be quiet! Pure Base 500 Compact ATX Case Review
The be quiet! Pure Base 500
A Compact ATX Mid-Tower Case
The Pure Base 500 is the first compact ATX case from be quiet!, designed to be a more price-conscious offering from the German case, cooler, and PSU maker. It will be available with list pricing starting at $70 USD, with the option of a tempered glass side panel (as reviewed) bringing the total to $85.
In a rather surprising departure, be quiet! is offering white and metallic grey finishes for the Pure Base 500 in addition to black, with special colors previously being relegated to limited run finishes like the Dark Base 700 White Edition we reviewed earlier this year.
Features of the Pure Base 500 from be quiet!:
- Versatile design with an alternative air-permeable top cover panel for water-cooled builds
- Support for water cooling radiators up to 360mm in length
- Two pre-installed Pure Wings 2 140mm fans
- Insulation mats in the front, side and regular top cover
- Prominently placed SSD installation bracket with integrated cable management
- Clean looking PSU shroud provides hidden double HDD cage
- Space for high-end components and cooling
- Removable dust filters at the front and bottom
- Available with or without tempered glass side window
- Black, metallic gray, or white models available
- Dimensions (L x W x H in mm): 450 x 231 x 463
- Weight (kg): 6.95 net / 7.92 gross (window version 7.53 net / 8.49 gross)
- Case Type: Mid Tower
- Material: Steel (SGCC), ABS plastic, tempered glass (optional)
- Motherboard support: ATX, M-ATX, Mini-ITX
- Expansion slots: 7
- Front I/O: 2x USB 3.0, HD Audio (microphone + audio)
- Component Clearance
- Max. cooler height (mm): 190
- Max. graphics card length (mm): 369
- Max. PSU length (mm): 258 / 225 (depending on position of the HDD cage)
- 3.5” bays: Up to 2 (2 included)
- 2.5” bays: Up to 5 (5 included)
- Preinstalled cooling fans (mm) / (RPM)
- Front: 1x Pure Wings 2 140mm / 900
- Rear: 1x Pure Wings 2 140mm / 900
- Optional, additional cooling fans (mm)
- Front: 1x 140 / 3x 120
- Top: 2x 140/120
- Radiator support (mm)
- Front: 120, 140, 240, 280, 360
- Top: 120, 240
- Rear: 120, 140
- Additional features: Sound insulation mats in front, top (regular top cover), sides
$70 – $85 USD (standard or tempered-glass window version)
“Like all be quiet! products, Pure Base 500 was designed and developed from the ground up in Germany. With price-conscious PC builders in mind, the case exceeds expectations, meeting the highest of standards in quality, compatibility, noise level and design, for all high-end PCs. As a first for be quiet! (excluding limited edition runs), Pure Base 500 is offered in three different base colors: black, metallic gray and white.”
The Pure Base 500 is offers a very different appearance than you might be used to from be quiet!, and this compact design is definitely on the small side for an ATX enclosure.
The solid front panel is rounded slightly at each corner, and is made of metal with a nice brushed finish. Case IO is pretty basic, with a pair of USB 3.0 ports and 3.5 mm audio and mic jacks.
The case is available with or without a tempered glass side panel, and our white version of the case arrived with this option. The rear side panel is steel, and the top of the enclosure provides a pair of options with both a solid – but vented – panel and an alternate mesh panel in the box.
The rear of the case offers the expected 7 expansion slots for a mid-tower ATX design, and the exhaust fan mount is populated with a 140 mm fan from the factory (a second 140 mm fan is positioned up front for intake).
The bottom of the case provides a large filter which runs the length of the case, providing intake for the PSU as well as some additional air for the primary component chamber (more on ventilation in the next section).
After removing the four finger screws securing the (very clear) glass side panel we have full access to the component chamber, which is more generous than you might expect from a compact design like this. In fact, CPU coolers of up to 190 mm in height are supported, which should encompass just about every large air cooler available.
An interesting feature of this case is the bracket to the right of the motherboard tray, which serves the dual-purpose of SSD mount and cable guide. This should help keep the build looking clean, and the be quiet! logo facing the window is a nice touch.
Looking towards the rear of the case we see a pre-installed 140 mm Pure Wings 2 fan, and moving to the right we see a matching Pure Wings 2 fan positioned as intake. These fans are rated at a max of 900 RPM so they should produce minimal noise. This front intake has three fan mounts and supports radiators of up to 360 mm.
The top of the enclosure offers support for radiators of up to 240 mm, and the bottom of the case is covered by the expected PSU shroud – though this one is heavily ventilated. In theory air should be drawn up across system components from the bottom of the case, which explains the full-length dust filter on the bottom.
The front panel of the Pure Base 500 is lined with a noise insulation panel, as is the rear side panel and the underside of the default top panel.
Around back we see an SSD bracket over the motherboard cutout as well as the bracket/cable guide mentioned above over on the left side.
Like most recent cases the hard drive cage is positioned below the shroud on the left side, with the PSU mount over on the right.
The build process in the Pure Base 500 is much easier than a smaller design like the Cooler Master we checked out earlier this year, and this feels like a nice compromise between small size and a manageable build.
There’s just enough room for a standard ATX motherboard to fit without any trouble, and right away I appreciated the cable management afforded by the bracket on the right side.
Around back there is less room overall compared to the typical mid-tower, but there is still space for up to two 3.5-inch hard drives via the pull-out HDD cage. This is not a tool-free design but there are anti-vibration mounts for both drives which is a nice touch at this price point. The two SSD brackets come out easily with a single thumbscrew each, and mounting drives works as you would expect.
I didn’t have any issues with the install process, and I found that clearance for cables was better than expected. Without too much world organizing cables the rear panel went back on easily, and the included velcro straps definitely help here.
The finished build looks very clean, with the cable management working quite well. A simple air-cooled build like this requires very little time or effort to complete, though it would be interesting to see a liquid cooled system in this small case.
Around back with this simple build there isn’t much going on, but I have to mention the above average clearance for cables back here. I was a little worried about this considering my decision to use sleeved cable extensions, which have pretty chunky connectors, and with the insulated rear panel. It ended up being a non-issue as the back panel went on without any resistance.
Thermals and Noise
|PC Perspective Enclosure Test Platform|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-9700K|
|Graphics Card||ASUS GeForce RTX 2070 Strix Gaming|
|Motherboard||GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS PRO|
|Memory||Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4-3200 32GB (16GBx2)|
|Storage||CORSAIR Neutron Series XTi 480GB SSD|
|Power Supply||CORSAIR RM1000x 1000W|
|Operating System||Windows 10 64-bit (1903)|
While the completed build photos feature the new SAPPHIRE Nitro+ Radeon RX 5700 XT card (review here), I actually completed testing with the same ASUS RTX 2070 card used in other recent case reviews so I could compare numbers. But is a case in the $70 – $85 range likely to house a Core i7-9700K / RTX 2070 build? Probably not, but we’ll see how this small case copes with these higher-end components.
While the thermals are the highest of this little group this is by far the smallest enclosure of the group. It would need more airflow to cope with these components, and to this end I tested both the default top panel and the alternate mesh panel. Interestingly, the mesh panel only really affected CPU temps, which makes sense considering how close the air cooler is the top of the case.
The noise levels with the Pure Base 500 were very good thanks to the combination of noise insulation panels and low-speed (~900 RPM) case fans, and there was barely any difference in noise output when switching to the mesh top panel.
I prefer the look of the default white panel, and while it didn’t reduce noise with these components very much it didn’t really hurt thermals, either, so I’d just use the default white panel myself.
The be quiet! Pure Base 500 came as something as a surprise to me, being a very compact ATX design – and in three different colors from the company that previous had more of the old Model T approach to finish options (you can have any color as long as it’s black).
The case looks great and is very well constructed, the tempered glass option adds a premium look, and pricing is very reasonable at $70 – $85 depending on which case/side panel you choose. And, no surprise here: the case is quiet. Even at this price point be quiet! has included insulated front, back, and top insulation pads to help keep sound levels down.
The presence of noise insulation, combined with the solid front panel design and limited internal volume, does result in higher than average thermals, but not the point of any performance loss. Of course I’d like to see more intake and overall airflow, but considering the single ~900 RPM intake and exhaust fans it would be possible to generate a lot more airflow with some customization here.
In the end I was impressed with the overall quality and value of the Pure Base 500, and I applaud be quiet! for adding a smaller, less expensive option to their case lineup (not to mention the addition of color options). While other cases might offer better thermals for an air cooled system, I’m not sure you’ll get a case with lower noise output – or better construction – for as little as $70.