Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
While be quiet! is not new to the CPU cooling game, the idea and basis for their latest cooler to hit the labs is. Where most of the be quiet! coolers will offer great thermal results and will do so with very little noise coming from the fans, most of their better coolers cost in excess of $80. While enthusiasts have no issue forking out the higher pricing that some coolers demand, be quiet! was missing out on a huge market segment, the more economically friendly segment for system builders and beginners into mainstream users. With what we have seen in the past, we feel that this should not be much of a challenge for be quiet! to accomplish; the real question is what sort of performance we are going to get.
This is a standard tower design that on paper should be more than capable of handling the demands of most users out there looking for aftermarket CPU coolers. At the same time, the idea was to make the cooler as compact as possible, yet still offer ways to make the airflow more effective with less materials to work with. This design is also fully compatible with all current Intel and AMD sockets, so that anyone from the low-end-user to the people looking for a tower cooler to stay silent in an HTPC, this design covers the gamut of needs in a CPU cooler, and still presents it in a very attractive aesthetic not always seen on lower priced coolers.
We already are well aware of the Dark Rock coolers and the Shadow Rock series, but this is the one and only Pure Rock, the latest addition to the be quiet! cooler lineup. Now there are a couple of minor details about this cooler that in our opinion take away from what we know as a be quiet! cooler in the past, but as you will soon see and likely agree to, for what you have to invest to obtain this level of cooling and silence while doing so, any gripe you may have had is easily wiped away, because the Pure Rock cooler still packs quite the feature set for something priced this low.
be quiet! is always very in depth in the amount of information they provide their potential customers when it comes to the specifications of their products. Case and point, the chart provided for the Pure Rock offers more information than we could show. This aluminum and copper cooler stands 155mm in height, it is only 121mm wide, and is 87.5mm deep with the fan on the tower. While we see the 660 grams of weight listed, we then see a TDP rating of 150W listed, while the box showed us 130W. Next we run into the socket compatibility, and at a quick glance, all relative sockets are covered, even some legacy sockets. For now, skipping over the fan details, we then see the finer details of the towers composition. We find here that the base is CNC machined, and that there are four 6mm diameter heat pipes used in this design.
Back to those fan specifications. Along with the tower is a 120mm silence-optimized fan, and we are immediately given its noise ratings at various speeds, topping out at 26.8 dBA. Jumping back down the chart a bit, we see that this fan has a maximum speed of 1500 RPM delivering 83 CFM through the tower, with 1.25 mmH2O of static pressure to back that flow. This fan is powered via a 4-pin PWM connection, and is also rated to run for 80,000 hours. Oh; if you were wondering, there is a warranty as well that will cover this cooler for the period of three years.
The thing is, that even with a compact design, being cooled with a 120mm fan, and that it is indeed very universal to both the sockets and its usage, the fact that it can be had for less than $35 makes the deal that much sweeter. Of course, you could opt to buy from Amazon.com where the Pure Rock is listed at $53.55, or you can shop around a tad. This lead us to look at Newegg.com, where currently we find the Pure Rock sitting there ready to be nabbed for just $34.90, and it comes to the door free of charge. So right from the word go, we know what the cooler is made to do, we know what it costs, so let's get right to it and see exactly what it is you get for this minimal investment.
The outer packaging is everything we expect to see with a be quiet! cooler. They kept to the black back drop with the grey trim down the side, allowing them to place the image of the cooler right in the middle with the company and product name popping right off the front. This is also where we find the 130W TDP rating first shown.
On this side of the packaging be quiet! offers a section that covers the areas of application this cooler is suited for. From multimedia to heavy graphics designers, all can appreciate what the Pure Rock affords them. Also along the bottom, they have some awards posted that the company has received in the past.
The back offers a bit about be quiet! at the top, and dives right into renderings of the cooler with four key features pointed out. Under the sticker that is strangely present, there is a very good specifications chart for in hand customers to make an educated choice about this cooler.
The last panel continues to repeat the areas of application for the Pure Rock, covering all of their markets. Just like on the front and the opposing panel, we see again the 130W TDP, and we are given the site address to look up more information about this cooler there.
While the outer packaging is what we normally see, the way the cooler is packaged is completely different. With a thin layer of foam at the bottom, and a hard plastic cap to protect the base, it stands inside of the box with only the top folded in bit of cardboard to keep it in place. However simple the idea is, it worked, and allowed our Pure Rock to arrive without a scratch on it.
be quiet! Pure Rock CPU Cooler
Looking right into the face of the Pure Rock, we see the top plate is thicker than the fins, and the fin array has two large gullies cut into them, and a sawtooth pattern applied to the flat edges. The tower, as well as the heat pipes, is left in their natural state, but there has been some sort of coating applied to the copper base.
Viewing the side of the tower, we see quite evenly spaced fins, partly due to the dimples in each fin near the edges, but mainly due to the folded center section that acts as support, but also offers a bit of a place to help capture lost air flow.
In this design, the front and the back of the cooler are identical. Not only does this help to orient the cooler in any manner and have a place to mount the fan, but it also promotes the use of a second fan giving it the same chances the front fan has to benefit this cooler.
As we expected, this side of the cooler has nothing to offer that we did not see in the earlier photo. One thing we will say is that this design feels "older" with the near vertical heat pipes and very structured U-shaped design, with its bits exposed, but all of this does help to reduce manufacturing costs so that the savings can be passed onto the customers.
The really nice thing about this design is that when it comes to extras; be quiet! added it where it was needed most. The brushed aluminum top-fin with its milled grooves and be quiet! taken out of the center between all the aluminum pipe tip covers really does dress us what everyone is going to see.
Before we get a look under the Pure Rock, we wanted to take the time to look at the top of the base. Not only is this slotted and essentially a pre-cooler, but this is also where the cross bar settles into place to lock the cooler onto the motherboard.
Here we can see that all of the fins are pressed onto all four if the heat pipes from the bottom right on through to the top. From this angle, we can also see the pair of grooves cut into both sides to allow for wire fan clips to be used with this cooler, not the holes near the edges.
Using a harder plastic cover on the base worked to keep the pre-applied paste from being disturbed or moved, but it does not guard the paste from debris in the box from landing in the paste and making this smooth application pointless in our case.
Removing the paste, we can now look at the base of the cooler. It is finely milled and those lines are still visible. The center is also higher than the edges, but with the mill being the last to touch the base, there are no odd rounded edges either.
Accessories and Documentation
Part of the hardware kit has us looking at the universal Intel back plate for mounting the cooler a bit later. It is drilled so that it can sit in any orientation, and accounts for LGA775, LGA115X and LGA1366 sockets. We also see that we are given just one pair of fan clips.
This image shows us the wrench offered to help get the cooler mounted, with the thick cross bar behind it. At the back are the pair of Intel top brackets to go to work with the backplate and a few other bits.
Here we see an LGA775 preload spacer, four standoffs, and the pair of AMD locks that go at the end of the cross bar and grab onto the stock socket bracket. Then we find the LGA2011 standoffs, screws for the cross bar, and screws for the top bracket to secure to the standoffs. The last row gives us the studs for the backplate, and rubber washers to isolate the plate as well as locking the studs into it.
With many markets to cover, be quiet! offer multiple instruction sheets. When unfolded, these will walk you through the preparation, through the installation, and with the additional insert covering the warranty terms, if anything does go wrong, everything you need is right here to be had.
With pretty much just a smooth round frame to support this 120mm fan, the multi-grooved blades should help increase the airflow from a flat bladed version, and with nothing around the fan to drag any air, it also helps to reduce noise emitted from it.
Installation and Finished Product
With our system, the first thing we are told to do is to set up the backplate. We used the middle hole for LGA115X, made sure to orient the studs to lock into the cutouts in the plate, and locked them into place with a rubber o-ring.
Once all four of them are done, you can go ahead and drop the backplate onto the back of the motherboard. As you can easily see, orientation of this plate is of no concern, it works all four ways.
To lock the back plate to the motherboard, we installed the standoffs in all four corners. It is then that you set the top brackets to either side of the CPU and screw them down.
After applying thermal paste, we set the cooler on the CPU with the cross bar already positioned correctly across the top of the base. The fan does need to be out of the way, but both sides of the cooler have plenty of access to the screws used to secure the cooler to the motherboard.
The Pure Rock does look a bit thin peeking out behind the memory than many larger coolers do, but being smaller has its advantages when it comes to PCs that you don't want to be housed in a full-tower to display in the living room.
We did move the memory to check, and while the fan does press against the nearest stick, it does allow it to be populated and functional. However, if the spreaders are much taller than this, removing the fan may become complicated as it pushes more against the stick.
Stepping back a bit to appreciate the amount of motherboard that this cooler actually doesn't cover in this instance, it really does lend itself to the use of a second fan, it is just a shame we were not sent a match to see what the results would be in those conditions, nor did we get a second set of clips to mount one.
Once the motherboard is back into a chassis, the odd color of the base, or the exposed nature of the heat pipes becomes more irrelevant as you stare at the brushed aluminum cleanliness that is the Pure Rock cooler from be quiet!.
Test System Setup, Thermal Tests and Noise Results
Test System Setup
To see our testing methodology and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article for that information.
As we allowed the system to idle, we saw a temperature of 27.25 degrees, which is right on the average for most air coolers. When we loaded the system at stock clocks, we found the Pure Rock delivered us a 54 degree result. This is still hugely better than the stock cooler, and for its cost in comparison, the top of the list is only some 10 degrees better for maybe ten times the investment in some cases.
Moving to the overclocked settings, we were now seeing an idle temperature of 29.75 degrees, and as we applied the load, the temperature climbed a bit. This left us with a 75.42 degree average, and while not tremendous against the list of coolers here, for a 130W TDP cooler, it will handle anything that the intended market for this cooler can throw at it.
Noise Level Results
With only 7.5V applied to the fan, we saw a maximum speed at this point of 1150 RPM. At this speed, our meter was reporting a minimal 26 dB of noise from a foot away.
What we like even more, is that even allowing the fan to do its worst when it comes to noise pollution in the room, all this fan could muster was 38dB, and our fan was reportedly running at 1715 RPM; slightly over spec.
be quiet!'s Pure Rock and its naming is very fitting to both what it is, and what it is intended to do. Coming from be quiet!, we knew noise wasn't going to be an issue, and that is indeed what we found. While it may not be the most silent option on the planet, it comes darn close to it. All of the parts and pieces work very well together and affords the Pure Rock a super solid mount with a fair amount of socket pressure too. While at first we were not really digging the exposed copper heat pipes, once the cooler was installed and working, the only thing you see is a thick black band of the fan, and a brushed aluminum top plate dressed up to add flavor to this cooler where it would be seen and appreciated most.
If we were to try to pick apart this design, there are a couple of things we would have addressed differently. First off is the fact that a second pair of fan clips cannot cost that much more not to include them. We realize that plating and anodizing is off the table, but all of us appreciate not having to mod a second fan to a cooler. The only other issue that plays at all with some of the potential users comes to those using four sticks of memory, but only those with taller to extremely tall heat spreaders.
Normal sticks will fit without issue, and ours did as well without much of an angle being forced into the nearest stick, allowing it to stay functional in that slot. While we would have liked to have seen slightly better results, all of what we found will keep your chip within specifications for thermal design, and at the same time, you will very hard pressed to hear this cooler, especially once it is sealed up inside of a chassis.
It is rare recently that we see many coolers that don't cost in excess of $50, so for be quiet! to come from the high-end price range in what we are used to seeing with their coolers, and offering the average Joe a shot at their style and what it is to use a be quiet! CPU cooler, it's quite good. While the black anodized top is missed in the Pure Rock, adding things to a cooler with a name such as this is almost sacrilege, because what they offer is indeed a cooler that represents everything that be quiet! is about in a more plain or pure form than the rest.
The fact that this cooler will only set you back $34.90 if you are willing to shop around for the best deal almost blows our mind at what be quiet! is offering here. While the TDP rating may be in question, if it was capable of taming our test beast, it is more than ready for the more mundane life of media streaming and the like.
|Quality including Design and Build||88%|
|Bundle and Packaging||93%|
|Value for Money||98%|
The Bottom Line: If the thermal results were slightly better, be quiet!'s Pure Rock would have gotten Editor's Choice. Even so, this cooler offers a lot of potential, a lack of noise, and a lack of the amount of cash needed to appreciate the Pure Rock for yourself.
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