Introduction

We have reviewed be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim 2 recently. This time we are spinning the company’s new Shadow Rock Slim 2 CPU air cooler. be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim 2 is a pocket-friendly cooler that comes with a 135mm fan. The Slim part of the naming convention gives a hint of the target market where be quiet! is aiming at. It is for compact systems where the balance between performance and silence is the key requirement. Here are the salient features of the cooler:

  • Very high cooling capacity of 160W TDP
  • An optimized mounting kit for an easier installation in alignment with the airflow
  • Full configuration of RAM banks in PC cases with limited space
  • Four high-performance 6mm heat pipes with HDT technology
  • 135mm silence-optimized be quiet! fan (max. 23.7dB(A)) with nine airflow-optimized blades and durable rifle-bearing technology
  • Brushed aluminum top cover
  • Three-year manufacturer‘s warranty
  • Product conception, design and quality control in Germany

The cooler comes with an MSRP of $45.90 / €45.90 / £43.99.

Specifications

Packing and Unboxing

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

Shadow Rock Slim 2 is from Premium series cooling solutions from the be quiet!

The specifications of the heatsink and the fans are printed in tabular format. The cooler comes with a TDP rating of 160W.

The salient features of the cooler are highlighted.

  • Compact design
  • High RAM Clearance
  • 160W TDP
  • Quiet Cooling Solution

The heatsink and fans are separately placed inside the packing box.

 

Contents

There is an accessory box placed inside the main packing box.

The mounting hardware is placed inside dedicated transparent containers with labels.

There is a pictorial-based user guide included in the box.

  • 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

  • 1x Intel backplate
  • 2x Intel Mounting Brackets
  • 2x AMD Mounting Brackets

  • 2x Screws
  • 1x Cross Bar

  • 1x Thermal Paste
  • 2x Sets of Metal clips [Both sets are different in depths. The user can install another fan for push/pull]

Closer Look

Let’s start with what be quiet! is saying about this cooler. “The Shadow Rock Slim 2 is an upgraded version of its predecessor Shadow Rock Slim with an optimized mounting kit for easy installation on all current Intel and AMD consumer sockets. Shadow Rock Slim 2 is the ideal cooling solution for compact systems where the balance between cooling performance and quietness is key. Its four high-performance heat pipes give Shadow Rock Slim 2 an impressive cooling capacity of up to 160W TDP.”

Heatsink

It is time to take a look at the cooler.

The dimension of the cooler is 74x137x161mm (LxWxH) where 161mm is the overall height of the cooler. The weight of the cooler is 690g with the fans. The be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim 2 is compatible with Intel: LGA 1200 / 1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 1156 / 2011(-3) Square ILM / 2066 and AMD: AM4 / AM3(+). The cooler is rated to handle the TDP of up to 160W.

The above picture shows the top view on the upper heatsink. The complete assembly is in silver color as there is no color coating unlike what we saw on Shadow Rock TF2. The top plate is designed in an elegant manner. The terminating tips of the heat pipes have caps on them with be quiet! branding in the center. This is a purely cosmetic effect and has nothing to do with the performance. This side is what will be visible after installing the cooler in the case hence be quiet! has done a good job in giving a good lookout on the top.

the front and rear layout of the heatsink is identical. We have 53 aluminum fins. The central portion is recessed as compared to both sides of the fins. There is no heat pipe in the center portion of the heatsink.

The above picture is a see-through view of the heatsink clearly showing the layout of the heat pipes inside the heatsink.

The left and right sides of the dual-heatsinks are identical. There is a recessed area on both sides which is where the handle of metal clips of the fans are inserted to secure the fan on the heatsink.

The above picture shows the cross-dimensional view of the heatsink.

The be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim 2 packs 4x 6mm high-performance copper heat pipes. The heat pipes are in their natural color of Copper as there is no nickel plating on them.

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 39x40mm approximately. It is finished in nickel plating. The heat pipes are making direct contact with the CPU surface. Please note that this is not a continuous direct contact method as there is a gap between any two heat pipes on the base.

The above picture shows the top view of the base. There is an aluminum heatsink design there. Please note that there is no mounting bar pre-installed on this heatsink. This makes the installation somewhat inconvenient.

Fans

The be quiet! has provided 135mm fans which they have mentioned as “Silence-Optimized be quiet! fan” Here are the specifications of the Fans:

Dimension 135x135x22mm
Speed 1400 RPM
Input Current 0.11A
Rated Voltage 12VDC
Power 1.32W
Fan Power Connector 4-pin PWM
Bearing Rifle Bearing
Motor Technology 4-pole fan motor
Cable Length 220mm
Lifespan (h / 25°C) 80,000

The fan has 9 blades. Each blade has channels to help with the directed airflow. The center has a be quiet! branding on it. The frame is quite sturdy and is in a circular design. The mounting edges are a bit different design from the conventional layout.

The fan has a 4-arms assembly on the backside holding the motor and blades to the frame. One of the arms is wider as it has a channel for wires passing. There is a latch as well to stop the wires from falling off the channel. The power rating of both fans is printed on the stickers pasted in the middle. The PWM power cable is meshed sleeved. Now we know it is a Silent Wings 3 series fan as evident by BQ SIW3 nomenclature. I was thinking that it almost resembles the second fan on the Shadow Rock TF2 cooler – the one which sits between both heatsinks. But the catch is the different ratings and different bearings.

The fan is using a 4-pin PWM connector to power the fan’s motor.

Installation

We have tested the cooler on the Intel LGA1200 socket using the MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK motherboard. Here are the steps:

Install the Intel LGA1200 standoffs by passing these through the mentioned holes on the backplate. Secure them using the rubber washer.

Place the backplate on the motherboard socket area and install the standoff nuts.

Install the Intel mounting brackets on the standoffs using 4x screws.

Apply the thermal paste on the CPU surface. Remove the protective cover from the base of the cooler. Place the mounting bar on the base of the heatsink so that it snuggles in perfectly. Pass both screws on the mounting bar’s mounting holes. align the screws on the mounting bar with the mounting holes on the brackets and place the heatsink on the CPU. Use the screwdriver to complete the heatsink’s installation.

The above picture shows the top of the installed cooler without the fan.

Install the metal clips on the fan and secure it on the heatsink. Connect the 4-pin PWM connector to the CPU_Fan header. This would complete the installation.

Clearance

The be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim 2 being a compact design has good clearance for the RAM as it does not overhang the DIMM slots.

The upper portion of the cooler is not taking much space either and there is no limitation recorded with respect to the top of the PC case.

Similarly, we did not observe any clearance issue with respect to the IO cover of the motherboard.

There is no obstruction or clearance issue with respect to the first PCIe 30/4.0 x16 slot of the motherboard.

 

The height of the cooler is 161mm. Keep that in mind when selecting PC case for this cooler.

 

Testing

The following test bench is used: –

  • Intel i7 10700k
  • MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK
  • T-Force NightHawk RGB 16GB @ 3200MHz
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 FE
  • addlink S70 256GB NVMe SSD
  • be quiet! Straight Power 850W Platinum PSU
  • Open-air test bench

Here is the settings table for testing:

Clock (MHz) 3800 All Cores
Voltage (V) 1.025
Clock (MHz) 4700 All Cores
Voltage (V) 1.255
Clock (MHz) 5100 All Cores
Voltage (V) 1.345
Turbo Boost Disabled
C-States Disabled
Speed Step Disabled
Thermal Paste Noctua NT-H1
Thermal Paste Application Dot Method in the center.
Test Run Time 30 minutes
Idling Time 10 minutes
Fan Speed 100% PWM Duty Cycle and Auto PWM
Pump Speed Connected to the AIO Pump header to run at 100% speed
Header CPU_Fan header for the fans and Pump_Header for the pump
Software AIDA64 6.3 Extreme [FPU]

 

We are using Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste for the coolers’ testing. Using the same thermal paste for all coolers would ensure standardization. Delta temperatures are reported on the graphs. 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.

The coolers are also tested using the Auto PWM function. MSI is using Smart Fan mode in the UEFI/BIOS which is not pure Auto PWM but it is what is available to us. The above picture shows the MSI default fan curve for the Smart Fan mode. Since all the coolers will be tested using the same configuration and settings, the same margin of error applies to all.

Let’s take a look at the results.

 

3.8GHz All Cores

The cooler has performed quite well on all cores locked at 3.8GHz. This is our base test and all coolers pass this test easily. The real challenge is 4.7GHz and above.

4.7GHz All Cores

The cooler has performed quite well here as the package power draw of the CPU was sitting closer to 150W TDP.

4.7GHz Auto PWM

Auto PWM Speed

The fans were running at their full speed on the Auto PWM setting. The fan is rated for 1400 RPM. The attained speed on Auto PWM was 1433 RPM.

5.1GHz All Cores

By now, we were sure that the cooler might not handle the workload of 5.1GHz on all cores. Still, we tried to run a stress test on 5.1GHz. Almost all cores reached to 100°C in like 35 seconds. No complaint there as the cooler is not designed to handle this much heat load anyway.

Noise

We have maintenance work going on near the place due to which the environmental noise is quite high. We are not measuring the noise level at the moment. The cooler was running silent even which is satisfactory.

 

Conclusion

The be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim 2 is the upgraded version of Shadow Rock Slim and comes with an optimized mounting kit with easy installation. The cooler is aimed at compact systems where the balance between performance and quietness is required. The cooler stands at 161mm in height. Keep that in mind if really deciding on a compact build! The cooler comes with a Silent Wings 3 135mm fan. The cooler is compatible with the Intel LGA 1200/115x/12xx and AMD AM4 and AM3(+) sockets. be quiet! has rated this cooler for a whopping 160W TDP. The cooler has a dimension of 74x137x161mm. The 74x137mm does make this cooler a compact design.

We have a single tower design here with 53 aluminum fins in it. be quiet! is using 4x 6mm thick copper heat pipes. There is a stylish aluminum faceplate on the top of the heatsink with be quiet! branding in the middle. There are caps on the terminating edges giving the cooler a sleek and stylish outlook.

The be quiet! has provided a Silent Wings 3 135mm fan. The fan has a 22mm thickness. This fan is using a Rifle bearing and is rated for 80,000 hours life span. There is no airflow and static pressure rating provided in the specification. The noise level at 100% fans speed is 23.7 dB(A) at full speed.

When it comes to the installation, we are dealing with 20 mounting hardware items for the installation. The cross-bar is not pre-installed which would make the installation somewhat inconvenient. I would suggest installing this cooler out of the PC case as installing it inside the case with the case in a standing position would be challenging. The cooler is not obstructing the DIMM slots and gives a good enough clearance to the high-profile RAM. We did not observe any clearance issue with respect to the RAM height, PCIe x16 3.0 slot, and IO cover of the MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK.

The be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim 2 has an MSRP of $45.90 / €45.90 / £43.99. The cooler is rated to handle the heat load of up to 160W TDP and it has performed quite well in this regard on our test bench. The cooling operation was also quiet which gives a further edge to this cooler. Though we would like to highlight that the PCCOOLER GI-PALADIN 400 comes at an MSRP of $28 and has a dimension of 76x137x157mm while housing a 130mm fan and has a slightly better cooling performance though it is loud at full speed of the fan. Both coolers come with a 3-year warranty.

We are thankful to be quiet! for giving us the opportunity to review their Shadow Rock Slim 2 CPU Air Cooler.