Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
When it comes time to look for a new CPU cooler and venture over to Be Quiet to look at what they offer, you will find they delivered their offerings in three tiers. At the top end is the Dark Rock series of coolers, which carry the "high-end" moniker with it. Second, in line are the Shadow Rock coolers, and are called "premium" solutions. The last group is the entry-level CPU coolers of the Pure Rock series, and are known as "essential" products. Of those, it is the latter that brings us together today.
It has been over five years since we had our hands on the original cooler to sport this name, and after a quick refresh of old images, we can see there are many changes afoot in the newer version! The fin design has been changed, and in this second iteration, more fins have been added to the stack, yet the cooler is the same, dimensionally, as its predecessor. The first version offered a solid base that had been plated, which is now an HDT design. The hardware has gotten an upgrade, an offset is added for RAM clearance, and the TDP rating has been upgraded to 150W this time. All of these changes may seem superficial at a glance, but in the grand scheme of what it takes to improve upon an already existing design, these are the sort of things you look to a manufacturer to address.
The Be Quiet Pure Rock 2 is the cooler we have in our hands, and while it took a pretty wild ride to get to us, we feel it may be a low-noise solution with an affordable price point that everyone can appreciate. However, being accessible and keeping quiet are only two parts of a larger equation, and it is our job now to sort out if Be Quiet has a reliable solution for those looking to upgrade or update a CPU air cooler. From what we can see comparing the Pure Rock to the Pure Rock 2, the second iteration has a much better chance of taming today's CPUs than what the market was used to when the original came to be.
In the chart we borrowed from the Be Quiet Pure Rock 2 product page, the top section starts with the overall dimensions of 87mm of thickness, 121mm of width, and 155mm of height. Next, we see that the Pure Rock 2 is 575 grams and sports a 150W TDP. Compatibility is quite good, where AM3(+) and AM4 are supported for AMD users, and 115X, 1200, 2011(-3), and 2066 for Intel users. The cooler ships with a single Pure Wings 2 PWM fan, and is shown to top out at 26.8 dB(A) at full speed.
The heat sink body is slightly smaller without the fan attached, and the fin stack has increased from the previous total of forty-eight to now using fifty-five aluminum fins, not including the brushed aluminum top cover! The base is made of aluminum as the primary base material used to contain and stabilize the four, 6mm diameter, exposed heat pipes that make direct contact with the IHS.
The right half of that same section of the chart covers the fan specifications. We see that it is a 120mm PWM fan, which turns at a maximum speed of 1500 RPM. The blades spin on a rifle bearing, via a 4-pole motor, which runs at 12V. The length of the 4-pin cable is 220mm, and the lifespan is rated for 80,000 hours. To find anything else on the fans, you have to look them up individually, to find that the airflow is rated at 87 CFM, that the pressure is shown to be 1.23 mmH2O, and that the fan rating on the fan page is only 20.2 dB(A)!
The bottom section recaps the supported CPU manufacturers, divulges what languages the manual is written in, and states that the Pure Rock 2 is backed with a three-year warranty.
Shopping for this cooler is relatively easy to do, as it is available where we do most of our shopping for PC related gear. We also like that Be Quiet can deliver the Pure Rock 2 under that magic $50 price point we always refer to. At just $39.90 over at Amazon, things are starting well for this tower cooler, and many of the boxes are being checked before we even open the box!
In typical Be Quiet fashion, our cooler ships in a matte black box with a gray accent line down the left, which hold the term essential, directed at the type of cooler this is. At the top, we find the Be Quiet name, in the middle is an image of the CPU cooler, and at the bottom is the Pure Rock 2 name, along with its tagline.
The next panel to follow starts off with a bit about Be Quiet, what they do, where they do it, and where to get more information. The center section houses a specifications chart, where the bottom is used to display the TDP and the web address.
The back of the packaging offers a pair of images, but the text below covers features like the four heat pipes, the 150W TDP, and the offset nature for RAM clearance, under the left image. The right image is followed by the name of the fan used, its airflow-optimized design, and its long-lasting bearing for silence.
The last remaining panel tells us that this code is to gain more information for this CPU cooler. Turn the camera on with your phone, hover over the code, and click the link it offers.
As we removed all of the goodies from the box, this is the arrangement found inside the box, but we have laid it all on its side, so it stays together. Typically we finish here with how well the cooler arrived, but we have a few bent fins that we fixed this time. Still, more annoying is with the lack of anything to surround the cooler, it scraped its way into the box, leaving dust everywhere, and the cooler moves around so much that the pre-applied thermal paste was ruined as well!
We are unsure how this damage happened, as the box does not look like it took this kind of abuse, and the retail packaging came shipped inside of another box. However, we do see that six of the fins took a bend, but with some needle-nosed pliers, we could rectify this slight damage.
be quiet! Pure Rock 2 CPU Cooler
Starting at the cooler's top, we can see the pipe tip caps above the thicker aluminum cover plate. Below is a stack of fifty-five fins, pressed onto the set of copper heat pipes. The pipes below the cooler are left in their natural state and disappear into the aluminum base.
From the side, we see that the tower is an asymmetrical design, where the tower is offset to the back, to allow the fan to mount to the left side of what we see here, and clear the memory slots. To help keep the fins equidistant, the center section of them is closed off, which adds stability to the design and trapping airflow.
Since the front and back are identical in appearance, we decided a look at the fin shape might be of more interest. Both edges are flat, but once past the fan support area, the fins dip down with a saw-tooth pattern as the curve continues to the valley in the middle. This allows the fan to build a bit more pressure before it forces its airflow through the tower.
Again, if not for the offset angles of the heat pipes, the sides are identical. In the same manner, as we did for the last image, we wanted to change the perspective. In doing so, we can now see the channels cut into the sides, and are what is used for the wire can clips to lock onto the tower.
At the bottom of the tower, we find a pair of dimples that look like old leftovers from an old wire fan clip mounting system, but to dimple it rather than cutting a hole is over the top, and makes us think this is done to disturb the air, almost redirecting it so that the closed sides can capture more airflow. We also see no signs of anything beyond the slip fit, distributing heat from the copper pipes into the aluminum fins.
The top portion of the base is milled from a solid chunk of aluminum, and in the process, we have fins acting as a pre-cooler, but there is a wide groove cut away so that a crossbar can slot into the base, and secure it to the other mounting hardware found in the box.
The cooler ships with thermal paste applied to the base, covered with a plastic "cap." However, the plastic is too thin, and as seen, collapses and touches the thermal paste. Not only that, but the cap also allows debris to fall into the paste, essentially negating the benefit of pre-applying it.
Since we will not be testing the cooler with the supplied paste, we cleaned the paste and debris, revealing the base you see now. The copper heat pipes are tightly captured in the aluminum base, with not even the slightest of gaps to be seen. The base is left with a machined finish and is ever so slightly convex in its shape, but much closer to level that we typically see.
Flipping the Pure Rock 2 over, we can get a close look at the top of the tower. Be Quiet screws a thicker aluminum cover plate onto the top of the fin stack; dressing thigs up with the hairline finish running perpendicular to the painted name, which has a pair of slots on either side of it. To hide the copper pipes, this tower employs machined aluminum caps, adding an extra bit of flair to the aesthetic appeal of the Pure Rock 2.
Accessories and Documentation
Part of what we found in the hardware box is seen here, with the Intel backplate on the left, which uses the four rubber O-rings to hold the four screws to the O-rings' right into the backplate. We then run into the LGA 2011/2066 standoffs, with the universal standoffs to the right of them, and at the far right are the Intel top brackets, which get secured with the four screws at the bottom.
The MAD hardware is slightly different. Using the backplate that came on the motherboard, AM3 users need to install the washer and the plastic standoffs, where AM4 users do not need the washers. At the top and the bottom are the AMD top brackets that use the four long screws to secure them to the default backplate.
Even though the Pure Rock 2 ships with a single fan in the box, they offer four wire fan clips in the box, so that another fan can be added if desired. To the right is the crossbar, which is used to secure the tower to the AMD or Intel hardware we just covered, using the pair of screws at either end of the bar.
This manual breaks the installation into three groups. The first we see is for LGA 2011/2066 systems, where we get four steps to cover the installation. Next is the LGA115x/1200 systems, where we see a similar set of four images. AMD is the last section, which surprise, is done with four pictures. You will need to look closely for brackets' orientation, as the angles used in the images are not the best for guiding a novice cooler installer through without questions.
The Pure Wings 2 fan in the box is a nine-blade design in a thin, open fan frame. It is powered via the 4-pin PWM connection at the top, and the sticker shows this to be the BQ PUW2-12025-MS-PWM for those looking to add a second to match it.
Installation and Finished Product
Since we are using an AMD system to test with, as we mentioned earlier, you will need to leave the motherboards default backplate in place, but the top plastic bits and factory screws need to come out.
We first needed to install the plastic standoffs over the protruding bits of the backplate. Once all four are in place, you set the top bracket onto them, with the bends going away from the CPU, and using the provided screws, secure them into place.
After applying thin stripes of thermal paste to the heat pipes, we set the cooler in place but were sure to align the cross bracket into the base before making contact with the CPU. Once put into place, grab the pair of screws, and alternate the screws until you run out of threads, locking the cooler to the mounting hardware.
When it came to installing the fan, we tried to center it from top to bottom as best we could, while not going higher than the pipe tip covers' height. In doing this, we still found the fan to stand over the RAM we use, but it can be installed much lower if you desire a bit of phase cooling.
The asymmetrical design of this tower makes it so that even when populating all of the RAM slots, the cooler will pose no problems. As we can see, the fan is more than a few millimeters behind the RAM, and even the wire fan clips will stay clear of even the tallest of heat spreaders.
Taking a step back, we can see more of what is going on when it comes to possibly adding a second fan. With clearances to the RAM and all of the motherboard screws, we can still access the 8-pin from the PSU to the motherboard even with the second fan in place.
As if it were to be seen inside your chassis, we have to admit, we enjoy the high contrast of that bright aluminum against the sea of black. Not only does it clear anything around the socket, but we have full access to the top PCI-e slot, and can even still get a finger in there to unlock the GPU.
Test System Setup, Thermal Tests, and Noise Results
Chad's CPU Cooler Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII HERO [Wi-Fi] (AMD X570) - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X - Buy from Amazon
- Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 4000MHz 4X8GB
- Graphics Card: ASUS GeForce RTX 2060 6GB OC - Buy from Amazon
- Storage: Galax HOF Pro M.2 1TB SSD
- Case: Hydra Bench Standard
- Power Supply: ASUS ROG Thor 850W - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
- Software: AMD Ryzen Master, AIDA64 Engineer 6.25.5400, and CPU-z 1.92.0 x64
To see our testing methodology and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our 2020 CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article for more information.
With the CPU pushing all cores at 3.8 GHz, the average temperature for the testing round was 65-degrees. Spikes to maximum temperatures go only to 67-degrees, but placing so closely to the AMD Wraith Prism is a fair bit less than we expected from the Pure Rock 2.
With all of the cores now running at 4.2 GHz, the average temperature rises to 72.1-degrees, while the maximum temperature seen was 80-degrees in this round. Tying with the Shadow Rock 3 is a bit odd, and being bested by the Freezer 34 does not bode well for Be Quiet either.
Looking to find what, if any efficiency, is left in the tank, we set the fans to full speed and see what the Pure Rock 2 can do on its best day. We found 4.4-degrees left on the table in that quest, without all that much nose to get to 67.7-degrees.
Noise Level Results
At idle, we recorded the fan speed to bottom out around 750 RPM, but when the load is applied for our thermal testing's stock running, we saw that the fans topped out at 990 RPM. We love that even though the thermals were not great, at 24 dB, you will not hear a peep from the Pure Rock 2.
Just breaking into the audible range with the fans now topping out at 1350 RPM, we are very pleased with the 31 dB reading we took in the overclocked testing.
To gain that 4.4-degrees of performance we obtained by having the fan at full speed, it comes at the cost of just 4 DB. With the fan spinning at 1584 RPM, it was only at 35 dB!
There is quite a bit to like about the newly released Pure Rock 2. While we are pleased with the aesthetics, we appreciate all of the changes made visually, with the new fin design, the new cover plate at the top, and everyone should be building asymmetrical towers if they plan to sell in today's market. Adding more fins to the stack to increase efficiency within the same dimensions as the original is a tough ask, but it appears that Be Quiet pulled it off.
Considering the company's name, it only makes sense that the cooler be near-silent, and in all testing, we found the noise levels to be not only acceptable but impressive at the same time! The updated hardware is a terrific change, and the installation process should be smooth sailing for anyone who has installed an aftermarket cooler before.
Even though we liked much of what the Pure Rock 2 delivers, there are a few points we need to touch on again. First, the packaging needs more foam, as the amount of dust that the cooler drags off of the cardboard is intense, and too much to ask a customer to have to clean a product before they can use it. Second is the fact that our tower took on damage, which again, we feel more foam would have thwarted that damage. The performance is not that impressive.
Noise levels are terrific, but it is tough to ask someone to spend more to get similar thermal results to their stock solution, just with less noise. Last, and likely more important to customers, as many buying a cooler with paste applied won't think they need a tube to fix the mess, the thin plastic cover left of the pre-applied paste. Normally, if it were just one of these issues, we might grade on a curve, but with this many small issues compounding along the way, there is no way to gloss over issues like these.
We feel that there are things that will attract users to a cooler such as the Pure Rock 2. Silence in operation is the biggest factor, but it does offer a good amount of visual appeal. At $39.90, you feel like you are getting a great deal on a cooler from a manufacturer that makes some top-tier solutions. However, in this instance, we feel like you get what you paid for, and even think we may be getting overcharged a bit.
If this were a $25 to $30 solution, we would not expect as much from it, but with the name behind it, we feel that Be Quiet could have done better in many aspects with the Pure Rock 2.
The Bottom Line
The Pure Rock 2 is silent and appealing visually, but the thermal results and various other minor issues has us continuing to look for the perfect solution to CPU air cooling under $50!