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Inverse ATX motherboard layouts in PC cases

Flipping the traditional ATX layout gives you a good view of the inside when your PC is placed on the left side and can also have cooling advantages. What is it all about?

In a standard ATX case, the motherboard is usually mounted on the right-hand side. The left side often has a window, so you can take a peek inside to see the ARGB lighting or show off your cable management skills. But what if your desk layout does not allow you to place your PC on the right, but only on the left? Are you really forced to look at a boring, black steel side panel? The answer is “no”, and the solution is a case that supports an inverted layout, like the Dark Base Pro 901. With a reverse layout, the motherboard tray is flipped over and mounted on the left side of the case. The window side panel is interchangeable with the steel panel to allow a view of the interior from your desired side.

Besides the unique aesthetics, an inverted motherboard can also offer cooling advantages. You ask how? In particular, the graphics card is positioned in a way that allows a better airflow and more efficient cooling. This is further enhanced by hidden drive bays and a PSU shroud, to optimize the airflow through the case. If you have or consider buying a case that supports an inverted layout and your PC is on the left side of the desk, there is really no reason not to invert the motherboard tray. Smart rail systems, such as those used in the Dark Base Pro 901, make this process very easy and convertible for everybody.

be quiet! offers case from the Dark Base and Silent Base series with support for inverted layouts. Since the process of inverting the motherboard tray is very visual and the easiest to understand with moving images, we are providing videos with detailed descriptions. These videos are also linked to our printed manuals via QR code. Some examples can be found here:

Dark Base Pro 901:

Dark Base 701:

Silent Base 802:

However, to satisfy those of you who prefer to read rather than watch a video, we will outline the process using our flagship case Dark Base Pro 901 as an example.

Step-by-Step manual: Inverting the motherboard tray of a Dark Base Pro 901

Step 1: Preparation

Get a Phillips screwdriver and a small box to collect the screws (or use the part box included in the case). Open the case panels on both sides. Remove any Velcro strips from the cables behind the motherboard tray.

Step 2: Gutting the case

Loosen the 4 screws (2 rear, 2 front) from the motherboard tray and slide it out along the rails. Remove the side bracket (2 screws), side-mount bracket frame (2 screws), HDD cages (2 thumbscrews) and HDD bracket (4 screws). Press the middle of the PSU shroud side panel with the be quiet! logo and remove it sideways, while making sure to unplug the ARGB cable before completely removing the panel. Remove the top mesh panel, the silent panels and the top fan and radiator bracket, as well as the top frame by gently pulling it up. Press the clips under the wireless charger to remove it

Step 3: Repositioning the electronics

Unscrew the circuit board for the top fan hub from the case body. Be sure to disconnect the cable to the front I/O. Re-install the PCB on the other side of the case and re-route the cable. Re-route all remaining cables from one side to the other. All openings are mirrored, so pay close attention to which pass-through hole you used for which cable. After all cables are re-routed, re-install the wireless charger rotated 180° and re-route its SATA power cable accordingly. Remove the top fan hub from the radiator and fan bracket and re-install it on the other side.

Step 4: Re-Assembly

Re-seat the top case frame, top radiator frame, silent panels and mesh top panel. Connect the ARGB cable to the PSU shroud side cover and reinstall it on the opposite side. Reinstall the HDD frame, the installation frame for the side-mount bracket (Make sure the cables are tucked above, but not pinched!) and the side-mount bracket on the opposite side, then reinstall the HDD cages.

Step 5: Installing the system

Install the full system, including motherboard, CPU, CPU cooler, memory and graphics card, on the motherboard tray.

Step 6: Final steps and housekeeping

Slide the motherboard tray back in from the other side and tighten the 4 screws. You can install the VGA holder under the top fan frame, by installing an additional bracket, then adjusting the VGA holder and securing it with a screw. This step is optional. Install the power supply, then connect up the motherboard and drives and finish the cable management with the included Velcro strips. Close the case with the side panels. Congratulations, you have successfully inverted the motherboard layout of the Dark Base Pro 901!

We hope this illustrated step-by-step guide to invert our flagship case Dark Base Pro 901 has you curious about inverted cases and you are now eager to try it out for yourself! Have fun tinkering with it!