I was (and still am) very impressed by the be quiet! Silent Wings 2 120mm fan that I had tested out in late January this year. I then began to look more into the company and realized how big they were- especially in Germany and west Europe. I had let them about the fan review and they appreciated it, and hence placed enough confidence to ship out 2 brand new coolers to me with this one being under an NDA till now. be quiet! have generally placed a lot of emphasis on silence, and sometimes at the expense of performance. Their “Dark Rock” cooler line is their flagship series and this particular cooler claims to have a cooling capacity for up to 220 W. Thanks then to Christoph and Roxie for providing the samples for testing and reviewing, so we can see for ourselves how this performs!
Let’s begin by taking a look at the specs courtesy the product page:
Once more, be quiet! impresses with an exhaustive list of specifications, including some that no one seems to consider- packaging dimensions and weight. Let’s begin with the Dark Rock series itself where we see that a Dark Rock cooler is specified for components of TDP 180-250 W and accordingly also cost more than their Shadow Rock and Pure Rock series. They do need to update that page given the nature of the TF being a, well, a top-flow cooler as the name suggests. Getting back to the specs list, I took the time and checked every single number in here with my own sample and everything was either spot on or within a 5% error margin of measurements and instrument precision. German engineering at work? Perhaps. Either way, we see that this is a pretty massive cooler even with the top-bottom style cooling and can pose compatibility issues with motherboards, RAM modules and PCI-E devices accordingly- we will get to this later in the review. There is a nice dimension sheet here for those wanting to check for compatibility before purchase. The cooler is compatible with just about any socket that people can buy products for now, aside from the Intel LGA 2011 (-3) narrow ILM sockets. This used to be a non-issue for general consumers until Asrock made its x99 m-ITX motherboard using this. The cooler includes two of their Silent Wings fans which are 135x135x22 mm in size and PWM controlled, as is the norm with CPU cooler fans these days. These fans employ an FDB bearing and come rated for 300,000 hours (MTBF at 25 ºC) which is very good to see. The heatsink itself has aluminum fins and a nickel plated copper cold plate, with 6 nickel plated copper heatpipes going through it. The warranty on the cooler is a bit of a let down here- 3 years is not representative of a high end flagship air cooler where the only moving parts (the fans) have an MTBF of 300, 000 hours which is ~35 years. Sure that’s a stretch, but 5-6 years is what I would have liked to see. Let’s now take a look at the cooler beginning on the next page.