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Review: be quiet! Dark Base 700

by Parm Mann on 14 November 2017, 12:00

Tags: be-quiet

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qadnn2

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Test Methodology and Performance

Comparison Chassis

Chassis Form Factor HEXUS Review Reviewed Price Product Page
be quiet! Dark Base 700 Mid-tower November 2017 £175 bequiet.com
Cooler Master MasterCase H500P Mid-tower October 2017 £150 coolermaster.com

HEXUS Chassis Test Bench

Hardware Components HEXUS Review Product Page
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 1800X March 2017 amd.com
CPU Cooler Fractal Design Celsius S24 May 2017 fractal-design.com
Motherboard MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium - msi.com
Memory G.Skill Flare X 16GB DDR4-2400 May 2017 gskill.com
Graphics Card Sapphire Radeon RX 580 Nitro+ Limited Edition April 2017 sapphiretech.com
Power Supply be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 (750W) May 2015 bequiet.com
Storage Device 120GB SanDisk Extreme SSD March 2012 sandisk.co.uk
Monitor iiyama ProLite X4071UHSU-B1 January 2016 iiyama.com
Operating System Windows 10 (64-bit) - microsoft.com

Notes

The time has come to overhaul our chassis test platform with modern components. Our trusty Intel Core i5-3570K processor and dual GeForce GTX 970 graphics cards have been retired from service, and in comes an all-AMD combination of Ryzen 7 1800X and Radeon RX 580.

AMD's eight-core, 16-thread processor is stock clocked (our chip struggled with stability when aiming for over 4GHz across all cores) and installed beneath a Fractal Design Celsius S24 liquid cooler. The CPU is joined by 16GB of G.Skill Flare X DDR4 memory operating at 2,400MHz, while the Radeon RX 580 GPU is provided by Sapphire in Nitro+ Limited Edition guise. Power for the entire system comes courtesy of a 750W be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 supply. Do note that we attempted to run multiple memory kits at higher speeds, but were unable to maintain stability on this particular X370 platform, hence the 3,200MHz G.Skill kit operating at 800MHz less than advertised.

To find out how well the comparison chassis can cool the AMD-flavoured build, we log CPU temperature while encoding a large 4K video clip using the popular HandBrake software utility. This task puts heavy load on all available CPU cores and we extend the stress test by queueing multiple passes. In order to provide a stabilised reading we then calculate an average temperature from the last few minutes of encoding.

To get an idea of graphics-card cooling performance, we log GPU temperature while looping the F1 2017 benchmark at a 4K resolution with ultra-quality settings. Last but not least, we also measure chassis noise by using a PCE-318 noise meter to take readings both when idle and while gaming. The meter is positioned 35cm from the front of the chassis in a direct line of sight 30cm from the ground.

All chassis are tested only with the standard manufacturer-supplied fans (any/all of which are set to a low-noise curve in the MSI BIOS or low-speed using a fan controller if present), and to take into account the fluctuating ambient temperature, our graphs depict both actual and delta temperature - the latter is the actual CPU/GPU temperature minus the ambient.

Performance

We begin testing our new AMD platform with a direct comparison between two chassis:; Cooler Master's MasterCase H500P and be quiet!'s Dark Base 700. The near-identical results suggest that the Fractal Design liquid cooler is going to do a good job of cooling the Ryzen 7 1800X chip in most modern enclosures.

There's not a lot in it in terms of GPU temperature, either. Sapphire's well-engineered Nitro+ cooler does well to tame the Radeon RX 580, though the Cooler Master case does show a slight advantage, which shouldn't come as a surprise seeing as the MasterCase H500P is outfitted with two giant 200mm front intakes.

Our test hardware is purposely chosen and configured to run quiet. Both chassis keep noise levels down to a minimum, but if every last decibel matters, the Dark Base 700 is the pick of the two. The PC is practically silent when idle and though the GPU fans can be heard when gaming, it's little more than a gentle hum.