be quiet! Shadow Rock 2 Review
Reviewed by: red454
Reviewed on: February 3, 2014
be quiet! Shadow Rock 2 Introduction:
Be quiet! is one of Germany's top manufacturers of power supplies and is well known outside the US, but are merging into the US market with a full line of power supplies and high end air cooling solutions, including the Dark Rock and Shadow Rock product lines. Be quiet! has won the Manufacturer of the Year award six times in a row from the German hardware magazine PC Gamers Hardware. The German engineered Shadow Rock 2 is be quiet!'s single tower / single fan 180W TDP cooling solution that is a notch below the Dark Rock 2. The Shadow Rock 2 features four large diameter (8mm) shiny copper heat pipes and is designed for the latest CPUs.
If you are not familiar with the Shadow Rock series, be quiet! has the Shadow Rock Slim and the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW, which are both 160W TDP units. Today we will see just how well the latest model in the series, the Shadow Rock 2, handles the job. If you like to experiment with overclocking and push the thermal limits of your system, then you know the importance of a capable CPU cooler. And while water cooling has certainly become mainstream, air cooling is nothing to be shrugged off.
be quiet! Shadow Rock 2 Closer Look:
The packaging for the be quiet! Shadow Rock 2 reflects the name of the cooler, with a black background showing the cooler front and center on the front panel. Under the image is the name of cooler "Shadow Rock 2" and that this cooler can manage a 180W thermal load. On the side panels there is a brief description of the features in five languages and a list of awards.
The back side of the package has a technical drawing of the cooler, a list of the specifications, and descriptions of the features, such as the aluminum top plate, low turbulence cooling fin design, and four high performance 8mm heat pipes.
Open the box and there is a little compartment at the top that contains the hardware, instructions, and the thermal paste. There are two flaps with holes that line up with the heat pipe caps and hold the cooler in place to prevent damage to the large fin array. This is a nice way to incorporate the box into the internal packaging. The cooler sits on a foam block that has a contoured pocket for the base. The bags contain the AMD and Intel hardware, along with the base plate and thermal paste. There is also a small wrench that will come in handy a little later.
The instructions are on a single folded sheet and are in five languages. The illustrations and text are clear and easy to follow. So let's see how the Shadow Rock 2 stacks up!
be quiet! Shadow Rock 2 Closer Look:
The Shadow Rock 2 is a single tower design cooler using a single 120mm 4-pin PWM fan to provide the airflow for this cooler. Socket compatibility includes all of the most recent sockets from AMD: 754 / 939 / 940 / AM2(+) / AM3 (+) / FM1 / FM2 and Intel: LGA 775 / 1150 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366 / 2011 to ensure the largest possible coverage for this design. Measuring 147 x 122 x 160mm in size, it is not really a small or average sized cooling solution, but still should fit into a mid tower chassis. At 2.46 pounds the Shadow Rock 2 is no light weight and probably won't make it into your LAN rig. But on the positive side it should have the mass to deliver on that 180W rating.
Removing the PWM fan you get to the bare essentials of the Shadow Rock 2. It is a large single tower-style cooler that uses a cube-shaped fin stack connected to four massive 8mm heat pipes that pass through the contact plate of the copper base and up through the 51 aluminum fins. The unmistakable cube shape would certainly get the attention of Braque and Picasso if they were around today. I have seen 5mm and 6mm pipes, but 8mm pipes are huge and should work well moving the heat. Each fin has sawtooth edges that taper in slightly at the middle on all four sides. Without the fan, the dimensions shrink to 122 x 122 x 160mm and depending on your processor, running passively might be a possibility with the lower TDP parts.
At the bottom right I have installed the side brackets necessary for my LGA1150 socket. The base is polished mirror smooth and the symmetrical fin stack actually will allow a fan to be added to any of the four side faces, although you will have to supply any additional fans and fan clips.
The top plate on the cooler is decorative, but functions to contain the airflow in the fin array as well as cover up the tops of what typically is the most unattractive part of any tower design, the tips of the heat pipes. The CNC machined, nickel-plated base comes covered from the factory with a vinyl warning decal that protects the surface during shipping. Of course you need to remove this cover before installation as it is necessary for optimal contact and thermal transfer. There are no machining marks evident on the base. Those copper heat pipes really stand out.
The 120mm PWM fan is rated up to 1600 RPM using 12v. The pressure rating on the fan is 1.4 mm H2O at 51 CFM. A rifle bearing is used to help provide stability and improved airflow. One thing you will notice right away is that the fan blades use an airflow optimized design to reduce air turbulence and improve noise characteristics.
Installing this cooler into a chassis and onto a motherboard is much simpler than it looks due to the fixed mounting brackets and a rather interesting mounting system that uses a very robust backing plate. There are four plastic e-clips that hold the screws onto the mounting screws that slip through the backing plate and motherboard PCB. After the e-clips are on, there are four internally and externally threaded studs that are installed over the mounting screws. These serve as a base for the cooler to mount. Once tightened up by bottoming the screws out until they seat fully, it is going nowhere. And here is where any large cooling solution can get interesting. It is not surprising that memory compatibility may be questionable.
Finally, you install the four nuts to secure the cooler base to the PCB. If you are starting with a fresh build, then you won't really have any issues. If you are adding this cooler to an existing system, you will likely need to remove all your RAM modules and the GPU for clearance of the little wrench we talked about earlier. You really need the space for access to the fasteners. I highly recommend you lay your system flat during the installation.
Here I have the cooler installed without the fan so you can see the clearance on all the sides. The fin stack does clear the RAM slots and the way the fin stack has mounting provisions on all sides, you can mount the fan on top, left, or bottom. If you mount the fan at the bottom, you may need to relocate your graphics card to another slot.
The fan sits right above the RAM modules and my Patriot Viper RAM is fine. RAM with tall heat spreaders may cause some issues, although you can shift the fan up a little if necessary, but this will affect air flow through the fins.
be quiet! Shadow Rock 2 Specifications:
Overall dimensions without mounting material (L x W x H), (mm)
147 x 122 x 160
Total weight (kg)
Intel: LGA 775 / 1150 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366 / 2011
AMD: 754 / 939 / 940 / AM2(+) / AM3 (+) / FM1 / FM2
Fan model, number
be quiet! quality PWM fan, 1600 RPM 51 CFM
Anti vibration fan fixing
Overall noise level (dB(A)) @ 900/1250/100% (rpm)
15.3 / 19.8 / 25.4
be quiet! Shadow Rock 2 Features:
Exceptional Cooling Efficiency
- Very high cooling benchmarks complement its high cooling capacity of 180W TDP
- Four high-performance 8mm heatpipes carry heat to optimal location on the cooling fins
Extremely Low-Noise Operation
- Turbulence-reducing wave design on cooling fins reduces noise generation from airflow
- Optimized 120mm be quiet! fan with PWM function supports the best balance of cooling performance and quiet operation
- Even at 100% PWM function, noise is at scant 25.4dB(A)
Highly Compatible, Highly Functional Design
- Square, single tower design saves space and supports four-directional fan mounting for best heat convection
- Compatibility with all current Intel® and AMDTM sockets
- Freely-selectable fan mount point is recommended for AMDTM users
- Product conception, design and quality control in Germany
- Top cover with brushed aluminum finish
- Three year warranty
All information courtesy of be quiet! @ http://www.bequiet.com/en/cpucooler/446
be quiet! Shadow Rock 2 Testing:
Testing of the Shadow Rock 2 will be accomplished by installing the cooler into the test system case, rather than a test bench. Most systems are built and mounted into a (relatively) sealed chassis, so this method will be used to generate the idle and load results to give a real world view as to the cooling performance one can expect, based on the test system listed below. Of course, your results may vary by several degrees due to case design, case fan placement and ambient air temperature. The CPU load is generated by Prime 95 version 27.9 for a period of two hours, with a cooldown period of one hour after the computer has returned to an idle state. Real Temp 3.70 is used to log the temperatures with the highest and lowest averages across the four cores of the Core i7 4770K test CPU. Ambient temperatures are kept at 24 °C during the testing to minimize the effect of temperature variations. Each cooler is tested with the manufacturer-supplied thermal compound as delivered.
- Processor: Core i7 4770K @ 3.9 GHz (100 MHz x 39)
- CPU Cooling: be quiet Shadow Rock 2
- Motherboard: MSI Z87-GD65
- Memory: Patriot Viper 3 Series Black Mamba PC3-19200 16GB
- Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 770
- PSU: Thermaltake SMART 750W SP-750P
- Hard Drive: Corsair Force GT 240GB SSD
- Optical Drive: ASUS DRW-24B1ST
- OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit SP1
- Chassis: Phanteks Enthoo Primo
- Temperature: 24 °C
- Cooler Master Nepton 280L
- Thermaltake BigTyp Revo
- DeepCool Neptwin
- Noctua NH-U12P SE 1366
- Noctua NH-D14
- Titan Dragonfly 4
- Noctua NH-U14S
- Deep Cool Gammaxx S40
At idle, the Shadow Rock 2 is able to keep the 4770K CPU at 26 °C stock with the included fan, which is no surprise. With the CPU loaded, we are at 64 °C, which is excellent - and that is running right in there with the big boys.
As for overclocking, the gap grows and we are at 88 °C, which is a bit on the toasty side. With such good stock performance, I was expecting a similar result with the overclocking, but the heat builds up and holds at 88. Just for giggles I added a second fan from my random parts bin and I was able to knock the OC load temperature down by just under three degess, which brings us a little closer to the results I was hoping for. So the Shadow Rock 2 can keep you cool whether your system is a daily driver or a mild gamer, but it struggles when you enter the overclock zone. Adding a second fan is certainly an option, and the additional fan noise may be worth it.
be quiet! Shadow Rock 2 Conclusion:
The be quiet! Shadow Rock 2 is a nice cube-shaped cooler with 51 cooling fins. The included single PWM fan quietly gets the job done at stock settings, and I found that an additional fan can help to knock a few degress off. The top cap covers the heat pipe stubs so if you have a case with a side panel window, you can proudly show off the Shadow Rock 2.
Installation of the be quiet! Shadow Rock 2 is a little more involved, especially if you have an existing system, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. And it is safe to say that almost anyone who buys an aftermarket CPU cooler is likely not intimidated by having to remove a few componets to get the job done. I usually enjoy the opportunities to spend some time inside my case, so having to remove the RAM modules and the video card did not bother me. The robust back plate is insulated and can be used with all the supported AMD and Intel socket types.
All four faces of the fin stack allow a fan to be mounted, so you do have some options for fan placement. If your RAM is not topped off with tall heat spreaders, you will likely be able to populate all of the DIMM slots. RAM with tall heat spreaders will prove to be a problem, so you will want to verify your RAM compatibility ahead of time.
So let's talk about performance. It can handle the thermal load of normal daily use. Stock performance is just fine. Overclock and crank up the load, and, well, not so fine. I was expecting it to keep the temps down a little more. Add this to a case that is perhaps a little lacking in the airflow department on a warm summer day, and you may be bouncing off the thermal limits of the CPU. There are other coolers out there that are in the same price range that do a better job of removing the heat.
Be quiet! gives you a three-year warranty and great build quality to go along with the attractive styling. Priced at around $49, it is in the middle of the spectrum. If you're thinking about an air cooling solution and you don't load your system to the limits, then the Shadow Rock 2 should be able to handle the load. If you are an overclocker or hardcore gamer and like to push your system, you may want to consider a more capable cooler.
- Attractive design
- Ability to mount fans on all four sides
- Three-year warranty
- AMD & Intel socket compatibility
- Memory clearance
- Struggles to keep temps down with overclock