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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)

Using data collected from multiple cooling evaluations, we can compare the be quiet! Pure Rock 2 with other coolers of similar size and price. All data capture took place using our i7-5930k running at 4.2Ghz @ 1.20v on a MSI X99S XPower AC motherboard, 16GB of Crucial Ballistix DDR-2400 and housed within a Corsair Graphite 760T chassis. Power comes from a 1200watt be quiet! Dark Power Pro.

Note that while our cooling platform is old at this point, the CPU’s 140W TDP, combined with a healthy overclock, still gives today’s coolers a tough workout. That said, we are planning to update our cooling testbed once Intel’s latest CPUs and accompanying motherboards arrive.

Rounding out the testing quartet are a few other coolers we’ve maintained as high-performing mid-size heatpipe cooling solutions: the Cooler Master MasterAir MA410M TUF, Arctic’s Freezer 34 eSPorts DUO and the be quiet! Shadow Rock 3.

 

Benchmark Results

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

With all four coolers performing within such close proximity, small differences can begin to make a difference in our charts. The Pure Rock 2 runs slightly warmer than other coolers at 50% PWM provides indication of lower overall fan speed of this cooler with the remainder of our comparison group. This is also indicative of the 100% and 50% motherboard PWM temperature comparisons.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The theory on lower fan speed was correct, which is shown in recorded average fan speeds for each cooler at both 100% and 50% PWM. Interestingly, the Pure Rock 2’s 50% fan speed is very close to its sibling the Shadow Rock 3 at 50% fan speed while 50% thermal load values point to more efficient thermal exchange at lower fan speeds for the Shadow Rock 3 over the Pure Rock 2.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Relative noise levels favor the nearly silent be quiet! Models, which seem to be an indication of more than just a company name for both the Pure Rock 2 and Shadow Rock 3. The Arctic Freezer 34 eSports DUO also shows very low decibel levels at all speeds, while the Cooler Master MA410M TUF spikes above 36 dBA at 100% fan utilization.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Acoustic efficiency provides an indication as to how effective a cooler can do work removing thermal load in addition with its ability to do so quietly (or not quietly). Our test group has a very close grouping of 100% thermal load performance, making the Max Fans value favor those with lower measured decibel values.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Performance value continues to favor the Pure Rock 2 with added measurement of unit pricing by evaluating overall group median cost against individual product price. With the be quiet! Pure Rock 2 priced at $40/£34 (that’s the price for the silver model which we tested), it becomes the lowest-cost option of our comparison group by at least 20%. Combining low unit price with competitive performance attributes produces a very strong performance value chart for the Pure Rock 2.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Thermal imaging from our FLIR ONE Pro camera shows a difference in heat bloom in the central fin stack of the Pure Rock 2 at 50% and 100% fan PWM. There are also indications around the 120mm Pure Wings 2 fan near the top of the cooler (heat rises) at 50% PWM to also indicate the decrease in airflow allows some thermal soaking into the cooling fan via natural, upward convection.

Conclusion

Given its track record in the cooling area, it’s really little surprise that be quiet! would release anything but a high-quality, high-performing cooling product, no matter the focus audience or price point. The Pure Rock 2 represents the same passion around thermal design, silent operation and manufacturing / build quality that has made the company a reputable force of the PC industry. As hardware enthusiasts, we’re often faced with some sort of compromise when decisions must be made around the purchase of specific components, although the Pure Rock 2 keeps those to a minimum.

The company’s pedigree, deeply rooted in performance and quality, are alone enough to draw the gaze of the enthusiasts. But be quiet! delivers on that pedigree at such a pleasing price point with the Pure Rock 2, it's an undeniable recommendation for serious system builders on any budget.

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  • 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