we will mention this case a lot in this review). But it doesn’t have the same ease of access like the 700 because as you will see, you have to remove the shroud completely on the 900 to even install the PSU and it is quite a bit of a challenge to taken it of and to put it on. I think they choose this way in particular so you can have this shroud on the Rev 1 as well if you order the part separately.
2) Included fans: V1 had also 3x 140 MM Silent Wings 3 rated up to 1000 RPM, now they are rated for up to 1600 RPM.
3) Fan/LED controller: Same functionality as in V1, but now there are also “performance-silent” switches (again, like in the 700). Thus it supports up to 8x fans rather than 4. LEDs are 12v now and can be connected and synced with other standard four-pin strips, and can be controlled via a button on the front panel which formerly was the reset button.
4) Front USB: One of their USB 2.0 ports is now upgraded to the USB 3.1 standard. Then the other USB 2.0 port has been replaced with a USB quick-charge plug.
5) HDD bays: V1 had 9x available ports for 7x free-floating HDD bays, while the Rev 2 has 5x ports for 3x bays. The lower two ports and the upper two, since the case is reversible have been converted to fit a dual slot HDD cage instead so that the PSU shroud will fit. So now there are up to 3x single-slot HDD bays above the shroud and one dual slot HDD cage underneath the shroud.
Yeah, it is a big case! By now we can easily recognize anything from BeQuiet! by their dark themed box designs.
On the back we have some of the features of the case.
It is protect by two big polystyrene pads while the case has its own black cloth type cover.
Cat’s out of the bag and it is a big one. On this side we see a very nice feature – that panel in the center can be opened in stages like a car’s sunroof to let some air circulate or can be completely removed.
Underneath it, you can install 2x 120 mm fans and they have their own dust meshes. Then as you can see we have a lot of sound proofing material all over the side panel.
Now let’s explore the back area. On the left, we see the top and bottom dual slot HDD cage cutouts. In between them we have the 5x 3.5″ drive bay cutouts, each with a plastic cover. Moving to the center, we identify the height adjustable motherboard tray which is hold into place by 6x screws with the orange rubber grommets (plus another 3x on the other side). The motherboard itself has a big CPU cutout and 3x rubber wire management ports, also in orange. We also spot just one 2.5″ SDD/HDD drive bay slot. Just next lies the nervous center of the case – the control hub.
The control hub can host up to 8x PWM fans, the 2x included LED strips, an additional RGB header and the switches for silent or performance modes.
The pre-installed dual HDD cage is hold into place by 3x thumbscrews and has rubber pads for maximum noise and vibrations reduction from the hard drives. They are also in orange to preserve the case’s theme.
The case has a lot of wires for the front hub and are as follows:
1x USB 3.1 Type C Gen. 2 plug
1x HD audio (microphone + headphones)
1x USB 3.0 plug
2x SATA power connector
1x RGB connector
1x PWM connector
1x Power / reset / HDD lights cluster
The case sits on 4x big feet with thick anti slip pads. The feet are completely removable as well along side the lower plate.
Even the bottom panel has the same brushed finish as the rest of the case – again, attention to details is amazing, considering this is an area which you will mostly never see.
Now let’s focus our attention on the back side. We see a pretty standard arrangement, with 8x PCI-E slots, 140 or 120 mm fan location but the PSU area is where things get interesting. See those 2x removable meshes?
These are for when you lower the whole motherboard area thus the back has to come down as well. Pretty clever. Imagine, you can take the motherboard out and use it as a standard open benching system. Pretty cool in my book.
Then if you notice that the lower shroud has its own power ON/OFF button. Because this part is also removable as well and connects to the PSU by its own extension cord.
On top of the case, on the back, we have these exhaust ports.
Now on the front we have a very interesting new feature – that top plate handles wireless charging for your smartphones ! Since my phone doesn’t have this feature, I had nothing to test it with. We have to take their word that it works.
Then from left to right we have:
2x USB 3.0 ports
1x Microphone jack
1x Headphone jack
1x Power ON button
1x RGB control switch
1x HDD status display
1x USB 3.1 Type C Gen. 2 port
1x USB Quick Charging Option
Now let’s flip the case and have a look inside. The front is covered by a 4mm thick tempered glass with blacked out sides like the DB 700 and uses the same thumbscrews for locking the glass into place.
Basically, everything you see here is removable, from the PSU shroud, the motherboard, the HDD bay covers and the top 5.25″ bay.
The front already has two of 3x 140 mm Silent Wings 3 PWM fans. You can install a third 140 mm fan and thus a full 420 mm radiator.
The third pre-installed fan is on the back as an exhaust.
Such a same there is no option like the Dark Base 700 to install the GPU vertically.
Love how it shows what motherboard formats are accepted.
Now let’s take it apart piece by piece. To remove the top and front covers you need to push the plastic clips and this is a bit of a coordination trick, because you need to put pressure on the panel as you take out the clips, one at a time. Like we saw on the DB 700, we have sound deadening material on the top panel as well.
To mount any radiator here, you must lower the motherboard first. As you can see there is plenty of space here, enough to accommodate up to a 420 mm long radiator. I will show what I did here later in the installation chapter.
Yes, the front I/O panel is completely removable as well.
Before we remove the front panel, let me show you more tricks of this case. To open the front door, just press on it, it has two latches.
Remember about the reversible motherboard layout? Well when you do that the door will have to open differently as well. That’s exactly what you have to do to open correctly, reverse the hinges and voila! Then expect the full luxury specs as well like the front panel which is fully covered in sound deadening material or a front removable dust filter. Up top we notice the fans’ profile selection switch and two removable 5.25″ bay covers.
The bottom filter is removable from the front and it follows the whole length of the case. Just remember to remove it first because when you take out the front panel it will take with it the dust filter.
Let’s zoom in a little on the fans. This is what I mean by attention to details and quality – the fans even have a rubber strip on the outer frame to further remove any vibrations when installed.
Moving back inside, to remove the PSU shroud, which is a bit of small challenge. Well, because you have to remove four screws. The first two are easy since they are on the front but the outer two are on the back, one near the PSU and the other in this centered frame hook. The challenge comes more from when you remove the actual shroud and have to wiggle it a while to remove it since it is such a tight fit. This will become harder when you install components in the case and once the PC is done. I think they did this so you can have back order compatibility with the V1 as well.
Don’t lose this screw here. That’s what happen to me. Went down into the bottom panel – had to remove the whole feet area just to recover the little fellow.
The PSU shroud is not that a big of a deal but once you see how effortless it is with the DB 700, you will never go back to anything else. Nevertheless, the 900v2’s shroud has also the removable top panels and you can mount on it two 120 mm fans.
That’s it folks, here is the case disassembled.
One final thing before we start to build in it, let’s see the accessories. Well, this is what I call an accessory box! To the right we have BeQuiet! branded LED RGB light strips and an instruction manual.
The box is so big because it gives you all of these:
3x 3.5″ HDD cages
1x Dual cage cover
1x Custom water cooling bracket
1x Fan bracket for a 3rd front fan
1x SSD bracket
20x HDD screws
8x M3 SSD screws
14x M3x6 screws
3x Motherboard stand-offs
6x Velcro cable ties
2x LED RGB branded light strips
Then these are the RGB strips which can be attached via the 3M adhesive pads. They have their proprietary plug thus will fit in the case’s control hub in the back.
Finally, it’s build time !
Testing Methodology and Component Installation
* Cram as many regular components as we can and point out if any problems arise
* Overclock the CPU & GPU so we can test some of the case’s airflow.
* Test the wire management capabilities
* Measure the noise output from the case’s fans and overall noise with our Pyle PSPL01 noise meter placed at 30 cm from the fully built case.
* Ambient room temperature was at a recorded 19 degrees C.
– CPU: AMD 1900x Threadripper – 8c/16t – OC’d at 4.0 Ghz @ 1.250v
– CPU Cooling: Be Quiet! Silent Loop 360 AIO
– Motherboard: ASUS Zenith X399 Extreme E-ATX
– SSD: Samsung 840 Pro 128 GB MLC
– RAM: 32GB (4×8) Crucial DDR4 RGB Tactical Tracers 2666 Mhz
– Video card(s): EVGA GTX 960 SSC 2G – then OC’d at +150 MHz Core +50 MHz Memory
– PSU: Be Quiet! Straight Power 11 850W
– Windows 10 Pro x64 Version 1803
– NVIDIA GeForce WHQL 398.82
– MSI Afterburner v4.50 – To OC the video cards and monitor the GPU temperatures
– CPU-Z v1.71 – To verify the CPU’s and RAM’s statistics
– CoreTemp v1.12 – To see in real time temperatures of all the CPU’s cores and threads
– Assassin’s Creed Origins – One run of its built in benchmark suite – All settings at HIGH @FHD
To install the power supply, you need to remove the top grill and the bottom one so you can have access to the screws for the PSU.
Then install the PSU in the rail and screw it down. Reinstall the top and bottom mesh and plug in the extension cord in the PSU.
Plug in the desired cables for your PSU, if it is a modular unit.
Next step is to install the storage. We chose the back SSD mounting tray. Just 4 screws and done.
The ASUS Zenith X399 Extreme motherboard is an E-ATX format thus much wider than the standard ATX. That’s why it is almost covering the rubber wire management grommets to the right of it. But there is still plenty of room left without any interference. Later we will use the side ports from the plastic covers to arrange the wires.
Now for the radiator. If you want to mount any radiator up top, you must first lower the motherboard assembly – because it will hit the VRM’s heatsink for almost any motherboard. I didn’t do this not because I was lazy, but since I found an Easter egg, why not exploit it – the 360 AIO from BeQUiet! fits perfectly up top and clears everything.
Then the included screws are long enough to reach the radiator while the fans hold it into place. Nice ha?
Secure the AIO’s pump to the socket.
There is plenty of space to hide the AIO’s wires in any direction around the motherboard tray.
Wire management time. Well this is where the removable but gradual nature of the plastic covers for the additional storage bays come to save us. They have 3 stages which gives you plenty of headroom to plug the wires to the motherboard. For example the thick front USB 3.0 plug.
After 15-20 minutes of hustle, this is an idea what it would look like. The included Velcro strips help a lot because there are plenty of spots to secure them. There isn’t that much space here as in wideness (for instance when compared to the DB 700 case) but still I had no issues securing everything without hitting the side panel.
Up top, all good there as well. Everything clears around the radiator.
Here there is so much space left because it needs the headroom for when you lower the motherboard assembly as well. Even then you will have plenty of room.
Now for the LED RGB strips. I put one on the front pillar and the other up top near the radiator. Routed the wires up above in the same place as the front panel ones, near the radiator, so I can connect them into the control hub.
We are almost done. Install your video card(s) then the front and top case panels. The last piece is of course the tempered glass panel.
Let there be (RGB) light !
We can all agree, even if you are not a “bling bling RGB” fan, this is still one sexy case to build in.
The RGB strips can be controlled manually as well from the case or from the motherboard’s software if it supports to sync with them. Well, I discovered one fault with how they attach. The 3M pads apparently are not strong enough to hold the strips into place especially if placed on the top. This happened the next day.
It can be easily overcomed by just zip tie-ing it since up top there is plenty of attachment points. But given the caliber of the case, they should have offered a more elegant solution – to make them magnetic for example.
Testing, Results and Analysis
First the noise tests.
Then let’s see the temperatures for the CPU and GPU.
The case is really well built and is surrounded by a lot sound deadening material thus it come at no surprise that it is so quiet – well as very obvious as the brand’s trademark. The include fans are the same as the ones on the DB 700 but as mention, this case has more sound absorbent material. Temperature wise again we have very good results since the included fans are very capable and the case has a lot of exhaust and intake ports.
The 900v2 is overall an epic case. There is no doubt there. The attention to details, the build quality and the feature list they all scream top tier. It performs in the cooling and noise department as one of the best we have seen. Then with the subtle upgrade touches over the previous revision, we see an overall more modern product. Some of them are borrowed from the legendary all-arounder Dark Base 700 RGB case, where they took some inspiration but also left some of the best stuff out (like the vertical GPU option).
The BeQuiet! Dark Base 900v2 is a case that can offer you what very few can – the luxury of experimentation. I mean which other case do you know that has a height adjustable motherboard module and fully reversible layout? With just these two it nails its own niche. It’s not by all means perfect, it has its quirks, like it’s a little challenge to install the PSU and its shroud, the falling LED strips which should have been magnetic. But these can be overcomed with ease when you look at the whole picture.
+ Epic build quality
+ Reversible interior
+ Motherboard can be height adjusted
+ Clever and interesting features
+ Low noise output
+ Offers great airflow
+ Smartphone wireless charging and fast charging
+ Outstanding attention to detail
+ Multitude of options for storage and cooling
+ Complete modularity
+ Great design
+ Control hub
+ Integrated LED light bars
+ Tempered Glass
– The PSU shroud because it is mandatory to remove it to install the PSU and the operation is a little annoying, with a lot of screws to secure it, thus it is not as easy when compared the Dark Base 700.
– The LED light strips need to be magnetic since the 3M tape is not sufficient and they will fall in a matter of days
– No vertical option to mount a GPU like we saw on the Dark Base 700 RGB