Much like PC Cases in the market one can find countless CPU Coolers of every size, type and design aimed towards pretty much every user out there from casual users, gamers and enthusiasts to overclockers, professionals and even enterprise users. However although the sky is really the limit in this section of the industry there aren't that many low profile CPU Coolers for HTPC use with serious cooling efficiency available currently something which is perhaps the most important reason as to why most HTPC owners are not very eager when it comes to overclocking their systems. Well be quiet! aims to change that with their latest Shadow Rock TopFlow SR1 low profile CPU Cooler and once again we are here to see exactly just what it is they have put on the table.
be quiet! is a premium brand manufacturer of power supplies and cooling solutions for your desktop PC. be quiet! products are convincing which is proved by reaching and defending the market leadership in PSU business in Germany for five consecutive years *. This is validated and accompanied by numerous awards for both power supplies and cooling solutions. be quiet! is awarded for five times in a row as manufacturer of the year in the power supply category by the readers of the well-known German hardware magazine PC Games Hardware. Another first and second rank in the categories “fans” and “cooler” underline the high acceptance of our products. be quiet! sticks to its name: Ten years’ experience in the field of noise reduction and silence make be quiet! products probably the most silent one on the market. Undoubted fans have a large impact of the noise levels of be quiet! products. Due we are using our specially developed Silent Wings fans in nearly all of our range. They are equipped with various noise reducing features. Thanks to these we ensure a really silent operation - our products reach the best balance between cooling performance and a virtually inaudible operation. If you choose be quiet! you can be sure to get premium quality and second to none silent operation from the quietness experts.
Just like most low-profile CPU Coolers out there the Shadow Rock TopFlow SR1 by be quiet! is based on the typical C-type (top fan/flow) design. However unlike most low-profile CPU Coolers it's not only quite larger but also sports a rather massive 135mm SilentWings fan resulting in a very high TDP (Thermal Design Power) of 160W (very high for low profile CPU coolers). So because of both its size and that TDP we decided to pit it against some of the top CPU Coolers in the market currently and thus we performed all tests on our primary Intel Core i7-3930k Rev.2 system instead of the Intel Core i7-3770k system we use when testing low-profile coolers and as you will all see later on it seems we did the right thing since the Shadow Rock TopFlow SR1 failed to disappoint.
SPECIFICATIONS AND FEATURES
PACKAGING AND CONTENTS
The Shadow Rock TopFlow SR1 arrived inside a medium sized black box with a product image at the front, the max TDP, be quiet! logo and a few words about the product in two languages.
On both sides we see the units features written in 5 different languages.
The product features are showcased at the rear via two product sketches placed right above the specifications table.
While the entire bundle is placed inside another cardboard box the CPU Cooler is placed between two Styrofoam spacers.
The box contains the Shadow Rock TopFlow SR1 CPU Cooler, backplate, thermal paste tube, installation manual and mounting hardware for both Intel socket 775/1150/1155/1156/1366/2011 and AMD 954/939/940/AM2/AM2+/AM3/AM3+/FM1/FM2 CPUs.
THE SHADOW ROCK TOPFLOW SR1
Just by looking at the cooler you know it's massive especially since the heatsink dwarfs the 135mm fan. Specifically the Shadow Rock TopFlow SR1 measures 126mm in height, 171mm in length and 137mm in width with a weight of 650g.
The 135mm SilentWings fan can spin up to 1500RPM and produce airflow of 66.8CFM with just 24.4dBA of noise.
I really liked the be quiet! logo placed at the front of the cooler since it's not the usual engraved one.
The heatsink has a total of 53 aluminum fins each spaced at around 0.2mm from the next.
A total of 4 all-copper nickel plated 8mm heatpipes move from the base and into the entire heatsink (i was however expecting more).
The nickel plated base is somewhat polished but not nearly enough for it to get a mirror like finish.
I always take things quite seriously when it comes to work so just like with the previous LGA1366 database we will not be testing each CPU Cooler on its own and with different ambient temperature levels so we can actually have yet another valid CPU Cooler database. Testing a CPU Cooler automatically means that you need to know where it stands against the immediate competition and to accomplish that we have spent both money and time through the years, something that i plan to continue to do so in order to get the most accurate results for the end users who read these lines. Every CPU cooler in this database will be tested with its bundled 140mm/120mm/92mm/80mm fans while working at 100% of their speeds for all the temperature tests. CPU Coolers that do not come bundled with a fan/s are measured using a Noctua fan (size dependent on the model) to test for the temperature tests but due to the lack of a stock fan we will not be measuring their dBA levels. For the dBA test every cooler in the database was measured both while on idle mode or with the fan controller in the minimum setting and while on extreme load or with the fan controller all the way to the highest possible setting. PWM fans do that or their own without our intervention. Every single test takes place in a temperature controlled room of 23 degrees Celsius Ambient Temp with the help of two AC units placed diagonally inside the room. The Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste is used with every CPU Cooler in our latest LGA2011 database (although initially this was not the plan we had to change things to get the most accurate results). Finally it's very important to point out that just because a CPU Cooler is better than another when tested with our test rig CPU, the Intel Core i7-3930k that does not necessarily mean that the same performance differences will apply 100% for other CPU models and in other situations (such as different ambient temps and system configurations).
To successfully record the load temperatures we use the latest OCCT application for around 60 minutes to push the processor to its limits and after that is done and the temperatures are recorded we wait for about 10-20 minutes for the CPU to cool down and record the idle temperatures. This is done to allow time for the thermal conductive material to achieve the optimal performance level. Same procedure is then repeated with the Passmark BurnIn Test as a failsafe just in case the OCCT results are wrong. This procedure takes a lot more time than the usual peltier/thermometer tests but this way not only can we deliver real world results to our readers based on real CPUs but we can also triple check the results using a variety of programs. Last but not least the temperatures were recorded using both the latest versions of AIDA64 and RealTemp while the noise level tests are performed using a high precision ExTech HD600 Decibel Meter placed about 10-15cm above the CPU Cooler. Still although the same testing procedure applies to all units do take into consideration that unlike the official numbers which are measured in special noise isolated labs with just the fans here we also have both the rest of the cooler and the rest of the system (although all system fans are turned off when recording noise levels).
At first the Shadow Rock TopFlow SR1 CPU Cooler may not seem to do extremely well in our thermal tests but after taking a look at the competition and our noise level chart it's quite obvious that it actually did remarkably well for a low-profile CPU Cooler. On one hand the CPU Coolers in our LGA2011 database (i7-3930k Rev.2) are mostly U-type (tower) ones designed for very good cooling efficiency (not size-restricted) and ontop of that some are even massive high-end models used primarily for overclocking. On the other hand when it comes to noise levels the Shadow Rock TopFlow SR1 proved to be the quietest one in our database even compared to a lot smaller low-profile CPU coolers. Finally take into account that our Intel Core i7-3930k is overclocked to 4GHz and things should be quite clear.
High quality products rarely come cheap and so the be quiet! Shadow Rock TopFlow SR1 CPU Cooler currently retails for USD59.99 inside the USA (NCIX) and at 42.90Euros inside the EU (Caseking). With the updated price thanks to availability from NCIX the Shadow Rock TopFlow CPU Cooler can compete with similar products and most times even come on top since for that price you are getting one of the top 3 low-profile CPU Coolers we've ever tested and the most quiet one at that. The only drawback is that the Shadow Rock TopFlow SR1 is not very small and so it may not fit in tiny PC cases like for example the Noctua NH-L9 and the Thermalright AXP-100 but we can't have it all. Good performance, low height and almost inaudible are the three features of the Shadow Rock TopFlow SR1 that won it our Golden Award.
- Build Quality
- Good Performance
- Low Noise Levels
- Low Profile
- CPU Compatibility