Top down coolers are a special breed since they offer two massive advantages over the tower ones, in the form of a more compact footprint and then the active cooling of the surrounding area of your motherboard. be quiet! takes this principle one step further by offering a unique top down cooler, which has a dual heatsink design and a dual 135mm fan setup.

Thus presenting the second itineration of this air cooler, the Dark Rock TF 2. It promises virtually inaudible operation and a cooling capability of handling up to 230W of TDP.


Be Quiet! is a premium brand manufacturer of power supplies and cooling solutions for your desktop PC. With numerous awards under their belt and considered the best German power supply manufacturer from Germany since 2006 – was awarded nine times in a row as “Manufacturer of the Year” in the power supply category by the readers of the well-known German hardware magazine PC Games Hardware. In the category “fans”, be quiet! earned the first rank for five consecutive times and belongs to the Top 3 CPU cooler brands for more than three years in a row. The community of Hardwareluxx also voted be quiet! as “Manufacturer of the Year” in the PSU category for four consecutive years.


Prices and Availability


It replaces the original Dark Rock TF and realistically, its only competition comes from the Noctua C14S but the TF 2 is this only one with this dual heatsink and fan setup at this quality tier level. The Dark Rock TF 2 is available from today at a recommended retail price (MSRP) of $85.90 / €85.90 / £79.99. The Amazon links will be updated shortly.

*09/08/21 Update – Video review is live as well!*


Presentation and Specifications


* Courtesy of their website.

EXTREME COOLING PERFORMANCE – Achieving an incredible performance-to-noise ratio
Thanks to its double-tower layout, this cooler is a true cooling marvel with 230W TDP – just perfect for the extreme conditions found in gaming PCs with overclocked CPUs that require a top flow cooler. Its design provides ideal cooling, not only for the CPU, but also for surrounding components

With a funnel shaped Silent Wings 3 135mm as the upper fan, Dark Rock TF 2 provides highest cooling performance. A second Silent Wings fan takes care of airflow inbetween the two heat sinks. Both fans feature advanced fluid-dynamic bearings, smooth six-pole motors and up to nine airflow-optimized fan blades. The noise is a meager 27.1dB(A) even at 100% PWM fan speed. Anti-vibration rubber inserts on the cooling fins of the heat sink further dampen noise.

HIGH-PERFORMANCE HEAT PIPES – Ensuring perfect heat transfer
Dark Rock TF 2 has six high-performance copper heat pipes. They carry heat to the optimum locations on the cooling fins. The special black coating with ceramic particles enables a perfect transfer of heat.

INGENIOUS AND SPACE-SAVING DESIGN – Powerful cooling for your components
Dark Rock TF 2 contains two aluminum heat sinks that are arranged to save space for memory with a height of 49mm. It provides two fans out of the box, but a single fan assembly is also possible, offering further space savings and even quieter operation.

BRUSHED ALUMINUM COVER – For an unmistakable beefy look
The all-black design combined with the brushed aluminum cover gives this high-end cooler a touch of elegance and makes it look great in any system.


Visual Inspection


We have the signature be quiet! packaging design with an all black theme and minimalist yet elegant presentation. On the front we have the visual representation of the actual Dark Rock TF 2 CPU cooler.

On the back we have the main highlights of the product.

Then on the back resides the full specs list for the heatsink and the fans.

The top proudly indicates the cooling capability of the Dark Rock TF 2 which is up to 230W of TDP.

Inside, the heatsink is well protected via this modular foam while the fans have thier own separate boxes. Then the accessory box is sandwiched between the two parallel heatsinks.

Regarding the supplied installation hardware and accessories, here is the detailed list:

2x Metal fan clips for the standard 135mm fan
2x Metal fan clips for the funnel shaped fan 135mm fan
1x 2-in-1 Fan splitter
1x Small tube of thermal paste
4x Phillips head nuts
4x Intel spacer nut A
4x Intel spacer nut B
4x AMD spacer nuts
4x Mounting bracket screws
4x Intel backplate screws
4x O-rings
4x AM3 washers
4x AMD backplate screws
2x Intel mounting brackets
2x AMD mounting brackets
1x Intel backplate
1x User’s manual

A very interesting detail comes in the form of two different intakes for the frame of the fans, which makes them custom and bespoke for the Dark Rock TF 2. Thus, the one on the left will reside in between the heatsinks and it’s identical to the original TF, while the one on the right is the top one and the newly redesigned fan.

Both are 135mm in size but the left one is a bit thinner at 22 mm vs 25 mm for the right one and belong from the famous top tier Silent Wings 3 PWM family of fans. With the help of the ribbed blades but 9 for the left fan and 6 for the right fan, they are rated up to 27.1 dB(A) of noise output. CFM and static pressure numbers are not yet available for the new fan but if we were to make an educated guess they should very close to the other fan to maintain a certain balance. Also we know that the 22mm fan is identical to the first TF and thus it’s rated for 67.8 CFM of airflow with a static pressure of 1.85 mm H²O

They both use a 6-pole rotor design and use fluid dynamic bearings which give them an unreal lifespan of around 300,000 hours of continuous operation (~34 years). The 4-pin PWM cable is fully braided and it’s 220 mm long, a spec which applies for both fans.

The final difference between them comes from the maximum RPM, only a 100 revs deviation between them; 1400 RPM for the middle fan vs 1300 RPM for the top fan.

Now let’s inspect the intricate and elegant heatsink of the Dark Rock TF 2. Right of the bat, the all-black ceramic coating looks amazing. Then the top heatsink has a brushed aluminium top cover with the be quiet! logo which gives the cooler an unmistakable beefy look. This is also the first visual que versus the original version which lacks the cover and thus you saw the capped heatpipes.

As stated in the intro, what makes the be quiet! TF series unique is the dual heatsink design, with a primary and secondary one.

For the main heatsink we have 62 aluminium heatsinks with cut-outs by the 21st one when counting from the heatpipes, which facilitate the access for the securing bolts from the lower contact plate.

Also the main top heatsink has both sets of rubber anti-vibration pads since both fans will attach to it. Then the cut-outs in the fins is present as well in the lower heatsink.

Speaking of, the lower smaller heatsink has 31 aluminium fins. Then, if you can believe it, the top of the contact plate has its very own compact heatsink.

Assembly wise, the top heatsinks takes full advantage from the 6mm thick 6x heatpipes which converge into the copper nickel plated base plated, while 4 of them continue into the smaller heatsinks, thus completing the cooling circuit.

Lastly, the contact plate has an almost mirror finish and it’s slightly convex.

When you attach the fans, makes sure that the 9-bladed thinner fan goes in between the heatsinks. Also each fan has its own wire clips. Even with both fans attached, the Dark Rock TF 2 is barely 134 mm in height. This is an incredible advantage over the regular tower heatsinks because you can install the TF 2 in way smaller enclosures and still get a lot of cooling potential.




As we saw with the recently release Shadow Rock Slim 2, be quiet! has updated the mounting hardware as well with the Dark Rock TF 2 and thus everything is a breeze especially on the AM4 socket.

Make sure you remove the stock front plastic brackets while retaining the stock metal backplate.

Install the black AM4 spacers with the correct orientation.

Then install the metal brackets in the corresponding AM4 holes.

Apply the thermal paste and then bolt everything down. Luckily, with the TF2 you can even install it with the fans attached which saves you a lot of headaches.

Don’t forget the 2-in-1 adapter and plug it into the CPU port from the motherboard.

Now let’s inspect for any clearance issues. This particular RAM kit is 53mm tall in its highest point since it has a V-shape design to the heatsink. As you can see there is even 1 mm left from this angle. The official specs is 49 mm with the second fan attached but if you use kits that are taller than this, by removing the second fan you have up to 73 mm.

Plenty of room left on the GPU side, even with this abnormally thick backplate from the graphics card.

Finally on the VRM side, the heatpipes are miles away and thus the TF2 truly delivers on its compact design.

Next chapter please.


Testing methodology


  • The AMD Ryzen 7 1700 CPU will be tested at stock settings and then overclocked at 3.70 GHz for 1.325v
  • As the main torture test, we will employ a 2 minute run in AIDA64
  • Room temperature was recorded at ~ 20°C
  • For the noise testing, we used our Pyle PSPL01 placed 30 cm away from the setup – all other fans will will be off or set at minimum RPM
  • Thermal paste used – Noctua NH-H2
  • We will compare the results to other CPU AIO/air coolers close to its price/performance bracket plus other items for an even broader perspective
  • All CPU fans will be left on the ‘standard’ auto % rpm curve to simulate real life usage patterns (the same for the AIO pump) and the side panel is now attached and the case fans are set at a fixed 30% RPM
  • Any results over 90°C in any condition are considered a fail

Competition CPU Coolers:

Noctua NH-D15 chromax.blackDual 140 mm
Noctua NH-U12ADual 120 mm
Noctua NH-C14STop down 140 mm
SilverStone Hydrogon D120 ARGB Double 120 mm
be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim 2135 mm
Noctua NH-P1Passive
be quiet! Dark Slim120 mm
Noctua NH-D9L92 mm
AMD Wraith Spire RGB92 mm

Hardware used:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1700 AM4
RAM 16GB DDR4 T-Force Night Hawk RGB 3000 MHz CL16
Motherboard: ASUS ROG STRIX X370-F Gaming ATX @ BIOS 5220
Boot SSD: Sabrent Q 1TB QLC M.2 NVMe 1.3 Gen3 x4
Video card(s): KF2 GTX 480 Anarchy Accelero Xtreme Plus
PSU: be quiet! 550W Pure Power 11 FM Gold
Case: be quiet! Silent Base 802 Black
Case fans: 3x be quiet! Pure Wings 2 140 mm


OS: Windows 10 Pro x64 Build 21H1
GPU Drivers: NVIDIA GeForce WHQL 391.35
Core Temp v1.17 – To see the temperatures in real time
CPU-Z v1.95 – To verify the CPU’s statistics
AIDA64 Extreme v6.23 – Another popular total system stability test
Cinebench R15 – Popular CPU benchmark
Cinebench R20 – The new revised version optimised for the newer multi-core CPUs
MSI Afterburner v4.62 – To record the FPS and load/temperatures

Resolution for our test game Rise Of the Tomb Raider, is set at 1920×1080 with everything at Medium quality settings and no AA.


Testing, Results and Analysis


Let’s start in order of CPU load difficulty. First up is the Cinebench R15 test. On the left we have the CPU in stock form while on the right we have it overclocked. The Dark Rock TF 2 achieves its goal and beats the C14S. The second heatsink and extra fan really give it the additional cooling headroom.

The Cinebench R20 is a more modern up to date multi core benchmark suite. So naturally we will see a bigger load and thus a larger temperature figure than the R15. There is a quick reshuffling of the ranks and a very interesting battle in the OC scenario around the mid 70s mark, but still the TF 2 manages to maintain, at least empirically, its lead over the C14S.

In AIDA64 we isolated the stress test just for the CPU therefore we should get the highest stress scenario for the CPU but R20 proves to be just as stressful and thus the hierarchy is preserved once more.

Rise Of the Tomb Raider is a fantastic game and also a good testing title for both GPUs and CPUs. Still not as stressful as a synthetic torture test but a great indicator of real life usage.

The noise output is one of the hallmarks here and the Dark Rock TF2 proves to be one of the quietest options in this tier level.




The small tweaks and upgraded mounting system implemented to the Dark Rock TF 2 have made it such a potent air cooler. Its uniqueness, in the form of a dual heatsink design and dual fan setup, from a top down perspective, should have brought some disadvantages as well, but be quiet! has managed to negate any clearance issue and even offer plenty of RAM headroom as well even with both of the fans attached. The fact alone, that you can have a 230W TDP capable air cooler under 134 mm tall, makes it a winner. Add the near silent operation from the excellent Silent Wings 3 PWM 135 mm fans, all of these make the Dark Rock TF 2 the benchmark for all top down top tier air coolers!

The good:

+ Top tier air cooling potential
+ Excellent noise output
+ Easy installation
+ Unique top down design (dual heatsink, dual fan setup)
+ Overbuild 135 mm fans
+ Compact footprint (just 134 mm tall)
+ Provides cooling to the motherboard as well.

The bad:

– The fans are bespoke and you can’t order them separately

Glob3trotters “Editor’s Choice” Award – 5 out of 5


Many thanks to be quiet! for supplying us with this sample!


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