be quiet! Dark Rock Pro TR4 promises stealthy Threadripper air cooling

AMD's own in-the-box heatsink bracket for Threadripper CPUs might encourage builders with those chips to go with a liquid cooler, but a growing number of air-cooled options for those chips means that the liquid-cooler mounting ring can stay in the box. be quiet!'s Dark Rock Pro TR4 appears set to give Threadripper builders another massive and classy air-cooling option for their Socket TR4 chips.

The Dark Rock Pro TR4 joins two towers of fins together using seven heat pipes running through a full-coverage base plate. Between those fin stacks, the company inserts one of its Silent Wings 3 135-mm fans, augmented by another 120-mm spinner on the outside of the tower. With maximum rotational speeds of 1200 RPM for the internal fan and 1500 RPM for the outer spinner, this cooler seems poised to live up to its maker's name.

To ease installation, be quiet! says the Dark Rock Pro TR4 has cut-outs in its fin stacks to accommodate memory modules, and it further says that the installation of the cooler's mounting system can be accomplished from the top down using the included screwdriver. As with many of its other coolers, the company conceals the Dark Rock Pro TR4's naughty bits using a brushed-aluminum top cover with matching caps for the ends of the tower's heat pipes. be quiet! says the Dark Rock Pro TR4 is available now for $89.90.

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    • Anonymous Coward
    • 1 year ago

    I wonder what the market split is between water cooling and air cooling for Threadripper. Apparently there is a significant number of people who venture to 180W+ on air. (I would do the same if I had some use for such a chip at home.)

    • Chrispy_
    • 1 year ago

    Hmm, Threadrippers need full-coverage cooling, that was something AMD were explicit about when the socket was introduced. It looks to me here that Be Quiet! have failed to provide any heatpipes to at least half an inch at either end.

    I’m sure it’ll work, but it’s definitely not covering all of the dice with heatpipe and therefore relying on passive heat transfer via the IHS and heatplate. At $89 it’s also $10 more expensive than the proven and effective Noctua NH-U14S-TR4 which [b<]*does*[/b<] conform to AMD's recommendations and provide full coverage. I'd wait for reviews but it sure seems dumb to charge $10 more for something and fail to match even the manufacturers recommendations, let alone your cheaper competition.

      • seeker010
      • 1 year ago

      yeah sometimes you roll and it comes up snake eyes.

      but I would prefer coolers that cover all the dies, regardless of the size of those dies, otherwise I could watch the dies die.

      • rnalsation
      • 1 year ago

      I was going to say something about the half an inch claim. According to the measurements of the base of the Dark Rock Pro 4 (45mm) vs the Dark Rock Pro TR4 (68mm) coolers you are just about spot on.
      The heatpipes should cover at least most of the die area with the cold plate making up the rest of the IHS. I would be interested to see actual performance numbers before passing judgement on the cooler.

      That $10 “premium” does cover: a second fan, a black color scheme (fans included), and heatpipe cover top plate.

        • Chrispy_
        • 1 year ago

        An effectively cooled baseplate does matter immensely with Threadripper though. The Noctua is easily 10C cooler than highly-rated 240 and 280mm AIOs if they are not specifically designed to optimise cooling directly over the die area of each Zen die.

        I’ll reserve judgement until some reviews of this come out, but other manufacturers have already made this same mistake and had to revise their coolers accordingly. Coming late to market there’s no excuse for Be Quiet to seemingly make exactly the same mistake as the early adopters did last year.

      • dragontamer5788
      • 1 year ago

      For people who aren’t aware of this issue, look up the the EKWB coldplate issue, which reduced the efficacy of EKWB Threadripper plates for months (until [url=https://www.ekwb.com/news/an-apology-from-ek-to-the-enthusiasts/<]EKWB pulled the product and revamped it[/url<], fixing the "incomplete heatfin" issue). The coldplate is of the correct size: the problem is that the fins [b<]inside[/b<] of the coldplate were smaller and didn't cover the whole chip (very similar to the heatpipe issue Chrispy_ is bringing up). There are various reviews online talking about the problem on the older design.

        • Voldenuit
        • 1 year ago

        Looking at the images, I’m surprised the original EKWB coldplate design ever worked at all, let alone on Threadripper chips.

        If you look at the original design, it had massive open channels surrounding a raised high resistance area of densely packed fins. I wouldn’t be surprised if the vast majority of the working fluid simply bypassed the fins and flowed down the open channels, creating a short-circuit in the water flow.

        The new design uses recessed fins instead of raised, and that alone probably contributed much more to efficient fluid flow than widening the fin area to accommodate Threadripper.

          • dragontamer5788
          • 1 year ago

          I don’t own the device, so I’m not exactly sure how it works.

          But it seems like if the inflow-pipe fed the [b<]center[/b<] of the fin structure, then the liquid would flow over the fins correctly. While the outflow-pipe can be placed in any corner. IE: Water starts at the middle of the fin structure, and the pressure "shoots it out" in all directions. At least in design #1. ------------ Design #2 clearly has a more typical top-to-bottom flow model that would more evenly distribute the water. An overall better design. But I don't see any reason why design #1 wouldn't work, as long as the inflow pipe were placed on the center of the fins and distributed over that raised area.

            • Waco
            • 1 year ago

            They’re both impingement designs with water being injected at the center of the fins and flowing outward AFAIK.

      • Waco
      • 1 year ago

      I hear you (and agree) but the crappy cheap ARCTIC Freezer 33 TR that I have on my 1950X keeps it surprisingly cool even with a pair of quiet fans on it. It’s about half as wide on the base as the TR heatspreader. It was $30, so it’s less than half the cost of slightly better coolers. If you aren’t overclocking it seems like a non-issue.

        • Chrispy_
        • 1 year ago

        The Freezer 33 TR looks fine because the heatpipes are arranged long and thin, just like Threadripper’s dice:
        [url=https://www.extremetech.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Der8auer-CPU.jpg<]Dice[/url<] [url=https://img.purch.com/arcticfreezer33-tr-cpu-cooler-review/o/aHR0cDovL21lZGlhLmJlc3RvZm1pY3JvLmNvbS9HL0wvNzUwOTgxL29yaWdpbmFsL0FyY3RpY0ZyZWV6ZXJfMzNfVFJfaGVhdFBpcGVzLmpwZw==<]Freezer 33 TR heatpipes[/url<]

          • Waco
          • 1 year ago

          Oh, good catch. 😛

    • derFunkenstein
    • 1 year ago

    Pricey, but not as pricey as bigger closed-loop coolers. The sheer amount of air moved and fin surface area probably mean that it’ll probably cool about as well as (maybe even better than!) those things

      • Voldenuit
      • 1 year ago

      Iunno, I bought my 240mm Corsair H100i CLC for about $80, and it’s cooling my (delidded) 8700K with MCE on to 67C w 12T load @~1000-1100 rpm fanspeed with the ‘Quiet’ Profile.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 1 year ago

        I’ve just never had good luck with CLCs and temps. The ones I’ve used (all Corsair) have had a “hum” when the pump is running, and vibrate the top of my desk, even though my case (Define R5) has padded feet.

          • Voldenuit
          • 1 year ago

          My H100i is running pretty quiet for now, at the lower pump RPM of 1900 (high setting is ~2800 rpm iirc).

          I did have a problem with a Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240mm that started to sound like a rusty fridge after two years, although even in that state, it was able to cool the same 8700K to 58C @ 12T (albeit with MCE turned ‘Off’). Sounds like I have air bubbles trapped in the system, one day I might disassemble and flush it, although can’t be bothered right now.

          PS Not sure which Corsair pumps you had, but from the research I’ve done in forums, the ‘i’ series likes to be fed a constant 12V (no voltage regulation, no PWM). The microcontroller inside the pump automatically regulates the pump and fan speeds, and feeding it less than 12V can cause it to run out of spec and possibly damage it.

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