Articles

be quiet! Dark Rock 4 CPU Air Cooler Review

Author:Richard Gouge

Editor:Kyle Bennett

Date: Monday , April 30, 2018

be quiet! has quietly made a name for itself in the CPU air cooling business over the years and now demands a very solid following of fans and users. It may surprise you to know, that be quiet!'s claim to fame is...wait for it...being quiet. That however is not usually our main concern when it comes to cooling, which is...wait for it...cooling.

Introduction

It has been four years since a cooler from German based be quiet! was on one of our test systems. be quiet! Has long been known for their range of premium air coolers, and today we will be testing the brand new Dark Rock 4. The Dark Rock 4's 135mm Silent Wings fan, airflow-optimized fins, and six copper heat pipes will be going against our highly overclocked Ryzen test system. It claims "Extreme cooling power," today we will test that claim.

Here is what be quiet! has to whisper to us about the Dark Rock 4:

NO COMPROMISE SILENCE AND PERFORMANCE

Dark Rock 4 offers an extreme cooling performance of 200W TDP and virtually inaudible operation. Perfect for overclocked systems and demanding workstations.

Virtually inaudible Silent Wings 135mm PWM fan

Achieves only 21.4dB(A) at maximum fan speed

Six high-performance copper heat pipes

Airflow-optimized, wave-contoured cooling fins

Easily installable black installation kit can be mounted from above

Supports an additional 120mm fan; clips are included in scope of delivery

Brushed aluminum top cover with diamond cut finish

3-year manufacturer’s warranty

German product conception, design and quality control

System Setup

Today's review takes place on our purpose built cooler testing system, featuring an AMD Ryzen R7 1700 overclocked to 3.9GHz, a GIGABYTE Aorus AX370-Gaming 5 motherboard, 16GB of Corsair DDR4 memory, and an ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP GPU. Full details of the test system and testing methodology can be found here.

Test Methods

CPU

Our AMD Ryzen 1700 CPU will be running at 3.9GHz across all cores and will be being stressed by Prime95 using Small FFTs in both our CPU only test, as well as our combined testing. Our CPU Package power measures ~170 watts under full load.

GPU

In combined testing our GTX 670 will be running Furmark in addition to Prime95. This puts an additional 250 watts of heat into the system that the cooler will have to contend with.

Case

Testing is being performed in our Obsidian Series 750D Airflow Edition Full Tower ATX Case. Chassis fans include two Corsair 120mm fans pulling intake duty in the front, and a Corsair 140mm fan exhausting in the rear.

Fans are set to a locked 60% speed during all testing, as we found that is the best balance between performance and noise.

Thermal Paste

Thermal compound being used is Promilatech PK-3 Nano Aluminum. This is a very viscous compound rated at 11.2 W/m and requires no burn in or setup time.

Temperatures

Ambient temperature will be kept at as consistent temperature as possible for the duration of the tests. Temperatures are being measured in 4 places during both tests using our Sperry DT-506 Quad Input Thermometer, case intake, cooler/radiator intake, cooler/radiator exhaust, and case exhaust.

Idle

Average idle temperatures will be recorded after a thirty minute period of system inactivity.

Load

Load temperatures are measured every 5 minutes from all four points with the Sperry DT-506 thermometer, as well as the CPU Temperature (Tdie) and Package Wattage as reported in HwiNFO 64. Both the CPU only as well as the combined tests are 1 hour long, at which point the average temperatures will be used as our data point.

Sound

Sound levels will be measured with a BAFX Products BAFX3370 Digital Sound Level Meter from a distance of four feet away from the side of the case. With everything turned off and the room completely "silent," the meter registered a sound level of 39dB(A).

. The Dark Rock 4's 135mm Silent Wings fan, airflow-optimized fins, and six copper heat pipes will be going against our highly overclocked Ryzen test system. It claims "Extreme cooling power," today we will test that claim.