The CPU delta T result of 53°C is mid-league, which is to be expected from a chassis designed for low noise. It just manages to beat the similarly priced NZXT H630, and the cheaper Deep Silence 2 and Cooltek Antiphon are trumped by the Silent Base 800 too – all three of these are low noise cases. Fractal Design's Define R4 manages a best case result of 49°C, though that's at full speed, where it is certainly louder than the Silent Base 800. Be Quiet!'s chassis is certainly quiet; the fans are hard to hear (particularly the front ones) and it did a better job than the vast majority of others in dampening the noise from our GPU. At minimum speed, the Fractal Define R4 is super quiet but 3°C warmer than Be Quiet!; this range of temperatures and noise from Fractal demonstrates the advantage of having onboard fan control by allowing users to pick between performance or low noise (or somewhere in between) out of the box.
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The GPU result of 54°C is a little disappointing, even when bearing in mind the low noise output. Only four cases in the charts did as badly or worse than this, and three out of four of these are low noise cases running at minimum speed. The issue is likely a combination of the slow spinning intake fans coupled with minimal intake ventilation. We retested the Silent Base 800 with both drive cages completely removed, but the results stayed the same – this at least indicates that the HDD cages do not restrict airflow in any meaningful way.
While the external design of the Be Quiet! Silent Base 800 is certainly eye-catching, especially with the orange version, the case is still a fairly standard affair. The low noise features are good (we really like the decoupling of the fans, PSU and HDDs), but ultimately it doesn't bring much new to the table and, while it's certainly quiet, the cooling performance isn't really an improvement over other low noise cases we've seen. It's certainly not as exciting a launch as when Phanteks entered the case market. In all honesty, that's fair enough – there's good reason for playing it relatively safe, as in such a crowded market it would be all too easy to stand out for the wrong reasons. For the most part, Be Quiet!'s first case is easy to work with and relatively flexible, and it should certainly be commended for that.
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However, there are also a fair few criticisms that can be levelled at the Silent Base 800 as well. For starters, we think the case would benefit greatly from better water-cooling support out of the box and an onboard fan controller too, especially as both of these features are likely to appeal to low-noise enthusiasts in particular. The default GPU cooling is also uninspiring, and the only way to realistically improve it would be by sacrificing the low noise output to some degree. As mentioned, usability is very good, but we think some minor improvements could be made both to the cable routing facilities and the build quality, though both are still above average.
In the end, it's a close call, but at £93 we think the Silent Base 800 is too expensive to be award-worthy. It's certainly a good chassis, but in a market full of good mid-tower offerings, that's not quite enough. For example, the low-noise Fractal Design R4 may ship with one less fan, but it has better cooling and onboard fan control as well as comparble hardware support in a smaller design for £20 less. Meanwhile, the similarly priced Phanteks Enthoo Pro may not be directly aimed at low-noise enthusiasts, but it has better water-cooling support as well as nice extra touches like the PSU cover, window and PWM hub.