be quiet! Dark Base 701 review: a flipping good white PC case

Something of a white whale in terms of both space and price.



Choice is a wonderful thing. It gives us options like Intel or AMD, keyboard or controller, and the colour of our setup. Making the latter just a little bit easier, be quiet! Dark Base 701 now comes in white, and the chassis looks an absolute treat.

Dark Base 701 White is identical to the original black model that launched at the end of 2023. You might ask why it wasn’t accompanied by a snowy version right off the bat. It’s much harder to remove the pigments than it is to add them.

The brand told us at CES 2024 that it’s taken several factory trips to ensure all parts are the same shade. After all, the hard drive cage needs to match the mesh, which must complement the front panel. It paid off, too. Standing before me is a pulchritudinous pale PC case. There’s no cream mixed with ivory, just pure white from head to toe.


At 565mm × 249mm × 523mm (L×W×H), Dark Base 701 is on the larger side for a mid-tower. It’s a little bigger than be quiet! Shadow Base 800, which is something of a predecessor from another range. That said, it’s not quite as chonky as Dark Base Pro 901, which fills the full-tower slot in this lineup and is also now available in white.

Putting the space to use, you can easily fit anything from a mini-ITX motherboard to a full-blown E-ATX. There’s enough room for the biggest Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090, with a 430mm graphics card play area. You don’t need to worry about power supply length, either, with an ample 250mm under the PSU shroud. Notably, Dark Base 701 even extends headroom to allow a 185mm tall CPU cooler.

Sadly, 420mm radiators are out of the question despite its beefy stature. Officially, the PC case supports AIO coolers between 120mm and 360mm at the top and front or 120mm at the rear. I tried to fit Arctic’s Liquid Freezer III 420 ARGB, but there’s no room at the inn.

be quiet! Dark Base 701 White has two Silent Wings 4 fans as the exhaust by default.

To get you started with cooling, the brand supplies three Silent Wings 4 140mm PWM fans in white. They come pre-installed, which is always a bonus, but I can’t help but scratch my head at the configuration. There are two exhausts between the rear and top versus a single intake on the front, which makes for a negative airflow. You’ll probably add more to the roster, but I wouldn’t recommend the out-of-the-box setup long-term.

You can fit a total of eight fans across the chassis. The front and top support either three 120mm or 140mm each, while the bottom and rear support a single fan of either size. I’d wholeheartedly recommend a dash of RGB. The dual ARGB strips on the front already prove that the lights contrast fantastically against the white frame. It makes me question why Silent Wings instead of the Light Wings we saw on Shadow Base 800 FX, but both are solid choices.

Instead of a traditional hard drive cage, Dark Base 701 has a dedicated storage panel with enough room to hang up to two hard drives or 2.5in SSDs. There’s room for a third drive of each type using either the bracket behind the motherboard or the optional hard drive cage mount that fixes beneath the PSU shroud. Unfortunately, you’ll need a spare hard drive cage to make the latter work, and they’re sold separately ($9.90 / £9.99 / €9.90 with availability in April). This is handy if you’re upgrading from another be quiet! case but could feel like an oversight for the few of you still using more than two 3.5in hard drives.

As usual, Dark Base 701 has impressive sound dampening for a case with so many filters. Despite front and topside magnetic mesh covers prioritising airflow, a thick muffling material on the inside of the rear side panel helps keep noise to a minimum. You have the choice of a solid, silent cover for the PSU shroud or a perforated airflow version. Even the plastic caps shielding the storage mounts hang using rubber standoffs to prevent any unwanted sound from vibrations.

Inverted Layout

Fixing the side panels via notches and thumb screws makes the case feel a little dated compared to quick-release buttons. After all, they’re fiddly to line up and a downright pain if wires bulge on the rear side. This is a particular struggle when contending with thicker motherboard cables, as I found out. There’s a method to the madness going the old-school route, though.

Dark Base 701 is reversible. You can create an inverted PC build that’ll sit to your left, and you’ll still be able to gaze at your components through the tempered glass window. Using buttons would limit each side panel to the left or right. Opting for thumb screws means they’re interchangeable, giving you more versatility. Of course, be quiet! could just pop the quick-release mechanism in all four corners, but we’ve yet to see any brand take this route. Just an idea.

Building an inverted PC requires you to go the extra mile and take your case apart completely. As much of a faff as this usually is, 701 is the most painless experience I’ve had with the process. The front and top panels clip off with little force and don’t feel like they’ll break. There’s a bit more flex to the motherboard tray than I’d like, but this doesn’t pose much of an issue once it’s all pieced together.

Do note that inverted builds come with a lot of sacrifices. While you get to enjoy your PC on the other side, the flipped motherboard poses compatibility issues with AIO coolers. The GPU ends up blocking the pathway to the top, and while the front is still an option, it’s difficult to route the piping correctly. You always want the radiator pipes physically higher than those leading into your water block otherwise you risk air pockets. You also can’t mount the graphics card vertically. This is par for the course with a capsized layout, however.

Building with Dark Base 701

Keeping it default means you’ll benefit from the brand’s meticulous cable management. Rather than tangling with a bunch of tendrils, be quiet! has already fed each wire neatly through a trench into an eight-way ARGB/PWM hub. It looks a treat, even if it’s confined to a life behind an opaque back panel. The front USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C header is a bit of a stretch and just barely makes it to the motherboard; it gave me quite a fight. The USB 3.2 Type-A, audio jacks, and ARGB headers fit just fine on an ATX model, but you might need to unravel it to reach mini-ITX options.

The spacious interior gives you ample room to build with no frustrations. There are plenty of cable routing options, although not grommeted. You don’t need to contort yourself to fit fans, and the brackets even slide out independently to make installing radiators easier. There are even three vertical expansion slots to mount your graphics card upright without twisting the seven horizontal options.

On the other hand, so much space makes anything smaller than an E-ATX motherboard look tiny. You can treat the empty space with front-facing SSDs, but that poses the panda problem unless you can find white 2.5in drives. Perhaps it’s better to have the clearance and not need it than need it and not have it. Still, I recommend a plan for liquid cooling or supersized components to make the most of it. Our Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 might not fill it, but an RTX 4090 would certainly give it a go.

Temperatures will largely depend on your CPU cooler, fan composition, underlying hardware, and what voltage you run it at. Dark Base 701 even features a PWM fan controller at the front, letting you switch between 600rpm, 1,200rpm, and Silent Wings 4’s max 1,900rpm.

Taming our Intel Core i9-13900K is no small feat but be quiet!’s three fans handle it well at full speed, floating at around 88°C during an all-core load. Our Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 similarly sat at 63°C when gaming, which is what we’d expect for a case of this calibre. The default negative airflow runs two degrees higher, but the true concern is long-term dust build-up. A positive airflow helps push dust out of the cracks. Keeping it as it is out of the box means you’ll need to clean your dust filters a little more frequently.


White cases are, as we say in Blighty, swings and roundabouts. Dark Base 701 is gorgeously uniform, and be quiet! had the forethought to indent internal branding in the same shade rather than ruining the aesthetic. It’s easy to blemish with black PSU cables encroaching from behind, but there are plenty of pale components to pair with it. You’d be hard-pressed to find an unpigmented PC case that’s as accessible, but it’s not quite perfect.

Compared to Shadow Base 800 FX, Dark Base 701 is bulkier but ditches 420mm AIO support, opts for three non-RGB fans instead of four with lights, and puts them in a negative configuration. They’re all small things individually, but the difference in cost is anything but. Shadow Base 800 FX has dropped to £190 since its release, while Dark Base 701 retails for £239.99. The main thing you’re paying for is the ability to invert your system. If you don’t plan on flipping your motherboard, then forking out 26% more is a difficult ask.

Either way, you can’t go wrong using be quiet!’s latest as your foundation. It’s a noticeably premium PC case and one of the easiest chassis I’ve built with. The eight-way fan header keeps cables neat and gives you granular control at the click of a button. Sound dampening is fantastic, as we’ve come to expect from such a reputable company for acoustics.

be quiet! Dark Base 701 PC case earns Club386's Recommended award.

be quiet! Dark Base 701

Verdict: a beautifully spacious white PC case that’s just as striking when inverted but could use a price adjustment.


Gorgeous in white
Easy to build in
Can invert the layout
Fan controller
3 quality Silent Wings 4 fans


Default negative airflow
No 420mm AIO support

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Choice is a wonderful thing. It gives us options like Intel or AMD, keyboard or controller, and the colour of our setup. Making the latter just a little bit easier, be quiet! Dark Base 701 now comes in white, and the chassis looks quiet! Dark Base 701 review: a flipping good white PC case