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be quiet! Pure Rock 2 Review: Quiet, Affordable Performance

A new budget cooling king?

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

Our Verdict

Shifting focus from the upper stratosphere of high-end air cooling, be quiet! delivers the Pure Rock 2 as a down-to-Earth, performance-value gem for the budget-conscious masses that's also very quiet.

For

  • Budget price
  • Silent operation
  • Attractive design

Against

  • Thermal performance trails off at low fan speeds

Long revered for its ability to turn out quality cooling products, be quiet! is launching its newest budget-friendly heatpipe cooler today, the Pure Rock 2. Available in silver ($40/£34) and black ($44/£39), the newest member of the be quiet! arsenal makes use of a single 120mm Pure Wings 2 to move air over this very clean-looking midsize tower cooler.

Specifications

Height6.25" / 158.8mm
Width4.75" / 120.1mm
Depth2.5" / 63.5mm (3.5" / 88.9mm w/ fan)
Base Height1.50" / 38.1mm
Assy. Offset0.75" / 19.1mm (centered, w/fan)
Cooling Fans(1) 120 x 25mm
Connectors(1) 4-pin PWM
Weight20.8 oz / 590g
Intel Sockets115x, 2011x*, 2066 (*square ILM mounts only)
AMD SocketsAM3(+), AM4
Warranty3 years
Web Price$40

Features

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The be quiet! Pure Rock 2 hardware list looks rather familiar by providing mounting brackets, backplate and mounting studs supporting Intel and AMD CPUs alike, although mostly focusing on common desktop socket models for each camp. A single fan is included, although an additional pair of wire spring mounting clamps are provided should you wish to add a second fan for a dual-fan, push/pull airflow configuration.

be quiet! covers the Pure Rock 2 with a 3 year warranty.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The base of the Pure Rock 2 features a set of four direct-contact copper heatpipes joined with an aluminum mounting base block. The base shows markings of being milled after final construction and comes blanketed with a generous patch of pre-applied thermal compound. The base block features addition milling of thermal dissipation fins on either side of a cutout central channel, which accepts the torsion retention bar tensioning the cooler to the mounting brackets when installing the cooler.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Milling across the base of the Pure Rock 2 shows incredible uniformity, without convex areas or excessive concavity. A steel straightedge laid across the base of the cooler does not show any visible irregularities across the lateral face of the cooler’s mounting face, which is milled flush with the direct-contact heatpipes.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Uniformity across the base of a cooler means the CPU IHS has the ability to maintain consistent contact with the device designed to dissipate thermal loads. The thermal paste spread of our Arctic MX-4 shows even dispersal and an effective contact patch without excessive pooling or dry spots.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The set of four copper heatpipes extend up the length of the Pure Rock 2 and are capped with a set of polished aluminum caps in a standard, U-shaped design. The cooling fin stack provides a wide airflow channel, with minimal restriction to allow the Pure Wings 2 fan adequate breathing during operation. The sides of the cooling fin stack are left open (rather than closed) to promote lateral venting of airflow through the heatsink rather than maintaining ducted flow through the cooler.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The 120mm Pure Wings 2 fan is managed by a 4pin PWM header and is rated up to 1500 RPM with a life expectancy of 80,000 hours. The fan and cooler are both devoid of dampening materials at the fan mounting points. But as we will see later, this is not an issue.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Installation of the Pure Rock 2 is a straightforward process, requiring minimal effort. The alignment of the central torsion bar to the mounting brackets is engineered in a manner which allows the cooler to sit in the correct orientation and allow the system builder to tension the screws rather easily. Balancing a see-saw has its place on children’s playgrounds, but never when attempting to secure a CPU cooler.

The 120mm Pure Wings 2 fan clips over the side of the Pure Rock 2 cooling fins using dedicated cutouts in the fin stack to lock the spring tabs into place.

  • AlistairAB
    This review is missing something important. The Cooler Master Hyper 212, 212 Black, or 212 Black RGB. You know, the cooler everyone is comparing with this one.
    Reply
  • Darkbreeze
    Nobody is comparing anything to the 212 series coolers anymore, because they are not the go to choice for budget cooling and haven't been for a long time.

    What WOULD be nice to see however is a comparison to the likes of the Deepcool Gammaxx 400, the NEW Gammaxx 400S, any of the various revisions of the Scythe Mugen 5 (rev. B, C) or something like the Thermalright True spirit 140 direct which itself is only about 40 bucks and pretty much flattens any other cooler in that price range. Unfortunately, it's too tall for some cases, so a shorter unit with a 120mm fan becomes a necessity sometimes, but there is almost, almost always a better choice than the 212 EVO. Heck, even some of the little Arctic freezer eSports coolers, like the one in this comparison, are better than that. Most of them are a lot quieter too.
    Reply
  • PapaCrazy
    Damn they're not messing around with that base block. Not sure I've ever seen the technique of encasing the copper and then machining down so the copper is exposed through a faint layer of aluminum. It removes any air gaps without insulating the heat pipe. Plus, BeQuiet puts heatsinks on the base block. It's the combination of small details like this that make a good cooler.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    More downdraft coolers, please. I like to keep my VRM and RAM cooled, as well. I still haven't found direct-touch-heatpipe downdraft cooler.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    PapaCrazy said:
    Damn they're not messing around with that base block. Not sure I've ever seen the technique of encasing the copper and then machining down so the copper is exposed through a faint layer of aluminum. It removes any air gaps without insulating the heat pipe.
    I like the airgaps normally left by direct-touch heatpipes. It gives excess TIM somewhere to go. I've even contemplated filing channels in the bases of my other heatsinks.
    Reply
  • Mr5oh
    Darkbreeze said:
    Nobody is comparing anything to the 212 series coolers anymore, because they are not the go to choice for budget cooling and haven't been for a long time.

    What WOULD be nice to see however is a comparison to the likes of the Deepcool Gammaxx 400, the NEW Gammaxx 400S, any of the various revisions of the Scythe Mugen 5 (rev. B, C) or something like the Thermalright True spirit 140 direct which itself is only about 40 bucks and pretty much flattens any other cooler in that price range. Unfortunately, it's too tall for some cases, so a shorter unit with a 120mm fan becomes a necessity sometimes, but there is almost, almost always a better choice than the 212 EVO. Heck, even some of the little Arctic freezer eSports coolers, like the one in this comparison, are better than that. Most of them are a lot quieter too.

    Lots of people say that, but like it or not the 212 is still a very popular cooler stocked on store shelves everywhere. The 212 is still an easily obtainable cooler for almost every one. Several of the ones you listed most be ordered, for some they are not even available for order. My local MicroCenter finally starting carrying Noctua, they've always had the 212.

    Its hard to judge performance without a a baseline and benchmarks. Its ok not to be as detailed as GamersNexus's charts, but comparing it to another cooler or two would be nice.
    Reply
  • HideOut
    AlistairAB said:
    This review is missing something important. The Cooler Master Hyper 212, 212 Black, or 212 Black RGB. You know, the cooler everyone is comparing with this one.
    Thats EXACTLY what I was thinking. Its the most popular family by far of air systems. SHould be on the compairson.
    Reply
  • 2Be_or_Not2Be
    Speaking of "be quiet!" in regards to noise vs performance, I really would have liked to see a comparison against a Noctua solution, since Noctua is really a (if not, "the") leader in silent performance for air coolers (w/caveat of higher price, I know).

    Even the same cooler paired with a Noctua fan instead of their Pure Wings fan would have been nice to see.
    Reply
  • dennphill
    Boy! Sure looks very nice in that gold color in the top of the review! Very attreactive. But looking at other pictures it looks like it's really just silver or alu or dark gray. That's what marketing will get you.
    Reply
  • sadsteve
    dennphill said:
    Boy! Sure looks very nice in that gold color in the top of the review! Very attreactive. But looking at other pictures it looks like it's really just silver or alu or dark gray. That's what marketing will get you.

    Maybe they didn't adjust for the light source properly.
    Reply