be quiet! Dark Rock TF Review

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unixwizard

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I am not certain from the information in this article how the testing was conducted, but I have some serious concerns that the information given here doesn't paint a whole picture of real world effects.

Lets take one example: Many articles on air and water coolers note that airflow over VRMs and other MB components could be significantly different, yet I never see readings of MB temps, VRM temps, or anything other than CPU. How much of an effect is it? Show the data.

Likewise, as you mention in text, a cooler like this could perform best when it can vent air directly out the side of a case. You lack any data showing this however. As far as I can tell, the usual rigor for testing isn't applied to coolers.

In my opinion you should test coolers in a handful of configurations. Maybe pick some of the most popular cases or best performing cases in a handful of configurations and use these as a standard. An open test bench is the one configuration that you should never use, since it will never be similar to an actual usage scenario. Feel free to focus on only a few scenarios, like 'big high airflow case for overclocking to the max on air", and "balanced temp/noise performance in a mid-sized size vented case", and "space restricted case with little venting" or whatever, but once you pick the scenarios, please report more than just CPU temp and noise. Report VRM temps, chipset temp, RAM temp, and use a couple temp probes to measure exhaust temp out the side/back, etc. Better yet, show some thermal images of the cooler/MB in operation if you can. Also, make sure you let the case/system 'heat soak' under load so we know how it works under sustained load rather than just a quick heat pulse.

Do this for a few coolers of differing type and see if the picture changes or more is revealed with this method. If it isn't then at least you'll have data to say that more detailed reporting doesn't create a different picture, but I have a suspicion that differing coolers will change positions considerably in the various scenarios, revealing strengths and weaknesses that matter to people looking to buy them for the specific scenario tested.

As an example, I own a Lian-Li V2000B and a Rosewill Throne, both large cases but very different in scenario. The V2000B is a sealed through-flow case with no side vent and the Throne is side/top vent with little airflow out the back. The cooler in this article might work wonders in the Throne, perhaps even better than the other coolers, and be terrible in the V2000B.

Just my 2 cents, but I don't feel I get enough out of these cooler articles to make a good purchase decision.
 

Crashman

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In a complete machine. It appears the site removed this information, so here's an earlier article that contains it:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/deepcool-gamer-storm-captain-240-liquid-cpu-cooler,4158.html
Do tell!
This review discusses the same issues. Perhaps you didn't read the text? It also charts the voltage regulator temperature. Perhaps you didn't read the chart legend?

PWM means Pulse Width Modulator, which is a far-more-accurate name than "Voltage Resistor Module". This measurement is shown in the chart and discussed below the chart.
We did. Sorry you missed it.
Thats because we haven't found a specific case to fit every specific cooler. The generic statement about a downflow fan working best when it can draw air through the side panel comes from prior experience with cases designed specifically for that purpose, but cases aren't designed that way any longer. It's mention as a suggestion to people able to find such a case, or modify it appropriately
Cooler tests take less time than motherboard tests, but is that really a problem? We've attempted to create the "most generic" airflow configuration for the case and even tested the cooler at max/min CPU fan setting to show its operating range.
 
My beef:

I always find reviews for CPU coolers difficult to decipher. Different fan speeds, noise, cooling arrrggh.

*What I personally want is a simple chart showing cooling performance at say a total 35dB for the system or whatever.

Go ahead and include whatever charts you want, but I'm about cooling-to-noise ratio and that needs to be easy to find.
 

Crashman

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I know it's not the easiest thing to decipher, but the cooling-to-noise chart is in there.

It shows how much better or worse each cooler's result was compared to the average of all tests.
 

milkod2001

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Nice review. Looks like Noctua is still the way to go.

On the side note: Could you guys do tests of some PCspeakers. Im looking for replacement of my Logitech Z 2300. Im looking for something what could match it price/performance wise. Would anyone had some recommendations?

Thanks
 

firedust

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You mentioned that the review includes voltage regulator temperature. I must be blind because I can't find it anywhere. Is it the first graph?
 

firedust

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Ah OK. I was confused because I thought Pulse Width Modulation was a term used for only for case fans. I didn't know it could be used to describe motherboard temps. Thanks.
 


I'm not aware of any way to describe temperature with PWM.

Pulse Width Modulation - basically you are pulsing a magnetic signal against part of the fan motor. This is almost exactly like spinning one of those kiddy carousels or whatever they are called by hand. Push. Wait. Push. Wait.

The length of time you push (width) is proportional to the fan speed.

That's opposed to Voltage (3-pin) which sends a constant voltage (varying by desired temperature). PWM uses less power.
 

Crashman

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It's not being used to describe a temperature, its the type of voltage regulator used in modern motherboards.

The old term "Voltage Resistor Module" doesn't work because it's not modular and doesn't use resistors. But back in the 1980s and early 90's...

That's because there isn't.
Ready to have your mind blown?
Think about the fan analogy you just made, the speed change is buffered by the inertia of the fan.
PWM voltage regulators work in a similar way, using coils and capacitors to even out the pulses. A shorter pulse and longer pause gets leveled out to a lower voltage, a longer pulse and shorter pause gets leveled out to a higher voltage. Multiple phases make the current even smoother.

 

Moktah

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Does a heat pipe cooler with the motherboard in a horizontal position work more effectively than the same cooler in a vertical position? My theory is that horizontal (a test bed for example) is more effective since it will have a higher chance of liquid migrating to the contact point of the processor. Most effective heat transfer is via phase change between liquid to vapor at the contact point of the cooler resulting in heat being absorbed from the processor. Phase change from vapor back to liquid releases the captured heat in the radiator portion. Liquid migrates back to down via differences in density (maybe easier to picture it due to gravity). It looks like there could be instances of less liquid in the actual contact point of the cooler (in a typical vertical motherboard configuration) therefore possibly causing less heat transfer. This is going to depend upon design from each cooler manufacturer and the amount of liquid contained within the heat pipes of course. To better visualize, picture a glass of water half full. There is a 100% chance of liquid at the bottom (horizontal motherboard configuration will have a cooler with a 100% chance of liquid state at the bottom where the contact point is) What if the liquid in the cooler in a vertical motherboard is at the 'half way' point during operation. You lose a bunch of effectiveness. If you get a chance, please check it out and see if there is a difference between vertical and horizontal orientation. Thanks for the article by the way.
 

Crashman

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Most of the people following the thread understand the theory. Our tests haven't shown a big difference in recent coolers, and that's probably due to a wicking material in the base

 

firedust

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Thanks for the clarifications Crashman. Am I right to assume that blow down coolers don't cool the motherboard any better than tower coolers?
 

Crashman

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They should, but in this case it didn't. I can only guess that the crossdraft cooler was moving sufficient air over the voltage regulator sink. It is a short cooler and a tall sink. And then there's the downdraft problem of air not having anywhere to go when it hits the board: voltage regulator design and DRAM placement probably increases the problem for this board (by sending the warm air back up into the fans).
 

cgigoux

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I apologize if this sounds like a dumb question, but here goes. Given that hot air rises relative to cold air, why not just reverse the fan orientation so that the "blow down" coolers blows upwards (no way I was going to say blows up!) instead? It would seem in theory that having the heat pipes aligned horizontally as Moktah suggested combined with the fans pushing the hot air upwards would make it more efficient. Have this type of cooler ever been tested this way?

Thx
 

Crashman

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This seems like it would work, but the air is warmer by the board. In this build I think the DIMMs would block air to the base, but it might work with a board designed to support it.

 

Compuser10165

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For 80$ which is the current price for this cooler on newegg better to go with th 89$ Dark Rock Pro 3 (if you can fit it). P.S. I have the Dark Rock Pro 3 (along with an i7 6700k) cooler and it performs very well (cpu actual temp is around 40 degrees celsius on idle and around 50-60 at load) this in the bequiet silentbase 800 case. P.S. CPU utilization around 30% given the I7.
 

Crashman

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Well then, here you go!
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/be-quiet-dark-rock-pro-3-cpu-cooler,4350.html
 
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