Be Quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 Rev2 Review & Benchmarks

By Published July 04, 2018 at 9:42 pm
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The Dark Base Pro 900 Rev 2 is, as the name implies, a minor revision of the Be Quiet Dark Base Pro 900 that we already reviewed way back in the blue mat era.The major difference is the addition of a power supply shroud, similar to the one in the Dark Base 700 that we also reviewed, but there are also some other minor changes. Since the rest of the case is the same, we’re replacing our usual build and appearances section with a quick rundown of the updates we noticed.

This review of the Be Quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 Rev 2 compares performance, build quality, and differences with the first version. We also test versus several other leading cases, including other full-towers or large PC tower cases.

 

Be Quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 Rev 2 Specs

Dimensions (W x H x D in mm)

243 x 586 x 577

Case Type

Full Tower

Material

0.8mm – 1mm SECC, 0.8mm aluminum, ABS plastic, 4mm tinted and tempered glass

Motherboard Support

E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, M-ATX, Mini-ITX

Front I/O

2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1 Type C Gen. 2, 1x USB Quick Charging Option, HD audio (microphone + headphones), RGB control switch, HDD status display

Fan Speed Controller

8x PWM stepless control / PWM hub

Max. Cooler Height (mm)

185

Max. Graphics Card Length (mm)

325 / 470 (without HDD bracket)

PSU Length (mm)

150 - 284

PCI Slots

8

5.25” Bay

2

3.5” Bay

7 (5 ex works)

2.5” Bay

14 (10 ex works)

Cooling Fans (mm) / (rpm)

Front: 2x SilentWings 3 140mm / 1,600

Rear: 1x SilentWings 3 140mm / 1,600

Optional Cooling Fans (mm)

Front: 1x 140 (without ODD cage, bracket included)

Top: 3x 140 / 4x 120 / 1x 180

Bottom: 2x 140/120

PSU shroud:

1x 120

Radiator Support (mm)

Front: 120, 140, 240, 280, 360, 420

Top: 120, 240, 280, 360, 420

Rear: 120, 140

Additional Features

Wireless charger for Qi enabled devices, switchable multi- mode, multi-color and expandable RGB LED lightning (white, red, green, blue, orange, purple), supports motherboard LED control

Might as well start with the changes. For full build notes and the quality/ease-of-installation review, check our original DBP 900 review.

Changes vs. Rev 2

  1. Shroud: The major difference in this revision is the addition of a PSU shroud. Someone asked for this, but it wasn’t us. The only mention of a power supply shroud in our original review was to point out that there was enough room for cables elsewhere, so it was unnecessary. The shroud must be removed in order to install the power supply, and the process of replacing it is annoying enough that it’s easier to just leave it out. However, it’s optional to install, it can be purchased separately and added to Rev 1 cases, and it’s understandable that Be Quiet wants to offer as many features as possible in their flagship case.
  2. Fan/LED controller: The functionality is basically the same as in Rev 1, but there are also “performance-silent” toggles like the controller in the DB 700. It now supports up to eight fans rather than four. 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 (formerly the reset button).
  3. Fans: The fans are still 140mm Silentwings 3s, but they’re 1600RPM rather than 1000RPM. That has implications for thermals and noise, which (along with the controller) makes it worth retesting the case.
  4. HDD bays: The original DBP 900 had nine available ports for seven free-floating HDD bays, while the rev 2 has five ports for three bays. The lower two ports (and upper two, since the case is invertible) have been converted to fit a two-drive HDD cage instead so that the PSU shroud will fit. To summarize: that’s up to three single-slot HDD bays above the shroud and one two-slot HDD cage underneath the shroud.
  5. USB: As with the Dark Base 700, Be Quiet has filled one of their USB 2.0 ports with USB 3.1 instead. The other USB 2.0 port has been replaced with a USB quick-charge plug.
  6. Panel attachment: The thumbscrews that hold on the glass panel have a weird not-quite-flathead, not-quite-Phillips cross on them, and they thread onto posts rather than screwing into holes (so maybe they aren’t technically screws). The front panel now has two spring loaded magnet attachments, one at the top and one at the bottom, rather than just one.

Owners of the original DBP 900 that want these upgrades can buy them separately from Be Quiet. From their design doc: “The new PSU shroud and HDD slot covers will be available for customers using the first Dark Base Pro 900 version. The windowed side panel and additional HDD cages will be offered separately as well.”

dbp 900 rev2 2

Case Testing Methodology

GN Case Testing Bench (Sponsored by CableMod)

  Component Courtesy Of
Video Card MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X (OC Mode) MSI
CPU Intel i7-6700K @ 4.4GHz GamersNexus
CPU Cooler MSI Core Frozr L MSI
Motherboard MSI Z170A Gaming M7 MSI
Memory Corsair Vengeance LED 32GB 3200MHz Corsair
SSD Samsung 850 EVO 120GB Samsung
PSU Corsair RM650x Corsair
Cables CableMod Pro Mesh Cables CableMod
Case This is what we're testing! -

The video card is configured to run at 55% fan speed at all times.

Prior to load testing, we collect idle temperature results for ten minutes to determine the unloaded cooling performance of a case's fans and air channels. Thermal benchmarking is conducted for 1400 seconds (23 minutes), a period we've determined sufficient for achieving equilibrium. The over-time data is aggregated and will occasionally be compiled into charts, if interesting or relevant. The equilibrium performance is averaged to create the below charts.

Load testing is conducted using Prime95 LFFTs and Kombustor “FurMark” stress testing simultaneously. Testing is completely automated using in-house scripting, and executes with perfect accuracy on every run.

We recently validated our test methodology using a thermal chamber, finding our approach to be nearly perfectly accurate. Learn more here.

Thermals & Noise - Be Quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 Rev 2

The primary comparison for the Dark Base Pro 900 Rev 2 is obviously the Rev 1. The Rev 2 has faster fans and a controller that works a little differently, so results between the two cases should be different, but the amount of improvement seen from (for example) opening the front panel would be approximately the same. Check our previous review to see temperature deltas from other scenarios like opening the front panel, opening the side panel vent, taping the mesh trim shut, and inverting the layout.

As for the Rev 2, we focused on testing the fan controller. We plugged the case fans into the motherboard and configured them to 100% speed for baseline testing. For additional tests, we tried: setting the controller to performance mode and the slider to maximum, performance mode and slider minimum, silent mode/slider max, and performance mode/slider min. The fan speed slider in the front panel is stepless, so maximum and minimum settings are the easiest to replicate.

Dark Base Pro 900 Rev 2 - CPU Torture

1 bq dbp900 cpu only

CPU dT was 56C during the torture test, and 55C with the case fans plugged into the controller and maxed out in performance mode. Judging by the temperatures (since we can’t log RPM using a controller), it seems like the controller really does allow the fans to spin at full speed. Results using the controller from best to worst were: performance mode max, silent mode max, performance mode min, silent mode min. Even just in performance mode, going from minimum to maximum brought CPU dT from 63.9C to 55C. Silent mode minimum RPM was by far the hottest test, and the only reason it didn’t go higher than 71.7C dT was that the CPU was hitting 100C and throttling.

CPU Torture (Comparative)

2 bq dbp900 cpu all

The original stock DBP 900 reached 58.6C dT, towards the warm end of our scale. With its  higher fan speeds, the Rev 2 places more towards the middle with the Define R6 and S340 Elite. For how closed-off the front panel is, that’s fairly good.

Dark Base Pro 900 Rev 2 - GPU Torture

3 bq dbp900 gpu only

GPU dT averaged 47.6C during the torture test with Furmark, and almost exactly the same using the controller at max speed and performance mode. The best to worst order of performance is the same as for CPU temperatures: perf/max, silent/max, per/min, silent/min. The range of temperatures was smaller, however, and even the silent/min average dT was only 56.5C.

GPU Torture (Comparative)

4 bq dbp900 gpu all

It was a surprise how well the Rev 2 provided GPU cooling, especially since it added a PSU shroud to the case that could potentially restrict some airflow. A small part of this could be that we intentionally flipped the PSU over when reviewing the original because of restrictive ventilation on the bottom of the case, which may have caused the PSU to compete with the GPU for air. More importantly, there’s the higher RPM fans and the lack of preinstalled HDD bays to block the airflow path from the front of the case. Whatever the reasons, the Rev 2 has some of the coolest GPU temperatures we’ve logged, well below the original’s average of 54.9C dT.

3DMark

5 bq dbp900 3dm

GPU temperatures were just slightly higher in the 3DMark stress test than in the torture test, averaging 48.8C dT. That’s even farther below the original DBP 900’s average of 57.5C dT, and impressively far below most other cases on our chart as well. GPU cooling is genuinely good in the Rev 2, something we wouldn’t have expected from a noise dampened case.

Blender

6 bq dbp900 blender cpu

Rendering on the CPU, CPU dT was 38.4C in the blender test. That’s fairly average, and below but within margin of error of the original DBP 900.

7 bq dbp900 blender gpu

When utilizing the GPU, GPU dT during the render was 24C, beaten by the PM01 and HAF X but cooler than everything else.

Noise

8 bq dbp900 noise

Even with all of Be Quiet’s noise damping, running the fans at full 1600RPM reached 43.2-43.4dBA, as loud as Dark Base 700 was at max speed, or the Silverstone RL06. The quietest level we achieved using the fan controller was 32.4dBA, only slightly above the In Win 303 with no fans in it.

The main advantage of having silent/performance toggles on the fan controller is that there are two channels, so two different groups of case fans can be set to two different speeds while being controlled by a single input. The way we used it, with both toggles flipped the same way, it should just be set to performance mode. That’s because silent/min was at effectively the same noise level as performance/min (about 33dBA), but performance/min scored much better in thermal testing, and fan RPM can be maxed out in performance mode.

Conclusion

The second revision of the Dark Base Pro 900 boils down to a power supply shroud and nicer fans. If this was presented as a minor update without increasing the price, like the changes Cooler Master made to the H500P, it would make sense. The original DBP 900 that we reviewed was great and earned our Editor’s Choice and Quality Build awards, and we let the price slide because it’s clearly a luxury item. Still, $250 was a lot of money, and Be Quiet is asking $20 more for a near-identical case.

In performance, the Rev 2 has much better GPU cooling results than the Rev 1, but that’s because the Rev 2 has faster fans. 140mm Silentwings 3 fans sell for more than $20 apiece on Newegg, so upgrading an original DBP 900 to match the Rev 2’s performance is an expensive proposition. Cooling performance  is the single best argument for purchasing the newer revision instead of the older, but it only applies if the fans are run above 1000RPM, which silence-focused Be Quiet customers may never do.

The Rev 2 is a better-performing case with a few more features than its predecessor, which we already liked. If all that together is worth $20 and making PSU installation even more annoying than it was, we like the rev 2 as well.

Editorial, Testing: Patrick Lathan
Host, Test Lead: Steve Burke
Video: Andrew Coleman

Last modified on July 04, 2018 at 9:42 pm

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