This Time On: Engineering Marvels

Okay, so we got the glass panel off without dropping it and found what looks like a clean and simple layout. There doesn't appear to be much happening on the surface until you start pulling it apart and quickly realize that everything can come out.

Let's start with the motherboard tray. As expected, it's fully removable and depending on your preference can be put back in upside down, though you'd have to fully disassemble the case. However, before you get all inverted there are a few customizable options for the more traditional layout, though these apply to the inverted layout as well.

The motherboard tray can be repositioned vertically at one of three different heights to suit individual space requirements. Naturally you can also fully remove the motherboard tray to install the key components outside the case, such as the motherboard, processor, cooler and memory for example. The tray supports E-ATX and XL-ATX motherboards, so even big workstation boards are supported.

Some more standard motherboard tray features include a huge cutout which allows for installation of third party coolers without having to remove the motherboard. There are also three large cable management holes complete with rubberized grommets. The grommets are color-coded orange if you select the orange model, presumably the black and silver models just have black grommets.

More orange rubber grommets can be found on the hard drive cages, though they are of a much different design. The rubber grommets on the drive cages are designed to reduce vibration and therefore eliminate unwanted noise. Like the rest of the case, the drive cages are very flexible. There are seven in total but you are free to configure the case with any number of them in any position. Each cage supports either a single 3.5" drive or a pair of 2.5" drives.

In total the Dark Base Pro 900 can handle two 5.25" drives, seven 3.5" drives and up to 15 2.5" drives -- damn is that a lot of SATA SSDs. Of course if you don't need that much storage, then you are best off removing the cages to improve airflow.

With the hard drive cages installed it's still possible to install graphics cards as long as 323mm, which is pretty much all of them. Still, if you have some kind of monster card then removing the drive cages behind the PCI Express slot in question will afford you 472mm of headroom.

In terms of cooling, the Dark Base Pro 900 comes preloaded with three SilentWings 3 fans. These 140mm PWM fans feature a unique fan blade design, rubberized fan frame and funnel shaped air inlets which Be Quiet! says provide excellent air circulation. They also say the 6-pole fan motor with fluid dynamic bearings reduces power consumption and vibration.

Besides the pre-installed fans users can also throw a few fans in the top panel. Actually, the options here are numerous as it's possible to install three 140mm fans, four 120mm fans, a single 180mm fan or one 200mm fan. If you remove the 5.25" drive bay an additional front 140mm fan can be installed and depending on your power supply length, 120mm or 140mm fans can also be installed in the bottom.

There are a number of radiator options available for those going down the liquid cooling route. The front can support radiators as long as 420mm and the same is true for the top panel. It's possible to squeeze a 280mm radiator in the bottom and a 140mm radiator in the rear.

As I said, depending on the power supply length you can install a fan or radiator in the bottom of the Dark Base Pro 900. The length can be no greater than 150mm if you wish to install additional cooling in the bottom. However, if this isn't acceptable then foregoing any cooling options here will allow the power supply to span up to 284mm long.

The only other height restriction applies to the CPU cooler which can stand no taller than 185mm before risking contact with the glass panel. This should still be ample room for even the most extreme tower style coolers, any larger and they risk destroying the motherboard you would think.

When it comes to cable management, the Dark Base Pro 900 has you well covered, which isn't surprising for a case of this size. Still, behind the motherboard tray you will find a very spacious 20mm of clearance for tucking away excess wires.

Also found hiding behind the motherboard tray is a small PCB panel that's your one-stop-shop for everything LED and fan-related. The supplied LED strip lights plug in here and this allows the front panel to control the lighting. The Qi charger also plugs in here along with pretty much every fan you are going to install.

The three pre-installed fans are already hooked up and they use 4-pin connectors, this leaves a fourth 4-pin connector free. However, there are also an additional four 3-pin fan headers as well, which means you can hook up a further five fans to the fan controller on top of the three that come with the case.