The domain of large air coolers got more complicated recently with the introduction of all-in-one liquid coolers such as Corsair's H80 and Antec's Kühler H2O 920. Our testing has shown that the latter can outperform the once all-conquering giant heatsinks in pretty much every department, while costing just a little more. In fact, we blogged about whether or not heatsinks such as Be Quiet's Dark Rock Pro 2 might just have been out-gunned by all-in-one liquid coolers here with you, the fine readers of this site, having mixed opinions on the matter.
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However, Be Quiet! is undeterred by proceedings and has released a new range of coolers that stand on the shoulders of a very successful product line that included the Dark Rock Pro and its smaller brother, the Dark Rock Advanced. The latter in particular certainly won us over thanks to its quiet operation (it remains one of the best coolers we've tested in terms of what you get in noise and cooling performance for the price) and the fact it wasn't too expensive. It's larger brother, the Dark Rock Pro - predecessor to the Dark Rock Pro 2 we're looking at here - offered even better cooling and is practically silent when your CPU is idling or under low to medium load.
So what's new with the Dark Rock Pro 2? Actually not a lot as far as we can see. The heatsink looks identical with the same seven 6mm heatpipes passing through a copper contact plate with the 44-fin heatsink clad in nickel-plated aluminium. It also sports the same gorgeous heatpipe caps and top too, although this isn't a bad thing as it looks fabulous as a result. However, the only thing that appears to be different is the choice of fan - a 120mm SilentWings 2 fan is located at the front, while a larger 135mm version is sandwiched in between the to huge heatsink stacks.
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Its sheer size means it's never going to be an easy heatsink to deal with. Sadly, Be Quiet! hasn't refined its tricky mounting gubbins either - you still need to go through the awkward process of passing pins through the motherboard and backplate, and securing them into the mounting plate attached to the cooler itself. Will the list of parts you need to contend with isn't excessive, lining everything up can be frustrating. Things are even worse with LGA2011; despite using the standard socket threaded nuts such as those included with other LGA2011-compatible coolers like the H80, the Dark Rock 2 uses nuts rather than thumb screws to secure the cooler.
These require the use of a small spanner to tighten them up, but getting it passed the heatsinks on our motherboard proved very difficult indeed for two of the nuts, even with the memory removed. Speaking of memory, you'll notice our relatively low-profile G.Skill Ripjaws only just fit under the fan - the gap was so small we had to fit the memory first. Tall sticks are therefore a no-no. Its size may well be an issue too - at 166mm high, you'll need to check the specs of your case to see if it will fit, at least if you want to be able to fit the side panel.
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Included is some thermal paste, which should be enough for several mounts and the Dark Rock Pro 2 is compatible with pretty much every CPU socket out there from AMD and Intel. Both the fans are PWM-controlled and come with a splitter cable, allowing you to power both from a single fan header. Both sport Fluid Dynamic Bearings with the 120mm model spinning up to 1,700rpm, while the 135mm monster ramps up to 1,500rpm.