be quiet! Pure Base 500DX Case Review: Airflow and ARGB
A Good Compact ATX Case Just Got a Lot Better
It has been a few months since the launch of be quiet!’s Pure Base 500, a compact ATX enclosure that offers a premium look and feel – as one would expect from a product made by this high-end German manufacturer of cases, coolers, and of course power supplies.
And while at first glance this Pure Base 500DX might look like a cosmetic update, there is quite a bit going on here from a functional standpoint. The biggest difference? Airflow. The solid front panel of the original has been replaced with a split metal grill that should help keep the installed system cool.
This new front panel also houses a pair of addressable RGB light strips, which work in tandem with a pre-installed ARGB light strip inside the enclosure, allowing for a custom look inside and out via the push-button control on the case (or via motherboard control).
We’ll take a close look at the white version of the Pure Base 500DX in this review (it’s also available in black), and see how well it can cool a gaming system with a high-end graphics card.
- Model: Pure Base 500DX
- Color option: Black, White
- Top cover: ABS
- Side panel: Steel
- Side panel window: Tempered Glass 4mm
- Front panel: ABS
- Stands: ABS
- Motherboard compatibility: ATX, M-ATX, Mini-ITX
- PSU form factor: ATX PS/2
- Expansion slots: 7
- Front panel I/O: USB 3.0 x1, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C x1, 3.5 mm Mic + Audio
- Drive bay capacity
- 3.5 slots: 2
- 2.5 slots: 5
- Airflow channel: Front, Top, Rear
- Fan mounting locations: 6
- Pre-installed fans
- Fan @ front: 1x be quiet Pure Wings 2 | 140mm
- Fan @ rear: 1x be quiet Pure Wings 2 | 140mm
- Fan @ top: 1x be quiet Pure Wings 2 | 140mm
- Pure Wings 2 fans
- Dimensions (L x W x H), (mm): 140 x 140 x 25
- Fan speed @ 100% PWM / 12V (rpm): 900
- Noise level @ 100% PWM / 12V (dB(A)): 17.10
- Airflow @ 100% PWM / 12V (CFM / m3/h): 55.8 / 94.8
- Air Pressure @ 100% PWM / 12V (mm H2O): 0.6
- Voltage range (V DC): 12
- Input power (W): 1.08
- Input current (A): 0.09
- Connector: 3-Pin
- Lifespan (h / 25°C): 80,000
- Optional fan installation
- Front (mm): 1x 140 | 3x 120
- Top (mm): 1x 140 | 1x 120
- Optional radiator installation
- Front (mm): 120, 140, 240, 280, 360
- Top (mm): 120, 140
- Rear (mm): 120 / 140
- Lighting: RGB LED illumination; Front LED ARGB, Internal ARGB
- Component clearance
- Max.construction height of CPU cooler unit: 190 mm
- Graphics card
- HDD cage (in height of graphics card) installed: 369 mm
- HDD cage (in height of graphics card) removed: 369 mm
- PSU compatibility
- Maximum dimensions excl. bottom fan: 258 mm
- Maximum dimensions incl. bottom fan: 225 mm
- Insulation and damping
- Side panel insulation mats
- Anti-vibration decoupled HDD
- Anti-vibration decoupled PSU
- Removable dust filters: Front, Top, Bottom
- Installation of motherboards with backplate supported
- Case size incl. stands (L x W x H), (mm): 450 x 232 x 463
- Dimensions side panel window (L x W), (mm): 400 x 431.3
- Weight: 7.8 kg
$99.90 USD List
“The be quiet! Pure Base 500DX is optimized for high cooling performance and designed for those who seek high airflow.”
Pure Base 500DX Exterior
As this is based on the Pure Base 500 enclosure (which we reviewed at its launch back in September), there will be a number of similarities between these two cases. But some pretty large differences exist, and the biggest one is front and center.
As mentioned in the intro, the Pure Base 500DX features a new split metal grill front panel design, with two addressable RGB light strips at the center.
These two light strips are joined with an ARGB light strip pre-mounted inside the enclosure, with a push-button control on the case and the usual motherboard integration via ARGB header (I controlled the lighting via motherboard software).
Elsewhere, the exterior – including the large tempered glass side panel – is identical to the Pure Base 500, with the exception of the default top panel.
This new Pure Base 500DX configuration drops the Pure Base 500’s default insulated panel in favor of a magnetically attached mesh panel, which was the alternate panel included with the Pure Base 500.
The bottom of the case still offers a full screen filter, bringing the total to three; with a screen filter for the intake located beneath the new front panel grill, and the top mesh panel acting as a filter as well.
The last of the changes with the 500DX is a significant one, as front panel connections now include a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port (the Pure Base 500 had a pair of USB 3.0 ports).
Rounding out the case I/O is a single USB 3.0 port and a pair of 3.5 mm audio jacks. In addition to the power button (which also serves as the power light) there is an RGB button, and this can be used to cycle through all available colors and patterns if motherboard header control is not used.
Pure Base 500DX Interior
While there are some notable changes to the exterior of the 500DX compared to the Pure Base 500, inside we are looking at the same chassis. This case is just big enough to house an ATX system with very little addition room save for the right side of the open component chamber.
A closer look inside the component chamber reveals an important addition to system cooling with the Pure Base 500DX, beyond the new high airflow front panel design.
The case roof now houses a pre-installed 140 mm Pure Wings 2 fan, bringing the total to three (front/top/rear), compared to the Pure Base 500’s two (front/rear). Three Pure Wings 2 fans should provide some pretty serious airflow for a case this small.
The floor of the component chamber is a fully vented shroud that serves to hide the power supply and extra cables from view, while a close look at the top reveals the pre-mounted RGB light strip inside the front edge.
The rear of the enclosure will house the PSU and the majority of the system’s storage, with a removable SSD bracket over the motherboard cutout and a 3.5-inch drive cage at the bottom left.
As we mentioned, this is quite a compact design for an ATX case, with a standard 12 x 9.6 inch motherboard taking up most of the component chamber – though plenty of room is available on the right side (GPUs up to 369 mm / ~14.5 inches long are supported).
There is sufficient room for up to two 140 mm fans above the installed system board (one is pre-mounted), be quiet! does not list 240/280 mm radiator support for the top.
It may still possible to install a 240 mm rad if positioned on the mounts further from the board (I did not attempt this), but official radiator support is limited to 120/140 mm on the top and rear fan mounts, with 120/140/240/280/360 mm support on the front intake.
The rest of the build is straightforward, and identical to the Pure Base 500 with the exception of the required SATA power cable for the front panel lighting. After installing an SSD and power supply (and taking some care to route the cables in an organized manner), the build was complete.
The added lighting – and color – from the internal RGB strip made for a much more intense RGB experience in the component chamber compared to the previous version. Of course for those who don’t prefer RGB effects this can be disabled.
I chose to use the 850W Straight Power 11 PSU we recieved recently for a review (still upcoming) partly becuase it’s from be quiet!, and partly to see how this enclosure did with thicker PSU cables (our Pure Base 500 build used ribbon-style cables).
There was actually a bit of room to spare, as the velcro straps held things firm against the back of the motherboard tray, and additional cable length could be tucked in next to the PSU itself.
Overall this was a pleasant build experience, with a tidy result accomplished with minimal fuss.
Using our GPU test platform (Z390 / Intel Core i7-9700K) with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 FE graphics card we set about testing thermals and noise levels with a simulated gaming load.
|PC Perspective Enclosure Test Platform|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-9700K|
|CPU Cooler||Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition|
|Graphics Card||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition|
|Motherboard||GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS PRO|
|Memory||Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4-3200 32GB (16GBx2)|
|Storage||CORSAIR Neutron Series XTi 480GB SSD|
|Power Supply||be quiet! Straight Power 11 850W|
|Operating System||Windows 10 64-bit (1903)|
The Metro Exodus benchmark was set to 1080/Ultra and run repeatedly, with thermals compared to an identical series performed on an open testbench.
Thermals are outstanding, with plenty of airflow via the pre-mounted 140 mm fans. In particular our test system’s CPU cooler was aided by the top mounted exhaust fan, which was very close to the outside edge of the heatsink and seemed to draw air up and out of the case very effectively.
GPU thermals were also excellent, as the front intake/rear exhaust fan combo, combined with the high airflow front panel, create a nearly ideal situation for the graphics card in a case this compact.
Noise levels were of interest between this case and our test system, as the included P Base 500DX fans defined both idle and load noise. This is not to say the system is loud, as our SPL meter – positioned just 12 inches from the front left corner of the enclosure – registered only 34.5 dBA at both idle and gaming load with this build.
Considering the overall quality of its construction, outstanding performance, and stylish appearance, I have nothing but praise for the Pure Base 500DX. be quiet! has taken a good case in the Pure Base 500 and made it into a great case.
The Pure Base 500DX is reasonably priced, as well, with a list of $99.90 USD – and that price includes the three 140 mm Pure Wings 2 fans. And if the aesthetics of this white version are not to your liking, there is a more conventional-looking black version, as well.
If you are interested in a compact ATX build then the Pure Base 500DX should be on your short list.
This disclosure statement covers the way the product being reviewed was obtained and the relationship between the product's manufacturer and PC Perspective.
How Product Was Obtained
The case is on loan from be quiet! for the purpose of this review.
What Happens To Product After Review
The case remains the property of be quiet! but will be on extended loan to PC Perspective for the purpose of future testing and product comparisons.
be quiet! provided the product sample and technical brief to PC Perspective but had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.
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Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by be quiet! for this review.
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