Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro Review

Written by Harry Butler

April 2, 2011 | 10:16

Tags: #cpu-cooler #dark-rock #heatsink

Companies: #be-quiet

Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro

Manufacturer: Be Quiet!
UK Price (as reviewed): £53.75 (inc VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): Not Available

We’ve already looked at Be Quiet!'s first CPU cooler, the Black Rock Advanced, and found it lived up to its maker's name by being very quiet while still delivering excellent cooling performance. However, its performance was still a little way off that of the dual-fan, high-airflow Thermaltake Frio. The Dark Rock Pro is Be Quiet!'s shot at the very top of the air-cooling market, aiming to offer exceptional cooling with the same whisper-quiet noise levels of the Advanced.

In order to compete with other monstrous super-coolers, Be Quiet! has chosen to use two fans, each with a stack of cooling fins, making the cooler very large and heavy. Weighing in at 1,178g and measuring 165mm from the CPU contact plate to its top, the Black Rock Pro may struggle to fit in some cases. With a depth of 147mm, it dominates any build.

Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro Review Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro Review
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The cooler's CPU contact plate is made from nickel-plated copper, finished to a smooth mirror shine, and it's topped by an aluminium mounting block onto which the cooler's various socket brackets are screwed. Through the base run seven U-shaped, nickel-plated copper heatpipes. The fit around the heatpipes is very tight, with no visible gaps in the CPU contact block; the general build quality of the cooler's contact plate is superb.

After emerging from either side of the contact plate, the heatpipes then splay out before turning 90 degrees upwards and running through the Black Rock Pro's two banks of black-burnished aluminium fins. Each stack comprises 44 fins, with each fin measuring roughly 132 x 40mm. This means that the Dark Rock Pro has a gigantic approximate surface area of 90m from which to dissipate heat.

Rather than leaving the sealed ends of the heatpipes exposed, Be Quiet! has topped the cooler with an attractive brushed aluminium plate, with the tops of the heatpipes covered with individual metal caps. This certainly makes the cooler look very imposing when installed.

Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro Review Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro Review
Click to enlarge

With two fin stacks, Be Quiet! has taken the opportunity to use two of its excellent 120mm SilentWings PWM cooling fans, arranged in a push-pull configuration. The fans are pre-fitted to the cooler via high-tension mounting wires, sparing you the trouble of fitting them yourself, but they can be replaced with any 25mm-thick, 120mm fan you like. The exterior 120mm fan will probably project over your memory sockets, though, so it could clash with tall memory modules, although there's plenty of room for standard-sized DIMMs.

The cooler makes use of a multi-socket backplate for mounting, with screws threaded through from the backside of the motherboard and into the interchangeable brackets that are screwed onto the cooler's aluminium base. This is a pretty unintuitive method, as it involves threading the screws through the backplate and motherboard, adding rubber washers to prevent the screws from falling out, flipping the motherboard to fit the cooler into place, and then flipping the board again to fasten the screws. As a result, there were more than a few expletives being uttered during mounting, when screw threads failed to line up with holes or when rubber washers fell off.

Despite the tricky mounting system, at least you don't have to then attach the two fans, which come pre-fitted. Also, the cooler is very securely attached to the motherboard and CPU, and evenly distributes pressure across the CPU. The mounting process is similar regardless of whether you fit the cooler to an AMD Socket AM3 or Intel LGA1155 motherboard, with the only difference being the use of the appropriate mounting bracket holes.

  • Compatibility Intel: LGA775, LGA1156, LGA1366. AMD: Socket AM2, AM2+, AM3
  • Weight 1,178g
  • Size (mm) 145mm x 150mm x 165mm (W x D x H)
  • Fan 2x 120mm, PWM control, 400 -1,500rpm
  • Stated Noise 6.6dBA- 18.5 dBa

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