Cases Reviews

be quiet! Dark Base 701 Case Review

bequiet Dark Base 701

The Dark Base 701 is a mid-tower PC case from be quiet! that focuses heavily on airflow, allowing it to support the demands of a high-end gaming PC with minimal issues. In addition, the Dark Base 701 includes several practical features, such as tool-less panels and removable brackets, designed to create an optimised building experience. As a result, this chassis has the potential to be the ideal chassis for both experienced and first-time builders.

But to get a solid grasp of how this chassis compares to other mid-tower designs, we’ll take a closer look at what the Dark Base 701 offers and get hands-on with this case to build a stunning gaming PC. After building in the Dark Base 701, we’ll provide a final verdict on whether this case is suitable for those looking to build a high-end gaming PC.

$239.90 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-05-23 16:45:36 ET

Specification

Due to the Dark Base 701 being on the larger side for a mid-tower chassis, this case offers plenty of clearance for various PC components. A prime example is the 415mm GPU clearance. This is more than enough space to hold an RTX 4090, the biggest GPU available, with sufficient clearance for optimal airflow.

Additionally, the support for up to E-ATX motherboards ensures that any build housed inside the Dark Base 701 has the required connectivity. Other key areas, such as CPU cooler clearance and PSU length, can also support a variety of products, leading to greater freedom when configuring a parts list.

Key Specsbe quiet! Dark Base 701
Form FactorMid-Tower
Motherboard SupportE-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
Case Dimensions (L x W x H)565mm x 249mm x 523mm
Front IO1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C
2 x USB 3.2 Gen2
1 x Audio Jack
1 x Mic Jack
PCI-E Slots7 + 3
ColourWhite or Black
Max Clearance185mm CPU Cooler Height
415mm GPU Length
250mm PSU Length
Drive SupportUp to 3 x 2.5 inch
Up to 5 x 3.5 inch
Fan SupportSide: N/A
Top: 3 x 140mm
Front: 3 x 140mm
Rear: 1 x 140mm
PSU Shroud: N/A
Bottom: 1 x 120mm
Radiator SupportSide: N/A
Top: 360mm
Front: 360mm
Bottom: N/A
Rear: 120mm
Pre-Installed Fans3 x 140mm
MSRP$219.99

Regarding cooling, the Dark Base 701 can support up to a 360mm AIO cooler along the front or top of the internal chamber, as well as a total of eight 120mm or six 140mm fans. When fully installed, the Dark Base 701 offers a high concentration of airflow, allowing high-end parts to remain cool under intense workloads.

As for connectivity, this case includes multiple USB ports and audio jacks on the front IO. More specifically, the Dark Base 701 comes with two USB 3.2 Gen2 ports, a USB-C 3.2 Gen2 port, a 3.5mm Audio Jack, and a Mic Jack.

Suggested Article: DeepCool Morpheus PC Case Review

be quiet! Dark Base 701 Design

Unlike a lot of PC cases on the market, the Dark Base 701 sticks to a more traditional mid-tower layout instead of the fish-tank designs that continue to surge in popularity. Whilst this does restrict the viewing angles to the inside of your build, this design provides greater ventilation, which be quiet! have taken full advantage of.

Plus, this case has a trick up its sleeve that helps to create a distinct look. The standout feature on the Dark Base 701 is the RGB lighting along either side of the front panel, which provides a colourful accent to an otherwise straightforward design.

be quiet! Dark Base 701 angled

Aside from the RGB lighting at the front, the Dark Base 701 is tailored towards practicality, with several design choices indicating this. For example, the mesh front and top panels are designed to provide optimised airflow, and the integrated feet also provide cooling benefits by elevating the case off any floor or surface.

be quiet! Dark Base 701 internals

In terms of size, the Dark Base 701 is fairly large, so anyone looking to pick one up will need plenty of space within their gaming setup. Given its sheer size and weight, we suggest keeping this case on a floor or sturdy surface.

The Dark Base 701 is available in black and white, allowing this chassis to be used for a black-themed or all-white PC build. No matter which colourway you choose, the tone remains consistent throughout the design, resulting in a clean, reserved look.

Building in the be quiet! Dark Base 701

Whilst the appearance and design of a case are important factors to consider, it all means nothing if it fails to offer a satisfying build experience that is quick and hassle-free. be quiet! claim that the main objective of the Dark Base 701 is to provide ‘maximum airflow and usability’.

To find out how this focus on airflow and usability comes into play, we decided to build a gaming PC inside of the Dark Base 701. Specifically, we used the white version of this case to assemble an all-white gaming PC, featuring an RTX 4080 SUPER graphics card and a Ryzen 7 7800X3D.

Dark Base 701 + 4080 SUPER PC Build

Internal Space

Due to its larger size, the Dark Base 701 has plenty of internal space, which is not an issue throughout most of the building process. With the 415mm GPU clearance and seven PCI-E horizontal slots, the Gigabyte Aero OC RTX 4080 SUPER used for our build is easily slotted into the case. The Dark Base 701 also comes with three vertical PCI-E slots, making it possible to orient the GPU so that the fans are showing.

The CPU cooler and motherboard installation also provided very few issues in terms of spacing, with plenty of space to secure the parts in place. After seeing the amount of space left in the Dark Base 701 once the build was complete, this chassis has no problems housing a variety of builds, including custom liquid-cooled builds.

be quiet! Dark Base 701 inside

Radiator and Fan Mounting

When it comes to mounting the fans and radiator, the Dark Base 701 comes with detachable brackets on the top and front panels. This is designed to simplify the building process, as it provides greater manoeuvrability when screwing the fans and radiator into place.

Dark Base 701 + 4080 SUPER top panel removed

The inclusion of three pre-installed fans also saves time and money, as it removes the need to purchase additional fans to increase airflow. However, those wanting to pick up fans that match their AIO CPU cooler or move them around to accommodate a larger cooler can uninstall the included fans with ease.

As for compatibility, the Dark Base 701 supports up to 360mm radiators, which is more than enough to keep a high-end processor cool. In addition, a total of eight fans can be installed into the case at one time, allowing more fans to be used alongside a 360mm AIO and the three pre-installed fans.

Dark Base 701 Rad Mounting

Ease of Building

The overall building experience in the Dark Base 701 is quite pleasant, thanks to various design implementations that make smaller tasks feel less cumbersome. For example, several grommets and cut-outs on the rear of the chassis simplify cable management.

be quiet! Dark Base 701 back angle

In addition, the tool-less mechanisms on each panel and other areas, like the storage drive slots, allow builders to disassemble the case easily to access the chassis. Because of this, there’s no need to grab a massive toolkit to build inside the Dark Base 701.

ark Base 701 + 4080 SUPER front panel removal

That being said, we noticed some weak points during the building process. The biggest weakness of this design can be found inside the chassis, with the motherboard tray and storage slots feeling flimsy. This can lead to some challenges when screwing the motherboard into place or plugging in connectors, as the case provides less pushback to hold the parts in place.

be quiet! Dark Base 701 back panel

Features We Like

RGB Front Panel

The general design of the Dark Base 701 is rather simplistic compared to other cases on the market, which makes aesthetics a priority. However, the inclusion of RGB lighting along the front panel prevents this chassis from being completely lacklustre on the design front. The small strips along the side allow this chassis to remain ideal for stealthier PC builds while emphasising its beastly form factor.

Additionally, the lighting effects are incredibly simple to customise, thanks to the ARGB controls on the front panel. These inputs will cycle through a range of lighting effects, making it easy to choose an option that suits effects on the rest of the build. Alternatively, the lighting can be synchronised with other components via the motherboard or an ARGB controller.

bequiet Dark Base 701 RGB

Pre-Installed 140mm Fans

Pre-installed fans are always a welcomed addition to a PC case, as they can help save time and money when building a gaming PC. That’s why we were happy to see that the Dark Base 701 is equipped with three Silent Wings 4 PWM high-speed fans, 140mm designs that help to maximise airflow. Unfortunately, these fans don’t include any RGB lighting, which may cause some to replace them with an RGB alternative. But for those with a more subtle build in mind, these fans are a great addition.

be quiet! Dark Base 701 fans

ARGB and PWM Fan Hub

Another useful addition to this case is the versatile ARGB and PWM fan hub, which can be used to synchronise the fan speed and lighting effects of various components. This hub can connect up to eight PWM fans and two ARGB devices at once, ensuring that all your fans and components are working in tandem. Plus, the hub is easy to access and has the pre-installed fans connected out of the box.

be quiet! Dark Base 701 ARGB

Features We Don’t Like

Very Large

As one of the largest mid-tower PC cases on the market, the Dark Base 701 is not an ideal option for those looking to keep their system fairly compact. Even if real estate isn’t a problem, the impact on desk space will be noticeable when using this case. The length of the Dark Base 701 is a particular sticking point, as it will be too long to fit across many desks. When you consider the amount of excess space in this case with a high-end system built inside of it, most builders will benefit from the additional space from a chassis with a smaller form factor.

be quiet! Dark Base 701

Visual Appeal

With so many PC cases emphasising aesthetics, the lack of RGB lighting and distinct design features on the Dark Base 701 will put it towards the bottom of the pecking order for a large audience of PC builders. Whilst the practical features of this case are useful, the lack of bells and whistles immediately places a major disadvantage when compared to other options available for a similar price, which tend to provide a better balance of the two.

be quiet! Dark Base 701 mesh
  • Features
  • Design
  • Versatility
  • Value for Money
3.8

Summary

The be quiet! Dark Base 701 is a solid chassis ideal for high-end PC builds. Its large form factor provides plenty of space to support a wide variety of components, which means this case has no issues handling the flagship components. In addition, the Dark Base 701 has a distinct, stealthy design, thanks to the small strips of RGB lighting on the front panel, which add some colour to the no-thrills design. 

But despite being a functional design that also boasts some unique elements, there are several caveats to consider before picking up the Dark Base 701 for a gaming PC. Firstly, the large size and price tag mean that only those with a lot of excess money and space for their gaming setup will be able to accommodate this monstrous chassis. On top of this, there are some flimsy areas of this chassis, and the lack of visual appeal will stop the Dark Base 701 from standing out from other PC cases on the market.

Pros

✅ Component support

✅ Practical design

✅ RGB lighting

Cons

❌ Better looking alternatives

❌ Large form factor

❌ Expensive

editor
Aled Wheeler is part of our technical writing and reviews team, focussing on PC components, console gaming and peripherals such as keyboards and monitors! With a degree in journalism and experience working for publications in the sports and gaming sectors. Aled is our in-house news and gaming writer, with his finger on the pulse of game devs around the world. Aled is currently rocking a solid mid-range gaming PC build, with a Ryzen 5000 processor and RTX 30 series graphics card.