The Bottom LineThe Pure Base 500 FX is the creme of the crop in this series. Sleek, clean, easy to use, and all with lighting control, an ARGB/PWM fan hub, and four of the Light Wings fans will keep many builder happy without a hefty investment.
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
The last of the products we got from the be quiet! anniversary gears takes us back to the land of cases. Advancing a design already selling well is a sure way to know you are on the right path before you even start, and this is the approach be quiet! has taken. Pure Base cases are typically entry-level chassis designs with an eye on ease of use and fitment while ensuring a lower cost. While great for the masses and enthusiasts, previous offerings may not have what you were waiting for. In that instance, we feel that even though the cost has increased in this latest submission, we can say there is quite a bit of bang for the buck involved, and it is well worth the time to continue.
Stemming from the solid-faced Pure Base 500 and then taking ques from the Pure Base 500 DX as well, what we have today takes all of that to the land of vibrant ARGB, down the front, outside, backed with a trio of 120mm ARGB fans, with yet another 140mm fan at the back, delivering even more of that ARGB appeal. In this latest iteration, there is another surprise to go along with those ARGB fans in this be quiet! revolution to the Pure Base 500 lineup.
As you may expect from the previous pair of reviews, this is yet another product added to the FX series. That said, the rest of the name is easy to sort out. The chassis in hand today is the Pure Base 500 FX and is one of the most feature-rich mid-tower cases we have seen in a while, without a hefty price to pay. If we haven't piqued your interest thus far, you may as well look elsewhere for your next case, but for those who know what the Pure Base 500 brings, the additions added to this Pure Base 500 FX are well worth the small bump in cost to go full ARGB inside of your system.
This new Pure Base 500 FX is available in black at this time, but we do hope that a white version becomes available with time. As the others are, this Pure Base 500 FX is made mostly of steel, with ABS used for the feet, filter frames, bezel frame, a wire cover plate, and the left side is covered in a 4mm thick layer of tempered glass. The chassis is 450mm front to back, 232mm side to side, and 463mm tall, allowing it to house Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, and ATX motherboards. When fresh out of the box, all parts included, the Pure Base 500 FX also takes on a bit more weight than previous versions and is now on the scales at eight kilograms, or a little less than eighteen pounds.
The front I/O panel offers USB 3.2 Gen. 2 Type-C and USB 3.2 Gen. 1 ports for connectivity to other devices. We also get a power button and an ARGB switch, along with a pair of 3.5mm HD Audio jacks for headset connectivity.
Where expansion is concerned, the 500 FX offers up seven expansion slots at the back of the case. At the bottom of the chassis, near the front, there is a cage that houses a pair of 3.5" drives and offers rubber isolation mounting to keep rattles at bay. Earlier versions of the 500 offered four dedicated 2.5" locations. Still, ours is limited to three, but for a good reason.
With six total fan locations, the Pure Base 500 FX is designed to allow quite a bit of airflow through the guts, and to aid in that job, be quiet! installs a trio of Light Wings 120mm ARGB PWM fans into the front. To go along with that theme, the rear of the chassis is also fitted with a fan, but this one is a 140mm Light Wings ARGB PWM fan. These Light Wings fans are also much faster than what is shipped in the previous versions, which should do a fine job at keeping our gear cool. To cover all of the cooling options, we continue. The front of the chassis can house three 120mm fans, which it has, or you can swap them out for a pair of 140mm fans, and of course, radiator fitment goes along with fan fitment in the front.
The top of the chassis allows for a couple of either 120mm or 140mm fans and is offset from the motherboard, allowing for easier radiator fitment. The back of the chassis is the last place to hang a fan, and if you should want to remove the pre-installed 140mm fan, you can opt for a 120mm fan there.
Along with the addition of fans, be quiet! also installs a fan hub. Not only will this help users keep all of the chassis lighting on the same page, but it is also connected to the front I/O button, allowing users to cycle through pre-defined options or to deliver the full assortment of ARGB across the board. The hub provides six 4-pin PWM power ports, and to go along with them, are another six 5V ARGB 3-pin headers. The ARGB/PWM hub is attached to the back of the motherboard tray, is one of the 2.5" drive trays, and is why the available count is now three with the Pure Base 500 FX.
A few other things worth noting. CPU coolers cannot be taller than 190mm, which covers several CPU cooling options. The longest the GPU can be is 396mm, and the PSU can be 225mm to fit without any changes but can be as long as 258mm with some parts swapping. We also see that this Pure Base 500 FX keeps the same warranty, where you are covered from defects for three years.
Doing our due diligence, since we did not see the Pure Base 500 DX personally, we read up on it to see where this stems from and saw that the cost of it right now is $109.90. Not bad in our mind, but that isn't the chassis or the price we need to deal with. Regarding the Pure Base 500 FX that we have now, we are pleased to say that with the ARGB fans included, and the ARGB PWM hub added, the cost is now just $149.90. As we saw with the other two products, be quiet! is again passing on some anniversary savings for their twentieth. Throughout August and September, you can find discounts of up to $30 off this chassis.
Think about that for a second. You can get the already cool-looking 500 DX, but now with four ARGB PWM fans and a fan hub, only costing you $10 over the Pure Base 500 DX. For those willing to make a move quickly, there are serious deals to be had, and so far, on paper, we do not see how the Pure Base 500 FX could not be on the shortlist of future cases.
Keeping more of the money in the chassis than the box, be quiet! keeps to the plainer-looking cardboard box with screen printing applied. At a glance, it is easy to mistake this for other Pure Base 500 models, as the chassis image is the same. However, with the Pure Base 500 FX largely printed across the bottom, it should thwart any confusion.
The side of the box offers the name of the chassis above the handle. The code just below the handle will take you to the Pure Base 500 FX product page, where we found the information for our specifications chart. It even says that under the code. Lastly, at the bottom is the be quiet! site address.
The back begins with a brief statement as to what be quiet! is about, followed by information on the chassis, like how it is airflow optimized, includes Light Wings fans, and a few others. Below the text is an exploded diagram of the chassis and its components, with items numbered one through thirteen described to the right of the diagram.
Our last view of the box lands us a look at a thorough but condensed list of specifications to look over before purchasing. We also find a black sticker next to the color version indicator, and this BGW43 Pure Base 500 FX offers the model and serial numbers on the sticker at the bottom.
Inside the box, the Pure Base 500 FX is supported with thicker Styrofoam caps at the top and the bottom of the chassis. An added layer of open-cell foam is wrapped around the fact to protect the bezel, and the entire chassis is wrapped in a plastic bag, as well as the exterior of the tempered glass window. All of it worked in concert, allowing this Pure Base 500 FX to be in perfect condition for us to look at and test.
be quiet! Pure Base 500 FX Mid-Tower Smart Chassis
be quiet! Pure Base 500 DX Mid-Tower Smart Chassis
The front of the Pure Base 500 FX may look identical to the Pure Base 500 DX, and that is because they are. Using textured black ABS plastic to surround the bezel and run vertically down the center as a secure frame for the mesh, be quiet!, put their name at the top, and run ARGB diffusers down either side of the center bar.
While it requires a fair bit of force to remove, the bezel pops off, leaving the front I/O in place. Inside the cover, we can see the white portion containing the ARGB LEDs powered via a touchpad, which connects to the three copper squares on the right side of the chassis frame. The front of the chassis offers a dust filter behind the mesh, with tabs on the left and magnets on the right to keep it attached.
At the top of the bezel, the be quiet! name is added with brushed metal letters, with the front I/O in the angled section above it. Connectivity at the left is down to the USB 3.1 Type-C and the USB 3.0 ports. The backlit power button glows white when powered, whereas the button to the right of the two 3.5mm jacks allows the user to pick a color, a mode, or full rainbow ARGB.
The top of the chassis is made of steel, and with an offset from the front, we see a magnetically attached cover over the bulk of this panel.
Removing the filter gives us a view of the triangular-shaped holes used to ventilate the top of the Pure Base 500 FX. We also see room for a pair of 120mm fans to be mounted close to the glass side panel, or a pair of 140mm fans can also be fitted.
The left side of the chassis is of a thin steel portion at the top, the slim bezel at the front, and the chunky feet poking out from below the 4mm thick tempered glass. The panel is held in place with rubber grommets and thumbscrews, and we like the lack of tint and the fact that the black painted edges cleanly block the frame from view.
Out back, we find the opening for the motherboard I/O panel and the exhaust fan location, which is fitted with a fan. In the middle, we see seven ventilated expansion slot covers, which are accessed externally by loosening the pair of screws to the right, allowing the cover to slide out of the way. At the bottom is where the PSUY is installed, and due to the removable mounting plate, we have to assume the PSU enters the chassis from the back.
Unless you are highly interested in a view of textured black paint on a steel panel, the right side of the chassis does not offer much other than a flat cover. The screws holding this panel are captured by the door and will not get lost when this needs to be opened for access.
Under the chassis, we find that the chunky ABS feet offer large rubber pads for grip. Between the feet is more of the triangular mesh to allow the bottom of the chassis to pull in cooler air and is covered with a dust filter that runs the entire length. The filter is removed from the front, which is much easier to get to in many instances versus those removed at the back.
Inside the Pure Base 500 FX
Inside the Pure Base 500 FX front, we find that a trio of 120mm fans have been mounted to the steel rails from inside the case. Due to the FX bit of the name, these are Light Wings BQ LIW-12025-MR-PWM fans and are already connected to the hub, which is very nice.
The main portion of the motherboard tray, to the left, allows users to install Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, or an ATX motherboard, all while offering a large access hole for the backplate. Twenty wiring tie points are offered, and the standoffs are pre-installed for ATX builds but is also clearly labeled for other form factors. The right portion is for a pair of 2.5" drives to be installed, one above and one below the plastic plate with the be quiet! name. The plate covers the wiring, leaving just the SSD or HDD stickers in view.
The PSU cover is steel and offers the same triangular venting, holes near the motherboard tray to pass wires, and a gap at the front for radiators. Depending on the thickness of the radiator, you can opt to slide the HDD cage back and fit a slim one, but if you want a thicker version, you may need to remove the cage entirely.
At the back of the case is the last of the pre-installed Light Wings fans, but this time it is a 140mm version of what we found at the front. Again, this is pre-wired to the hub, and wires got tucked out of the way. With how close the plate to the left of the expansion slots is, access for their removal from the inside is impossible.
Behind the scenes, we find that be quiet! offers a bit of cable management for the average user to build from, held in place with four Velcro straps. We can see the SSD tray is removable after removing a screw at the left of it, and with the hub's inclusion, it currently offers only one 2.5" drive location.
This is the heart of the lighting with the Pure Base 500 FX. From this PCB, you can run leads to the ARGB header on the motherboard and the PWM signal cable to the CPU FAN header, and you are in action. We see that be quiet! has used four PWM fan hub locations and connected the 3-pin 5V ARGB leads. All told, you can have six connected, and if you were wondering, it is SATA powered, not Molex.
The HDD cage for 3.5" drives is accessed from behind the tray. Two screws at the top lock it but can be slid out to put the drives in using the rubber grommets and the provided screws. The cage can also be slid to the right should you run into any conflicts with cooling in the front.
The PSU resides at the back of the chassis, under everything else. We mentioned that the PSU is loaded into the case from the back after removing the plate. Once inside, the PSU will rest on rubber pads to isolate the PSU fan from the chassis. The PSU orientation is up to the end-user with venting above and below.
The chassis wires are all black and are what we are showing. The SATA power 5V ARGB cable and the 4-pin PWM lead are all for the ARGB/PWM fan hub, enabling it to function properly. We then have the native USB 3.0 connection from the front I/O and the USB 3.1 connector for the Type-C port. That leaves us with the power switch - power LED wires for the button and the HD Audio cable for a 3.5mm connection to the front of the case.
Accessories and Documentation
Installation and Finished Product
The manual is what is left to find in the box. After an introduction that covers the warranty terms and legal information for the first seven pages, we get to the chassis. Once on page eight, we see the chassis above the specifications, flanked on page nine with a parts list and exploded view of the Pure Base 500 FX. Fan and radiator compatibility comes next before we access the inside and a step-by-step guide to installing the various components. Everything you could need to know is here.
As for the rest of the goodies, well, there is this. There are six tie straps to help keep the wires tidy inside, although the bulk of cables can be contained with the provided Velcro straps. If you find that one of your standoffs is loose, or you want to install something other than an ATX motherboard, be quiet! provides a standoff socket to ease any struggle that may pop up there without one.
Behind door number two is quite a bit to digest. On the left is the optional three 120mm fan location, and if the cover panel is removed, water cooling is compatible here as well, just not if the front is also populated with water cooling. To the right of that, we see the bulk of the chassis wires stuffed into the wire management trail, held down with Velcro straps. There is a second nest of cables too, but those come from the fans and hub.
Test System, Installation, and Finished Product
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG DARK HERO (AMD X570) - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3700X - Buy from Amazon
- Memory: Team T-Force XTREEM ARGB 3600MHz 2X8GB
- Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 FE - Buy from Amazon
- Storage: SanDisk Extreme II 120GB SSD
- Case: Hydra Bench Standard
- Power Supply: ASUS ROG Thor 850W - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
- Software: AMD Ryzen Master, AIDA64 Engineer 6.32.5600, and CPU-z 1.94.0 x64
You do need to be methodical when attempting a build in the Pure Base 500 FX chassis. By this, and mind you, everything fits without any clearance or fitment issues, but you need to plan ahead some. Make sure the 8-pin EPS cable is connected first, all of your CPU fan headers connected, before installing an AIO at the top as we did. Otherwise, you will have to remove the radiator for access. The offset is great as we had no collisions with our gear, but it does block a lot of the top of the motherboard. Otherwise, we are left with a very clean build that many will appreciate.
When it comes to fitting the rear I/O plate, the alignment is perfect. The GPU slides in easily once the cover plate is slid over and screws in level with the chassis spacing. The PSU will need to be angled up as it is installed, or you may grab the pads, but otherwise fits like a glove.
While this may not be our cleanest build, we took what was there and added our bits as we went along. Most of the wires went through the straps, and even as thi9ck as the bundles got, the depth behind the tray was able to eat it up. Even so, with what we use, we filled the chassis and still have room for the 3.5" drive bay, although we did use it to tuck the wires into it after ensuring drives fit and install in it without issues.
Since these Light Wings fans have diffuser rings on both sides of the fans, even at the back, a fair bit of lighting will flood the wall in your office. Not only that, this fan does a great job of flooding the top of the GPU and adding something like the Pure Loop 2 FX we just looked at; things get even better.
Our view through the tempered glass once the system is up and running shows the clear picture we wanted. All of our parts in full view, everything down to the SSD, the motherboard, the AIO, the GPU, and those Light Wings fans are all there to be admired.
The view from the front is one of the best, not just of this chassis but of many cases we have seen over the years. With the ARGB strips running colors down the front, backed with that trio of fans spinning colors around to the right, we can only say kudos. It is so clean looking yet comes with all the lighting you could want, with plenty of color, mode, and sync software options.
We have seen just about every idea of what a case can be and have spewed our options on the matters over the years, but you rarely run into a design such as this. While we may have missed the train, sadly, this is our first look at the Pure Base 500 in any form. We can say straight away that we definitely got to see the best litter pick. While under the hood, the caser hasn't changed much, which is fine for us, as it is as functional and stress-free as you would expect in a smaller mid-tower design.
There is plenty of room for the basics, and if you want to add water cooling, the option is there. With plenty of drive space and room for picking the PSU, CPU cooler, and GPU, everything is tidy and in full view. Then add in the lighting, and BAM, you got everything you could need, with room to add a couple of fans to the mix.
In the most basic of terms, you will be buying the Pure Base 500 DX, minus the ARGB strip at the top of the glass panel. Otherwise, it is the same until we get to the cooling. In the Pure Base 500 FX, you get four Light Wings fans, which we currently use in our main rig, as we like the ARGB lighting and default rainbow mode they deliver. Even so, that is not where be quiet! stopped. They could have included some daisy-chain adapter cables and made a mess of things, but instead, they offered a better solution with the ARGB/PWM fan hub.
With just a few connections, you can sync them with your motherboard software, let them run the default ARGB rainbow, or with the switch on the chassis, select through various colors, modes, and different ways the lighting can be applied. We also like that the fans have increased in speed, but it was needed, as the CFM and static pressure are not that great, in our opinion.
In our round of testing, with the system loaded inside the Pure Base 500 FX, we compared those results to running the system in the open air. The CPU ended up with a +1.8°C Δ. In comparative terms, it is better than the likes of the Starker and even the iCUE 5000T unless you ran it in extreme mode. The VRM runs at -6.7°C Δ, where only the DF700 from Antec did slightly better. Our GPU sat there with the +0.2 °C Δ, which is better than all the later cases with this testing methodology.
In the end, our comment about the lack of fan speed and pressure was wrong, as we allowed the PWM fan curve to handle anything fan-related, and it does a superior job at just a 37 dB maximum under load.
What can we say, be quiet! took a $110 chassis, which is an awesome case without the lighting but added quite a bit of flash, and fan control we expect these days. Where many companies would add another $79.99 or more for just three fans ad a hub, be quiet! is doing it for an additional $40 ask. If that was not good enough on its own, it is their anniversary, and they are using their thirtieth to pass on some love to their customers. We urge you to act quickly for those who thoroughly enjoyed this chassis as we did.
This month or next, those willing to make the jump can take advantage of a hefty discount. At up to $30, depending on the location, you can have this chassis for a tenner more than the current Pure Base 500 DX pricing. To us, it is a no-brainer, whether a system builder, a novice, or an enthusiast looking to save space and cash while keeping up the bar of aesthetics and functionality. Even if you are stuck grabbing it at the $149.90 MSRP, we still feel it is well worth the investment.
The Bottom Line
The Pure Base 500 FX is the creme of the crop in this series. Sleek, clean, easy to use, and all with lighting control, an ARGB/PWM fan hub, and four of the Light Wings fans will keep many builder happy without a hefty investment.
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