20 - 02 - 2018
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Be quiet! Shadow Rock TF 2 CPU Cooler Review

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be quiet shadow rock tf 2a

   One of the early "challenges" PC case manufacturers faced when they began the design and manufacture of the very first Micro ATX and Mini ITX cases was the size of the then available CPU air coolers. Sure the air coolers bundled with retail CPUs were small enough to fit inside such cases but people looking to equip their new systems with something less noisy and with higher cooling efficiency numbers had no other options. Top down CPU coolers (C-type) came to the rescue and although at first they couldn't directly compete with tower CPU coolers (U-type) due to their reduced sizes today and after many design and size revisions things have changed and so reduced performance (when compared to tower models) is no longer an issue. Be quiet! has a long history when it comes to top down CPU air coolers and today we're testing the latest Shadow Rock TF 2 model.

   be quiet! is a premium brand of power supplies, PC cases and cooling solutions for desktop PCs. Consistently the leader in the German PC power supply market since 2007*, be quiet! is one of the most successful PSU brands in Europe. This enduring success is largely thanks to the typical German passion for quality and precision. All product conception, design and quality control is performed in Germany. German expertise is evident the moment an idea is born and throughout the entire design and production process. be quiet! never releases a product until it meets the highest expectations. All materials used – from the smallest screws to the metals in the cases – are tested to rigorous standards. That is why be quiet! power supplies, PC cases, CPU coolers and case fans are among the most silent, powerful and reliable on the market. Innovative engineering concepts coupled with an uncompromising choice of premium materials and world-class manufacturing quality make be quiet! second to none when it comes to noise reduction. With over ten years of experience, be quiet! are truly the quietness experts.

   Just like the Shadow Rock TopFlow SR1 before it the Shadow Rock TF 2 (TF probably stands for TopFlow as well) is far from your average top down CPU air cooler not only in terms of performance but also size. To be more precise although the new Shadow Rock TF 2 is just 112mm tall (87mm without the fan) it's also 165mm long, 137mm wide and weighs just over 680g. To provide cooling to all of its 57 aluminum fins (and the mainboard components surrounding its base) be quiet! paired the Shadow Rock TF 2 with a SilentWings 135mm rifle-bearing fan (silence optimized) which can spin up to 1400RPM to produce airflow levels of up to 67.8CFM with 2.1mmH2O of air pressure and up to 24.4dBA of noise. This combination has given the Shadow Rock TF 2 a TDP (thermal design power) of 160W making it ideal for use even with 2011-3 mainboards. The TopFlow SR1 was a very good performer so let’s see what the TF 2 is truly capable of.






















be quiet shadow rock tf 2 1tThe Shadow Rock TF 2 is placed inside a black box that has a large product picture at the front right next to the main product features.



A few words about the product are placed on the left side of the box in 3 languages.



Two product drawings placed at the rear are used to showcase the main product features while right beneath them we see the specifications tables.



Both the base of the Shadow Rock TF 2 and the rest of the bundle are placed inside a large piece of cardboard.



Along with the Shadow Rock TF 2 heatsink and fan you will also get the installation instructions in 6 languages, Allen key, two backplates and all the necessary screws and spacers for installation on Intel LGA 775/1150/1151/1155/1156/1366/2011/2011-3 and AMD AM2/AM2+/AM3/AM3+/AM4/FM1/FM2/FM2+ compatible mainboards.











be quiet shadow rock tf 2 6tJust like it was mentioned earlier the Shadow Rock TF 2 is a large CPU cooler that weighs just over 680g and measures 112mm in height, 165mm in length and 137mm in width.



The front aluminum fin has the company name on it and yes quality as you can easily tell is extremely good.



The Shadow Rock TF 2 also has a secondary heatsink placed right over its base (something which for example the SR1 lacked).



Be quiet! has used one of their 135mm SilentWings fan (1400RPM/67.8CFM/24.4dBA/2.1mmH2O) with the Shadow Rock TF 2.



I was surprised to see that although be quiet! states that the Shadow Rock TF 2 has a total of 57 aluminum fins in reality it has 63 on the main body and 18 on the smaller one beneath it.



Unlike the TopFlow SR1 and its four 8mm thick copper heatpipes the Shadow Rock TF 2 has five 6mm copper ones.



The copper nickel plated base features a thin layer of thermal conductive material which of course we removed for our review.














   We 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 and thus 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 we plan to continue to do so in order to get the most accurate results for the end consumers who read these lines. Every CPU cooler in this database is tested with the bundled 140mm/120mm/92mm/80mm fans while working at both idle speed and 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 dBA level tests are obviously skipped. Single (120/140mm) watercooling solutions are tested with the radiator mounted at the rear of our test rig while dual/triple/quad (240/260/280/360/420/480/560mm) solutions with the radiator mounted at the top. For the dBA tests 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 on 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 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 6-10 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).






















be quiet shadow rock tf 2b   The Shadow Rock TopFlow SR1 might not have been able to outperform all of its competition back when it was released roughly 4 years ago but noone can deny that it offered very good cooling performance for a top down model. The Shadow Rock TF 2 is an obvious upgrade to the SR1 not only because of its secondary heatsink and the higher number of fins but also because of the extra heatpipe (smaller ones but one extra should offer better heat transfer) and the somewhat improved 135mm SilentWings fan (higher airflow numbers). Of course the new Shadow Rock TF 2 still can’t compete with AIO liquid CPU coolers (at least not in terms of raw performance) but it can actually go up against some of the best air coolers available in the market such as the Mugen 5 by Scythe and the Assassin 2 by DeepCool. Performance however is not the only thing good about the Shadow Rock TF 2 since just like the SR1 its noise levels are also very low so chances are you will not hear the 135mm SilentWings fan operate not even at load.

   Since the Shadow Rock TF 2 CPU Cooler was just announced by be quiet! it’s not very widely available so right now you can find it for 55.81Euros inside the EU (Amazon.de) a price tag which is actually set a bit higher compared to the SR1 when it was released. Still you are getting better cooling efficiency from an overall smaller package (alas not that smaller) without having to worry about noise levels and at the end of the day these are the things that really matter which is also why the Shadow Rock TF 2 by be quiet! gets our Platinum Award.



- Excellent Build Quality
- Very Good Performance
- Low Noise Levels
- Low Profile


- Current Availability