Chad's CPU Cooler Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus VIII HERO (Intel Z170) - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- CPU: Intel Core i7 6700K - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Memory: Patriot Viper 4 3000MHz 4X4GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Graphics Card: MSI GeForce GTX 1060 6GB OC - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage: Corsair Neutron XTi 480GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: INWIN D-Frame - Read our review
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower DPS 1050W - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
- Software: RealTemp 3.70, AIDA64 Engineer 5.75.3900, and CPU-z 1.77.0 x64
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 (October 2016) for more information.
The chart makes the Dark Rock Pro 4 look like an average contender, but the reality is that the 56.75-degree result of the stock thermal testing is only 5.25-degrees out of the lead. Over forty-degrees from throttling leaves a lot of headroom for overclocking or higher TDP CPUs than ours.
Applying the overclock and testing with PWM still enabled sheds a similar light with we saw in the first test. While again not topping our chart, we are only 7.75-degrees out of the lead. The 73.75-degrees does seem high at first glance in the chart, but with the lack of noise coming from the cooler to accomplish this, the results are reasonably good.
As with many coolers on the market with PWM control, the manufacturers tune the curve closest to the maximum as possible. With only a 2.25-degree advantage, it is likely not worth the effort and audible noise from the fans to run it like this, especially if looking to build a nearly inaudible system.
Noise Level Results
While using the Y-Splitter cable, the RPMs reported are for the 120mm Silent Wings 3 fan. In our stock-clocked run, watching AIDA64, the PWM curve tops out the fan at 761 RPM. The 140mm fan is slower and more silent in operation, but we have no issue at all with the 25 dB reading we got in this round of testing.
Applying the overclock with PWM control of the fans, speed increased a bunch to 1164 RPM maximum for that round. What is terrific about the Dark Rock Pro 4, is that with a 500RPM increase, the noise level only increased to 28 dB.
It takes using all of that 12V potential to get the Silent Wings 3 fans into the audible range for most users. With speed reported at 1500 RPM, which is exactly what the specification show we should top out at, the noise is still only 33 dB. While slightly audible, a case side panel will dull it, and there are only three coolers in the chart with a lower rating.
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