Be Quiet’s Pure Base 500 PC Case Looks Slick and Gets the Job Done

Rating: 6/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $70-75
Michael Crider

The land of PC cases is a fascinating one, considering they’re all basically elaborate boxes. There are cases with sophisticated cooling systems, eye-searing RGB, unconventional shapes, and branding that borders on the ridiculous. The Pure Base 500 isn’t any of those things, but it accomplishes what it sets out to do.

Here's What We Like

  • Flexible fan mounting and filters
  • Lots of room for graphics cards
  • Two quiet fans

And What We Don't

  • Difficult to access PSU area
  • Only two USB ports
  • Only two HDD mounts

For seventy bucks, Be Quiet’s entry-level enclosure is adequate without being spectacular. It is quiet—more so than you might expect from a case in this price range, mostly thanks to the generously included case fans. But it’s missing a few features you might expect from even a budget case, and its cable routing options are less elegant than some of the competition.

Overall, I’d call it average. Imagine I had something witty to say about that, please.

Setup

Installing the parts from the Review Geek test desktop into the Pure Base 500 was pretty simple by the standards of such things, even as Be Quiet had opted to send us the slightly flashier version with a tempered glass window. If you’ve assembled a desktop PC before, you know the drill. I appreciate that the case does away with superfluous lights like the hard drive indicator, and doesn’t add any extra LEDs. That’s taste, of course, and therefore subjective.

The assembled and powered-on case.
Michael Crider

Getting the power supply set up is often the most frustrating part of a PC build for me, if only because of all the cable routing issues. The Pure Base 500 makes it easy enough to get the thing in there, but once in, adjustments are far from easy. You’re going to have to take the right side cover off to get to any modular power cable connections, and the recession is too far back to access without unscrewing the PSU from the bracket on the back side of the case.

If you plan to use any larger 3.5″ hard drives, only mountable to the two bays in the removable caddy on the lower front side of the case, that’ll just exacerbate your problems—it’ll likely be necessary to remove the caddy and disconnect those drives to access modular power rails. It’s kind of a bummer.

The lower case area, PSU and hard drive caddy.
Imagine reaching in there to adjust your power rails. You can’t. Michael Crider

The rest of the design is a mix of functional and aesthetically appealing. An especially nice option is two magnetic covers for the top exhaust, allowing for maximum airflow or maximum sound dampening. The top and bottom grilles are removable for cleaning, and so is the front, though you’ll have to take the cover off.

The main internal chamber.
The little shelf in the middle of the main chamber is handy and aesthetically pleasing. Michael Crider

There’s a sort of “shelf” separating the two halves of the interior, neatly allowing cables like the main motherboard power rail and USB-C case connection to go right to their places with a wide avenue, while still hiding the rear side of the case. This isn’t the first case I’ve seen use that design, but it’s appreciated.

Big Fans

As you might expect in a case that’s all about being quiet, the mounting options for fans are flexible. Three 120mm spots on the front (or just two if you go for 140mm) and two on top, plus one on the rear, are nice. Even nicer is the ability to slide the top and front fans around on long rails, allowing for spot cooling and airflow management.

The front panel removed.
Michael Crider

The case comes with two 120mm fans pre-installed, but be aware that the internal geography of the motherboard mount means that large CPU coolers (like ours) will need you to move the rear fan to the top. Naturally, you can swap all of those placements out for radiators if you’re going water-cooled.

The top of the case with filters.
Filter off, low-noise filter, high flow filter. Michael Crider

There’s no way to use a bottom exhaust fan, though there are exhaust holes around the PSU bay. Since the power supply and 3.5″ hard drives get their own chamber for the full length of the case, that’s not really problem—and incidentally, that dedicated length allows for oversized GPUs without any issues.

Limited I/O Options

That interior shelf makes it more or less impossible to get any disc drives or other external drives in there. And that’s not a deal-breaker: I honestly can’t recall the last time I put a DVD into my PC.

Front panel.
Too USB ports are to USB ports two few. Michael Crider

More problematic is just two USB 3.0 ports on the case’s top-mounted I/O panel. It’s probably too much to hope for USB-C at this price point, but I’d call four USB ports a minimum for a full-sized ATX tower case. There’s also no option for a perpendicular PSU mount, which is a bummer in a case with a window, but not exactly uncommon at this price range.

The rear has a generous seven slots for PCI expansion cards, so it’s certainly a viable case if you need to max out a motherboard for a stream capture or audio mixing setup. And as I mentioned earlier, the lack of bays in the front of the case means you can stick a massive GPU in there.

Rear expansion area.
I like the lock down area to give the PCI expansion area stability. Michael Crider

I especially like the double locking mechanism on the slots for extra stability and the thumbscrews for the side panels and PSU bracket. They’re ever-so-slightly wider on the bottom threads of the screw, so you can leave them jangling in the right cover and PSU bracket without having to worry about them rolling around on your workbench. A nice touch!

It’ll Do

The Pure Base 500 is one of those things that’s hard to write an interesting review about because it’s just kind of okay. Not spectacular in any one area, with the possible exception of sound damping, and not particularly egregious in any way. It doesn’t make for an especially compelling review (sorry) or product.

Hey, at least it looks good. I dig the “tiny refrigerator” aesthetic, and this one has black, white, and grey options, with the tempered glass side being a five buck upgrade.

Front case logo.
Michael Crider

The case has a ton of space for GPUs and other PCI expansions, but none for external bays, and it’s a little light on spots for full hard drives. Fan placement is flexible, front I/O is not. It’s just kind of middle-of-the-road. Buy it if its particular strengths fit your needs, and you’re not hunting for anything much in terms of a bargain.

Rating: 6/10
Price: $70-75

Here’s What We Like

  • Flexible fan mounting and filters
  • Lots of room for graphics cards
  • Two quiet fans

And What We Don't

  • Difficult to access PSU area
  • Only two USB ports
  • Only two HDD mounts

Michael Crider Michael Crider
Michael Crider has been writing about computers, phones, video games, and general nerdy things on the internet for ten years. He’s never happier than when he’s tinkering with his home-built desktop or soldering a new keyboard. Read Full Bio »

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