While much of the choice of a PC case comes down to personal preference and design, others are non-negotiable. Some cases offer plenty of room for large radiators, some have mesh openings for high airflow, and others are sound proofed for maximum silence. Goal of this article is to help you make a more informed purchasing decision. We start with a technical part that lays out general concepts you may want to consider. If you are looking for recommendations for specific use-cases, you should scroll a bit further down. The second part focuses on different themes and which be quiet! cases apply to them. Enjoy reading!
Part 1: Technology
Motherboard form factor
Different motherboard form factors (or sizes) have different applications. The most common form factor is ATX. Smaller motherboards usually follow the microATX or mini-ITX standards. Larger sizes are referred to as E-ATX or XL-ATX but are not universally defined. All E-ATX variants maintain a height of 305mm, but the length can vary. XL-ATX is another unofficial format with slightly different dimensions, depending on the manufacturer or brand. Be sure to compare the size of E-ATX and XL-ATX motherboards to the formats supported by the case before you purchase. We recommend that you roughly match the motherboard size to the case, as a small form factor motherboard may look awkward and lost in a large case.
|Form factor||Size (height x width in mm)|
|Mini-ITX||170 x 170|
|microATX||244 x 244|
|ATX||305 x 244|
|E-ATX||305 x 257 to 330|
|XL-ATX||343 to 345 x 262 to 264|
Clearance and cable management
Every component of your PC needs to fit inside the case. There can be no collisions, and there needs to be enough room for cable management and good air circulation. All be quiet! cases’ product information on the website includes the maximum graphics card length, CPU cooler height and PSU length. Make sure to match the data against the products you already have on hand or choose your parts according to the specific case.For easy cable management, we include zip ties or Velcro strips to attach cables to conveniently placed hooks behind the motherboard tray. Some cases, such as the Dark Base Pro 901, Dark Base 701or Shadow Base 800 series, also include channels to route and hide cables.
Many cases come with rather simple pre-installed fans. Their quality in comparison to retail fans is often inferior. When upgrading the cooling setup, users often replace these fans with better ones, essentially paying for a part of the product they will not use later. For this reason, be quiet! makes sure that our customers receive good quality fans based on our retail fan series, such as Silent Wings, Light Wings or Pure Wings. This also makes it possible to add the same or at the very least matching fans by purchasing additional retail fans. Our cases come with up to four intake and exhaust fans in pre-tested positions for best cooling performance.
M.2 storage devices are installed directly on the motherboard and have become increasingly popular in recent years. This trend has left its mark on PC case design, as support for 3.5” HDDs, 2.5” SSDs and especially optical 5.25” drives has become increasingly limited. Filter your case selection according to how many and what kind of drives you want to install.
The front I/O panel will not only have the power button, but also connectors for audio devices and USB. An audio input and output are standard for cases in all price ranges. Due to the higher cost of Type C USB SuperSpeed 20Gbps connectors, they are rarely found in entry-level cases. These usually have Type A USB SuperSpeed connectors. Higher-end cases often include a fan controller or an ARGB LED controller button on the front as well. Our flagship Dark Base Pro 901 even has touch-sensitive buttons and a wireless charger. If you need quick access to USB devices, for example to connect an external storage device or charge a phone or headset, make sure the case’s connectivity options meet your needs.
Vertical GPU installation
High-end graphics cards often come with intricate designs worth showing off. Some cases offer an option to mount the graphics card vertically, to really show it off. Either the vertical mounting option for a 2-3 slot GPU is already integrated into the back panel, or the entire expansion card holder can be rotated 90° for vertical installation of even wider cards. The former is the case with the Dark Base 701, Silent Base 802 and 601 series, while the latter is offered by the Dark Base Pro 901 or Shadow Base 800 series.
Part 2: A case for every situation
Airflow and performance cases
Airflow and performance are extremely important for high frame rates in modern games and demanding workloads. The warm air from the CPU and GPU needs to be moved out of the case as efficiently as possible to prevent components from throttling for as long as possible. The best way to do this is by installing mesh panels at the front and top, that reduce the resistance that fans need to overcome.
Superior performance with water cooling
For the best possible cooling performance, many PC enthusiasts swear by water cooling. Liquid cooling requires room for radiators – the more, the better! While all our cases support at least a 360mm all-in-one cooler, the be quiet! cases with the best support for an extensive water-cooling setup with 420mm radiators are the following.
Stylish cases with ARGB lighting
Many cases come with integrated ARGB LEDs or LED fans. They allow you to individualize and adjust the look of the case exactly how you like it. The advantage of cases that come with pre-installed ARGB fans is that you do not need to purchase additional ARGB fans to get the lighting effect. You can simply use the pre-installed fans or expand the setup with more of the same. The ideal ARGB case will have mesh covers where the LED effects of the fans can shine through. They often also come with an ARGB hub or controller button on the front I/O panel. These are the be quiet! cases that come with ARGB features out of the box and are the ideal basis for a colorful PC setup.
With a brand name like “be quiet!”, of course we need to make sure our cases contribute to a silent environment. While fan speed plays a huge role for the overall noise of a PC, sound-insulation can dampen the noise and filter out certain frequencies. Some of our cases, like Dark Base Pro 901 or Silent Base 802, come with swappable front and top panels for either a performance or low-noise setup. These are our most effective silent cases.
Window panels to show off
Side panels with window allow to peek into the PC from the outside to show off all those ARGB components or matching color theme. We exclusively use tempered glass, which is a safety glass processed to increase its strength. Some windows are also tinted, for example to go with the darker color of the outer panels. The window side panel also often comes with painted edges to hide screw holes on the case body.
Inverted motherboard layouts
If you are interested in the ins and outs of inverted motherboard layouts, we have a longer content piece available for you to read. Here are all our cases that allow you to flip the motherboard around.
One thing we have not included in this article is the price. However, since we offer multiple options for every budget in each category, you should be able to select the case that is right for you, based on the above information. Once your PC is built, we would love it if you shared pictures of your build and tag our social media channels: