Inside Silent Base 600
Removing the side panels is as easy as undoing a couple of thumb screws and build quality is good - neither panel exhibits much in the way of flex, making it easy to align the notches when putting the sides back on. One minor criticism is that the protruding side-window fastenings are visible from the outside around the edges of the window. It's slight, but enough to prevent the window appearing seamless.
Step inside the chassis and you may get a feeling of deja vu. There's good reason, as the central structure appears very similar to the Silent Base 800. As far as we can tell, it's actually the same underlying frame, which should be a good thing.
Running through the spec. sheet, we have the same trio of tool-free optical bays, the same cutout in the motherboard tray, four rubber-grommeted cable-routing holes providing identical cable management, and even the same fan-mount locations. These include two 120/140mm fan mounts at the top, a 120mm mount at the rear and two 140mm mounts at the front.
In an effort to lower the price, the number of bundled Pure Wings 2 fans has been trimmed from three on the Silent Base 800 to two on the Silent Base 600 - a 140mm front intake and a rear 120mm exhaust. Both three-pin fans are attached to the built-in fan controller as standard, but available airflow might be a concern. The mesh sections on the front panel seem smaller on the Silent Base 600, and the one solitary intake is by default positioned in front of the hard-disk cage where it's most likely to be obstructed.
Similar cuts have been made with regards to storage. Just the one hard-disk cage is provided as standard and it supports up to three 3.5in drives via bundled rubber mounting brackets that should soak-up vibrations. What's clever is that the hard-disk cage can be removed from its stock position and instead be fixed inside the optical bays. You would of course need to give up the 5.25in drive mounts, but in doing so you'd free up space for a front 120/140mm radiator.
There's also a 2.5in SSD mount hidden inside the top of hard-disk cage, but if you aren't planning on using hard disks at all, you'll appreciate the fact that a couple of dedicated SSD trays are also attached to the rear of the motherboard tray. These can be removed easily to aid installation and are secured using a simple thumb screw.
Building into the Silent Base 600 is simple enough, and we particularly like the fact that the motherboard mounting points are raised and ready for an ATX, Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX board, meaning there's no need to faff with standoffs. A CPU cooler height restriction of 167mm leaves ample room for the majority of heatsink towers, and graphics cards can measure up to 290mm in length, or 400mm with no obstructing hard-disk cage.
The PSU sits atop of rubber pads to further reduce vibration and there's a good-sized pull-out filter underneath. Paying attention to some of the finer details, be quiet! thankfully has the fan controller powered by SATA as opposed to old-fashioned Molex.
It's quite easy to outfit the Silent Base 600 with powerful hardware, though an excessive amount of cables can be tricky to keep tidy due to only a limited number of tie-down points. A good amount of room behind the tray means you shouldn't have trouble attaching the side panel even if your cabling is messy, but the biggest concern is whether or not there will be enough airflow to keep our dual GTX 970s from throttling. Let's find out.