Air Cooling

Ron is gamer from the United States, who has been in love with technology since high school and building PC's since 2012.

be quiet! is a company that has been around for several years making CPU coolers, silent fans, quality PSUs and also epic computer cases. They have been known to compete with the big dogs for CPU cooling, such as Corsair, Cooler Master and Noctua. Their silent fans are known to be some of the quietest in the business. Today we will take a closer look at a cooler from their well-known Dark Rock lineup, the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro TF ($85 MSRP).

Key Features:

Extreme Cooling Performance – Double-tower for double power: Thanks to its double-tower layout this cooler is a true cooling marvel with 220W TDP – just perfect for the extreme conditions found in the overclocked CPUs of compact gaming PCs.

Ingenious Construction for Maximum Effect – Powerful cooling for your components: Dark Rock TF contains two nickel-plated aluminium heat sinks. Two fans are pre-installed, but a single fan assembly is also possible, offering further space savings and even quieter operation.

Virtually Inaudible Operation – Cooled by SilentWings® technology: The cooler is equipped with two SilentWings® 135mm PWM fans. They feature advanced fluid-dynamic bearings, smooth six-pole motors and nine airflow-optimized fan blades. The noise is a meager 26.7 dB(A) even with 100% PWM fan speed.

High-Performance Heatpipes – The centrepiece of ever CPU Cooler: Dark Rock TF has six high-performance 6mm heat pipes with aluminium caps. They carry heat to the optimum location on the cooling fins. Anti-vibration rubber inserts on the cooling fins of the heat sink further dampen noise.

Space-Saving Design with Great Effect – Highly functional cooling concept: The space-saving topflow design provides ideal cooling, not only for the CPU, but also for surrounding components. It can quietly cool a high-performance, overclocked CPU in a confined space.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 140mm x 130.8mm x 162.6mm
  • Weight: 810 grams
  • TDP: 220W
  • Heat-pipes: 6 x 6mm
  • Material: Aluminum with Black Plating
  • Maximum Cooling Capacity:
  • Fan Dimensions (W x H x D): 135mm x 135mm x 22mm
  • Speed: 1400 rpm
  • Bearing Type: Sleeve Bearing
  • Air Flow: 67.8 CFM
  • Noise Level: @50% 11.9 dBA, @75% 19.3 dBA, @100% 26.7 dBA
  • Connector: PWM, 4-pin
  • Compatibility: Intel Sockets: 115X, 1366, 2066, 2011 AMD: AM4, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2, FM2+, FM2, FM1

Unboxing

Starting out with the outside of the box, in the front, you have a nice picture of the Dark Rock TF and that it has a 220W TDP. The back of the box has a break down of the cooler and also the details specifications found above.

Opening the box, you are greeted with the sight of one of the 140mm be quiet! SilentWings fans. Here is a closer look at the SilentWings box. Next is the instructions manual found in many languages. The instructions are very clear with not only words but also detailed pictures to show exactly what you need to do to mount the cooler.
Next you notice the cooler is encased in two giant pieces of soft cell foam. The mounting hardware box is found wedged in between the fin stacks.

A Closer Look

Taking a closer look at the cooler, you notice the large fin stack and also a smaller fin stack above the CPU cold plate.
The color theme of the CPU cooler is that the fins heatsink fins are black and the heat-pipes and cold plate are nickel-plated.
The large fin stack is large enough to be covered by the two 140mm SilentWings fans. They are attached to the CPU cooler by your traditional fan clips. On both the top and bottom of the top fin stack are rubber isolation vibration strips that help minimize the fan vibrations. You can notice the heat-pipes travel from the upper fin stack, down to the cold plate and then back up to the lower fin stack. This allows the heat to be dissipated by the down-firing 140mm fans. The advantage of a down-firing CPU cooler like the Dark Rock TF is that it will also cool your VRM cooling components around the CPU socket.

The accessories box is fairly small with how much mounting hardware is inside. You have two packs with the backplates for both AMD and Intel sockets, along with the different lengths screws needed for each socket. You get a nice tube of thermal paste, so glad its not a packet. A fan splitter to be able to connect both of the 140mm fans to the single CPU 4-pin on your motherboard. Lastly, there is the bag of mounting nuts, retention nuts and a wrench.

Testing System and Installation

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 2400g
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte AB350N Wifi ITX
  • Graphics Card: Onboard Vega 11 Graphics
  • Memory: 16gb Gskill Flare X 3200mhz
  • Storage: 240g Samsung 850 Evo ssd
  • Power Supply: XFX TS 750w
  • Case: Cooler Master HAF Evo XB Test Bench

Tests:

Idle Temps: The temperature is recorded after 5 minutes of idle

Metro LL Benchmark (Very High, AF 16X, No AA, PhysX dis): This is looped into 3 consecutive runs and the highest temperature is recorded

ROG Realbench 15 min Stress Test: This test is accomplished to put a realistic load on the CPU/GPU. It runs LuxMark and Handbrake to stress the CPU, cache, GPU and RAM of your system.

Ashes of the Singularity CPU Test: The CPU test is used to place a great gaming load on the CPU with lots of calculations being made with the many units on the screen during the test.

Rise of the Tomb Raider: This game is less demanding on the CPU and more demanding on the GPU but is a great title to benchmark game performance.

Cinebench R15: This is a great CPU test to use all of the threads on your processor.

Installation

The installation was pretty straight forward following the directions. The first thing to do was to attach the backplate for your socket type, threading four screws through the backplate and then installing the retaining plastic clips to hold the backplate on. The next step was mounting legs to the cold plate with four screws. This was followed by installing nuts on the mounting legs. After applying some thermal paste to the CPU, you sent the Cooler down and tighten the screws from the back of the motherboard.

Performance

The following are what I believe to be a great group of real-world representative tests to be able to stress the CPU and integrated Vega GPU and lastly the CPU cooler that is attached. The ambient temperature of the room during testing is 20 C. The testing was conducted with the 2400g stock settings, an Overclock of 3.9 Ghz on the CPU, an Overclock of 1500 Mhz on the GPU and lastly both the CPU and GPU Overclocked. During testing the hottest package temperature is recorded.

System Idle (after 5 min of Power On)

The Dark Rock TF was able to keep the systems idle temps below 24.5 C in all variations.

Metro Last Light (Very High, AF 16X, No AA, PhysX Disabled (3 runs)

When testing Metro Last Light you can see the strength of the Dark Rock TF with a Max temp of only 58 C. That temperature occurs when the internal Vega GPU is overclocked to 1500 Mhz, which does tend to produce some great heat.

15 minutes of ROG Realbench Stress Test

In probably my most stress full temperature test, the Dark Rock TF was able to keep the temps in control with a MAX temp of 70.6.

Ashes of the Singularity (CPU Test)

For a game that is primarily used as a benchmark, the Dark Rock TF was able to keep the 2400g (1500 mhz on the GPU) at a chilly 62.5 C, compared to the toasty 98 C with the Wraith Stealth. With all of the actions on the screen at the same time, the CPU is really stressed and the Dark Rock TF had not issue cooling the 4-core, 8-threaded 2400g.

Rise of the Tomb Raider Benchmark

Rise of the Tomb Raider tends to stress the GPU more than the CPU, but even when the internal Vega GPU was being stressed, the Dark Rock TF was able to keep the 2400g no higher than 54 C.

Cinebench R15 (3 consecutive runs)

During testing of Cinebench R15, the Wraith Stealth allowed the 2400g (GPU 1500 mhz overclock) to climb to a toasty 93 C after one run. The Dark Rock TF was able to keep the temperatures in check of this short but demanding load and only had a Max temperature of 67.3 C.

be quiet! Dark Rock TF
Pros
  • Great cooling potential
  • Mounting options for most Intel and AMD sockets
  • No interference with RAM slots
  • Design allows cooling of motherboard VRM components
  • With two 140 mm SilentWings Fans, the sound under full load is barely noticeable
Cons
  • Mounting screws can be difficult to remove if you have high VRMs that surround the CPU socket
Review Summary

If you are in the market for a premium down draft CPU air cooler, look no further than the be quiet! Dark Rock TF.

Ratings
Value
5/5
Design
5/5
Build quality
4/5

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