be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim CPU Cooler

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HEATSINK COMPARISON TABLES

°C Rise Comparison: CPU Coolers with Single Stock Fan
SPL (dBA@1m)
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Thermalright Archon SB-E
39
         
40
   
43
Thermalright HR-02 Macho
 
39
     
40
41
 
43
 
Scythe Mugen 4
       
40
   
42
 
45
Noctua NH-U14S
 
38
 
40
   
43
   
be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim
  40  
41
 
42
   
Scythe Yasya
   
40
       
43
   
Cogage TRUE Spirit 1366
     
41
 
43
 
46
 
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
40
       
42
 
47
 
Scythe Ashura
 
42
     
44
     
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
   
41
       
44
54
 
Silverstone Argon AR03
   
43
         
48
Scythe Ninja 3
   
44
       
46
   
SilverStone Argon AR01
   
44
         
50

Compared to other coolers that ship with a single stock fan, the Shadow Rock Slim put up a tough fight, landing in fifth place, one spot behind the Noctua NH-U14S.

°C Rise Comparison:
CPU Coolers with Single 140 mm Reference Fan
Heatsink
Fan voltage / SPL @1m*
9V
(~21 dBA)
7V
(~15 dBA)
6V
(~12 dBA)
Thermalright Archon SB-E
37
40
42
Noctua NH-U14S
38
41
44
be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim
39
42
44
Thermalright HR-22
39
42
44
Prolimatech Armageddon
39
42
45
Scythe Mugen 4
39
42
45
Thermalright HR-02 Macho
39
43
45
NZXT Havik 140
40
43
47
Scythe Ashura
41
44
46
Noctua NH-C14
(top mounted)
40
44
48
Noctua NH-C14
40
44
49
Thermalright Silver Arrow
39
45
49
Phanteks PH-TC14PE
42
45
48
SilverStone Heligon HE02
45
48
50
be quiet! Dark Rock 2
49
51
53
*Note: there are minor differences in measured SPL due to the variety of fan orientations and mounting methods offered by the compared coolers.

Paired with our reference 140 mm fan, the Shadow Rock Slim jumped ahead to third place, once again, behind the NH-U14S.

MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recording starts with 5 second segments of room ambiance, then the fan at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim delivers superb performance, in spite of its slightly smaller size and simpler construction compared to most high-end coolers. Our sample didn't suffer from any of the issues that plagued our testing of the Dark Rock 2. Furthermore, the newer fan model is an improvement, producing more pleasant acoustics below the 1000 RPM level, and the heatsink's slimmer body makes memory interference a non-issue.

While an excellent cooler, the Shadow Rock Slim has some irksome design issues. Compared to the Dark Rock 2, the mounting system has become more complicated, with two extra pieces that force users to flip the motherboard on its side to tighten the assembly properly. You have to work a screwdriver on one side and a wrench/pliers on the other. The mounting clips are also too thin, bending away from the base when secured. Using thicker clips or moving them above the base would ensure all the pressure they apply is put to good use. Finally, be quiet!'s use of a nonstandard fan frame might be infuriating to some. A second set of clips for standard 120 mm fans is included, but only one. If you want to use dual fans, you have to pair the stock fan with a different model, undoubtedly resulting in intermodulation effects.

The Shadow Rock Slim is currently selling overseas for approximately £35, which should work out to about US$45~50 based on relative CPU cooler price differences between North America and Europe. That would undercut its closest competition, the Noctua NH-U14S, by around US$20~25. It lacks Noctua's fit and finish but near-identical cooling proficiency and lower price makes it a far better value.

Our thanks to be quiet! for the Shadow Rock Slim CPU cooler sample.


be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim receives the SPCR Editor's Choice Award

* * *

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Thermalright HR-22 CPU Heatsink
Noctua NH-U14S Slim 140mm Tower Cooler
Scythe Ashura CPU Cooler
SilverStone Tundra TD03 Liquid CPU Cooler
Scythe Mugen 4 CPU Cooler: Scythe Strikes Back
NoFan CR-95C Copper Fanless CPU Cooler

* * *

Discuss this article in the SPCR forums.



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