November 14, 2017 // 12 p.m.
Manufacturer: Be Quiet!
UK price (as reviewed): MSRP £174.90 (inc. VAT)
US price (as reviewed): MSRP $179.90 (exc. tax)
We’ve seen some of what the Dark Base family can do already; the Dark Base Pro 900 took home our Technical Achievement award for its clever modular design that allowed you to install many different components in various layouts and positions. Be Quiet! is back today with the Dark Base 700, which fills out the premium mid-tower position in the company’s current stack. As such, while the price is high for a mid-tower, you can expect a very flexible design, numerous features, and premium materials in exchange for your cash.
Deploying 1.2mm-thick brushed aluminium for the roof, front panel, and front foot, the Dark Base 700 is definitely off to a good start. Thankfully, excellent build quality is maintained throughout the chassis; you get a thick tempered glass panel on the left and a thick steel one on the right, and all panels neatly align. Large rubber pads on the bottom also ensure the chassis has excellent grip, with its hefty weight helping here also.
This being a Be Quiet! chassis, considerable attention has been paid to keeping noise down. You’ll notice that the Dark Base 700 appears to have very little by way of ventilation, but there is some cut into the roof and also running down the sides of the front panel. The sides are both completely solid, however, and you get noise dampening material fitted behind the front panel, the top, and right side panel as well.
The case comes with a pair of Be Quiet!’s own SilentWings 3 140mm PWM fans fitted – one front intake, one rear exhaust – but there is support for up to eight fans in total, so despite what the exterior suggests, this case is very capable of housing high-airflow setups. The only area where airflow might struggle is the roof, since there is no ventilation at all directly above the front or middle fan mounts here.
The I/O panel is easy to access and populated with a nice modern selection of connectors and buttons. The usual audio jacks and USB 3.0 ports are joined by a USB 3.1 Type-C port that uses the new internal header – finally! There is a fan control slider too, which can control up to six fans via the internal hub, moving them through three fixed speeds or the Auto setting, which hands control over to your motherboard instead via one of its PWM headers.
Meanwhile, the power and reset buttons are complemented by a lighting control button. RGB lighting strips run down the sides of the front panel and trace around the edges of the front feet as well. Each press of the button moves through a different colour and effect, with single-colour options including white, red, green, blue, orange, and purple, each of which can be either static or breathing. There’s also a breathing mode that cycles through these colours in turn, an off setting, or a motherboard-controlled mode which is toggled by holding the button down for three seconds.
The Dark Base 700 is properly protected against dust intrusion at the front and at the bottom. Both of these filters require you to remove the front panel, but these is easily achieved. With it removed, you can then unclip the front filter and slide out the full-length lower one for cleaning.