be quiet! Silent Base 600 Windowed (Orange) Case Review

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be quiet! Silent Base 600 Windowed (Orange) Case Review 1

Introduction

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Manufacturer: be quiet!
Model: Silent Base 600 Windowed (Orange)
Price (UK): £96.82 @ Amazon.co.uk (at time of review)
Price (US): $135.00 @ Amazon.com (at time of review)

be quiet! are a German company mostly known for their cooling and power supplies. be quiet! more recently branched out into the chassis industry, which is exactly what we are going to be looking at today. We’ve covered be quiet! products in the past here at Play3r, and we have always been impressed with the quality as well as the value of these items. With this reputation, we hope to find be quiet! delivered again with another product in the form of the Silent Base 600.

The Silent Base series debuted a while ago now along with the Silent Base 800, which more recently expanded with the addition of the Silent Base 600 and windowed counterparts. The one we have to look at today is the Silent Base 600 with a windowed side panel, and it’s the orange trimmed model.

As is suggested in the name, the Silent Base 600 aims to provide the highest level of noise-prevention and cooling possible, whilst not sacrificing on compatibility/capacity for higher end hardware. This is evident on their website where be quiet! make an emphasis on noise and cooling being kept at optimal levels. It is the case with their cooling products as they aim to make low-noise products that offer high-end cooling performance. be quiet! aim to carry the same philosophy over with their case design which is something other noise-optimised cases have struggled to achieve a balance within the past.

Specifications

Model BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 (Windowed) Orange
Motherboard Support ATX, Micro ATX, ITX
Dimensions 495mm(L) x 230mm(W) x 493mm(H)
Maximum GPU Length 413mm without HDD cage installed
294mm with HDD cage installed
Maximum CPU Cooler Height 170mm
Maximum PSU Length 290mm without bottom fan installed
160mm with bottom fan installed
5.25″ Hard Drive bays 3
3.5″ Hard Drive bays 3 with HDD bay installed
0 without HDD bay installed
2.5″ Hard Drive bays 3 with HDD bay installed
2 without HDD bay installed
Expansion Slots 7
Fans included 140mm (front), 120mm (rear)
Cooling Layout Front: 2x 140mm
Rear: 1x 120mm
Top: 2x 140/120mm
Bottom: 1x 140/120mm
Radiator Compatibility Front: 1x 120/140mm

Top: 1x 240/280mm

Rear: 1x 120mm

Dust Filters Front and Bottom
Front I/O Fan controller (3x 3 pin), 2x USB3.0, 2x USB2.0, 3.5mm headphone & microphone.

 

Closer Look: Exterior

Inside the be quiet! packaging is their printed manual along with the case which was protected by a pair of hard foam bumpers. The packaging is adequate to avoid any damage during transit. The case was also surrounded by a cloth sheet to prevent scratching/marking.

Opening the box gave me a bit of a surprise. I am used to cases with silence in mind being on the heavier side with the extra insulation on the side panels and front, however, the Silent Base 600 comes in at just over 9KG. It’s certainly not the lightest case but it’s not a battle-tank either. Most of the weight reduction compared to other silent cases is owed to the materials used for construction. be quiet! used ABS plastic with a matte black finish to construct the outer portions of the case. While it doesn’t feel as premium as a metal design, it certainly doesn’t feel cheap. It gives off a nice dull shine and is free of any blemishes that would disturb the look.

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Top

At the front, we are greeted with a large power button, and it’s fairly stiff so it should be hard to accidentally press. Although, it does seem to wobble a bit in its socket. The button goes down evenly on all corners, so it’s quite satisfying to press and not mushy.

Accompanying the power switch is the front I/O which consists of a fairly standard layout with two USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports, along with 3.5mm headphone & microphone jacks.

There isn’t much to say about the I/O as there’s nothing missing but nothing exceptional either. I do however prefer the use of upwards facing ports as it reduces the risk of people damaging anything plugged in as they walk by the front of the system. be quiet!’s angled design unfortunately could be prone to this problem. However the use of angled ports does make inserting USB devices easier as visibility is better.
BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Front-1

The main assembly at the front is a brushed plastic design which is popular with case manufacturers for establishing a more premium look to a case without a large material cost. The finish be quiet! used here proved to be rather fingerprint resistant which is a bonus as these finishes do tend to catch fingerprints quite well.

Either side of the main front panel is a set of vents to help air be drawn into the case by the pre-installed front fan. Surrounding these is the orange accent which gives off a nice tone and adds to the overall aesthetic of the case in a positive manner. The front panel is in two pieces, the upper part swings out to access the 5.25″ drive bays and the switch for the fan controller. Through this door you can also access the front dust filter which slides up vertically for cleaning.

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Orange outline_notsodusty

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Front open

At the rear of the case there’s nothing out of the ordinary. The power supply is situated at the bottom and the back area is mostly perforated to allow air to exhaust. At the back you can see the pre-installed be quiet! Pure Wings fan. Also at the back you’ll find the 7 expansion slots for PCIe expansion.

Along with the rest of the metal construction they have a nice black finish to complete the look. On the underside is a large dust filter that will keep any power supply and lower fan you install clear of dust. The dust filter pulls out from the back and has a little grip extending from under the case. I found it required a fair bit of force to get out of its installed position but it got a little bit easier after doing it a few times.

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Lower Filter_1

The side panel of the Silent Base has a clear square window which allows you to see the interior, the window is of generous size which means you can have vision of all the main components in the system. It’s surrounded by a small orange ring akin to the vents found on the front panel.

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Panel

The outside of the Silent Base 600 is a good start, it looks great and the use of orange was tastefully applied – as making entire components orange would’ve been going a bit too far for my liking. I would’ve preferred it if the front door was in one piece and the entire thing opened rather than be quiet! cutting it in half for the drive bay door.

Closer Look: Interior

Inside the case is a fairly spacious interior that will make building in the Silent Base 600 easy. The standoffs are pre-installed on the motherboard tray to the point that they’re actually part of the case. The Silent Base 600 uses raised bumps which line up with the standard motherboard holes depending on form-factor.

To make motherboard installation easier be quiet! opted to make the center standoff protrude so you can line up the board easily when installing it, which is a nice touch that makes the build process a little bit more convenient. The standoffs are labeled to indicate what form factor(s) should be using them.

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Main tray

The motherboard tray features a large gap that will make installation of any cooler a straightforward task without disassembling the entire system. The space provided would be sufficient for all the form factors this case supports. Surrounding the motherboard tray are holes filled with rubber grommets coloured orange for builders to route their cables through.

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Grommet

As mentioned the power supply sits in the bottom of the case, there’s ample room for large power supplies. Next to it is space for a 140 or 120mm fan which I like, it’s useful for feeding air to your graphics cards. It’s worth noting that you can only use this fan space if your PSU is below 160mm in physical length, although modular cable connectors may also impede access.

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 PSU bay

At the lower right of the case is the removable drive bay which offers support for three 3.5″ drives and a single 2.5″ drive, by default it is placed in the lower position although it can be moved to the top.

be quietrightly assumed that most people would either remove it completely or use the lower position, as the top position would limit the length of graphics cards. Users hoping to use multiple long expansion cards (in particular- graphics cards) are likely to also need to remove the bay from the lower position.

I do think be quiet! could’ve just provided two removable drive cages and offered six 3.5″ bays, but I imagine they felt most people buying this case would not be using more than a few drives. Removing the drive bay was easy enough, there were two thumbscrews at the bottom and then a single screw that threads through the back of the case to hold it in position.

It is installed on a sliding rail which was not immediately clear as I expected the bay to come off freely after removing three screws, sliding the bay off the rail required a fair bit of force. I feel be quiet! could’ve implemented an easier system on the Silent Base 600 for removing the 3.5″ HDD bay, but the system in place certainly works.

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Drive bay

Along with the manual that came with the box, tied in at the front of the case is the accessory pack. Inside you get some assorted screws, cable ties and some insulation for the 3.5″ drive installation. There’s also a wire-lock should the cable ties not be sufficient to hold the cables in place.

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Accessories 2BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Manual BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Accessories 1

It would’ve been nice if each bag was labelled with the purpose of the screw, but the manual does provide this information with diagrams of the screw.

At the top right of the case are the three 5.25″ optical drive bays. Support for three 5.25″ drives is quite surprising, a lot of cases have been ditching them altogether. I am not sure I agree with be quiet!’s choice to provide three bays as it does limit some hardware options which I am going to touch on later. I think two bays would’ve been plenty here as it gives the option for a watercooling reservoir, or use of separate Blu-ray/DVD drives.

Taking off the front panel reveals the pre-installed 140mm be quiet! fan. The fans included in the Silent Base 600 are of retail quality; from the Pure Wings 2 series which is a nice bonus. Some cases come with inferior or lower quality fans to save on cost. It’s nice to see be quiet! not cutting corners with the pre-installed fans.

According to be quiet! documentation the front fan is configured to spin at a fairly low 900 RPM to help reduce noise. be quiet! also included noise dampening grommets around the screws to assist with this. Above that is the space for the three 5.25″ drives and the switch for the fan controller.

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Front fan-1

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Front area

Removing the top shows the space for the 2 fans that a user can install in the roof of the case. Both spaces are open by default as be quiet! did not install any fans at the top of the Silent Base 600. The top of the Silent Base 600 offers a range for installing 120mm fans to help move them away for the motherboard, which is a nice touch for those hoping to use an AIO watercooler. The 140mm fans can only be installed in a fixed position. Other than a few extra perforations around the vent area found on the case’s exterior there isn’t much more in the top of the Silent Base 600.

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Top-1

At the rear of the interior is the second of the two pre-installed Pure Wings 2 fans. The rear fan is a 1200 RPM model and also has rubber grommets to help reduce vibration through the case. I appreciate the high quality fans provided in the Silent Base 600.

Directly underneath the are 3 rubber water cooling grommets for anyone running external radiators. I suspect most people will not do this as the top of the case does not support external radiator installation without taking the top off. They’re not entirely necessary but it’s nice to have. The I/O area is positioned just next to the fan. Beneath all this is the 7 expansion slots which all feature thumb-screws. Other than this there’s just perforations in the metal body to allow air to naturally ventilate.

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Case rear

 

The Build

Building in the Silent Base was frankly rather easy. Getting the I/O shield in was not a problem due to the high quality construction, some cases can flex with the harsh pushing. The built in standoffs are a nice touch, particularly for those with large hands. The use of the protruding standoff also made board installation a little more hands-off (literally) as I didn’t have to hold the board against the I/O shield to line it up with the rest of the standoff holes.

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Backsite

Installing the power supply was equally painless, there was plenty of space to put the unit in without clearance issues. After installing the unit I could fit all the cables through the provided rubber grommets. There is also lots of room behind the motherboard to fit all the cables. At the top of the case there is a large enough area to route cables through, this is a great addition to any case as it means the CPU power cable does not need to run across the board.

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 PSU install

Connecting the front I/O cables was fairly straightforward, it would’ve been even better if be quiet! had added a small hole over the PSU for the HD Audio connector- an addition I’ve seen in some other cases. The provided LED/Button cables are a little bit fiddly. The coating on the LED/Button cables was also not perfect, some of the original colour showed as they were twisted before being coated.

Making use of the SSD bay was easy, although the screws are small and fiddly to install the SSD to the mounting plate that goes behind the motherboard. A clamping mechanism might be a more user friendly alternative. Installing a 3.5″ drive into the bay as was also very easy using the provided rubber grommets and there’s plenty of space in the large grommets to route the SATA data cables through to the board.

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 SSD installed

Trying to install an AIO watercooler exposed the biggest flaw with the Silent Base 600, installing an AIO in the front just isn’t possible due to the slightly longer radiator length of the built in reservoir causing an obstruction. This is where that 3rd 5.25″ ODD bay comes back to bite, given that I’d wager more gamer’s are running AIO watercooling than they are three 5.25″ drives in 2016. I do feel be quiet! really made a mistake with the addition of the 3rd drive bay.

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Clearance issue_white correction

After failing to install the 240mm AIO in the front I looked to the top which I hoped would be more promising with its AIO designed 120mm fan mounting, sadly I didn’t have much success. I managed to install the AIO however it was pushing down into the RAM that was in the slot, and I was using ram that was only 40mm tall. Installing the AIO also required me to remove the rear 120mm fan due to clearance issues, although once the unit was in place re-installing the fan was possible provided I removed the rubber dampening.

With this it was quite clear the Silent Base 600 is more tuned for air cooling, so I opted to use a be quiet! Shadow Rock (slim) cooler to match the aesthetic of the case. There were no issues with this cooler or larger ones due to the generous max cooler height.

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Cooler-1

Routing the cables was very easy in the Silent Base 600. There’s a large space behind the motherboard tray (approx 18mm) which allowed me to fit all the cables to the relevant hardware components without any problems, including the 2.5″ SSD that I installed on the rear-tray.

Installing the graphics card posed no problems, with my configuration I could leave the 3.5″ HDD bay installed as it should not impede access to the top slot. Around the motherboard the grommets allowed me to route the power cables through from the back of the board rather than bring them over the front making it very easy to build a sleek PC. There’s nothing wrong with the case in the cable management area.

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Finished build

The finished product as such as a nice, organised gaming PC with plenty of space to work with.

Thermal Performance

To test the thermal performance of the Silent Base 600 I will run my computer through 2 of the hardest tests it can run- Prime95 Small FFT and the 3DMark Firestrike Ultra preset. These tests are to ensure that even under extreme load the Silent Base 600 has enough airflow to keep the system at operative temperatures.

The test system is as follows:

CPU Intel Core i7-4930K @ 4.2GHz 1.25V
Motherboard ASUS Rampage IV Formula
CPU Cooling be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim
GPU Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X

 

The i7-4930K CPU is overclocked to a moderate 4.2GHz, and the R9 290 GPU is left running its default AMD profile. The Silent Base 600 is left in the default fan configuration running the lowest speed.

Testing methodology:

CPU Temperature:

  • Average core temperature after 5 minutes of Prime95 SmallFFT

GPU Temperature:

  • Peak temperature recorded during 3DMark Firestrike Ultra

CPU temp_1

The Silent Base 600 does very well in the CPU temperature test. The CPU ran at the upper end of the recommended spec but did not exceed it at 81c (178F). The Silent Base 600’s rear-installed fan was definitely doing its job very well as a simple check with my hand showed it was exhausting a lot of hot air. The noise levels were also very good during this test, they were at audible levels but not loud. A delta of 56c (101F) is a good result for an overclocked 120W TDP CPU.

GPU temp_1

The Silent base 600 passes the GPU test with flying colours. The maximum temperature of 67c (153F) captured during the tests run-time is far below the AMD rated temperature of 95c on the R9 290. The test was run just after the CPU test finished which shows the Silent Base 600 is good at dissipating heat quickly.

Overall the Silent Base 600 offers very strong thermal characteristics. The smart airflow design and the premium quality fans included make it a very good option for overclocked gaming PCs using high end hardware. While it didn’t quite maintain “silence” the noise levels were very good. I wouldn’t expect this level of noise to interfere with a user’s experience.

Conclusion

The be quiet! Silent Base 600 is a case that combines good looks, quiet operation and strong cooling performance. It’s definitely worth a look at for your next case purchase.

Limited water cooling options may cause some people to look elsewhere when choosing a case, yet the be quiet! Silent Base 600 is a solid choice for air cooled gaming computers. In addition with other products from be quiet! it’s possible to build a really sleek looking computer. Which is definitely what they want you to do.

The mostly tool free construction was well thought out and there is plenty of space behind the motherboard to route cables, this makes the Silent Base 600 very easy to work with even for first time builders. Compatibility with most motherboards and long graphics cards will make this a versatile option for upgrades in the future.

The case is fairly large at 495mm x 230mm x 493mm so the lack of E-ATX support is a bit disappointing, be quiet! could’ve added support for this as smaller cases have done it. Luckily E-ATX is not very common on mainstream boards, currently it is almost exclusive to the enthusiast platform premium boards.

BeQuiet! Silent Base 600 Orange - Cover

The Silent Base 600 is certainly not a bad case. Some of the questionable design choices and limiting water cooling are a bit of a letdown. A successor that resolves these problems would be an even more compelling option. With this in mind, it’s worth buying or looking at for your next PC if you like the be quiet! aesthetic and the large side window. The case offers strong noise control with the included 3x3pin fan controller and the sound dampening materials.

The Silent Base 600 isn’t for everyone. As a result of the Silent Base’s faults I cannot tag it as a “go-to” with the RRP of £94.99. The price is close to many cases that do not share the problems of the Silent Base 600.

With this said I am comfortable to give the Silent Base 600 a Silver Award. What the Silent Base 600 does right it does very well, although the caveats with water cooling prevent me from giving the Silent Base 600 a gold award.

The Play3r Silver Award

Learn more about our awards here at Play3r.

This case was provided for review by be quiet!, to who we extend our thanks.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Can I ask you to check something, I have just gotten the larger Silent base 800 and was watching an online video and I only just discovered this neat trick. The manual was pretty rubbish and I still cant see it mentioned but the 3 drive bay cage can actually be unscrewed and can be slid into the optical bay cage freeing up the bottom and front of the cage for radiators etc. Not so great with this case if you want an optical drive but with my case I do actually have a 4th free optical drive bay.

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