Table of Contents
We have been looking at be quiet! heatsinks (the Pure Rock and the Dark Rock). We saw the Silent Base 800. Now we are reviewing the Silent Base 600. The Silent Base 600 is a mid-tower being sold as a premium case. Is this a premium case? Let’s look.
Be quiet! sells a number of quiet-oriented products from PSU’s, to fans, to heatsinks, and more. Their focus, as their names implies, is on quiet products. They also focus on selling high-quality products. The be quiet! Silent Base 600 shares features with the Silent Base 800, and is similar to it in many ways. We will cover some of those ways. But let be quiet! describe their own case. In their press release, they promise: “Proven feature set with a compact design. . . Minimal operating noise thanks to innovative cooling concept. . . Generous space, easy handling and Window option.” On their product page, be quiet! highlights the main features of their Silent Base cases. It is fairly generic. But on their product page for the Silent Base 600, they provide some specific features:
Very Silent Operation
- The innovative construction of the front, side and top covers optimize case airflow for perfect air circulation, reducing turbulence and generating superior cooling at lower fan speeds for exceedingly quiet operation
- Sound insulation material on the side panel and the front also reduces vibrations and provides even more stability
- The side panel with an innovative double-glazed window and a cavity of 9mm between the panes of the window provides superb sound insulation
- Two pre-installed Pure Wings 2 fans (one Pure Wings 2 140mm in the front, one Pure Wings 2 120mm at the rear) include an array of optimizations for quiet airflow
- unique airflow-optimized fan blade design reduces noise-generating fan turbulence
- high-quality sleeved bearing
- switching, noise-cancelling circuitry
- fans are decoupled from the case with special mounts, reducing transmission of vibration and noise
- Hard drive cage features unique, specially designed silicone rubber anti-vibration rails that fully decouple drives to eliminate any transmission of vibration to the case
And this was just the first section of “Feature Details.” That section was preceded by a section on the features in general, and followed by four more sections on feature details. Their product page is well worth a visit.
In typical (for them) fashion, be quiet! has favored us with this exhaustive set of specifications from the Technical Data tab of their product page:
Silent Base 600 | Window Orange
ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
Case size excl. stands (L x W x H), (mm)
Case size incl. stands (L x W x H), (mm)
495 x 230 x 493
Dimensions side panel window (L x W), (mm)
325 x 325
HD Audio I/O
Fan mounting locations
ABS Plastic, Rubber
Drive Bay Capacity
HDD Cage Specifications
HDD cages total
Removable HDD cage
Relocatable HDD cage
Fan @ front
1 x be quiet! Pure Wing 2 |140mm 900rpm
Fan @ rear
1 x be quiet! Pure Wings 2 | 120mm 1,200rpm
Dimensions (L x W x H), (mm)
Front: 140 x 140 x 25, Rear: 120 x 120 x 25
Fan speed @ 12V (rpm)
Front: 900, Rear: 1,200
Noise level @ 12V (dB(A))
Front: 17.1, Rear: 16.8
Air flow @ 12V (cfm / m3/h)
Front: 55.8, Rear: 41.7
Air pressure @ 12V (mm H2O)
Front: 0.6, Rear: 0.9
Voltage range (V DC)
Input power (W)
Front: 1.08, Rear: 1.04
Input current (A)
Lifespan (h / 25°C)
up to 80,000
3-step fan controller
Optional Fan Installation
2x 140/ 120
1x 140/ 120
Side panel (mm)
Optional water cooling system (radiator in mm)
Front: 120/140, Rear: 120, Top: 120/140/240
Max.construction height of CPU cooler unit (mm)
up to 170
Maximum dimensions excl. bottom fan (mm)
Maximum dimensions incl. bottom fan (mm)
Upper HDD cage installed (mm)
Without upper HDD cage (mm)
Insulation and Damping
Front panel insulation mats
Side panel insulation mats
Anti-vibration decoupled HDD
Anti-vibration decoupled fan
Anti-vibration decoupled PSU
Removable Dust Filters
#6-32 Round head screws (pcs.)
M3 HDD screws (pcs.)
M3 x 8 Flat head screws (pcs.)
#6-32 x 5 Flat head screws (pcs.)
M3 x 5 Round head screws (pcs.)
#6-32 Hex head screws (pcs.)
#6-32 x30 Flat head screws (pcs.)
Rubber rail (pcs.)
Cable tie long (pcs.)
Cable tie short (pcs.)
Cable tie holder (pcs.)
International hotline / free of charge
✓ / DE, FR
Logistics Data, RRP
Silent Base 600
Dimensions, package (L x W x H), (mm)
550 x 305 x 572
Gross weight, package (kg)
Pieces per packaging unit
If you have a question about the specs of this case, the above should answer it. As measured, the Silent Base 600 stands 19-1/2 inches tall (497 mm), and is 19-3/4 inches long (502 mm) counting the thumbscrews at the back.
Interesting: the steel box that comprises the Silent Base 600 is 440 mm tall and 450 mm long. The steel box of the Silent Base 800 is 440 mm tall and 450 mm long. I know because I measured both. So what’s the difference between the 800 and the 600? The 800 has a taller plastic top and a plastic base. It has two HD cages instead of one. The rear-pull filter is held on by the bottom cover in the 800, with channels or rails on the 600, as we shall see.
The Silent Base 600 comes in a plain cardboard box, not one covered in ink like its big brother, the Silent Base 800. But on this box you will find diagrams, exploded diagrams and lots of text to tell you about the case.
The case is protected with a paper cloth bag surrounded top and bottom with Styrofoam end caps. As they did for the 800, be quiet! provides a foam cushion for the rear of the case.
Here we see the side window with its external protective layer of sticky plastic stripped off. From the double size of the photographer’s head you can see that there are indeed two Plexiglas surfaces in this widow. Further, there is an inner layer of protective plastic. You have to work to scratch one of these surfaces.
The other side of the case has an extensible vent. As we shall see later, you can put a fan there. An interesting tidbit: you can take a side panel off the 800 and put it on the 600. I know, because I did it.
The back of the case has a 120 mm fan, seven PCIE slots and a place at the bottom for a PSU. A top view shows . . . what are those? Slits to pass air? This case may fit fans on the top, but not much air will get out this way. At the front we see the angled IO panel. That should make the IO devices – microphone, headphones, 2 USB2 and 2 USB3 – usable whether the case is on your desk or on the floor.
A front view shows that the top part of the front panel is hinged. We will see later that the hinges can be switched from side to side. Behind that opened door we can see the top of the front fan filter, which has been pulled up a little bit to show it more clearly. This is actually a clever way by be quiet! of filtering the front intake fans without going to the expense of adding a second hinged panel. In this view you can also see covers for three 5.25” slots, a fan control switch and a front view of the IO panel.
A look at the bottom shows you four sturdy broad feet worthy of an elephant. The filter will cover the PSU intake and a single fan. But other than the filter rails (I promised you those), all we see are rivets. The importance of that will appear later. The filter pulls out the back to reveal a typical grill.
When you take off the back cover off the Silent Base 600, you can see the acoustic attenuation foam (sound deadening material). The forward end of the side panel is open, so the cover can be shut by sliding it. The clips on the top and bottom hold the panel shut against the steel box structure of the case. By the way, this panel is identical to ones you will find on the Silent Base 800.
The closeup shows you that the vent can be repositioned. This is less important when you are dealing with a behind-the-motherboard panel, as here. It becomes more important if your case does not come with a window – like the Silent Base 800 I reviewed. The re-use of side panels is nice, because I can turn that case into a windowed version if I want to.
Here are two of the thumbscrews that hold a side panel on the Silent Base 600 or 800. Notice that the thumbscrews have pilot shafts. This is a feature that should come with most thumbscrews.
When you take the vent off, you find a fake filter. Look how much air this perforated piece of plastic obstructs. Further, the holes are too big to really stop dust. Bad.
With the case wide open, you can see the 120 mm fan, the huge CPU window in the motherboard and the tool-free latches for the 5.25” slots. That box on the right on top of the HD cage is the accessories box.
Flipping the case around, you can see the back of the motherboard tray. It lacks cable tie-down points. You can see the case cables routed down the front of the motherboard tray, as is typical of cases these days. You can get a glimpse of the side panel window through the HD cage. Note that there are no latches on this side of the 5.25” cage. The other thing — you can hardly see it here — is the aperture for the EPS12V cable. It has a nice size. I recommend that when you build your system, if you have a modular PSU, plug in the motherboard end of the CPU cable, thread it through the EPS12V aperture, then fasten down your motherboard? PSU’s CPU cable not modular? See further down in this review.
This is what the 2.5” carriers look like up close. There are two of them, so you can put two SSD’s on this side of the motherboard.
Flipping around to the main cavity on the left side of the case, we get a closer view of the motherboard mounts. Unlike many cases, the threaded spots of the motherboard screws are raised. You only need standoffs if you use a mATX board. Note that the center position has a king pin, which makes it much easier to mount a motherboard.
In a closeup of the HD cage, the open cagework on the side becomes apparent. This case puts up little resistance to cooling airflow. It is attached with a thumbscrew at the back, attached by a spacer to the motherboard tray. There are also two thumbscrews in front. They screw into a base that elevated the thumbscrews above the side rail of the case. That side rail stiffens the case, so you can’t get rid of it. But the HD base is riveted to the floor of the case. Consequences later.
Looking at an angled view of the top of the case from the bottom, the eight dimples for ATX motherboard screws stand out. So do the six slots open for airflow. You are thinking that is not much allowance for airflow, and you’re right. The last thing you should notice is the plastic plate for the HD cage. The Silent Base has two HD cages, one of which fits into the slots on the HD plate. In the 600, the plate has another use.
Here we see the HD plate’s architecture. It clearly differs from the fixed base. Here the slot rails surround the outward-facing rails of the top of the HD cage. Below the plate, the rails on the fixed base face outwards, just like the top of the HD cage.
Here we see the plate flipped over from its original orientation and turned 90 degrees in addition. The plate has two positions. Here we see it in the back position. The next picture shows the HD cage. People with sharp eyes (or a good memory) will note that the HD cage is upside down, compared to its previous position. Yes, this means that you can put your 3.5” hard drives in the 5.25” bay – up to three of them. This is probably be quiet! noticing that normal users might have a file drive and a backup drive on spinning platters, but the main drives are SSD’s now. Hence a rig with lots of HD’s is passé for most of us.
In order to get the front cover off, you have to push in six tabs, three on the left, three on the right. You must remove the front cover to remove the top cover, so will probably get adept with these tabs.
The cover is not attached to the case with wires, as you can see. We can see the fan filter, three slot covers for the 5.25” bay, the naked IO cluster, and the structure of the case between the fans and the main cavity. You can see where the steel box has provision for a 3.5” device, but there is no place for it on the front cover. The structure below that is obviously there to give the case some stiffness while allowing air to pass through. This is not bad, but other cases have allowed freer airflow from the front intake fans. At least the slots are lined up with the slots in the cages, to provide the least obstruction of airflow they could manage. At the bottom, we see the lone front 140 mm fan.
For those of you who appreciate it, we have included a picture of the Silent Base 600 with its covers off. And for your delectation, a picture of the Silent Base 800 with its covers off. To me, it appears that we are looking at the same case. Basically, the steel boxes are the same. The covers and other things make these into two different cases. That argues for the soundness of the basic design, to have such versatility.
The bottom of the case has pads for the PSU, and a cushion where the PSU snugs up against the rear of the case. This is obviously designed to reduce vibrations caused by the PSU from reaching your tender ears. At this point the case cables are still bundled. You can see the USB3 plug. What you can’t see is that the audio plug has an HD Audio plug. Mercifully it omits the AC’97 co-plug.
A view of the top of the Silent Base 600 shows that it has no hint of a grill up here. Since grills are best at restricting airflow and not much else, its absence here should be applauded. It’s too bad that any airflow will be obstructed by a nearly-solid top, as we have seen. Now, for those of you who have a PSU with an EPS12V cable that is attached at the PSU end: there is plenty of room here to feed the EPS12V cable through the back. Further, you will be able to reach in through the hole in the top of the case to plug in your EPS12V cable. So whether your PSU is modular or not, be quiet! has you covered.
The next series of pictures will cover switching the front door hinge from one side to the other. Like its big brother the 800, the Silent Base 600 starts with the hinge on the left side. This makes little sense if a windowed version of the case sits to the right of you on your desk. It makes sense only if you intend to show off your system to passers-by. So we will start with a picture of the back of the front cover. In the lower right corner, we have the fixed hinge piece that attaches to the cover holding down the movable hinge piece that attaches to the door. Take your time. Click the picture to enlarge it. Get a feel for it. Then look at where the fixed hinge piece is fastened on the cover. Unscrew the fixed hinge piece, take it out, and move it to the other side. Push the movable hinge piece through, then fasten the fixed hinge piece so that it is pressing down on the ears of the movable hinge piece.
The second picture shows what the movable hinge piece should look like when it has been properly fastened by the fixed hinge piece. The movable hinge piece should move freely, with just a bit of plastic-on-plastic drag.
On the inside of the door, you have rubber bumpers that are held to the door by fan screws. Pull off the bumpers and move the screws to the other side. Note that there is acoustic foam on this door. That cylindrical extrusion in the lower right corner is where the hinge used to attach.
This is a complete picture of the front door. At the top, there are two rubber bumpers. At the bottom, the movable hinge pieces screw onto the door. Now this door is set to open out left — the same direction as the window. Regardless of the marketing that advertises this as a tool-free case, if you want to do something as needful as switching the hinge direction of the door, you will need at least one tool – A Phillips screwdriver.
This picture of the inside of the front cover shows how the front 5.25” slot covers work. Simply squeeze in, and out they come.
The second picture shows the accessories. Note the two standoffs. They come in handy when you are mounting an mATX board. Otherwise, you won’t need them. Next note the four fan screws for the front of the case if you want to install a second front fan. There is also a stick-on cable anchor point. At the bottom of the picture are the HD side rails. See below for details.
Building a system in the Silent Base 600
We will start our build with humble beginnings: the hard drive and the SSD. The side rails that attach to the hard drives go into slots in the HD cage in an agnostic manner. Even though the HD cage goes into the 5.25” bay upside down, the hard drives are never upside down. Further, the orange rails are made of soft rubber to attenuate any vibrations coming from the hard drives. Note that the thumbscrews that attach the rails to the hard drive are shorter that the thumbscrews you see elsewhere in this case. They also have no pilot shaft. That is because these thumbscrews go into blind screwholes. Check out a hard drive for yourself.
The second picture shows an SSD on its back, with tiny screws attaching them to the SSD holders you find on the back of the motherboard tray. Tool-less construction? Hardly.
Next, cooling. I placed a 140 mm fan in both top positions in the top of the case. It fit the holes. No surprise. I then tried to put an EK Predator up at the top. After a lot of horsing it around, I got it to fit. It’s a big sucker – 295 mm long, 133 mm wide and 68 mm tall. It’s bigger than other rads and AIO’s. I got the AIO in, but then I couldn’t get the motherboard to go in. The pictures I have don’t do the fiasco justice. So I gave that up and decided that you can’t fit an EK Predator in a Silent Base. Then I turned to a slightly smaller AIO, and got it to fit.
The fans obstruct your view of the top of the motherboard, so we will get an angled view. We can see, then, that although the fans have down across the top of the motherboard, they do so away from the board, so they can cohabitate.
But there are only six little slots in the top cover. Very little air will get up through there. What we need to do is put our AIO in front. But it wouldn’t fit. So I tried putting a bare rad up front. It wouldn’t fit. It seemed not to fit because the HD base is in the way. That, by the way, is how I discovered that the base is riveted in place. While I don’t mind taking a drill to rivets, we have now entered the realm of case modding. If we do that, we are well away from a tool-free case. Yes?
So here is your minimum build. It has a hard drive and an SSD. The hard drive uses a USB cable that has a right-angle connector at this end and a straight connector for the motherboard. The SSD connectors are both straight. The huge CPU window on the motherboard tray shows wide margins around the backplate. The power cables hardly needed tie-down points. Tying the ATX24 cable to the motherboard cable bundle was the extent of the tying needed here.
At the back of the motherboard we have 22 mm to the edge of the case. This is 7/8 inches. Again, this is the same as for the Silent Base 800.
A picture of the inside of the case shows it ready for the cover and the start of the test. Note the rubber side rails on the hard drive. A close angle view from the front shows that the NH-D14 barely had room to spare here.
Intel i7 860 HT
4 x 2 GB G.Skill
Kingston V+ 100
Hard Drive 1
3.5” 1 TB Seagate
SeaSonic X 650 (fanless
NH-D14 with no
OCCT 3.10, small
The NH-D14 was installed several cases ago. That makes all the cases tested since then strictly comparable. We don’t have to worry about mount variation.
OCCT 3.10 running a small data set produces a flat core temperature curve. This produced a set of four core temps, which were automatically logged. The ambient temperature was measured with the USB thermometer and automatically logged. The temp for the first core was averaged. The mean ambient temp was subtracted from the mean core temp to get the net core temp. The mean ambient temp was about 21 °C.
Sound Pressure Levels were measured one meter in front of the case in a basement where the ambient SPL was 30 – 31 dBA, which sounds like dead silence to the human ear. The SPL was reported both as total and as net (measured SPL minus the ambient sound level). The cases were all provided as review samples.
Results of testing
Look at the top graph for a moment. It looks like the Silent Base 600 is at the top of the cooler group of cases. The CPU is nearly 5 °C cooler than the next best case. But look at that net SPL: only 1.5 dBA over ambient. The 600 looks to have a superb balance between cooling and silence.
Now look at the second graph. The Silent Base 600 is nearly the quietest case tested. Considering a range of variance of 1 dBA, it may be the quietest case among the seven in this roundup – eight if you count the raised top as being a separate case. Not that any of these cases are loud – the top seven range from 32 to 34 dBA at 1 meter. But when you get down this low over ambient, decibels count.
The be quiet! Silent Base 600 is ONE quiet case that does better than average cooling. Nice. Further: with a double-glazed window and padded panels, this case will keep any noise you make inside, where it belongs.
Maybe the case will be a hair louder if you put a second fan in the front. But maybe you won’t want to do that. Maybe it’s not needed. The Silent Base 600 is very quiet.
Working in the Silent Base 600 was a contrast between ease and careful work. If you want to get at those fiddly little screws in the 5.25″ bay for example, you will need a shorty Phillips screwdriver. But if all you do is put a 5.25″ device in a slot, you won’t need any tool. Yet on the third hand (the gripping hand, anyone?) when you mount your SSD you will need a Phillips screwdriver. Tool required for that. You will also need that Phillips screwdriver to mount the motherboard. Maybe you will use thumbscrews to fasten the PSU. Maybe you will use screws. Not exactly tool-free, eh?
If you don’t have access to the rear of your case, you will have to move it to clean the bottom filter: it pulls out the back. The designers at be quiet! need to extend something so that the filter pulls out the front. Then users won’t have to move it to clean the bottom filter.
The Silent Base 600 shows the strengths of good basic design when constructing a case. It shares the inner steel box with the 800. The two make two very different cases, yet they share so much.
Availability and Price
Silent Base 600 Pros
- Quiet case
- Cools well
- Double-glazed window contributes to quietness
- Easy to work in
- Lots of fiddly work available for perfectionist tech lovers
- Built-in dimples and a king pin make installing the motherboard a snap
- No unnecessary grills
- Lack of top grill gives access to the top of the motherboard
- Support provided for putting your hard drives in the 5.25″ bay
- Door direction can be switched, though this demands a tool
- Manual is online
- Filter pulls out the back
- No room at the front for a two-fan AIO
- Restrictive slots impede airflow at the top of the case
- Fake fan filter on side panel
Ed Hume (ehume)