Introduction

When it comes to the powerful yet silent cooling solutions for the PC market, Be Quiet! needs no introduction. They are in the business for over 15 years and have made quite a way into the hearts and minds of the customers. Their major product lines are Power Supplies, Fans, Coolers, and Chassis. Designed in Germany, the Be Quiet! products deliver exactly what they are designed for; utmost performance with silent operations. Not only their products are designed in Germany but quality-control is also ensured in Germany. The products of be quiet! offer legendary quiet operation and first-class performance thanks to the passion for quality and precision. Attention to detail is the key to perfection and this is where the company excels.

be quiet! released their premium cooling solution aka Dark Rock Pro 4 back in 2018. This cooler takes over the job from Dark Rock 3. This is a dual tower cooler retaining the be quiet! signature on their coolers. The complete assembly is ceramic painted in black color. The cooler has 7x copper heat pipes each of 6mm thickness and a nickel-plated copper base. be quiet! has provided a 120mm and 135mm silent wing fans for virtually inaudible operation. This cooling solution is rated to handle the TDP of up to 250W. The be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 is compatible with Intel: LGA 1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366 / 2011(-3) Square ILM / 2066 and AMD: AM2(+) / AM3(+) / AM4 / FM1 / FM2(+) sockets. Two variants of this cooler are available; one is for the consumer side platform having an Article No of BK022, the other is for the TR4 socket having an Article No of BK023.

Product:               Dark Rock Pro 4

Manufacturer:      be quiet!

Price:

Listed Price Buying Links
The US $86.46 AMAZON
£74.99 SCAN UK
£74.99 Overclockers UK

 

The prices are at the time of the review.

Specifications

Packing and Unboxing

The product is shipped inside a cardboard box in a black color theme.

“No compromise Silence and Performance”, is the tag line for the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 and believe me it definitely lives up to its tag line. There is a picture of the cooler in the main section. The company’s brand name is printed on the top right.

The specifications of the heatsink and the fans are printed in the tabular format here presenting almost everything a buyer/user would need to know at the time of buying. The cooler is designed in Germany and made in China.

be quiet! is focused on providing inaudible operations by using two Silent Wing fans in this cooler. The dual-tower design is rated for the cooling potential of up to 250W TDP. The cover of the cooler is finished in brushed aluminum with a diamond cut that looks that elegant.

Scan the label for product information.

When the box is opened, you will see the cooler tucked inside the white color Styrofoam. The accessory and manual boxes are placed on the side.

The user manual is provided in 6x languages and placed in a separate compartment. All the accessories are inside the other compartment. I appreciate the presentation here.

Contents

Following are included:

  • 1x Heatsink
  • 1x 120mm fan
  • 1x 135mm fan
  • 1x Thermal Paste
  • 1x Intel Backplate
  • 2x Intel Mounting Brackets
  • 2x AMD Mounting Brackets
  • 1x Crossbar
  • 2x Screws for the Crossbar
  • 4x Standoff Screws for Intel LGA115x
  • 4x rubber washers for Intel LGA115x
  • 4x AMD plastic spacers
  • 4x AMD Long Screws
  • 4x Screws for Mounting Brackets
  • 4x Metallic Nuts
  • 4x Standoff Nuts
  • 4x Thumb Nuts
  • 2x Clip sets
  • 1x Screwdriver
  • 1x Y-Cable

Closer Look

The be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 is a dual tower premium cooling solution from the manufacturer. It is all black cooler with stylish top cover. The salient features of the cooler are:

  • Two virtually inaudible Silent Wings PWM fans
  • A funnel-shaped frame of the front fan for high air pressure
  • Achieves only 24.3dB(A) at maximum fan speed
  • Seven high-performance copper heat pipes
  • Airflow-optimized cooling fins; cutouts enhance the RAM compatibility
  • Easily installable black installation kit can be mounted from above
  • Brushed aluminum top cover with a diamond-cut finish
  • 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • German product conception, design and quality control

Heatsink

It is time to take a look at the cooler.

The dimension of the cooler is 145.7x136x162.8mm (LxWxH) where 162.8mm is the overall height of the cooler. The weight of the cooler is 1130g with the fans. The be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 is compatible with Intel: LGA 1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366 / 2011(-3) Square ILM / 2066 and AMD: AM2(+) / AM3(+) / AM4 / FM1 / FM2(+) sockets. The cooler is rated to handle the TDP of up to 250W. The complete assembly is black ceramic color spray painted. The special black coating with ceramic particles makes a perfect transfer of heat possible.

The top of the cooler is quite different from what I have seen so far in my cooler testing experience. This is the first-ever be quiet! cooler in my life that I have experienced. The top plate or cover is finished in brushed aluminum with a diamond-cut design which really adds to the overall look and feel of the cooler. There is a white color be quiet! brand logo in the center. The top cover is fixed to the heatsink.

There is a total of 16 caps on the top where only two are removable. Two caps in the middle line of the top plate have to be removed so that the screwdriver can be passed through the holes when installing the cooler.

Let’s take a look at the front side of the cooler. I have removed the 120mm fan to take a picture of the heatsink from the front side. Here we can see a wave pattern that is formed by the v shape notches. This design helps in reducing restriction to the airflow. There are two rubber pads pasted on both sides. The fan is rested on these pads to reduce the noise from vibration. The black color can be seen on the entire surface. One can gaze the beauty of this heatsink even from this angle.

The left and right sides are identical. The fins are joined on these sides. There are cutouts or inserts on the left and right sides of the center (jointed portion). This is there to catch the fan clips so that fans can be installed on the heatsink.

The above picture shows a better angle on the side and the inner side of the top cover.

The above picture shows the cross-section view of the heatsink. The edges of the cooler are not sharp and the overall layout is very well synced and follows symmetry. The black coating is on the point and there is no un-even coating impression anywhere on the surface.

The backside of the heatsink on both towers is a sight to view! We have interleaving fin design in the groups of 3. Each tower packs 45 aluminum fins which are black ceramic spray painted. There are no rubber pads as are on the front side of both towers but the user can optionally install another 120mm fan on the backside for which a set of clips is provided in the accessories.

The above picture better shows the fins layout on the backside of both towers.

The be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 packs 7x copper heat pipes for maximum heat dissipation/transfer. be quiet! is calling these pipes as advanced technology heat pipes. There is no more information about them. The heat pipes are making contact with the heatsink in a manner to ensure maximum surface contact in an effort to effectively transfer the heat. There are small dots on the fins to help facilitate the overall design in maximum heat transfer. The thickness of these heat pipes is 6mm.

Both towers have stepped design layout on the base where a certain portion of the fins is a cutout. This is done to ensure maximum clearance for the RAM.

There is a protective sticker pasted on the base of the cooler with a warning note to peel this sticker off before the installation. The base measures 39.5×44.5mm approximately. It is finished in nickel plating with a mirror effect. Sorry for the crappy picture as it was taken after the cooler was used. The base is CNC milled.

The upper portion of the base has cutouts on the top which are forming a heatsink shape and may help in some heat transfer. The central portion has an inset and this is where the crossbar is placed while installing the cooler.

The block of the cooler is also finished in the black color. The block has a height of 15mm approximately. The base portion has a height of 4.5mm approximately.

Fans

The be quiet! has provided a Silent Wings 3 120mm PWM and a Silent Wings 135mm PWM fans. Here are the specifications of the Fans:

Dimension 120x120x23mm 135x135x22mm
Speed 1500 RPM 1200 RPM
Current 0.08A 0.08A
Rated Voltage 12VDC 12VDC
Power 0.96W 0.96W
Fan Power Connector 4-Pin PWM 4-pin PWM
Bearing Fluid Dynamic Bearing Fluid Dynamic Bearing
Motor Technology 6-pole fan motor 6-pole fan motor
Cable Length 220mm 220mm
Lifespan (h / 25°C) 300,000 300,000

The Silent Wings 3 120mm PWM fan has 7 blades whereas the Silent Wings 135mm PWM fan has 9 blades. Each blade has channels to help with the directed airflow. The 120mm fan ha a funnel shape inlet in the frame which offers maximum air pressure.

Both fans have 4-arms assembly on the backside holding the motor and blades to the frame. The frame of the fans is made of plastic and is quite sturdy. One of the arms is wider as it has a channel for wires passing. There is a latch as well to stop falling off the wires from the channel. The power rating of both fans is printed on the stickers pasted in the middle. The PWM power cable is meshed sleeved.

be quiet! has provided two sets of metal clips. Take a closer look as both sets have a different width. The one with more width is for the optional third fan. This is not mentioned in their user manual.

Installation

Since the cooler is tested on the Intel LGA2011(v3) socket, here are the steps needed for the installation on this socket.

Install the Intel LGA20xx standoffs on the pre-drilled mounting holes around the socket.

Place the mounting brackets such as the raised central portion faces up. Make sure that pointing corners are facing the CPU socket. Secure the brackets using 4x small size screws. Apply the thermal paste.

Remove the two caps on the top cover of the heatsink. Place the crossbar on the upper section of the block so that it snuggles on the surface. Now, carefully place the heatsink on the CPU by aligning the holes on the crossbar with the holes on the mounting brackets. You may need to place one finger on the crossbar so that it does not relocate.

Pass the screwdriver from the exposed holes on the top cover one by one. After passing it, attach a long screw with the tip of the screwdriver. The tip is magnetized. Once both screws are in the heatsink is installed.

Pass the middle fan from the side of the heatsink. Install this fan by connecting the metal clips. Connect the 4-pin PWM connectors of both fans to the 4-pin PWM fan header(s). You can use the bundled Y-Cable to connect both fans to a single fan header.

Here are the pictures of the assembled cooler.

Clearance

The height of the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 is 162.8mm. You can use the PCPartPicker to check the compatibility of the cooler with respect to the chassis. As a general rule, your chassis should have a minimum of 165mm clearance for this CPU Cooler height. Why more? In case you need to adjust the height of the fan, you would need more room in the chassis.

The be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 is not hindering the first PCIe 3.0/4.0 x16 slot. As this cooler has also been tested on the ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming motherboard, there is definitely no such issue. On ASUS ROG Rampage V Edition, it comes closer to the first slot. Please, keep in mind that we are talking about two different platforms here. On the consumer side, the majority of the motherboards have PCIe 3.0 x1 slot up top.

The maximum supported RAM height from the heatsink is 46.8mm whereas it is 40mm with the front Silent Wings 3 120mm fan installed. This would mean any RAM having a height of 40mm or less should have no problem with this cooler in a default fan position. However, you can elevate the height of the front to a certain extent making room for more height RAM. In my case, I have used this cooler with the CORSAIR Vengeance RED LED DDR4 which has a height of 49mm. I had to make room by increasing the height of the front fan.

As the X99 platform has quad-channel configuration, we have a total of 8 DIMM slots in two groups of 4. The fins on both towers of this cooler have a cutout or stepped design on the exterior hence the clearance on the front side as discussed above holds true for the rear side.

As can be seen from the above picture, the heatsink is hanging over the first DIMM slot from both sides but the cutout section is not overhanging.

Testing Methodology

The Testbed configuration is:

  • Asus Rampage V Edition 10
  • Intel i7 6850k
  • CORSAIR Vengeance 4x8GB @ 2666MHz
  • Gigabyte GTX 1060 6GB
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD
  • CORSAIR AX1200i 1200W PSU
  • Primochill Praxis Wetbench

 

The following software were used for testing and monitoring.

  • Asus Real Bench v 2.44
  • Real Temp GT v 3.70

Here is the settings table for testing:

Intel Stock Voltage (V) 1.130
Stock Clock (MHz) 3600
OC Voltage (V) 1.350
OC Clock (MHz) 4300
Turbo Boost Disabled
C-States Disabled
Speed Step Disabled
Thermal Paste Noctua NT-H1
Test Run Time 60 minutes
Idling Time 15 minutes
Fan Speed Manually set to run at 100% PWM cycle.

 

A stress test run is made for the first time after the cooler’s installation. The duration of the test is 60 minutes. After this run, the PC is shut down for a minimum 15 minutes. Actual testing is done afterward. This gives enough time for the thermal paste bonding. Please, keep in mind that cure time varies from thermal paste to thermal paste. We are using Noctua NT-H1 on our test bench for all the coolers testing. This will ensure the standardization and mitigate any performance benefit that may come using the supplied thermal paste. Delta temperatures are reported on the graphs (Delta Temp = Average of all cores’ max temps – ambient temp). The testing is done on an open-air bench system. Once inside the chassis, the temperatures are expected to rise and would largely depend upon the optimal airflow inside the chassis.

Not every run of the stress test may yield the same result. This could well be due to many factors like mounting pressure, thermal paste application, varying ambient temperature. Not to mention the silicon differences even among the same category of the chips. Hence, it is pertinent to mention the testing methodology along with the specifics.

Let’s take a look at the results.

Results

The be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 is filling the gap closer to the Noctua NH-D15 and more importantly, it is doing so with being actually silent not just virtually.

Noise

The sound meter was showing the noise level of the cooler to be 43 dB(A) with an ambient sound level of 32 dB(A) which is impressive.

 

Conclusion

The be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 is a premium dual-tower cooling solution from the manufacturer. The cooler is focused on providing cooling potential up to 250W TDP with superb inaudible experience and they for sure have delivered in this department of noise to performance ratio out of the box. The dimension of the cooler is 145.7x136x162.8mm (LxWxH). The height of the cooler with fans is 162.8mm. Keep that in mind when buying a chassis for your build with this cooler. The cooler weighs around 1130g with the fans. The cooler is compatible is with Intel: LGA 1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366 / 2011(-3) Square ILM / 2066 and AMD: AM2(+) / AM3(+) / AM4 / FM1 / FM2(+) sockets. The be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 packs 45 aluminum fins per tower making the total count of 90 fins. It has 7x advance technology heat transfer copper heat pipes each of 6mm thickness. The complete assembly is black color ceramic spray painted. The special black coating with ceramic particles makes a perfect transfer of heat possible.

The fins have an airflow-optimized, wave-contoured design with small dots on their surfaces that increase the air circulation. The v-shape notches help in reducing the resistance to the airflow. The lower 3 fins on each tower on the exterior have a cutout or stepped design to give more clearance for RAM height. The base of the cooler roughly measures 39.5×44.5mm. The top cover of the cooler is brushed aluminum with diamond cut design which speaks for itself and looks that good in person. Two caps on this cover are removable so that a screwdriver can be passed through the holes under these caps during the installation. The front side of both towers has an anti-vibration rubber pad which is pasted on the height run of the cooler. The fans are to be rested on these pads during the installation. The font pre-installed fan does not need to be removed unless RAM’s height obstructs it. The mounting hardware is also in the black color much like what we saw on the Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black. This cooler is available in two versions with an article no BK022 and BK023. The later is for the TR4 socket.

The be quiet! has included two Silent Wings series fans. The 120mm fan is Silent Wings 3 PWM version whereas the 135mm version is from Silent Wings PWM range. Both fans are using fluid dynamic bearings with 6-pole motor. These are rated for a lifespan of 300,000 h at 25°C. The 120mm fan has a dimension of 120x120x23mm whereas the 135mm fan has a dimension of 135x135x22mm. Both have a slim design. The front-mounted 120mm fan has funnel shape inlet in the frame which helps in generating maximum air pressure. Unfortunately, airflow and air pressure ratings are not mentioned. Also, there is a bit of conflicting information. The packing box is showing the front fan having a size of 120x120x25mm whereas the website stats are showing it to be 120x120x23mm. The power rating of both fans is the same which is 0.96W using 0.08A at 12VDC. The user can optionally install a third fan as well (120mm only) for which a set of clips is provided in the accessory box. They have provided a screwdriver in the box as well which is a wise move.

The installation is a bit tricky as the middle fan has to be slided in from the side of the heatsink, not from the top. This will require the user to remove the graphics card if that is already installed. The crossbar is not pre-installed. Personally, I prefer the cooler with a pre-installed crossbar as it makes the installation convenient. The cooler has a clearance of 46.8mm for the RAM from the heatsink without the front fan. With a fan this clearance is 40mm. The height of the front fan can be adjusted to make room for taller RAM sticks. I have tested this cooler with the CORSAIR VENGEANCE RED LED DDR4 kit which has a height of 49mm.

The be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 has a retail price of US $86.46.90/£74.99 at the time of the review. The cooler has performed quite well and be quiet! is closing the gap to the Noctua NH-D15. The real deal-breaker here is the noise which was 43 dBA at fans’ full speed. This was literally inaudible experience for me and I don’t see why a user would want to run this cooler at lower fans’ speed when overclocking. The noise to performance ratio is too good to ignore this massive cooler. Other than the installation notes, my other gripe is 3 years warranty which in my opinion is tad low as compared to the competitive offerings from the Noctua, Deepcool, etc. Still, this cooler has won me and won our Must Have Award. You can absolutely not go wrong with this cooler for your PC cooling need.

We are thankful to be quiet! for giving us the opportunity to review their Dark Rock Pro 4 CPU Air Cooler.