be quiet! Silent Base 600 Reviewred454 -
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be quiet! Silent Base 600 Introduction:
be quiet! is no stranger to innovation. Just look at the company's line of CPU coolers, fans, and power supplies. If you are not familiar with be quiet!, it is a German company that has won the Manufacturer of the Year award nine times in a row from the German hardware magazine PC Gamers Hardware. Recently be quiet! has been branching out into new product territory. In fact, be quiet! now offers two lines of cases, the Dark Base and the Silent Base series, and be quiet! has even entered the world of AIO (All-in-One) liquid cooling with the Silent Loop water cooling system. I would expect to see even more new products as be quiet! continues to grow.
My experience with be quiet! has been in the air cooler department. I have reviewed several be quiet! coolers over the years and the engineering behind the coolers is evident in the performance and quality. But today we are lucky enough to take a look at one of the company's cases, the Silent Base 600. Cases are something new for be quiet!. Any time a company offers a new product outside of its standard range of expertise, there is a risk of a product release that becomes an uneventful blend into the background of other similar products on the market. There can be a lot of rough edges that take time to smooth out. So it will be interesting to see how be quiet! approaches case designs. If it is anything like its coolers, I don't think we will be disappointed.
be quiet! Silent Base 600 Closer Look:
According to the be quiet! web site, the Silent Base 600 is available with several trim options, such as silver, black, and orange, and with or without a clear side window. However, I do see that red and green are also available on Newegg and Amazon. Our review case has the orange trim and a clear side window. The Silent Base 600 is capable of handling a mini-ITX, micro-ATX, or a full-sized ATX motherboard. Right out of the box, one of the first things that I notice is the quality of the fit and finish. All the lines and panel joints are even and flush. Everything feels solid; I can find no flaws or imperfections, and the color and consistency of the finish shows no variations. Along the sides of the front fascia are two vented sections trimmed in orange. These sections provide the cool air intake for the front of the case. Behind the top door are three optical drive bays and a small case fan speed switch that can contol up to three case fans. The two included case fans come connected to this switch, which leaves one extra plug for another case fan. The top door hinge can be reversed so that the door can open from the left or right. Below the door is a fixed panel with the be quiet! logo. Behind the fixed panel is a 140mm Pure Wings 2 intake fan and a removable filter panel that slides out for easy cleaning.
That windowed side panel? It is not your typical side window. It is actually two layers of clear plastic - like the double-pane glass windows you find in residential homes. That helps to keep the sound from inside the case to a minimum. The side window is held in place with an orange rubber gasket, further reducing sound and vibrations from being transferred outside the case. The other side panel has an adjustable vent cover with mounting holes (and a mesh filter insert) for a 120mm side fan (not included). The top of the case has some small opeinings for air flow if you use top fans or a top-mounted radiator. So far, so good, so now let's take a look inside.
Looking into the case, there is space for three hard drives in the hard drive cage at the bottom right. This cage also has a place on top to mount a solid state drive (SSD). The cage can also be removed for long video cards. With the cage installed, the video card length is 294mm, and with the cage removed, the maximum length increases to 413mm. At the top right are the three optical drive bays with tool-free mounting. The bottom of the case has four large rectangular feet with rubber inserts. Also at the bottom, there is a nice removable filter panel that keeps dust out of the power supply. The floor of the case is vented and has room for an additional 120mm or 140mm bottom exhaust fan and the bottom filter panel covers the additional (optional) fan space too. As I mentioned above, there is also a filter panel for the front of the case. Both of these filter panels (bottom and front) are easy to remove for cleaning.
The case certainly looks different when you strip down all the side, top, and front panels. You can see what is essentially the skeleton frame. The large orange grommets allow for easy cable routing and on the right you can see the two SSD mounts below the motherboard rear access cutout. So you can mount a total of three standard hard drives and three solid state drives.
From the front, you can see the 140mm Pure Wings 2 and in the back of the case is the slightly smaller 120mm rear Pure Wings 2 fan. With the top cover removed, it is easier to see the mounting provisions for top cooling fans or radiator. You can mount up to a 240mm radiator in the top, a 120mm radiator in the rear, and a 120mm or 140mm radiator in the front.
Here is a little better view of the lower hard drive cage. The included front fan directs fresh air towards any hard drive you mount in the cage. The cage has a neat little locking bar that secures the hard drives to the cage, and the entire cage can be relocated directly above to the optical drive bay area if you are not using that space for any optical drives.
During the build, I like to test fit the various components to make sure everything installs properly. Always double check the motherboard standoffs to make sure they are configured properly for your particular motherboard. Some cases come with the standoffs installed and others don't. The Silent Base 600 uses a little different approach to the standoffs - instead of the typical brass hex-style standoffs that screw into the appropriate holes in the motherboard tray, this case has integrated standoffs (threaded protrusions) built into the tray. That certainly saves a little time. On the left is the motherboard in position, ready for the power cables to be connected followed by the installation of the CPU cooler and graphics card. And on the right, everything is installed and ready to to go. The hard drive cage at the bottom right holds up to three hard drives and one SSD on top. In this picture, I put the SSD on top of the cage and I have some of the excess cables from the power supply stuffed in the hard drive cage temporarily as I get the system powered up for the first time.
The Silent Base 600 is a very nice case and the large side window allows you to show off your internal hardware. As I have already mentioned, the fit and finish of the Silent Base 600 are top-notch. This is not really a surprise for me as I have seen the quality and attention to detail in the be quiet! coolers that I have reviewed.
If you would like to take a look at the case in more detail, click below for a video review of the Silent Base 600 case, then check out the Specifications, Features & Testing page to see more details about the case, as well as the thermal testing results.