be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review
Mid Tower Airflow Flagship for be quiet!
Config it for max airflow cooling
The Silent Base 802 from be quiet! made an immediate impression on me after unpacking, as it has some heft to it. Roughly 30 pounds of potential PC container, or almost 14kg for those less imperial folks. Be quiet! clearly takes the task of noise handling very seriously with this substantial case design being their top version within the Silent Base line. Now with the Silent Base 802, be quiet! is adding a massive airflow increase to their existing usability design and approach to silent cooling.
Spoiler alert: weight can often help with vibration dampening and noise isolation.
- Model: Silent Base 802
- Motherboard compatibility: E-ATX (30.5 x 27.5), ATX, M-ATX, Mini-ATX
- Case type: Midi-Tower
- PSU: PS2 ATX (not included)
- Dimensions (L x W x H in mm & in): 539 x 281 x 553 – (21.2 x 11.1 x 21.8)
- Material: Steel (SECC), ABS plastic
- Weight (kg & lb): 13.34 (gross) – 29.4
- 12.59 (net) / 13.34 (gross)
- 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type C
- 2x USB 3.2 Gen. 1
- Power Button, HD Audio I/O
- Fan Speed Switch
- PCI slots: 7 + 2
- Drive bays:
- up to 15x 2.5 (7 included)
- up to 7x 3.5 (3 included)
- Preinstalled fans (mm) / (rpm):
- Front: 2x Pure Wings 2 140 / 1,000
- Rear: 1x Pure Wings 2 140 / 1,000
- Optional fans (mm):
- Front: 1x 140 / 120
- Top: 3x 140 / 120
- PSU Shroud: 1x 140 / 120
- Optional radiators (mm):
- Front: 120, 140, 240, 280, 360, 420
- Top: 120, 240, 360
- Rear: 120, 140
- Maximum dimensions (mm):
- CPU cooler: up to 185 tall
- PSU: 288
- GPU: 432 / 287 (with HDD cage installed)
- Noise cancellation: Sound insulation mats (front / side)
- Special features: 4-step fan controller (6x 3-pin) with PWM Hub
- Max height CPU cooler: 185mm
Launching at the end of November 2020
Black / White non-windowed version: $159 MSRP
Black / White with Tempered Glass side panel: $169 MSRP
“The be quiet! Silent Base 802 Black (or White) is the perfect solution for sophisticated users who strive for whisper-quiet operation and maximum performance alike.”
Size Allows Options
The size of this case is more substantial then typically found in the “mid” sized ATX segment, and be quiet! designates the 802 as the largest of their “midi” tower range. It is roughly 20% larger then their smallest midi-tower. The extra room can make building certain kinds of computers with extensive cooling options more straightforward, so I will try and take advantage of that. Check the exploded diagrams with airflow potential.
Seeing as the case was very white, I thought blue accent lighting would hit just the right “cool” vibe for these photos. Just go with it.
A Blank White Canvas?
For some reason, I immediately thought of a blank canvas of sorts with the great expanse of white side covers, top and front. I was curious if I could get an artist friend to paint a mural on it. Seriously, I think the Silent Base 802 would make a fabulous base for an art project if you were so inclined. Make this case your own! (PS. If you do this, please send me a pic and I’ll attach it to this review).
Input and Controls
Right off the top, you can see that all the “front” I/O is situated along the top. Not surprising, as I would expect many builds in the 802 to be deployed on the floor. USB 3.2 type C is included, along with 2 USB 3.1 type A’s, reset and power. Rounding out the controls are an HD activity light and a manual override for the included fan controller. Separate headset and mic jacks are appreciated. The power switch lights up when the system is active.
Inside the case
Opening up the case requires no tools and begins to reveal the generous interior. The 10mm thick side panels are substantial and well damped with a thick mat foam. Both sides are released from the chassis with independent spring loaded buttons at the top rear which felt premium and somewhat necessary to retain the heavy panels securely. There was a very positive click-LOCK for all the pins when re-attaching the panels. A more typical slide-to-lock approach here would not have worked quite as well.
Three Pure Wings 2 140mm are included, wired as non-PWM. These are almost the same fans be quiet! includes with their 280mm AIO (previously reviewed here) as I discovered later – those however are 4 wire PWM. The fans are stated to run at 1000rpms max and move 61cfm, which at 18dBA is quiet for 100% fan speed.
Tucked away in the back behind the motherboard tray are mounts for up to 3 SSDs, a nice drive handling addition for sure. Above the lower mount, there’s space for 2 more crossing over the back of the CPU.
The four-step (3 manual, 1 PWM) fan controller connects with your motherboard via PWM of course, so there is a rational reason behind having the included fans be wired for voltage control only. It would have been a bit nicer to have the option of PWM motherboard direct control though. The fan controller appeared well made, was branded by be quiet! themselves, and caused no issue in use.
The motherboard tray is also invertible, which is an entertaining option. I can see that being more interesting to utilize when the windowed side panel version of the 802 is used. I elected to build in the standard orientation.
If you look closely at the picture (above) with the vertical GPU case mounting bracket area, you can see that one of the slot covers had an unfortunate run-in with the holing machine. Since a build usually has a couple of spares, replacing it would be easy, but I found it unique.
At the front everything easily popped off and on for cleaning, assembly, or panel switching. Recall that be quiet! has also positioned this case as having great airflow, and provides the changeable front and top panels to facilitate that. The front mounting options are many and varied, take a look at the diagram above for a visual reference. With the solid front panel, air must flow in from the 2 long mesh areas at either side. We will see how much that affects cooling when we test it later.
I suddenly remembered the foot rails, which lifts the Silent Base 802 up enough to provide plenty of breathing room through the bottom. They snap in place at an angle using a geometry which makes me proud of my German heritage – be quiet! is indeed headquartered in Germany. The lift granted to the case is especially important considering it is likely hunkered down on the carpet. You do have a reinforced floor at the spot where you want to put this, yeah? Ok, it’s heavy when loaded up, but I kid.
The bottom is covered with an easily removable mesh filter which slides out from the front. The design of the side mounted wings or foot rails allows for the bottom to be really open for airflow.
The top filters or covers are magnetically attached, and are easy to remove using the provided lifting cutouts. Much easier then picking at them trying to lift them. The front airflow cover has a cool looking honeycomb pattern, while the top is white mesh with a dressy black rubbery surround. Somewhat echos the design at the front with the 2 black grills flanking the white center I see. I personally like the airflow look better then the solid panels.
Accessories, Drive Mounting
The included accessory kit was adequate in providing plenty of mounting screws, a stack of branded velcro cable ties and an optional drive cage. I would recommend perhaps labeling the screw bags. Note that the PSU bracket mounting screws do not appear to have the typical hex drive many other cases kits use to distinguish them. The extra drive bracket is designed to mount securely from the back side and protrude into the front area. The included vibration dampers seem up to the job, and the bracket itself is drilled to accept multiple 2.5″ SSDs, but it would be tight. Additional drive cages are available from be quiet! and despite being supported from only the back side, that seems quite sturdy. The lower included bracket is about twice as tall and would easily mount a full size 3.5″ drive or a pair of SSDs (one of them upside down).
The lower drive cage is removable but cannot be relocated, horizontally. You can see the slight cut out in the outer case edge to accomodate removing it.
Power Supply Space
There is plenty of room for long and powerful PSUs, and the drive cage does not crowd the wiring. I had no trouble using a modular Corsair 1000w unit. The panels above the basement pop out with some force as they are well clipped in at front and back edges. The front panel is removable to allow for longer 360 or 420 radiator mounting, the middle panel reveals a 120mm fan mount, and the rearward ones allow for greater air flow to PCIe cards and access to wiring pass-throughs.
Pause For Zen
Please arrest your furious scroll for a few seconds to appreciate this picture with a plant.
Cooling Front to Top
Front fans are mounted from the outside in, making push / pull fan configuration on an AIO a breeze (ha) as I discover later during the build. The Silent Base 802 also thankfully provides for removal of the top radiator mount, which slides in on rails. Very nice, especially when dealing with rad tubes which want to spring back at you. Typically this would also be helpful in connecting cabling near the top edge of the motherboard, but in this design, there’s plenty of room due to it being slightly taller then a typical mid-tower case. Look at the interior opening slot which runs from the front to back along the inner top edge. That generous area for cabling and connecting is not always available and is helpful when dealing with larger boards.
What to Build?
The Silent Base 802 is a case of generous proportions, so I thought about what would match up well with such a solid, substantial and roomy design offering the possibilities of high flow cooling. Hmmm. Let’s see, challenging to cool and with the Dominant position in memory I have right now … deploy the 9980XE with the Gigabyte X299 Aorus Master motherboard, that should do it. We should also throw in the EVGA 2080 Super Hybrid, just to make it interesting! Please note this x299 board will negotiate PCIe 3.0 x16 on that slot, verified by GPU-z and HWinfo, so relax a little.
Aren’t you happy you didn’t have to sit through an annoying build montage? LOL!
The new be quiet! Pure Loop 280mm AIO is acceptable cooling for the 18 core / 36 thread 9980XE in this build!
White is very good looking, but you would need to be extra careful with scratching or marks appearing. Use some sort of barrier when setting down dangling AIOs or radiators to avoid marring up the surface. Also, keep anything with hair away from the build, because you’ll be wiping those away. I think the TG side panel would be a welcome addition, but I believe you give up something in noise control. Still, you probably would want to show off your hard work arranging the components in the case – or your cable management? The TG panel, like the solid ones, attach to either side.
Since our review unit was the solid sided case (no TG panel), it did not ship with slot covers for the interior drive tray mounts (the long holes on the back tray near the front). Using them could have neatened up the appearance considerably – but might have impacted my ability to run wiring through those openings. I probably would have modded them a bit, and dropped in some wire grommets for my build.
Overall, I found the build experience a touch similar in concept to working on German cars. If you’ve ever done so, you’d know what I meant. Have you seen my last name? And I own more then a few Volkswagens.
There was plenty of room to maneuver in this case, and it was easy to manipulate water cooling components within it. The Silent Base 802 would make a very fine host for “tons” of water cooling pieces, which I’d recommend. I did observe that wire routing from back side to front was more limited when using a larger board, as all the nicely prepared ways with grommets were covered by the larger dimensions of the x299 motherboard. I did the best that I could routing everything (poke fun if you must). There are plenty of options for cable tie downs on the backside at least, which is quite nice. The case does not support a 280mm radiator up top, and I probably would have front mounted it anyway.
|PC Perspective Test Platform|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte X299 Aorus Master|
|Processor||Intel 9980XE, BIOS set to “Performance” quick tune|
|Memory||96GB of Crucial Dominator Platinum DDR4-3200 CL16|
|GPU||EVGA 2080 Super Hybrid with 120mm AIO|
|Storage||Intel 660p 1tb NVME (boot)|
|Storage||Micron 5100 Pro 1tb SSD|
|Power Supply||CORSAIR RM1000x 1000W|
|CPU Cooler||Be quiet! Pure Loop 280mm AIO|
|Operating System||Windows 10 64-bit Version 20H2|
In general, the Silent Base 802 is an excellent attempt at quiet cooling and be quiet! has done a good job at eliminating or reducing as much noise as possible.
The testing room measured 32.5dBA background, and 21.8°C ambient temperature. “Solid Panels” in the chart means that both the top and front were using the quietest solid versions, even though the rear most upper panel is vented. “Airflow Panels” also switched out both upper and front to their respective screens. Front dust filter was left in place.
Some incidental stats, as tested: Timespy: 12117, Firestrike: 23979, and hottest core after 10 min of Cinebench R23: 79°C, 22197 score
There’s no doubt the Silent Base 802 is a premium case, with quality construction backed by with a 3 year warranty from a solid company in be quiet!. If you are in the market for a large mid-tower case, add this to your list – IMO with the TG panel for vanity points though if you are so inclined. I could see almost 9°C difference with the fans running full out, indicating that the airflow design does work as intended. More top mounted fans would likely improve this, and allow you to trade reduced noise for additional air movement at lower fan RPMs.
The case can host a large number of drives with the correct mounts, not quite as attractive as other cases, but very serviceable. You should consider this case for a high-end gaming system or impressive multimedia server, extensive water cooling, or as-close-to-silence as you can probably get with an actively cooled rig – tuned for cool running of course.
As a final reminder, the system can also be assembled on an inverted motherboard tray for certain applications. Oh, Perhaps be quiet! could find a Germanic way to work in a wheels kit, deployable from the side skids? That would be neat. White can look very sharp, I think it’s suitable for an art project with all that available canvas too.
This is an “editor’s choice” for me considering how versatile the case is and the high end construction.
Desktop background from Mutant Year Zero, in case you were wondering.
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The product is on loan from be quiet! for the purpose of this review.
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