< BackAug 19, 2022
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be quiet! Dark Rock TF 2

Introduction

Usually, an Air cooler composes of either a single or a dual tower heatsink paired with some amount of fans. The TF 2 is not one of these cases. Using something that resembles a C-Style Heatsink, but on steroids, the TF 2 breaks basically every rule that existed for Air coolers until now. It is basically everything, very low profile, very compatible under certain conditions, well build, but most importantly: extremely high-performance. Let's take a closer look at this weird and surprisingly powerful monster of a cooler and see how it performs!

 

Positive

  • No Central Mounting Bridge
  • Excellent Performance
  • Excellent Noise-To-Performance
  • Highly Case Compatible
  • Can have high Ram Compatibility at the cost of performance
  • Have we mentioned that the Central Mounting Bridge is permanently fixed to the base?

Neutral

  • The Fans could be marked a bit better

Negative

  • Nothing Really

 

What's in the Box?

be-quiet-dark-rock-tf-2-unboxed

 

The (kinda) Small Form Factor Dark Rock TF 2 out of be quiet!'s Dark Rock line of air coolers comes in the usual be quiet! styled box containing some imagery and the usual specs.

Once every object is removed from the box, we will find the following items:

  • be quiet! Dark Rock TF 2 Heatsink
  • Silent Wing 3 135mm PWM x2 (1x 22mm thick)
  • Intel Mounting
  • AMD Mounting
  • 2x Sets of Clips
  • Thermal Paste

Although it is a beloved item among many PC builders, the be quiet! Dark Rock TF 2 is one of the first be quiet! cooler that we encountered that doesn't come with one of be quiet!s iconic Philips Head screwdrivers... Although this is a very saddening moment as we wanted to one day have a double-digit collection, we have to remind you that due to the heatsink's height, any other screwdriver (including the one you used to open up your case) will be usable to install this cooler. Therefore we do understand the lack of necessity to include one with this model.

 

Down below we also attached a short summary of the most important specs:

Name be quiet! Dark Rock TF 2
Dimensions 134x164x140mm(HxWxD) (both fans installed)
Fan

Silent Wing 3 135mm PWM

Silent Wing 3 135mm PWM 22mm thick

Fan Connection PWM (4-pin)
Fan Airflow - not specified - 
Fan Speed

1400RPM

1300RPM

Fan Noise 27.1db
Fan Air Pressure - not specified -
RGB Nope, the cooler is old-school

COMPATIBILITY

The Dark Rock TF 2 comes with a compatibility list long enough to be considered complete for today's standard. Additionally, we would like to mention that the Dark Rock Slim now also comes with an LGA 1700 Mounting Kit included for newer intel 12th gen CPUs.

AMD Intel
AM4 LGA 1700
  LGA 1200
  LGA 115x
  LGA 2066
  LGA 2011.3

INDIVIDUAL COMPONENTS

FAN

be-quiet-dark-rock-tf-2-fans

 

The Fan that comes included with a Dark Rock Slim is one of be quiet!'s High-End Line Silent Wing 3 Fans. However, despite there already being an army of Silent Wing 3 fans in existence, be quiet! created some extra versions for this cooler. The fan supposed to be installed ontop is a Silent Wing 135mm PWM at 25mm thickness. This one is spinning at 1400RPM. The fan installed in the center is a 22mm thick 135mm big fan spinning slightly slower at 1300RPM.

 

be-quiet-dark-rock-tf-2-fan-thickness

 

Ignoring this odd change in fan speed and size, both Fans are also coming with a 220mm long PWM cable.

Heatsink

be-quiet-dark-rock-tf-2-heatsink

 

The Heatsink is definitely the eye candy part of this cooler. 

As apparent from far away, the Dark Rock TF uses a C-Style shape that bends a huge heatsink a couple of cm above the CPU and covers a huge chunk of the motherboard.

However, contrary to most C-Styled coolers out there, the TF got a little wist in form of a secondary heatsink just above the base. Thanks to this miniature of a heatsink, the fan sitting in between the two heatsinks is able to pick up the air from the fan above and blast it through the secondary heatsink onto the motherboard. And if this wasn't obvious until now. This heatsink design and way of bending the heat pipes basically created a dual tower cooler, just in a C-Shape design.

An amazing concept (if it works).

 

be-quiet-dark-rock-tf-2-heatsink2

 

Due to the secondary heatsink being so small, be quiet! was required to perform a couple of extra tricks to fit the biggest amount of heat pipes possible. Similarly to most C-Shaped coolers, the Dark Rock TF 2 used its real estate to fit in enough heat pipes to cover most of the heatsink. At 6 heat pipes, the top heatsink is pretty much covered entirely.

The bottom heatsink however doesn't have such an amount of heat pipes. Therefore, two of the heat pipes from the top heatsink are ending on the copper nickel-plated base, while the central 4 are continuing by going into the mini heatsink above the block.

Appearance

be-quiet-dark-rock-tf-2-full

 

Although the cooler might be looking extremely interesting when examined thoroughly, there is not much to see except for a fan once the whole thing is installed. On the bright side, the 6 big copper heat pipes that are traveling up into the secondary heatsink are looking majestic while the Fan can still uphold the powerful design that the all-black be quiet! Silent Wing lineup creates.

If however, you are having a case that allows for a side-way view of the cooler, be prepared for a treat as the highly special building style of the TF 2 creates a very unique and good-looking design.

 

be-quiet-dark-rock-tf-2-build-in

 

Additionally, as it is still a Dark Rock line cooler, it is also coming in the usual all-black ceramic-coated color. A true eye candy.

 

Benchmark

be-quiet-dark-rock-tf-2-benchmark1

 

Even if the design is very special, maybe even unique, it still needs to perform. 

Once installed on top of our benchmark machine, the Dark Rock TF 2 managed to keep the 3900x at 52°C above ambient, 1°C above the Dark Rock Pro 4.

 

be-quiet-dark-rock-tf-2-benchmark2

 

While looking at the noise-to-performance graph, we can see that the Dark Rock TF is definitely battling with its bigger (and normally formed) Dark Rock Pro 4 counterpart.

Although the Dark Rock TF managed to outperform the Pro 4 for 1°C for max performance, it was a ridiculously small tick behind the Pro 4 in Noise across the whole benchmark.

However, considering the margin of error, both coolers perform close to identically for the 135w workload that we put upon them.

Conclusion

be-quiet-dark-rock-tf-2-design1

 

Out of all of be quiet!'s Dark Rock coolers, the TF 2 is most definitely the most interesting one. Not only is it highly weird, and therefore also a quite interesting and new attempt, but it worked. The Dark Rock TF 2's max performance and Noise-to-Performance ratio are outstandingly good considering the concept. The two fans and dual (though one of them is a miniature) heatsinks managed to keep the Dark Rock TF 2 extremely close to its bigger Dark Rock 4 counterpart whilst not looking a lot in terms of noise.

 

be-quiet-dark-rock-tf-2-design2

 

And when it comes to compatibility, you will not end up with the short end of the stick when going for a Dark Rock TF 2. With two fans installed, we can still go with ram up to 49mm high, which not only is a miracle considering it's a C-Shaped cooler, but that's more than plenty for something like the very space-hungry TridentZ RGB Ram.

be-quiet-dark-rock-tf-2-design4

 

However, we need to stop our excitement for a second and mention that due to the C-Style shape of the cooler, this might not always be the best option for you. Although our benchmark showed excellent results, these are always generated in a perfect environment. However, if used within the normal case, meaning intake in the front and exhaust out in the back, this will not be an ideal situation. Instead, a regular Tower cooler is made for such a situation.

For something like the TF 2, the cooler is sucking in the air from the opposite end of the motherboard, and blasting it straight onto the socket and everything around it.

To create a perfect use case for such a situation, we would need to have an air intake above the fan slapped right on top of the TF 2. These kinds of cases do exist, no doubt there, but they are usually found within the small-form-factor case market.

 

be-quiet-dark-rock-tf-2-design6

 

Therefore, although we are huge fans of the Dark Rock TF 2, we can only recommend the cooler if you are either sure that your case will be able to provide the necessary air, or if the case you're using doesn't provide you with the real estate needed for a regular Dark Rock cooler. But as long as the air is present, there's nothing wrong with going for a TF 2 for things like a 12700k, 3900x and below.

strumace
Introduction
What's in the Box?
COMPATIBILITY
INDIVIDUAL COMPONENTS
Appearance
Benchmark
Conclusion
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