be quiet! Dark Rock PRO 4 review

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Final words and conclusion

Final words and conclusion

It's not often that when I test heatpipe based coolers that I am consistently thinking about the Noctua NH-D15, and that remark is actually a compliment to be quiet! as (let's be brutally honest here) the D15 is the mother of all heatpipe coolers, bar none. The Dark Rock PRO 4 shares some of the design features with the two tower radiators, the middle and front-side fan. Now, the Pro 4 isn't at the D15 level performance wise, but it is close. Noctua has a little more reserve. We're talking merely a few degrees C here though! And my bet is that the powder coating on the PRO 4 is the cause of that petite difference. Hey, it is a coating, and coatings will simply block heat transfer or better said, insulate it. That said, the cooling performance remains good and the noise levels up-to 1.35 Volts extremely silent. The one thing that the PRO 4 has got over the D15 is aesthetics, that powder coating might (likely) insulate a tiny bit, but the aesthetic factor and value of the cooler are pretty incredible with its all dark design. The word dark towers come to mind. So yeah, it's all about preference, but again, the fact that I mention the D15 here a couple of times, really, is a compliment to be quiet!.


The reason I like the Dark Rock 4 series this much has a lot to do with its all dark looks, the coated fins, the dark black top cover, even the heatpipes received that dark treatment, and then sure, the fans are dark as well. Most motherboards these days are all based on a black PCB, ergo this is a cooler that matches. So from an aesthetic point of view, these just look great. However, taste is a subjective thing. One remark I must make is that powder coated products are very sensitive, it damages quite easy and thus scratches and what not are visible fast. Even clipping on the metal fan retention clips, resulted in a tiny bit of damage, making that metal underneath is visible. BTW even these metal clips have received a treatment to make them look dark.


Cooling performance

The cooler certainly performs good, actually fairly close to D15 levels, a few degrees off. We test our system (deliberately) with the still difficult to cool Core i7 4790K, on purpose. The default clock frequency performance is good, nothing more, nothing less. Overclocking based on voltage normally with a CPU like this is ill-advised. With our 4790K processor at 1.30 Volts/4600 MHz heat jumped to 75 Degrees C, that is quite okay and thus this cooler allows for a tweak. 


Absolutely brilliant, for noise levels, at defaults (not overclocked) this is an incredible silent product, on our ASUS Sabertooth we simply leave the default fan profile for what it is, and yeah we reached 30~31 DBa under full processor load, even up-to 1.35 Volts (tweaked) the noise levels remain extremely low, after 1.35v we don't have little cooling performance left. So really this is a silent product, at default clock frequencies I need to say and recommend here.


The kit as tested today will cost roughly 89 USD / Euro, obviously, you will not reach the 'enthusiast' segment of cooling.  be quiet! does offer its 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.


Final Words

In the upper paragraphs of this article, I guess I already spilled the beans. Subjectively speaking, I find the looks of this cooler (even as big as it is) fantastic, for a heatpipe cooler. Objectively spoken, it cools well and offers exceedingly silent operation thanks to the two silentwing fans that offer a fantastic job at low RPM. Our acoustic measurements are based upon a default FAN profile in the ASUS motherboard, we do not even use the silent mode we can activate in the BIOS. So yes, the acoustics will amaze you, even with a bit of an overclock you will be hard-pressed to hear this cooler. Worth noting is that the installation has become much easier thanks towards a new mounting system. All modern age processors and sockets are supported, including AM4 for AMD. However, SP3 Threadripper is not supported. The be quiet! Dark Rock PRO 4 is intended for the guys and girls that really and utterly despise noise, really this is among the most silent coolers we have tested ever. It does so while keeping the Core i7 4790K we used at acceptable temperature levels as long as we do not overclock it too much, you are totally fine. I estimate given the same TDP ranges, a six-core 8700K will be cooled equally as well with its six-cores as today's tested Devils Canyon 4790K processor. For AMD Ryzen processors we do not see a problem whatsoever, as AMD procs run even cooler overall, even with eight cores. The one remark I have is that this cooler does not offer a compatible mounting kit for Ryzen Threadripper, a bit of a miss really. My second remark on the Pro 4 is that it is BIG, really big. I guess you either hate or like that, we had minor tolerance issues with the Corsair Dominator DDR4 DRAM modules though, but these DIMMs are very high profile due to its heat spreader. That's about all I can moan though; it cools well, is VERY silent and looks fantastic. Definitely worthy a Guru3D recommendation.

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