Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
While it hasn't been all that long ago that we got together with be quiet! and started looking at their coolers, and of course Zac was looking at what they offered in power supplies, but it wasn't until now that be quiet! tried to enter the chassis game. Following in a now growing line of manufacturers, who may have started off and gotten really well know for one type of product, is now branching out to try to take a piece of a much larger pie in the chassis game. While this chassis may at first resemble a few we have seen, be quiet! is still more than able to deliver a truly unique take on cases their first time out.
They could have just as easily copped out and brought forth something more typical with a bunch of right angles, black paint, and put their name on it and called it a day. The thing is though, they came out swinging with this new full-tower chassis design. With a company name like be quiet!, we immediately assume this chassis will be silent, or at least engineered to offer a way around noises that are present. On that same note, be quiet! enters the market much like Phanteks did and is offering us a chassis geared more to the enthusiast builders, yet keeps the cost down so that the masses can afford to jump into this chassis and enjoy the benefits that they put forth in this design.
Without spilling all the beams to leave reasons for you to continue on with the review, let's keep it simple. What you are about to see is not only terrifically styled in shape and design, but just as Phanteks did with the Enthoo, when they busted down doors with their entry to the chassis game, we feel this chassis from be quiet! is along those same lines, showing that not only does be quiet! have a terrific handle on what their customers want in a chassis, but they aren't afraid to push the boundaries to do so either. Stick around; it is well worth it, as we go over every inch of what is the all black version of the Silent Base 800 full-tower chassis from be quiet!.
be quiet! calls the Silent Base 800 an ATX chassis as far as form factor is concerned, but with a 559mm height, 266mm of width, and 495mm of depth in this 9.31 kg chassis, it is definitely a full-tower, almost a super-tower. While ours is completely black, there are two other versions of this chassis. One of them offers an orange ring on the front and some of the hardware matches, and they also offer another with a silver ring on the bezel. Most of the chassis is made of steel, while the front, top, bottom, and the Cosmos-like snap in feet are all made of ABS plastic. The front I/O is next with the pair of USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, along with the 3.5mm jacks for the HD Audio. The last thing we see in this section is that the back of the chassis offers seven expansion slots.
Inside there are bays for three 5.25" drives at the top, but is hidden behind a door in the bezel. Below, we are given room for up to seven 3.5" drives and locations for up to four 2.5" drives on top of that. The bonus to the HDD cage is that it is broken into two sections, either or both sections are removable, and one is able to be relocated. The other handy thing they did with the storage options is that two of the 2.5" bays are offered via trays behind the motherboard. So, if you need the front open, you still have options.
Cooling in the chassis is handled out of the box with a trio of fans. The front of the chassis comes with a pair of 140mm Pure Wing fans that are all black in color and also offer rubber in the screw holes to keep them isolated from the chassis. In the rear of the chassis, there is a color match to the front pair, but this time the Pure Wing fan is 120mm in size. As far as options go, more fans as well as water cooling is all fair game. The front is made to use either 120mm fans or the 140mm fans installed there, and so is the top of the chassis. Each side panel will also allow up to 170mm fans to be used if desired, the rear is also clear for a 140mm fan option. With the drive cages completely removed, the bottom will also offer up room for a pair of 120mm or 140mm fans, so cooling the chassis should in no way be an issue.
Along with all the information we were given, we saw that they had an MSRP set for this chassis, but at that time, all we knew is that it was set to just below €140. Now when looking at it in a conversion sense to the US dollar, which would make this around $155. Thing is, when we did actually find one listing for this chassis over at Newegg.com, we were pleasantly surprised. There we found the silver version of the chassis priced at $139.90 with be quiet! listed as the seller. On top of that, it also comes with free shipping, and once we looked back at the chassis and ponder this pricing we are seeing, there is no doubt that you will find it is worth every penny of that asking price.
The packaging is wider than it is tall, but this matte black backdrop is used to highlight the image of the chassis and its Silent Base 800 naming that is front and center here. Along with finding the be quiet! name at the top, near the bottom is a list of five features that should intrigue you to keep looking.
To cover all of the markets in which this chassis is intended to invade, under the handle on this thinner side, we find that the features from the front are again listed here. This time rather than the three on the front, this time we find nine more languages.
There is a bit about be quiet! as a company and what inspired this design before you see images inside of the chassis. Along with the images, there are numbers coinciding with text explaining each feature you are made to look at between them.
The last panel of the packaging should be offering you the specifications chart to the left, and the images to the right of the orange and silver versions of the chassis. However, like it is their job to do so, the shipping company was sure to photo bomb this side.
Orienting the chassis as it would sit on the desk, we find that the large Styrofoam caps used are around the top and bottom of the chassis. While there is a cloth liner, and the chassis is in great condition under all of it, we do want to mention to look feet in the foam, as they are not shipped on the chassis.
be quiet! Silent Base 800 Full-Tower Chassis
The front of the chassis is flat and offers a door at the top and a large panel at the bottom covering the noise of the fans behind it. On both flanks, there are long strips of mesh to allow the chassis to breathe, and they angled the corners as well to pull away from a basic square shape.
Behind a sound absorbing magnetically closed door panel, we find three bay covers that need removed to use 5.25" devices. The bottom then offers that the panel unlocks and flips down to allow access to the fans and filters... oh and it is also sound absorbing on the inside.
The front I/O panel is blended into the top of the chassis very near the front bezel. In the center of the panel is the backlit power button and HDD activity LED on the front edge. The USB 3.0, HD Audio jacks, and USB 2.0 ports are all on the right side in a row.
Stepping back, we find that the top plastic section of the chassis is very near solid from front to back. If not for a few specially cut vents near the back to allow air to flow out without the noise there would be nothing for ventilation to pass through.
The left side of the chassis is a bit plain, but dead center of the panel is the be quiet! naming on a plastic insert. This is to cover an optional fan, again allowing the air to flow through the sides, and redirecting noise to aid in silence.
The back of the chassis offers slits for ventilation in the top cover, and then we find the rear I/O and exhaust fans with a trio of grommets for water cooling and wiring. Then we find seven expansion slots and some passive mesh to the right, with the PSU mounting in the bottom. There is also a removable dust filter, and the slits at the bottom are the PSU intake vents.
The right side of the chassis is a dead match to the left side. This allows this chassis to sit on either side of the user with the same appeal. There is also enough of an offset to the motherboard tray that this can also be used with a conventional fan.
The floor of the chassis is a solid expanse with not much at all to see. The chassis ships without the thick rail style feet, but they easily align and snap right into place and are as solid as if they had been bolted on. This also gives this slightly taller design a wider footprint making it much more stable.
Inside the Silent Base 800
Both of the panels are backed with sound absorbing materials, and the center is cut out to allow for a fan option. The holes are drilled for a 140mm fan, but that could be "adjusted" and still allow the plastic cover to clip in and out around its frame.
Our first look into the chassis shows us that there is a lot of black going on. The wiring has been tended to for shipping and rests on the floor. Also, we can see the hardware box tied to the lower HDD cage.
The trio of 5.25" bays is completely free of anything, including the front I/O wiring. They do offer tool-free latches that work very well, but also have the holes for using bay devices that need screwed into place.
The HDD cage is set up in two cages, three at the top, and four at the bottom. They have a slide lock system and they require rubber sliders for installation, but once done, the drives are isolated from the chassis. After removing quite a few thumbscrews, all of this can come out as well.
With the cages out, we do find that the front of the chassis has quite a bit of steel still blocking the airflow into the chassis. This may become an issue later, but we will see. The base of the HDD cage is also removable, but also requires removing the subfloor of the chassis to do this.
Looking out the top of the chassis, we find plenty of room for cooling or liquid cooling options. We can also see that most of this is covered by the top panel and will definitely block the noise of anything under it.
The motherboard tray offers a large cut out for CPU cooler access, is clearly market, and has raised steel bumps for standoffs. We also like that grommets are used, but this flappy-paddle style of grommet is really nice to work with versus other styles we have seen in the past.
Inside the Silent Base 800 Continued
The floor of the chassis is pretty well open from stem to stern with round mesh cut from it. At the back are rubber pads to set the PSU on, and there is use of one of the fan locations, but without removing the HDD cage base, access to the other one is blocked.
Inside of the back in the Silent Base 800, we can plainly see the fan style used in this chassis, and it matches what we have found in cooler previous to this. With the 3-pin power lead crossing over the vented expansion slots, it also draws the eye to the thumbscrews used to secure them.
Behind the motherboard tray, we found 25mm of room for wiring, and this depth will also help things when you fill the optional 2.5" drive trays below the access hole in the motherboard tray. We also noticed that there are not many tie points, but the ones offered are right where the wiring naturally flows.
All of the wiring is black to blend in with the paint inside of the chassis, and we have all the usual suspects. HD Audio, native USB 3.0, a regular USB 2.0 connection, and the button and LED wiring is all pretty basic stuff.
When it comes to the wiring, feel free to tie it all down as the bezel is not attached to it. This is how you gain access to the fan filter in the bezel, or to swap out this pair of 140mm pre-installed intake fans.
If you do plan to add cooling to the top of the chassis, even here, the wiring is not permanently connected to the cover. Disconnecting two clips allows the cover to be put out of the way so you can tackle installing fans or water cooling under it.
Accessories and Documentation
The hardware offered here consists of standoffs for Micro-ATX motherboards, fan screws, motherboard screws, and ODD screws at the top. The bottom offers thumbscrews for the HDDs, countersunk screws for SSDs, and the PSU screws finish this out.
For wiring management, we are given a stick down clip to either hold thin wiring or offer an optional point to tie to where needed. The manual says we are supposed to get two long and two short of the zip ties, but even with them being all the same length, we received the correct amount.
Along with the thumbscrews for the hard drives, they also require these rubber side rails as well. It is these spacers that will isolate vibrations from the drive making sure that the modular rack doesn't chirp when full of spinning drives.
The manual is pretty in depth. Out of the gate, we get the parts list and are soon underway with the build process. Great images and explanations both guide you through the process simply, and there are even diagrams and explanations of how and where the chassis comes apart to gain access to all the possibilities.
Case Build and Finished Product
Our build fit without a single issue, and with the motherboard in place, it is much easier to see plenty of room for water cooling above it. We left the HDD cages out to afford the best cooling possible, and outside of that there is nothing out of the ordinary to cover here.
We fumbled a bit with the dust shield, but eventually managed to get it into place. When it comes to the video cards, we did have to slightly flex the back to align the screws, but the PSU at the bottom slides right into place and is ready to be screwed in.
Keeping the I/O wiring slightly left allowed us full access to the wire management holes and gave us no resistance with using the SSD here, or running the rest of the wiring. Outside of slight warping of the panel causing it to be slightly tough to put back on, the wiring is free and clear and caused us no issues in that process.
Any reader who follows our reviews knows we really dig when a chassis looks the same out of the box as it does when the build is completed, no matter the component choices. You could have a Blu-ray player, card reader, and a bay reservoir in use, and nobody would ever know if you didn't show them.
Powering the chassis, there is ever so slight of a hum heard from this distance, enough that the meter was showing us 31 db of noise from two feet at the corner. From the front it is much less noticeable, as it is from the side, but it isn't just the white LEDs of the power button and HDD activity light that lets us know this is powered.
While we could sit here and say that this chassis looks similar to this case, but also looks like that case, the reality is that be quiet! has come out swinging with a chassis that is very unique. It has had the opportunity to sort of sit in the background watching the best features show themselves, and with that advantage, be quiet! took the idea and ran with some of the best of them. Being water cooling friendly is a huge plus in today's market, but it takes aesthetics and other features to sell the chassis as well. While we do find it hard that anyone could honestly hate on the external design and appeal, we also find the same on the inside. With only one really misstep in our opinion, we feel that inside the chassis offers everything you will need, modularity, and cleanliness to boot.
In our testing, we could hear the chassis sat two feet away, but in no way would we say the Silent Base 800 naming isn't fitting to this design. They compensated in the design for redirecting noise in the front, sides, bottom, and the top, and beyond that, there is sound absorbing materials used to also help keep sound at bay, and isolating the PSU from the floor and HDDs from the cage doesn't hurt either. When it came to thermals, we did find the stock fan configuration lacking a bit, but that is not the fault of the choice of fans. In our opinion, it is due to the amount of steel left behind them that blocks off a considerable amount of airflow, and what is left sort of cyclones at the front, and does not have an effective push to the back like some others do.
For everything you do get, the good and the not so great, one thing that is hard to overlook is how affordable this chassis is. For just less than $140, you can be the proud owner of the Silent Base 800 chassis in any of the three flavors, and reap the benefits of this design. be quiet! did have the luxury to enter late after seeing the best of the best to date, but the definitely took advantage of every bonus they had and delivered a chassis well worthy of massive attention.
It is rare that a company comes out of the gate this strong and does this well, but be quiet! seems to have all their ducks in a row and continue to not only impress us with their CPU cooling solutions, but now in chassis design as well. Whether a novice builder or the wisest enthusiast, it is easy to see the value had here, and we bet many will own this chassis in the near future.
|Quality including Design and Build||97%|
|Bundle and Packaging||98%|
|Value for Money||97%|
The Bottom Line: For a company with no previous chassis design experience, be quiet! offers a chassis that will take the market by storm. It's sturdy, it's modular, it looks stunning, and best of all, it is affordable. This is how you enter the chassis market; full of win!
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