Be quiet! is a name that’s likely well known by most readers of Tom’s Hardware, and as the name implies, the company is known for, among other things, high-end cooling solutions with low noise levels. I’ve recently tested their latest air cooler, the Dark Rock Pro Elite, and found it to be one of the best air coolers currently on the market.
Today’s review will cover the Dark Base Pro 901, a full-sized PC case from Be Quiet (as it will be referred to for the rest of this review) that’s packed with a plethora of features ranging from wireless charging to 5.25-inch drive bay support (for all you optical drive die-hards out there).
|Dark Base Pro 901
|Size, including stands
|569 (H) x 275 (W) x 604mm (D)
|Aluminum, Steel, and Tempered Glass
|Cooling Layout Support
|Front: Up to 3x 140mm fans/420mm radiator Top and Side: Up to 3x 120mm fans/360mm radiator Rear: 140mm radiator/fan
|E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, M-ATX, Mini-ATX
|1x 5.25” 2x 3.5” with included parts, up to 7 supported with additional drive bays 6x 2.5” with included parts, up to 16 with additional drive bays
|Graphic Card Length Limitation: 495mm with HDD cage removed, up to 370mm with HDD cage installed CPU Cooler Height Limitation: 190mm PSU Length Limitation: 325mm
|1x USB 3.2 Type-C 4 x USB 3.2 Type-A 1x Audio Port 1x Microphone Port 1x Fan Control 1x Power Button 1x LED Control
The Dark Base Pro 901 arrives like most other cases, protected by molded foam, but the company also includes a cloth covering which can be used to protect the case from dust accumulation should you need to put it in storage.
The accessories are included in two boxes, one of which is packaged inside of the computer case. Among other parts like screws the accessories include the side radiator bracket, the 5.25-inch drive bay adapter, and a GPU anti-sag bracket.
BeQuiet also included its Straight Power 1200W PSU for use while testing this case. While I’m not qualified to review a PSU in detail, I can say that this one is true to Be Quiet’s name and operates silently during most workloads. That’s likely helped in part by the fact that our test setup didn’t exactly push this 1200W unit to its power limits.
Features of BeQuiet’s Dark Base Pro 901
Impressive Noise Reduction
The Dark Base Pro 901 is absolutely jam-packed with features. But what I personally find most impressive about BeQuiet’s latest case is the noise reduction features. When I first set up this case, I installed Thermalright’s Frost Commander 140 cooler. In my testing, it’s currently the strongest air cooler on the market – but it’s also the loudest.
The sound-absorbing foam included with this case is extremely effective. I immediately noticed the drop in noise level with the Frost Commander installed. Many cases claim noise reduction features, but most are minimally effective.
To demonstrate the effectiveness of the noise reduction features, I tested a few coolers with the side panel of the case installed and with it removed. I’ve found that the sound-absorbing foam works well with coolers of all types, but works best with air coolers that don’t run loudly by default. With DeepCool’s AG500 installed, sound levels dropped from 46.0 dBA to only 41.9 dBA. This is a very impressive noise reduction, as 41.9 dBA is about half as loud as 46 dBA.
If you want to install airflow fans or a radiator at the top of the case, you’ll need to remove the top sound-dampening foam panels pictured below, but you don’t have to forgo the top panels if you want to install an AIO or extra airflow – the side radiator bracket supports a 360mm AIO or three 120mm fans.
Full-featured IO touch panel with Qi wireless charging
The IO Panel is controlled by touch and includes audio, 4x USB-A, 1x USB-C, fan control, and ARGB lighting control. The ARGB and fan controls can also switch between motherboard and manual control. The feature that really sets the Pro 901 apart from the competition, though, is the included Qi wireless charging for phones or other devices at the top of the case. This has been done before by InWin on an SFF case back in 2018, but that felt almost too ahead of its time. Now wireless charging devices are far more ubiquitous, and it arguably makes more sense on the top of a large case that you’re likely to set on the floor than it does on a compact case that’s likely to live on your desk.
The fan controls on the IO panel have 5 settings – each tuned for different levels of noise. The lowest setting runs essentially silent with basic airflow; the fastest setting runs fairly loud (for system fans) but pushes an impressive amount of airflow. I recorded each setting's noise level using my noise meter.
Built-in PWM hubs
This case includes two PWM hubs for fan control. The first PWM hub is located at the front of the case, intended for use with the front intake fans. The second PWM hub is located above the motherboard. Each PWM hub supports three fans, supporting six fans in total.
5.25-inch drive support
Most modern computer cases lack 5.25-inch drive support. While most users won’t have a need for this, I appreciate this feature as I prefer the quality of UHD Blu Ray disks over streaming. That’s not the only thing you can use a 5.25-inch bay for – you can also use them for USB expansion, custom digital front panels, SD card readers, hot-swap storage solutions, and other accessories.
To access the 5.25-inch bay, you’ll have to pop the bottom tray open. If you don’t have use for a 5.25-inch drive bay, you’ll never notice it was there unless you open the door manually.
GPU anti-sag bracket
BeQuiet! includes an anti-sag GPU bracket that supports the largest of GPUs.
The inner components of the Dark Base 901 can be re-arranged to allow for a reversed setup, with the CPU near the bottom of the case rather than the top.
Support for up to 16 storage drives
If you need plenty of storage, the Dark Base Pro 901 has support for up to 16 drives with the purchase of additional drive bays. It supports up to 6 drives with the included components, more than enough expansion for most users, especially given the rise of motherboard-based M.2 storage.
Drives can be installed to the rear of the motherboard, or in one of the 7 drive bay slots. The drive bay slots are located next to the front intake fans, which also keeps any storage drives installed cooled well.
Side Radiator and 1x 420mm, 3x 360mm AIO support
Be Quiet clearly had cooling enthusiasts in mind when it designed this case. As such it supports up to three full-size 360mm radiators at the top, front, or side of the case. 420mm radiators are supported, but can only be installed at the front of the case.
If you want to use the side radiator support, you’ll have to remove five of the drive bays. That will still leave you with two drive bays below the radiator, and room for two 2.5-inch SSDs behind the motherboard.
Designed with cable management in mind
Be Quiet also designed this case with cable management in mind – and the fact that the case is fairly large helps for that as well. A raised metal bar helps to obscure and hide cables at the back, where they can easily be tied together and organized.
Three Silent Wings 4 PWM fans
There’s more to a case than just the chasis. The included fans have an impact on airflow and noise levels. Included with the Dark Base Pro 901 are three of Be Quiet’s signature Silent Wings 4 PWM fans.
Available in Black or White
At CES 2024, BeQuiet announced that the Dark Base Pro 901 will also available in white. Would that make it the Light Base Pro 901? The white model isn’t available for purchase yet, but will be available in March for the same price as the black model.
CPU Thermal Results
I’m in the process of testing coolers in this case with the most notoriously hot consumer CPU on the market, Intel’s i9-14900K. For these tests, I’m using the system fans while set to the middle speed setting, which runs at a low 37.3 dBA. We’ll have another article detailing these results soon, but I’ll share some of those results now.
With DeepCool’s AG500, a midrange air cooler, I was able to cool 232W on average during Cinebench testing. Upgrading to Thermalright’s Frost Commander 140, which is the strongest air cooler currently on the market, adds an additional 30W of cooling power. You’ll need beefier cooling for higher wattage levels; a strong 360mm AIO such as Lian Li’s Gallahad II LCD can handle almost 330W on average.
With a price of $329 USD, Be Quiet’s Dark Base Pro 901 case is far from budget. But if you prioritize quiet and cool performance with other premium features, it’s worth every penny. The noise reduction features are absolutely impressive, decreasing the volume levels of some coolers by half! This is the best computer case I’ve tested in years, and that’s not something I say lightly.
The Dark Base Pro 901 supports up to 16 external storage drives, has old-school 5.25-inch drive bay support, a reversible design, a sturdy anti-sag bracket for your GPU, side radiator/intake fan support, and even wireless Qi charging. If want premium performance and features for your high-end build, without the aggressive aesthetics and RGB-forward looks of other high-end cases like the Cooler Master HAF 700, the Pro 901 is tough to beat.
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Albert Thomas is a contributor for Tom’s Hardware, primarily covering CPU cooling reviews.
we could still be quiet instead of being queit :rolleyes:Reply
That 300 buckaroos leaves little to be desired too... /sigh.Reply
Lemme get my checkbook...
I built in 2017 with a Dark Base Pro 900. It is a huge case and deadly quiet with all fans cranking. I loved that case because I build top-end for myself every 4 or 5 years and like big cases (I know most people don't). They are under my desk and never move, so the bigger the better. I just built in a new case that is the same same size that was recently reviewed here - Lian Li O11D EVO XL.Reply
The Lian Li is an incredible case with glass side and front and you can mount the biggest GPUs (4090) upright. It also hides the biggest PSU away in the hidden side of the case behind the motherboard area. It is easily reversable and comes with no fans (which I like because I like to do my own fan thing). It is s expensive, and it is not as quiet as the Be Quiet Dark Pro, but I would recommend it.
Great to see that they still offer an optical drive option for those of us that like them. But I won't consider it until they offer an option with no glass panel and an insulated metal panel instead.Reply
Oh man, I should have written about that in this article. OOF!dwd999 said:Great to see that they still offer an optical drive option for those of us that like them. But I won't consider it until they offer an option with no glass panel and an insulated metal panel instead.
A lot of folks have told me they'd only consider it with a second insulated panel, and I can only imagine how much better that would be for noise cancellation.
Prior to posting this article, I privately passed on this feedback to BeQuiet!
I'll remind them of that feedback again.
This seems like it would be really good for someone who did everything in one machine. If I had my storage in my gaming box this is definitely the sort of thing I'd be looking for. Outside of that though it just seems overly expensive as there are better airflow cases for less money and similar noise dampening for less money too.Reply
The 5.25" is a welcome surprise addition to this case even though I gave up on this as when I had to buy my last case there were no modern cases with them and went external.