Last time we reviewed a CPU cooler, it was the Noctua NH-U14S, a monster 140mm single tower heatsink that ended up being the best air cooler we even tested (and outperformed all our 140mm closed loop liquid coolers on top of that).
It had amazing performance in dual-fan mode, bringing our Core i7 4770K to 4.8 GHz in our Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H review. In single fan mode, it was quiet and cooled well enough to run decent overclocks in a large enough case.
However if all you want is silent operation with a moderate overclock, you might not need a huge $80 cooler. Maybe you have a case that is not very wide, where a tall heatsink can cause problems. In that case, something like the be quiet! Shadow Rock TOPFLOW may be more to your liking.
The Shadow Rock TOPFLOW takes a single 135x135mm tower, and rotates it 90 degrees using four copper heatpipes. This results in a cooler that has a lot of surface area, but is only 126mm tall after a fan is installed. While not as low profile as the Noctua NH-L12 (93mm), it’s still much lower than most with radiators this big.
Unfortunately, be quiet! seem to have an issue in making their CPU coolers available in North America. The Dark Rock Pro 2 we reviewed and liked was only available in a few stores, and even then it was more expensive than it was in Europe. I can’t find the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW listed in any of the main North American stores, but it is available in Europe for around 40 EUR, or $55 USD.
Still, I know we have a lot of readers all over the world. So this review is for anyone who is able to consider the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW.
Shadow Rock TOPFLOW Specs
We won’t waste a page reposting specs, but we’ll point out some of the more important ones compared against to some of its main competition. For full specs, check out be quiet!’s product page for the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW.
|be quiet! Shadow Rock |
|be quiet! |
Dark Rock Pro 2
|Dimensions WITH Fans (mm)|
Without mounting kit LxWxH
|171 x 137 x 126||147 x 138 x 166||158 x 140 x 160||78 x 150 x 165|
|Included Fans (Supported)||1 x 135mm (1)||1x 135mm & 1x 120mm (2)||1x 140mm & 1x 120mm (3)||1 x150mm (2)|
|Weight with fan (g)||650 (single fan)||1250 (dual fan)||1070 (single fan)|
1240 (dual fan)
|935 (single fan)|
|Max Rated Noise in dB(A)||24.4 (single fan)||26.4 (dual fan)||19.8 (single fan)|
19.6 (dual fan)
|24.6 (single fan)|
|Price Range on PCpartPicker||None - $50 MSRP|
€40 in Austria with VAT, equivalent to $55 USD
|None - $90 MSRP|
€70 in Austria with VAT, equivalent to $95 USD
As you can see, it is easily the shortest heatsink of the bunch, allowing it to be installed in narrower cases, or those with a fan installed in the side of the chassis opposite to the motherboard. This is a great place to put a fan, as it cools the video card directly. Unfortunately a lot of taller heatsinks prevent this from being utilized, which is why the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW is a good design.
It is very wide horizontally though, so you will have to be wary of that. On certain motherboard and chassis combinations, you may have issues where the heatpipes hang over the edge of the board, getting in the way of the chassis. You will need to be sure you have the room to install it. The length of the heatpipes keeps the main radiator away from things like memory modules and VRM heatsinks though.
On the next page, we’ll go through the installation procedure (with video!) and take a closer look at the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW.