Immediately we can see that the be quiet! Dark Rock TF 2 is in good company, aligning nicely with some of the best premium air coolers we’ve covered. But while it does a respectable job, it still cannot reach the level of potential exhibited by the Noctua NH-D15, Deep Cool Assassin III or the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4.
Making use of a pair of 135mm fans, the be quiet! Dark Rock TF 2 boasts neither the fastest nor slowest fans of our testing group as many utilize smaller 120mm blades or larger, 140mm fans.
Fan speed can be a good indication of noise levels, but this isn’t necessarily true in all scenarios. Regardless, our noise level chart is absolutely impressive, as all compared coolers post sub-30 decibel noise readings under all circumstances. Silence truly is golden.
In our acoustic efficiency chart, both the be quiet! Dark Rock TF 2 and Noctua NH-D15 see large bias, but for different reasons. The Dark Rock TF 2 sees very low noise levels and good cooling capacity, while the NH-D15 posts the best air cooling results we’ve seen and also is nearly silent.
Our performance value chart brings price into the equation, and we begin to see how the balance of lower-priced coolers prove their practicality by sticking close to the pack in performance, while remaining quiet during operation. Priced on release at around $86, the be quiet! Dark Rock TF 2 might be at the upper limits of some budgets, but there are more-expensive air coolers out there.
Thermal images from our FLIR ONE Pro shows a marked difference at both 100% and 50% fan speeds, although each shows consistent heat loads across the entire cooler. We can also see that the heat bloom is slightly cooler at 100% around the perimeter of the cooler and around the motherboard and roof of the case due to the additional volume of air being moved by the pair of 135mm Silent Wings fans.
The be quiet! Dark Rock TF 2 lives in a complex habitat in terms of price and performance. Unless you’re buying it specifically for its low profile, it directly competes against other be quiet! offerings, which also have their own distinct advantages. If you don’t need a compact, downdraft design, there are alternatives in both the price and performance range the Dark Rock TF 2 occupies.
The $86 Dark Rock TF 2 is nearly as pricey as some of the largest and most powerful heatpipe air coolers on the market, depending on sales and general availability. One of these the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4, which surpasses the Dark Rock TF 2 in performance at the same price point. Another comparison exists with both the be quiet! Shadow Rock 3 and Shadow Rock Slim 2, as both perform within ~2C of the Dark Rock TF 2, while costing not much more than half the TF 2’s price.
However, the Dark Rock TF 2 has a more focused purpose, as a cooler in PC builds which require a lower profile premium air solution where other options are too tall or too large, such as in low-noise media HTPCs, recording studio workstations or powerhouse small-form-factor systems. This specific niche may not be huge, but with so many other capable coolers in the Dark Rock family already, it’s obviously one that be quiet! is happy to occupy.