Getting inside the Base
The case’s traditional main chamber has seven 3.5" drive slots spread across two modular cages, along with three 5.25" drive bays. All of these cages reside in front of the motherboard tray. There are two additional 2.5’’ drive mounts on the back of the motherboard tray, too. One or both of the 3.5” drive cages can be removed to make way for longer graphics cards. The 3.5" drive cages feature triangular openings in the frame to allow airflow from the fans to pass through more easily.
A mounting plate screwed into the bottom of the 5.25" bays can be removed and reinstalled on the floor of the case to allow builders to reposition a 3.5" drive cage there, or it can be screwed into the floor of of the 5.25" drive cage to allow a 3.5" cage to be installed there, as well. With the upper cage in place, the case can house a 290-mm-long graphics card. Without it, the Silent Base 800 can house a 400-mm-long graphics card.
One of the more interesting features of the Silent Base 800 are its tool-free rubber drive rails. The case comes with enough rails to fill all seven drive bays. The mounts decouple the drives from the case, isolating and suppressing the noise from the drives and reducing vibrations passed into the case. To install the mounts, be quiet! includes thumbscrews that secure the rubber rails to the drive itself.
The Silent Base 800's motherboard tray doesn't use traditional standoffs. Instead, it features an in-tray standoff design. This is a handy touch that avoids the annoyance of screwing in the small, easily-lost brass standoffs that many cases use. The tray is equipped with four grommets to let cables pass through from the other side of the case.
Behind the motherboard tray, builders have just under 2" of space to route and tie down cables. We only found one easily-accessible cable tie-down behind the motherboard tray beyond the pre-tied points for the front panel cables, a design choice that could make for a more tedious build. A large opening behind the drive cages bridges both sides of the case, so it can be used as an extra cable routing path if it's needed.
Before beginning the assembly of a system inside the Silent Base 800, it's a good idea to remove the case's feet. Resting the case on its side with the feet installed creates an awkward angle, and it also creates undue stresses on the plastic mounting tabs for each foot.
The first hurdle I ran into with the Silent Base 800 was my fault. The windowed version of the case can swallow 167-mm CPU coolers, but the Cooler Master MasterAir Maker 8 heatsink we use for testing measures 170 mm tall. Initially, one of the cooler's fans touched the side window, preventing me from closing the case. To make the cooler fit, I switched from the G.Skill Trident Z DDR4 we usually keep in our case testing system to some lower-profile Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 RAM. I also removed the cover on top of the MasterAir Maker 8. This created a hair’s breadth of space between the cooler and the panel.
Once I made room for our CPU cooler, I also had to remove the Silent Base's upper 3.5” drive cage to make room for our 295-mm-long GeForce GTX 980 Ti graphics card. The card blocked the middle grommet on the motherboard tray, too. Builders who plan on installing lengthy graphics cards should take extra precautions when planning their builds.
For cable routing, the case encourages builders to stuff their cables in the grommets directly in front of the power supply, then feed them back through the upper grommets. Since we only had one grommet available to us because of the GTX 980 Ti, cable routing proved more frustrating than it might have otherwise been. I barely had enough space to zip-tie the cables in our build. Because all of my cables were bottle-necked to one grommet, they didn't run neatly behind the motherboard tray, either. This situation made reattaching the right-side panel difficult.
I encountered another hiccup while installing the power supply. The Silent Base 800’s power-supply mount has a rubber gasket running around its perimeter to reduce vibrations. Our be quiet! power supply also has rubber bumpers on its edges for the same purpose. When both of these gaskets were in place, we couldn’t get the power supply screws to thread into the PSU itself.
After some careful exploration, we discovered that the rubber bumpers on our PSU could be removed with a butter knife and a large amount of force. We took off the offending bumper and found that we were able to screw the power supply into place. These bumpers aren’t easily removable, though, and it’s disappointing that we had clearance issues with parts from the same company. Builders should avoid power supplies with extra rubber dampers when building in the Silent Base 800.
During some informal testing, I installed Cooler Master's Nepton 240M liquid cooler in the Silent Base 800, as well. A radiator this large can only be mounted to the top of the case. Although the radiator is only 30 mm tall, I had to give up my attempt to mount the radiator fans in an exhaust configuration, because the space between the topmount and the motherboard is so small that the radiator would have come in contact with the motherboard and the CPU cooler.
With the radiator mounted as an intake, it was able to pull a mild amount of air through the top air duct, but it doesn't seem optimal to mount the radiator here. Builders planning to use liquid cooling with an extra-large radiator probably won't be happy with the Silent Base 800's mounting options. Those planning to use liquid cooling with a radiator 140mm or smaller should mount their radiators to either the front or back fan mounts on this case.
All told, this case isn't the hardest one to build in that I've ever worked with, but it's no walk in the park, either. Now that our test system is inside, let's see how the Silent Base 800 performs.