be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2 Reviewccokeman - June 30, 2013
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be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2 Closer Look:
The Dark Rock Pro 2 is a dual tower design cooler built as much for functions as it is looks. A pair of Silent Wings PWM fans are used to provide the airflow for this high end cooler, one 120mm on the outside and one 135mm riding in between the towers. 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 audience for this design. The Dark Rock Pro 2 gets the "Dark" part of its name from the dark nickel finish that covers all of the exposed surfaces. Measuring 147 x 138 x 166mm in size, it is in no way a small or average sized cooling solution but still should fit into a mid tower chassis. At 2.75 pounds the Dark Rock Pro 2 is no light weight and most likely will not make it into your LAN rig. On the positive side it should have the mass to deliver on that 220W rating.
Stripping out the SilentWIngs PWM fans fans you get to the bare essentials of the Dark Rock Pro 2. It is a large tower-style cooler that uses two equal sized towers connected to seven 6mm heat pipes that pass through the contact plate of the copper base and up through the 44 nickel plated aluminum fins of each tower. Stripping the fans off shrinks the dimensions to 133 x 124 x 166mm and, depending on your processor, running passively might be a reality with the lower TDP parts.
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 unquestionably is the worst looking 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. Removing this cover before installation is necessary for optimal contact and thermal transfer. Light machining marks are evident on the base but after seeing little to no impact with other competing solutions the base shape is more important than the surface prep. Cramming seven heat pipes into the copper base seems to create a tight fit but be quiet! manages to make it work with what looks like some solder coming out of the junction of the block and pipe interface.
Something not evident in the earlier pictures of the tower is the configuration of the fin array. Each intake side of the fins is sloped inwards with small notches cut into the face of each fin to add surface area for improved cooling. The output side of the array is smooth to keep airflow moving. When you look at the fit and finish, be quiet!'s process to cover the Dark Rock Pro 2 in a dark nickel coating seems to work well with even coverage over the entire heat sink. On each side of the towers are directional notches that run the full height of the cooler to mount the SilentWIngs PWM fans.
Managing the noise level and airflow through the Dark Rock Pro 2 are a pair of SilentWings PWM fans from be quiet!. Unequal sized fans are used to get the best fit and airflow performance through the fin array. Using a smaller 120mm fan on the intake increases the ability of the end user to use taller memory modules and regain the ability to use all of the DIMM slots. The 120mm fan is part number BQT B12025-MF-PWM and is rated up to 1700RPM using 12v. The 135mm fan used in between the towers carries part number BQT B13525-MF-PWM and is rated up to 1500RPM using 12v. The pressure rating on each of the fans is rated at 0.81mm H2O with each pushing in the neighborhood of 60 CFM. A fluid dynamic bearing assembly is used to help provide stability and improved airflow while keeping the noise levels to a dead silent 15.8 dBA. What you will notice right away is that the fan blades use an airflow optimized design to reduce air turbulence and improve noise characteristics. Around the rim of each fan is a rubber isolator used to reduce noise since quiet cooling is essential for the branding. A built in jumper is used to connect the two fans together for use with one PWM fan header on the installed motherboard.
Putting this beast of a cooler into a chassis and onto a motherboard is much simpler than it looks due to the fixed mounting brackets and interesting mounting system that uses a very robust backing plate using a plastic e-clip to hold the screws onto the mounting screws that slip through the backing plate and motherboard PCB. Once tightened up by bottoming the screws out until they seat fully, it is going nowhere. Here is where a large cooling solution can get interesting. Memory compatibility is going to be tight any way you look at it so modules such as my Mushkin Redline equiped with Ridgeback heat spreaders would not fit but the same modules with Frostbyte heat shield allow all four DIMM slots to be populated. After the testing was completed I wanted to see the contact pattern of the TIM interface and was quite surprised at how well the TIM spread and the contact pattern it delivered.
The Dark Rock Pro 2 is well put together and delivers excellent thermal capacity. Again let's see just how well it handles a load.