be quiet! Shadow Rock TOPFLOW SR1 Review

ccokeman - 2013-02-21 17:12:01 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: July 4, 2013
Price: $55

be quiet! Shadow Rock TOPFLOW SR1 Introduction:

After having seen just what be quiet! is capable of delivering with its top of the line enthusiast level dual tower, seven heat pipe wonder the Dark Rock Pro 2, it should prove interesting to see what it brings to the table with its low profile Shadow Rock TOPFLOW. As a low profile (relatively) heat sink featuring a C-shape quad heat pipe design cooled by a large 135mm SilentWings fan, you can install the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW in a more diverse range of chassis. Be quiet! is not just pushing out some wimpy lightweight cooler, but one that uses 8mm heat pipes and a large aluminum fin array allowing it to handle up to a 160W load from all the latest CPUs from AMD and Intel.

Priced around $55, the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW is not going to break the bank, comparing favorably price-wise against Noctua's NH-C14. The question is how will it perform against one of the heat sinks that sets the bar in this form factor? Let's see if be quiet! can earn your hard won cash!

be quiet! Shadow Rock TOPFLOW SR1 Closer Look:

The front of the packaging for the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW SR1 is all black, as is the rest of the box. The front has an image of the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW SR1 with the name of the cooler and its thermal rating of 160W displayed. The back side of the package features a technical drawing of the TOPFLOW SR1 that highlights the features set along with the specifications tables. Having as much information as possible helps the end user make an informed buying decision before walking out of the store. If you have seen the crowds at your local MicroCenter or Fry's you know what I mean. Internally the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW SR1 is housed between a pair of soft, open cell foam blocks with the accessory bundle in a box on top of the foam cores.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The contents inside the package include the heat sink with SiletWings fan pre-mounted and all of the accessory hardware needed to install the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW SR1 on a CPU in any of the latest sockets from AMD: 754 / 939 / 940 / AM2(+) / AM3 (+) / FM1 / FM2 or Intel: LGA 775 / 1150 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366 / 2011. The mounting brackets may be used for several generations of processors but you get what is needed. A tube of Dow Coming TC 5121 / 2 thermal compound is included and is the thermal paste used for this review. Add in the multi-language instruction manual and you end up with a well rounded package.

 

 

Be quiet! provides all you need to get the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW installed and ready to deliver cool temperatures on your CPU.

be quiet! Shadow Rock TOPFLOW SR1 Closer Look:

Be quiet!'s Shadow Rock TOPFLOW SR1 is a C-shaped heat sink design that utilizes four 8mm heat pipes to carry the thermal load from the copper base up to the aluminum fin array to be discharged by the SilentWings 135mm fan into the airstream through the chassis. Measuring 171 x 137 x 126mm, it is not a small heat sink by any means. Fully decked out with the fan and installation hardware you will have 0.65kg or one pound seven ounces hanging off the motherboard. Not light enough to bounce it around transporting it to a LAN party but much better than the Dark Rock Pro 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pulling the SilentWings fan off the heat sink changes the dimensions vertically to 100mm. Overall build quality is excellent on this cooler. The nickel plating of the copper base and large 8mm heat pipes is impressive. The aluminum fin array uses the same unique fin pattern used on the Dark Rock Pro 2 with triangular notches cut out of each of the 53 aluminum fins; adding additional surface area to each of the fins for added heat transfer. An additional treatment to the fin array is that the fins slope away from the edges, presumably to direct airflow. Be quiet! uses a CNC machined finish on the contact surface of the copper base. A casual look shows it to be smooth but running a fingernail across the surface you can feel slight ridges. So far on high end heat sinks from other manufacturers I have found this to not be an issue.

 

 

 

Be quiet! uses a PWM 135mm fan out of its SilentWings line up to provide the airflow through the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW SR1. This fan is rated to push roughly 67 CFM of air flow with a static pressure rating of 2.10 (mm H2O), all at the maximum fan speed of 1500RPM. Each corner of the fan is equipped with a modular rubber vibration isolator to help reduce or eliminate any noise from the fan. Furthering this concept is the rubberized frame and rims around the circumference of the fan opening. Be quiet!'s SiletWings fans use a unique airflow optimized fan blade to further reduce the noise made by reducing fan blade generated airflow turbulence. A 4-pin PWM power connection is used to supply power and PWM control to the fan.

 

 

Installing the be quiet! Shadow Rock TOPFLOW is an easy process but one that requires some patience and reading of the manual. Whereas the Dark Rock Pro 2 used a clip design to hold the mounting screws in place, the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW uses a series of O-rings that are placed over the studs. The studs attach or pass through the multi socket usable back plate that supports the heat sink. Once you locate one of the studs you can start attaching the heat sink by screwing in one screw partially to locate the screws, then in a cross hatch pattern until all four screws are tightened. Once installed I was pleasantly surprised that I did not have to suffer with less memory on the system due to the custom mounting. Taller memory DIMMs to a point can be installed and as you can see the Ridgeback heat spreaders fit perfectly. Once removed you can see the contact patch of the TIM delivers full coverage across the contact surface.

 

 

 

 

On looks alone this heat sink looks competent enough to take on the the world of low profile cooling solutions.

be quiet! Shadow Rock TOPFLOW SR1 Specifications:

Overall dimensions without mounting material (L x W x H)
171 x 137 x 126 mm
Total weight (kg)
0.65
TDP (W)
160
LGA1150 ready
?
Socket compatibility
Intel: LGA 775 / 1150 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366 / 2011
AMD: 754 / 939 / 940 / AM2(+) / AM3 (+) / FM1 / FM2
Backplate Mounting
?
Fan model, number
Shadow Wings PWM 135mm
Anti vibration fan fixing
?
Overall noise level (dB(A)) @ 900/1250/100% (rpm)
9.60 / 15.9 / 24.4

 

be quiet! Shadow Rock TOPFLOW SR1 Features:

 

 

 

All information courtesy of be quiet! @ http://www.bequiet.com/en/cpucooler/287

be quiet! Shadow Rock TOPFLOW SR1 Testing:

Testing of be quiet!'s premium series Shadow Rock TOPFLOW SR1 will be accomplished installing the cooler into the test system mounted into a case, not a test bench. Most systems are built and mounted into a sealed (relatively) chassis, so this method will be used to generate the load and idle results to give a real world view as to what kind of cooling performance one can expect, based on the test system listed below. Of course, your results may vary, due to case design and ambient air temperature by several degrees. The CPU load is generated by Prime 95 version 27.7 for a period of two hours, with a cool down period of one hour, after the computer has returned to an idle state. Real Temp 3.70 is used to log the temperatures over the time frame with the highest and lowest averages across the four cores of the Core i7 2600K test CPU. Ambient temperatures are kept at 24 °C throughout the testing to minimize the impact of a variable temperature. Each cooler is tested with the manufacturer supplied thermal compound as delivered. Many of us have our own TIM favorites, but for the end-user without a half dozen tubes of thermal paste laying around, the supplied TIM will have to do and is how these coolers will be tested.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Coolers:






 

   

 

   

 

Running near dead silent, the Shadow Rock TopFlow delivered excellent temperatures for a C-style heat sink that blows airflow down onto the components, keeping the VRM circuit cooling cool. Using four heat pipes passing through the copper base and aluminum fin array it performs about as well as similarly configured tower designs, all while staying dead silent, much like the more capable dual tower Dark Rock Pro 2. Comparing the performance of the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW to a direct competitor, the NH-C14 from Noctua, we see that the four heat pipe be quiet! design is a little less efficient than the six heat pipe design from Noctua. As far as noise goes it's a wash. When you compare the pricing you have to figure out if the extra $30 for the Noctua fits into your budget.

be quiet! Shadow Rock TOPFLOW SR1 Conclusion:

Having recently looked at be quiet!'s halo design cooling solution, the 220W capable Dark Rock Pro 2, it was interesting to see just how the technologies employed on that product would scale downwards with a C-style cooler. I'm happy to say that running cool and quiet with the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW is a possibility while overclocked with results that are comparable with some pretty capable tower heat sinks.

Silence is all relative but being able to push close to 70 CFM of airflow at less than 25dBA means you get enough airflow to do the job yet stay silent enough to please your ears. Inside the Corsair 650D, the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW was inaudible from three feet away. At 126mm tall, the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW is not what I would call low profile but it is shorter than most tower design cooling solutions.

Installation of the cooler was, for the most part, a carbon copy of the experience I had installing the Dark Rock Pro 2. Only one significant difference in the installation was the use of O-rings to keep the screws in the back plate versus the clips used on be quiet!'s halo CPU cooler. Just hold the cooler in place and locate the threaded hole in the mounting plate and start the first screw. Locating the rest of the screws from that point is simple. The robust back plate is the same one used on the much larger Dark Rock Pro 2 but with this design it is not supporting nearly the weight. DRAM compatibility is improved with the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW as the bottom of the heat sink sits higher up, providing that added clearance needed for taller high performance memory DIMMs.

I really could not find anything out of place with this cooler from be quiet!. It looks good, delivers pretty decent temperatures, is quiet, easy to install, and comes with a three-year warranty. If you are looking for that ultimate heat sink that is going to allow you to step up your overclock to the next level, the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW is not your cooler with its 160W capacity. If looking for a good looking low profile cooler that can handle a mild overclock and runs quietly, then the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW is a heat sink that is up for consideration. At $55 it is at a price point that won't break the budget.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: