be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review

Manufacturer: be quiet! be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review

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.

Product Specifications
  • 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
Pricing

Launching at the end of November 2020

Black / White non-windowed version: $159 MSRP

Black / White with Tempered Glass side panel: $169 MSRP

Manufacturer Description

“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.”

be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 21

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.

be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 22
be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 23

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).

be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 24

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.

be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 25

Cooling Fans

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.

be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 26
be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 27
be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 28

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.

Fan Control

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.

Front Airflow

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.

Case Bottom

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.

be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 29
be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 30

Top Filters

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.

be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 31

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.

be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 32

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.

be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 33

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.

be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 34
be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 35
be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 36

The Build

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!

be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 37

Build Experience

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.

Party time:

 
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

Testing

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

be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 38

Conclusions

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.

be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 39
be quiet! Silent Base 802 Review - Cases and Cooling 40
Desktop background from Mutant Year Zero, in case you were wondering.

Review Disclosures

This is what we consider the responsible disclosure of our review policies and procedures.

How Product Was Obtained

The product is on loan from be quiet! for the purpose of this review.

What Happens To Product After Review

The product remains the property of be quiet! but is on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.

Company Involvement

Be quiet! had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.

Advertising Disclosure

Be quiet! has purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.

PC Perspective Compensation

Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by be quiet! for this review.

Affiliate Links

This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases through those links.

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About The Author

Brett VanSprewenburg

Years of geek-ism in programming, digital image processing, capture, compression and other online application work has landed Brett here - amongst his many endeavors - webmaster and contributor @ PC Perspective. Whether its wrenching on race cars, dune buggies or web sites, only the size and shape of the tools are different. The solution always starts in your head.

8 Comments

  1. Ramsey

    Fantastic looking build. The heat spreaders on the RAM look great framing the cooling block.

    Reply
    • Brett VanSprewenburg

      Thanks, the setup, building and picture taking is fun actually. The performance all around is very good also, and they do look pretty cool.

      Reply
  2. bagduck

    You should point out that this company has been a frequent sponsor/advertiser on both the web site and podcast. Hard to trust a review because future sponsorship/advertising could be affected by a negative review, and also it just so happens this is an Editor’s Choice. Couple that with tough times for sites like PCper and it’s really tough to ignore.

    Reply
    • Jeremy Hellstrom

      You had to scroll right past the disclosure to post this comment though?

      Reply
  3. Brett VanSprewenburg

    In reality, there were not a lot of negative things to say about building in the case if a user is in the market for a product with its specifications and price point. I point out a few minor details, mostly stylistic in nature or minor functional areas. It is a good product if its parameters meets the needs. If we include a disclosure section we strive to make it accurate. Many other review outlets do not do this at all.

    Reply
  4. BigTed

    Good review Brett, but can we have an LED back lit plant inside the case for the next review – perhaps with some dry ice fog for added atmosphere?

    That’s a nice looking case. Good to have the option of the mesh and solid front panel too.

    It would be interesting to see temp differences in a noise normalised test comparing the two front panel designs.

    Reply
  5. John C.

    Very well written and presented review of the Silent Base 802 case. I have the black window version of the 802 on order and I got a lot of insights into its construction from your description and pictures. Much appreciated. Also, I had not looked at the Pure Coolers for it but now I will, I like the ability to add coolant in a few years and moving the pump off the motherboard…good stuff. I did want a 280 for the top — as big as this case is, it is not clear why a 280 radiator won’t fit into the top of the 802 case (side supports make it too narrow?) , but since it will take a 240 or a 360 radiator I will probably go with the 360 instead since I really want to put the radiator in the top. Not having the mesh front would have been a deal breaker for me, I am glad beQuiet included it as an option with this case. The beQuiet web site specs show the third optional fan for the front could be either a 140mm or 120mm fan but the airflow drawing in this review shows the optional front fan as 120mm only. I can’t tell from the construction drawing or pictures which is correct — do you know if there is room to mount a third 140mm fan in front? I will see for myself when the case arrives in a few days so I don’t need a reply, but someone else might benefit from knowing. Thanks again for a well done and informative review. Sincerely, John

    Reply
    • Brett VanSprewenburg

      Thanks very much John, really happy that you found the review helpful. The Pure Loop looked pretty at “home” in the be quiet! case I must say, and I was impressed with the performance when set up with push-pull fans on the 9980XE. Even though the guides and docs do not list 280mm as usable on the top tray, there is a 2nd attachment track at what measures out to to be the proper width. IMO, they do not list it because it might crowd the MB space / ram area too closely. The docs I have also state up to 3x140mm usable at the front also, and looking at it, I cannot see why that wouldn’t work just fine. Thank you again for the kind words regarding the review, it’s nice to hear. Have a great day, and I hope the build goes well.

      Reply

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