be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 CPU Cooler Review

We’re all aware of the fact that properly cooling your processor is important. The CPU handles millions of instructions per second. That’s already a lot of work it’s putting on. On top of that, if you are someone who is a hardware enthusiast, then you are likely pushing that processor to its limit. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that. Obviously, you want to get the most out of what you paid for.

PRODUCT INFO
Dark Rock Pro 4
Manufacturebe quiet!
Available atView at Amazon

While that makes sense, you can’t truly achieve maximum performance without adequate cooling. That’s where high-end air coolers come in. Now we’re all familiar with the big names. A few worth mentioning are Noctua, Cryorig and of course, be quiet! We’re talking about the last one today. In this review, we’re looking at a cooler that quickly got rave reviews and critical acclaim. We’re talking about the Dark Rock Pro 4.

So, be quiet! made quite a name for themselves when they first burst onto the realm of CPU coolers. Much of that popularity lies in the name itself. Recently, their coolers have gained popularity for their sleek aesthetic, incredible performance, and unobtrusive acoustic performance. The Dark Rock Pro 4 checks all of those boxes and more.

With all of that said, if you’re looking for a premium cooler, we recommend reading this in-depth review to the end. Let us get to it.

Unboxing Experience

be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 arrives in the excellent packaging we all know and love. As usual, the company pushes the dark theme quite heavily. Even the box is attractive, the sort you can put on your desk or on a shelf. On the front, we have a profile shot of the cooler itself. This pairs nicely with the branding and short description.

One of the sides tells us about the excellent performance and features of this cooler. The other one lists all of the specifications. Finally, around back, we have a breakdown of all of the specs in detail. Inside, we have a cardboard box that contains the accessories. The cooler itself sits snugly between the cardboard and styrofoam.

Other than that, there is not much to it. The front fan is already attached, but the other one sits inside a cardboard sleeve. This sleeve is cleverly placed between the stack of fans. You’ll notice that these fans are different in size. We’ll get to that later. We’re not done here, as this box contains a lot of accessories.

These accessories range from mounting hardware to a magnetic screwdriver. Of course, we have a thermal compound, brackets, a PWM splitter, and installation manuals. The addition of a sturdy Phillips screwdriver is a good one. It’s also good to see that they contain installation manuals in six different languages. Not a bad touch at all.

Box Contents

The accessories box for the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 includes the following:

  • Magnetic screwdriver
  • Two-way PWM splitter
  • Mounting hardware for Intel
  • Mounting hardware for AMD
  • Thermal Compound
  • 2x Silent Wings 3 Fans
  • Fan Clips
  • Installation Manuals
  • Design and Closer Look

Design

The predecessor to the Dark Rock Pro 4 was quite a beefy cooler. Not much has changed here since the previous Dark Rock Pro 3. Except, of course, the performance. The Dark Rock Pro 4 falls right in line with the company’s design aesthetic. This entire sleek black look is quite popular among many enthusiasts. The flagship Dark Rock Pro 4 is the ultimate version of that, as it is quite a good-looking product.

Straight from the get-go, this cooler means business. Everything from the design to the performance reflects that this is a no-nonsense cooler. If you were to describe it in three words they would be heavy, performance, and powerful.

The cooler has seven copper heat pipes that are attached to the base itself. These fins protrude from the top of the cooler, and the ends are covered with aluminum caps. This gives the entire cooler an industrial look as well.

This is a dual-tower CPU cooler. So, this means that it has two pairs of aluminum-fin towers to disperse the heat. As for the fans, we have two be quiet! Silent Wings 3 fans. One of these fans is 135mm in size, and the other one is 120mm. It’s quite a hefty cooler as well, as it weighs around 2.5 pounds.

The cooler uses its seven copper heat pipes to offload the heat. Separation of these heat pipes and dissipation over a larger area gives better performance. The front 120mm is smaller than the rear one to help with RAM clearance.

On the front, the fan has a funnel-style frame which does a good job of pushing air through. This means that air moves quite effectively between the two fin-stacks.

Moving on, the seven heat pipes connect between the fan straight into the base. The top side of this base is raised and resembles a heatsink itself. Overall, the Dark Rock Pro 4 remains true to the original idea. It’s powerful, cleverly designed, and looks great while cooling your processor.

Fans

The Dark Rock Pro 4 uses the company’s own Silent Wings 3 fans. These are some of the best fans you can buy on the market right now. They are nearly inaudible and perform excellently. These fans feature a six-pole motor, advanced fluid bearing, and airflow-optimized blade design. The balance between performance and noise here is excellent. They also don’t rattle while inside the case, which is always a good thing.

These fans use advanced fluid dynamic bearings that give them a longer overall life. Other than that, the fans use a rubberized frame that prevents vibrations when you are really pushing them. Overall, these are some of the best stock fans you’ll find on any cooler. The front fan is smaller so that RAM clearance won’t be an issue in the near future.

Compatibility

At the end of the day, the Dark Rock Pro 4 is an enthusiast product. It reflects that idea with every facet, and that also includes compatibility. The Dark Rock Pro 4’s mounting system is compatible with Intel’s LGA115x, LGA 1200, LGA 2011, and LGA 2066 sockets. On the AMD side, sockets such as the AM4, AM3(+), AM2(+), and FM2(+) are all compatible.

So, this cooler is compatible with nearly every modern CPU out there. Sure, this doesn’t include AMD’s Threadripper lineup, but that’s not a major issue. People who are running Threadrippers aren’t your average gamers. So, those people most likely have an even stronger cooling setup than the one we have here. That’s not the say that the Dark Rock Pro 4 would not handle Threadripper well, it just doesn’t have the compatibility.

We’re also happy to report that RAM clearance is not an issue here in the slightest. The cooler provides just enough space so that it doesn’t touch the memory module. The front 120mm fan is also a bit higher, which means that installing taller RAM won’t be an issue. Since a lot of RGB memory sticks have tall heatsinks these days, this is a welcome addition.

Installation

Installation for the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 is quite simple at the end of the day. The mounting system is intuitive, even if you are new to the world PC building. The entire process isn’t difficult, whether you are an AMD or Intel user. However, for the sake of simplicity, we’ll go over the process once.

Starting with Intel, you’ll need to attach the backplate included in the box. This backplate attaches to the back of the motherboard. Afterward, install the plastic spacers and Intel mounting hardware on top of this backplate. Once you’re done, apply a dab of thermal paste, line up the cooler, and start attaching the screws.

Note that you’ll need to attach the screws with the middle fan removed. This is so that you can easily access the screws with the provided screwdriver. Once the cooler sits firmly on the mounting hardware, you can attach the fan with the retention clips. Finally, just plug in the PWM connector and we are good to go.

The process is entirely the same for AMD as well. The only difference is that you don’t need to remove the stock AMD backplate. Just remove the retention modules on the front. Install the AMD mounting hardware, and the rest of it is the same process from there. If you still run into any trouble, the box includes an excellent installation guide in the manual as well. They also have easy installation videos on their YouTube channel.

Test System

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WIFI
  • Thermal Paste: Noctua NT-H1
  • RAM: TEAMGROUP T-Force Delta RGB DDR4 16GB (2x8GB) 3200MHz CL16
  • GPU: Gigabyte AMD RX 570 4GB
  • Storage: Kingston A2000 NVMe PCIe SSD 512GB M.2
  • Power Supply: Corsair RM750x
  • Case: NZXT H510i

Testing Methodology

Testing a cooler might seem easier than it actually is these days. However, since Ryzen is gaining popularity these days, it’s only natural for us to go with that. An interesting thing about Ryzen is that overclocking aspect is a bit confusing. You really have to manually fine-tune things to get what you want. Even then, temperatures don’t exactly represent 90% of what people use their PCs for.

So, we want to mimic the way any CPU cooler would be used in the average user’s PC build. We test all of our CPU coolers inside of a PC case with positive airflow. For our load tests, we run Cinebench R20 on a constant loop to put the CPU in full stress thus imitating the real-world workloads of an end-user. We also test our Overclocks’ (if OC’d) stability through Prime95’s extended tests with AVX Enabled for Ryzen CPUs for at least 10 hours and more. Idle test results are taken at least 10 minutes after the system has booted up with a handful of day-to-day programs opened up in the background, again simulating the real-world idle state of a PC.

For noise tests, we place our RISEPRO Decibel Meter very close to the PC case in order to gain accurate idle and load results. In every test, the CPU fan curves are set to default for accurate measurements. Lastly, we test all of our CPU coolers at a controlled ambient room temperature of 26 °C.

Note: Our ambient noise levels (52dBA) were a bit higher than usual due to our testing environment’s ventilation system. Thus making the noise tests of the cooler seem higher than usual.

Thermal Performance

The Dark Rock Pro 4 has been around for quite a while. However, once you finally get the chance to compare it with other coolers side by side that’s where things get interesting. The Dark Rock Pro 4 can hold its own with all of the three coolers we tested. In this test of four coolers, it was also the quietest one.

We’re testing within Cinebench here, and the Ryzen 5 3600 is pushing 4.3 GHz with ease. We left Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO) on. In this scenario, the 3600 can draw up to 70 or 80 watts because the core voltages hover around 1.347v. The Ryzen 5 3600 is a 60W chip according to AMD but due to the way how AMD’s PBO works, the chip was running well above its manufacturer’s limits, things were a bit toasty. Still, the Dark Rock Pro 4 shined through the benchmarks with ease.

Ultimately, the Dark Rock Pro 4 is a strong performer. As you can see, it holds up with the Noctua NHD15, which is no minor feat. Even more impressive is the fact that it competes with both of the AIO liquid coolers as well. The Dark Rock Pro 4 keeps up with both the Pure Loop 240 and Fractal Design S24+ Prisma in the benchmark attached above.

Acoustic Performance

Some would say that the name “be quiet” comes off a bit strong. Well, that’s what the brand is all about. They are confident with their products, and the results reflect that. By far, the Dark Rock Pro is the quietest CPU cooler when put against the latter. This means that not only does it perform well, it does that while staying relatively quiet.

We’re sticking with the default fan curve of the B450 Aorus Pro WIFI as per our testing methodology. Surprisingly, the liquid coolers were a bit audible, even if they were not annoying. Of course, we have to consider the pump noise and the fact that they use 2x120mm fans.

At idle, the noise was around 52dBA which is almost inaudible. For comparison, both of our liquid coolers were noisier, even if by a small bit. However, you can really start to tell the difference when the Ryzen processor is put under load. Even then, the Dark Rock Pro 4 refuses to get near 60dBA. 58.5dBA was the highest that we noticed. So, it is quite safe to say that they achieved what they set out to accomplish here.

Conclusion

Overall, be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 is quite an impressive cooler. It appeals to a wide audience thanks to its matte black design. The entire look of the cooler is sleek and modern, and it can fit into any build with ease. Furthermore, it directly competes with coolers that cost nearly double in price. It’s not just a pretty-looking face either, as it performs admirably well.

You’ll have no problem with running a high-end PC with this thing installed. It’s great for workstations and especially great for overclocking. There’s a reason why the Dark Rock Pro 4 has a legendary status among hardware enthusiasts. Everything from the looks to the performance and even the unboxing experience is top-notch. If we’re really nitpicking, the installation could have been a tad easier.

Apart from that, there are no major flaws with this cooler. If you are looking for a high-end option, this is the one to go for.

be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4

A Silent Killer

  • Impressive industrial design
  • Sleek and minimal black aesthetic
  • High performance fans
  • A tonne of included accessories
  • Significantly silent under load
  • Installation process could be better

9,064 Reviews

TDP: 250 W+ | Heat pipes: 6mm heatpipe x 7 units | Dimensions: 5.7 x 5.35 x 6.40 inch (L x W x H) | Motherboard Compatibility: 2066, 2011(-3), 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1200 FM1, FM2/+, AM2/+, AM3/+, AM4

VERDICT:The Dark Rock Pro 4 is just as good as it looks, if not better. It combines aesthetic value, impeccable build quality, low noise levels, and pure performance in one complete package. It also helps that the cooler looks as good as it does. Recommending the Dark Rock Pro 4 is an easy choice for us.

Moiz Banoori


Reading and Writing Everything identified with the game's industry since 2013. A colossal admirer of Rockstar and CD Projekt Games. I can recall my gaming memories, all the way back to Tetris & Pepsiman. We have come a long way.