be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim 2 Review: Quiet, Affordable Performer

No RGBs. Just quiet cooling that won’t break your build budget.

be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim 2
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

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For our CPU cooling tests, we use the same hardware, overclock and configuration for each test, to minimize environment variables in testing. This allows for all results across all coolers tested on the platform to be viable as side-by-side examination for direct compare/contrast. 

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CPUIntel i9-10850k LGA1200 (Comet Lake), all 10 cores  4.6Ghz @ 1.190v
 (3.60Ghz stock speed, single core boost @ 5.2Ghz)
MotherboardMSI Z490 MEG Godlike (bios vers. 7C70v12)
MemoryCorsair Vengeance LPX, 32GB (4x8GB) DDR4-3000
StorageCorsair MP600 m.2 2280 NVMe, 500GB
GraphicsGigabyte GTX 1050Ti
Power Supplybe quiet! Dark Power Pro11 1200w
ChassisCorsair Graphite 760T
MonitoringCrystalFontz CFA-633-TMI-KU, 4x Dallas One Wire WR-DOW-Y17 sensors
Fan ControlCorsair Commander Pro, 100%/50% PWM Speed profiles (liquid cooling pump always @100%, if applicable)
OSWindows 10 Pro 64bit
NetworkingDisconnected, not used
Thermal CompoundArctic MX-4

Comparisons are based on data collected from testing performed on our Intel i9-10850K system, including re-visiting many previously covered products which were originally covered on the prior testing platform which pivoted around an i7-5930k (4.20ghz @1.20v).  

All data reported for this article has been collected on the current Intel i9-10850k platform and will be maintained as like-for-like evaluation of ongoing cooling coverage.  We’ve recently swapped the taller, Corsair Dominator RGB DIMMs with Corsair Vengeance LPX for lower-profile memory, allowing for higher cooler compatibility for testing.

Prime95 v29.4b8 (no AVX) is used for two-hour intervals, one managing fans at 50% PWM and the other at 100% PWM with RPM measurements being taken every 3 seconds and averaged across the duration of each 2-hour capture.  Omitting AVX instruction sets allows for accurate, 100% loads at chosen clock speeds, while allowing AVX instructions would provide higher, albeit, unrealistic synthetic CPU loads and excessive heat production, less indicative of real-world use.  

This also allows for a greater range CPU coolers to be tested and compared without the need to configure the system differently for smaller coolers which may not handle the excessive thermal loads being generated during testing, while larger coolers might be better equipped to manage heat output produced by the i9-10850k.  

While the test platform is quite capable of a 10-core overclock at 5.0Ghz and 1.265v, we were seeing 360mm AIOs struggle to keep core temperatures in check at lower fan speeds, providing insight that the enthusiast-grade i9’s need excellent cooling if the goal is overclocking.

HWInfo64 is used for real-time core temperature readout, thermal throttling alerts, motherboard power consumption, CPU speed and logging of data, while a CrystalFontz CFA-633-TMI-KU is used to monitor and later average both ambient room (2 probes) and motherboard voltage regulator heatsink (2 probes).

Garrett Carver
CPU Cooling Reviewer

Garrett Carver is a contributor for Tom’s Hardware, primarily covering thermal compound comparisons and CPU cooling reviews; both air and liquid, including multiple variations of each.

  • TheDane
    Why is 'No RGB option' listed under 'Against'? For me it is definitely a 'For'! Please exclude subjective features from 'For'/'Against'...
  • King_V
    Can someone clarify for me what part of the temperature chart means?

    For each cooler, there appear to be four separate temperature listings:

    CPU Core ΔT Max Fans
    CPU Core ΔT 50% Fans
    CPU PWM ΔT Max Fans
    CPU PWM ΔT 50% FansI understand the difference between max vs 50% fans, but what does core vs pwm mean? I thought core would be core temperature, and pwm is how the fan operates, so this has me absolutely confused.
  • PewterScreaminMach
    I agree with no RGB being a pro. I want my computer to be as inconspicuous as possible audibly and visually.

    I also wish this thinner version was available back when I put my build together a few years back. I'm sure it would handle my stock 8700K fine, and the extra space in the case would be a big plus over my Dark Rock Pro 3, which takes up way too much room.
  • Friesiansam
    TheDane said:
    Why is 'No RGB option' listed under 'Against'? For me it is definitely a 'For'! Please exclude subjective features from 'For'/'Against'...
    Absolutely and, one of the reasons I have a be quiet! cooler.
  • maestro0428
    Looks like a decent almost a budget cooler. It's $60 at Newegg and I wouldn't call that budget. The Cooler Master 212 black at $45 is much more what I would consider a budget cooler and although the Be Quiet cooler performs better, I will stick with the 212 for my budget builds as those builds CPUs don't require as much cooling.
  • rubix_1011
    According to be quiet! it was to be released at around $46, so it sounds like there is some markup taking place. My article was based on the information provided to me prior to launch date.

    RGB lighting or lack thereof, is an option and for some is the primary focus of a purchase. I am not saying I agree/disagree, but many like the 'option'. be quiet! and others choose to avoid lighting and focus on aesthetics and performance which is their mainstay.

    In terms of Core and PWM cooling:

    Core is CPU core average - all cores, across all measured testing time as a value of temperature over ambient (core temp reading minus ambient room temp)

    PWM is pulse width modulation and is measured by the cooler's effectiveness to dissipate thermal loads from adjacent motherboard components. In our case, the voltage regulators directly above the CPU socket with a heatsink. Measurements are taken with a direct contact probe on this heatsink to show under CPU loads and with the motherboard supplying power under stress (overclocked) the fan speed of the cooler effectively (or ineffectively) moves air past these components, cooling them.
  • NightHawkRMX
    Looks like its $45 at newegg right now.

    It seems to be a decent alternative to the Arctic Freezer 34 Esports DUO (what a name) for the same cost. The BeQuiet offers a little worse performance while being a lot quieter.

    Though, the Hyper 212 Evo is $25 right now and offers much better value to me. Although it is a bit worse performing and louder, its also just over half the cost.
  • hannibal
    TheDane said:
    Why is 'No RGB option' listed under 'Against'? For me it is definitely a 'For'! Please exclude subjective features from 'For'/'Against'...

    Yeah. It is a big plus sign for me too!
    Maybe they did error and did meant that RPG light is minus feature. Use energy for nothing is really bad feature indeed!
  • NightHawkRMX
    RGB is personal preference. Some may like it, some may not.

    Another personal preference thing is color. I think for $45 some power coating on the heatsink would have been nice, considering much cheaper coolers like the ~$26 Vetroo V5 have all black heatsinks.
  • King_V
    NightHawkRMX said:
    I think for $45 some power coating on the heatsink would have been nice, considering much cheaper coolers like the ~$26 Vetroo V5 have all black heatsinks.

    Out of curiosity, does powdercoating (or any other method of giving a different color to the heatsink) have any adverse effect on cooling capability?