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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

The Dark Rock 2 is a CPU cooler from be quiet! with a tower heatsink, one 135 mm fan, and six heatpipes. Let’s test it and see if the company’s name truly reflects this product’s operation.

The black box of the Dark Rock 2 is shown in Figure 1.

be quiet! Dark Rock 2Figure 1: Package

Figure 2 shows the contents of the box: the cooler itself, a small syringe of thermal compound, manual, and installation hardware.

be quiet! Dark Rock 2Figure 2: Accessories

Figure 3 displays the Dark Rock 2.

be quiet! Dark Rock 2Figure 3: The Dark Rock 2

This cooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.

[nextpage title=”The be quiet! Dark Rock 2″]

Figure 4 illustrates the front of the cooler, which is covered by the 135 mm fan. Notice that the blades of the fan are not plain; they have ripples that help minimize the turbulence and, thus, the noise.

be quiet! Dark Rock 2Figure 4: Front view

Figure 5 reveals the side of the cooler.

be quiet! Dark Rock 2Figure 5: Side view

Figure 6 shows the rear of the cooler. The edges of the fins are straight, creating a flat surface.

be quiet! Dark Rock 2Figure 6: Rear view

In Figure 7, you can see the top of the cooler.

be quiet! Dark Rock 2Figure 7: Top view

[nextpage title=”The be quiet! Dark Rock 2 (Cont’d)”]

The six 6 mm nickel-plated copper heatpipes are visible in Figure 8. They are disposed in two rows inside each side of the heatsink.

be quiet! Dark Rock 2Figure 8: Heatpipes

Figure 9 illustrates the base of the cooler. It is a nickel-plated copper plate with mirror-like finishing.

be quiet! Dark Rock 2Figure 9: Base

Figure 10 reveals the Dark Rock 2 without the fan. The fins create a concave surface.

be quiet! Dark Rock 2Figure 10: Without the fan

Figure 11 shows the 135 mm PWM fan that comes with the cooler, with the wire holders.

be quiet! Dark Rock 2Figure 11: Fan

[nextpage title=”Installation”]

Figure 12 shows the backplate for installing the Dark Rock 2 on all compatible CPUs, except LGA2011 systems, which don’t require a backplate.

be quiet! Dark Rock 2Figure 12: Backplate

Figure 12 shows the pair of holders for sockets 1155/1156 installed at the base of the cooler. There are three additional pairs of holders: one for socket LGA2011, one for sockets 775 and 1366, and one for all AMD processors.

be quiet! Dark Rock 2Figure 13: Holders installed

The installation is simple: just put the cooler in place and fasten the four screws from the solder side of the motherboard.

be quiet! Dark Rock 2Figure 14: Cooler installed

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]

We tested the cooler with a Core i5-2500K CPU (quad-core, 3.3 GHz), which is a socket LGA1155 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 4.0 GHz (100 MHz base clock and x40 multiplier), with 1.3 V core voltage (Vcore). This CPU was able to reach 4.8 GHz with its default core voltage, but at this setting, the processor enters thermal throttling when using mainstream coolers, reducing the clock and thus the thermal dissipation. This could interfere with the temperature readings, so we chose to maintain a moderate overclocking.

We measured noise and temperature with the CPU under full load. In order to get 100% CPU usage in all cores, we ran Prime 95 25.11 with the “In-place Large FFTs” option. (In this version, the software uses all available threads.)

We compared the tested cooler to other coolers we already tested, and to the stock cooler that comes with the Core i5-2500K CPU. Note that the results cannot be compared to measures taken on a different hardware configuration, so we retested some “old” coolers with this new methodology. This means you can find different values in older reviews than the values you will read on the next page. Every cooler was tested with the thermal compound that comes with it.

Room temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer. The core temperature was read with the SpeedFan program (available from the CPU thermal sensors), using an arithmetic average of the core temperature readings.

ring the tests, the panels of the computer case were closed. The front and rear case fans were spinning at minimum speed in order to simulate the “normal” cooler use on a well-ventilated case. We assume that is the common setup used by a cooling enthusiast or overclocker.

The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed near the top opening of the case. This measurement is only for comparison purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.

Hardware Configuration

Operating System Configuration

  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit SP1

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 2°C error margin, meaning temperature differences below 2°C are considered irrelevant.

[nextpage title=”Our Tests”]

The table below presents the results of our measurements. We repeated the same test on all coolers listed below. Each measurement was taken with the CPU at full load. In the models with a fan supporting PWM, the motherboard controlled the fan speed according to core load and temperature. On coolers with an integrated fan controller, the fan was set at the full speed.

Cooler Room Temp. Noise Speed Core Temp. Temp. Diff.
Cooler Master Hyper TX3 18 °C 50 dBA 2850 rpm 69 °C 51 °C
Corsair A70 23 °C 51 dBA 2000 rpm 66 °C 43 °C
Corsair H100 26 °C 62 dBA 2000 rpm 64 °C 38 °C
EVGA Superclock 26 °C 57 dBA 2550 rpm 67 °C 41 °C
NZXT HAVIK 140 20 °C 46 dBA 1250 rpm 65 °C 45 °C
Thermalright True Spirit 120 26 °C 42 dBA 1500 rpm 82 °C 56 °C
Zalman CNPS12X 26 °C 43 dBA 1200 rpm 71 °C 45 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 Max 20 °C 51 dBA 1700 rpm 62 °C 42 °C
Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition 22 °C 50 dBA 2400 rpm 65 °C 43 °C
SilenX EFZ-120HA5 18 °C 44 dBA 1500 rpm 70 °C 52 °C
Noctua NH-L12 20 °C 44 dBA 1450 rpm 70 °C 50 °C
Zalman CNPS8900 Extreme 21 °C 53 dBA 2550 rpm 71 °C 50 °C
Gamer Storm Assassin 15 °C 48 dBA 1450 rpm 58 °C 43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 400 15 °C 44 dBA 1500 rpm 60 °C 45 °C
Cooler Master TPC 812 23 °C 51 dBA 2350 rpm 66 °C 43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 300 18 °C 43 dBA 1650 rpm 74 °C 56 °C
Intel stock cooler 18 °C 41 dBA 2000 rpm 97 °C 79 °C
Xigmatek Praeton 19 °C 52 dBA 2900 rpm 83 °C 64 °C
Noctua NH-U12P SE2 18 °C 42 dBA 1300 rpm 69 °C 51 °C
Deepcool Frostwin 24 °C 46 dBA 1650 rpm 78 °C 54 °C
Thermaltake Frio Advanced 13 °C 56 dBA 2000 rpm 62 °C 49 °C
Xigmatek Dark Knight Night Hawk Edition 9 °C 48 dBA 2100 rpm 53 °C 44 °C
Thermaltake Frio Extreme 21 °C 53 dBA 1750 rpm 59 °C 38 °C
Noctua NH-U9B SE2 12 °C 44 dBA 1700 rpm 64 °C 52 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro 15 °C 54 dBA 2000 rpm 52 °C 37 °C
Deepcool Fiend Shark 18 °C 45 dBA 1500 rpm 74 °C 56 °C
Arctic Freezer i30 13 °C 42 dBA 1350 rpm 63 °C 50 °C
Spire TME III 8 °C 46 dBA 1700 rpm 70 °C 62 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Performer 11 °C 54 dBA 2000 rpm 49 °C 38 °C
Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS 11 °C 45 dBA 2000 rpm 82 °C 71 °C
be quiet! Dark Rock 2 10 °C 41 dBA 1300 rpm 58 °C 48 °C

In the graph below, you can see how many degrees Celsius hotter the CPU core is than the air outside the case. The lower this difference, the better is the performance of the cooler.

be quiet! Dark Rock 2

In the graph below, you can see how many decibels of noise each cooler makes.

be quiet! Dark Rock 2

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

The main specifications for the be quiet! Dark Rock 2 CPU cooler include:

  • Application: Sockets 775, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, AM2(+), AM3(+), and FM1 processors
  • Dimensions: 5.4 x 3.1 x 6.5 inches (138 x 97 x 166 mm) (W x L x H)
  • Maximum TDP: 180 W
  • Fins: Aluminum
  • Base: Nickel-plated copper
  • Heat-pipes: Six 6-mm nickel-plated copper heatpipes
  • Fan: 135 mm
  • Nominal fan speed: 1,300 rpm
  • Fan air flow: 57.9 cfm
  • Power consumption: 2.64 W
  • Nominal noise level: 21.2 dBA
  • Weight: 1.9 lbs (860 g)
  • More information: https://www.bequiet.com
  • MSRP in the U.S.: USD 77.00

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

Our tests proved that the name of the manufacturer is in accordance with the product: the Dark Rock 2 is really quiet. It is actually the most silent high-performance CPU cooler that we tested so far.

Although the be quiet! Dark Rock 2 doesn’t have the same performance level as the top performers we tested to date, it reached a better performance level than the other “extra silent” coolers to which we are comparing it.

If you are looking for a really quiet, nice looking, and good-performance CPU cooler, the be quiet! Dark Rock 2 is a sure bet. That’s why it receives the Hardware Secrets Golden Award.