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Thread: be quiet! Dark Rock TF 2

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    be quiet! Dark Rock TF 2

    Introduction

    German manufacturer be quiet! has introduced a new product in its premium Dark Rock cooling line called the Dark Rock TF 2. It is the successor of the popular top-flow cooler from 2015. The Dark Rock TF 2 wants to convince with a strong performance despite its unusual design and also find space in smaller cases due to its compact form. Carrying a sleek, all-black aesthetic with a brushed aluminum top cover and special black coating with ceramic particles, be quiet!’s Dark Rock TF 2 features a top-flow, dual heat sink design that allows for maximum cooling performance of up to 230 W TDP with the aid of six high-performance 6 mm heat pipes. Of course, the new design uses the latest Silent Wings 3 fans, upgraded from the first edition of this fan series. Due to its design, the TF 2 should also be able to cool the motherboard components located around the CPU socket.



    The manufacturer states that the cooler is compatible with Intel 1200 / 2066 / 1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 2011(-3) Square ILM, and AMD AM4 / AM3(+) sockets.





    Packaging & Contents

    The box is, as typical for the manufacturer, designed in black and only the orange in the logo some contrast. The front of the box features the be quiet! Logo in the upper right hand corner. A large picture of the product in the middle with the Name of the Product Model. The top of the box just mentions the product name, and maximum TDP of 230W.



    The back details the features. This is done using both images and a in depth description of the product.



    The left side has a QR code for quick access to product information.



    Turning to look at the left side of the box, we find a specifications table detailing most of the information buyers will find pertinent. This includes the cooler's weight, dimensions, fan RPM, and supported sockets.



    The packaging is mostly cardboard, but be quiet! did slip some foam in to protect the heatsink and fan, which is always nice to see. The mounting hardware is kept secure in a smaller box, while a flap on the top helps secure everything in smaller, separate compartments.




    Contents of the packaging include a smaller brown box filled with accessories, and installation manual in various languages. Inside the smaller box is mounting hardware for all the compatible socket types and four fan retaining clips, enough to install two fans to the cooler. The box with accessories contains: sets of mounts for AMD AM3 (+) / AM4 and Intel LGA115x / 1200 / 20xx platforms, thermal grease in a syringe and a PWM Y-cable for connecting two fans.










    A Closer Look

    Top-Flow design of course, affected its appearance. It is "flattened", and thanks to the signature line of the Dark Rock series, it looks very impressive due to the black color of the radiator. A decorative cover hides the ends of the heat pipes and we can see the use of two proprietary 135 mm fans. All this gives the cooler solidity and "justifies" the declared TDP of 230 W. Despite the relatively small height of 134 mm, the remaining dimensions of the cooler are not the smallest: 163 mm (Length) x 140 mm (Width). And the weight is almost under 1 kg. The heat sink uses six 6mm copper C-shaped heat pipes and two sections of aluminum fins.



    The largest top section has 63 plates and the bottom 32 plates. Due to this approach, even with the lower fan installed, relatively high memory modules can be used with the cooler (the distance from the base of the cooler to the fan, above the area where the memory modules are located, is 49 mm).



    In addition, the two sections of the radiator have a different number of heat pipes: the lower one consists of four central ones, and the upper one consists of six. The difference between the novelty and the be quiet! Dark Rock TF - in the upper section, the ends of the heat pipes are hidden by a casing.



    Due to the large dimensions, the radiator sections have holes for access to the pressure plate screws. The largest section has rubberized elements on both sides to reduce vibrations transmitted from the fans. Note also that under the lower section, on the back of the base, there is a mini-radiator, so the manufacturer has provided the cooler, with its dimensions and design features, with the maximum dissipation area.



    The machining quality of the nickel-plated copper base is very good, despite visible radial machining marks, it is smooth and has a slight bulge.



    Both fans supplied with the Dark Rock TF 2 are premium models. You get one 135mm Silent Wings PWM fan rated at up to 1400 RPM and one 135mm Silent Wings 3 fan rated at up to 1300 RPM. While both fans are from the same family, the fan meant for the top of the cooler has a funnel-shaped frame and the one used between the two fin stacks has a standard round frame. Bearing wise, be quiet! opts for the fluid dynamic variant alongside a 6-pole motor. These combine to give a rated lifespan of 300,000 hours, which is impressive. The 4-pin PWM connection sits at the end of a 220mm-long black, braided cable.




    Installation Process

    Installation does require a number of steps and from the outset does appear a little tricky. The included instruction manuals do a really good job of walking you through the process, but it is certainly worth following the process closely, to ensure no mistakes are made. You start with the backplate and by passing four screws through the correct socket holes. 4 rubber o rings are included to hold these screws in place.



    The backplate can then be passed through the rear of your motherboard.



    After that, four standoffs can be threaded onto the four backplate screws.



    The two mounting brackets can then be screwed onto those standoffs. Here, it is important to attach the brackets vertically (parallel to the RAM slots), assuming you want the cooler to be mounted vertically as is standard.



    After that, the heatsink itself can be mounted to the processor, and it is secured to the mounting brackets thanks to a metal bar which slots into the bottom of the heatsink. The bar is locked-down with two sturdy screws, and this is where the included screwdriver really helps – its long neck means you are not fighting with the heatsink to get the screws properly threaded. Thanks, be quiet!




    With that done, all that is left is to mount the Silent Wings 3 fans using the provided fan clips, and installation is complete.



    The dual-heatsink design allows installation of memory modules with a height of up to 49mm.



    The Dark Rock TF 2 is mounted like most coolers on the market, and the process is much more beginner-friendly. All-in-all, it is really good to see be quiet! has managed to implement a straightforward mounting solutions for its coolers.




    Test System & Methology

    Test System:

    Cpu:Intel Core i7-6700K@4.6 GHz.
    Motherboard:Gigabyte G1.Sniper Z170
    Memory:16Gb Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2666Mhz
    Graphics Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB SC2
    Power Supply: EVGA SuperNova 1200 P2
    Storage Drive: 3TB Seagate Barracuda
    Boot Drive: SSD 850 PRO 2.5" SATA III 2TB
    Chassis: Dimastech Bench Table Easy V2.5
    Windows 10 64-bit




    Software:

    Speedfan
    CPUID HW Monitor 1.23
    CPUID CPU-Z 1.65
    Prime 95

    I am testing the performance as follows:

    Ambient temperatures are kept at 23C throughout my tests.
    The CPU Fan is set to 100% to eliminate inconsistencies as a result of PWM control.
    Idle temperatures are obtained after booting the PC and idling on the desktop for 30 minutes.
    Load temperatures are obtained after running Prime 95′s for 30 minutes.



    Performance

    In the graph below we see the idle temperatures for both stock and overclock. The be quiet! Dark Rock TF 2 is right in the middle and shows really good cooling capabilities.



    As we got to the overclocked testing, we find a slight increase in the gap to first Water Cooling System, but still a good showing for a C-Style cooler. 67 degrees is still well within the comfort zone, and well away from throttling. The VRMs seemed to like it though as they were 3 degrees cooler with the fan blowing down onto the motherboard.



    I am impressed with the noise output of this cooler as we saw an impressive 43 dBA reading with an ambient of 35 dBA.




    Final Thoughts

    Here we are at the end of the be quiet! Dark Rock TF 2 review, and we are left with some interesting results. For one, be quiet! quality stands tall here. Build quality is top notch, in both sturdiness and consistency. In addition, be quiet! has almost mastered the C design with the ability to fit a variety of situations for slimmer cases, or to accommodate for taller memory. Small changes from the original Dark Rock TF are not only cosmetic, for example, the ends of the heat pipes were hidden in the upper section with a casing, and the radiator is painted black. Practical updates concern the use of two 135 mm fans from different Silent Wings series, one of which is Silent Wings 3 with a standard thickness of 25 mm. And of course, all that air the Silent Wing fans moves through the cooler gets directed down across the RAM modules, VRM, and other motherboard components. That amounts to extra cooling for free. The thermal performance the Dark Rock TF 2 has to offer was great for the type of cooler it is. As a result, the TDP of the cooler increased to 230 W. It’s c-shaped design and the Silent Wings 3 /Silent Wings fans really allow for some impressive cooling. Looking back at the OC Load temperature and I was very pleased with the result. Not only would the Dark Rock TF 2 be amazing in a nice SFF build of sorts, it would also allow you to pretty much get a nice overclock on most CPU’s on the market. The area the Dark Rock TF2 does excel in over nearly every other cooler tested is noise. You'd expect some sort of noise / noticeable to the hearing airflow with two fans, but the Silent Wings 3 work their magic. They are relatively low RPM yet offer enough airflow pressure to get rid of that heat. With larger heatsinks installation can be a little tricky, but not with the Dark Rock TF 2. It was one of the easier CPU cooler installations that I’ve done lately. The directions are very clear and be quiet! does include all that you need to complete the installation (except screwdriver).



    be quiet! does it again! We have another great CPU cooler that performs great, is quiet, and is extremely easy to install. I think that if be quiet! actually put out a bad product the whole world including myself would be shocked! The main drawback of the cooler is associated with its high cost (80 Euros), comparable to tower supercoolers and liquid cooling systems based on a 240mm radiator, but it should be said that be quiet! Dark Rock TF 2 can be classified as a niche product, as due to the Top-Flow design it has a relatively small height (up to 134 mm), but at the same time it is able to cool any modern processor for AMD AM3 (+) / AM4 and Intel LGA115x / platforms. 1200 / 20xx, including overclocking. Finally, a solid three year warranty offers users some peace of mind.

    Last edited by testman78; 09-06-2021 at 01:20 AM.

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