Shadow Rock TOPFLOW Installation
We shot some videos of the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW installation, on both Intel and AMD motherboards:
The main issue with installation is that the mounting screws are fastened from the bottom of the motherboard. As you can tell in the video, it is pretty difficult to keep the heatsink in place while maneuvering to fasten the screws on the back. This would be even more difficult if the motherboard was installed in a case. I mentioned this in our review of the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2 as well, although the smaller the heatsink, the less of an issue this is. The Noctua NH-L9i has a similar method, but it’s a tiny ultra low profile cooler, so it’s really easy to do.
Aside from that, installation is pretty good for a cooler that supports so many different CPU sockets. I did have one issue where the foam on the backplate lost its effectiveness in holding the mounting bolts in place, but that may because they were used so much during testing.
Now let’s take a closer look at the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW itself.
First, a look at the mounting supplies included with the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW. The cooler is designed so very few parts are needed, despite supporting all AMD and Intel sockets. This is a good thing, as you have a very versatile cooler without worrying about losing components.
The fan on the Shadow Rock TOPFLOW is be quiet!’s own “Shadow Wings” oversized 135x25mm rifle bearing model – the same one used in a lot of their silent products. It spins up to 1500 RPM at full speed, moving up to 66.8 CFM of air. It is of course a 4-pin PWM fan, which allows the system to ramp speed smoothly. It doesn’t come with a low voltage adapter though, so it will be audible at full speed (although just barely, at 24.4 dbA)
Everything here is rubberized, and installation is secure and snug. Although it uses brackets to mount the fan, there is no need to remove it during installation.
The Shadow Rock TOPFLOW uses four 8mm copper heatpipes, which run through a copper mounting plate. Everything is nickel-coated to increase durability and prevent corrosion. Again, everything here is securely fit, with no gaps or rattling that is easily noticeable. The Shadow Rock TOPFLOW, like all be quiet! products we’ve tested, simply feels like a high quality component.
The mounting plate is machined with a very slight convex curve, which pushes into the heatplate of the CPU. The finish is not a mirror finish, since while that looks pretty, is not the most efficient design for a heatsink surface.
As you can see, the height of the heatpipes keeps the main radiator well out of the way of any VRM heatsinks or memory modules. This is the preferred installation orientation, but in some cases you may have to reverse it, and have the heatsink pointing the other way. That won’t be a problem, even with tall modules, as there is plenty of room to spare.
On the next page, we’ll strap this cooler to our moderately overclocked Core i7 3960X, and compare it to quite a few coolers in its class (and beyond).