be quiet! Dark Rock Elite Review (Page 3 of 4)

Page 3 - Test Results

Our test configuration is as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i5-12600K
Motherboard: ASUS ProArt Z690-Creator WiFi
RAM: Lexar THOR OC DDR5-6000 2x16GB
Graphics: EVGA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti XC3 ULTRA GAMING
Chassis: Thermaltake Core P3 TG Pro Snow
Storage: XPG Atom 30 1TB
Power: FSP Hydro PTM Pro 1200W
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 11 Pro

Compared hardware:
- be quiet! Dark Rock Elite
- be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 5
- be quiet! Pure Loop 2 FX 240mm
- be quiet! Pure Rock 2 FX
- Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240 Atmos
- Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240L Core ARGB White
- DeepCool AK620 Digital
- Noctua NH-D12L
- Noctua NH-U12A
- Noctua NH-U9S
- Thermaltake TOUGHLIQUID Ultra 360

All tests were run on our custom-built computer to best reflect real life performance. The computer remained in the same location in the same room throughout all tests. The room temperature in our testing lab was around 22c. Stock thermal paste respective to all coolers were used to rate its performance. All thermal pastes were given a proper amount of time for them to fully settle. The fans on all heatsinks were connected to the motherboard's CPU 4-pin fan header. The test computer was turned on and left idling for at least one hour for the idling tests. High CPU load results were obtained using the Prime95 in-place large FFTs test with a maximum number of worker threads for the tested CPU for a minimum of 10 minutes or until the temperature was deemed stable. Temperature results were measured with HWiNFO, which reports the CPU's integrated digital thermal sensor for maximum accuracy. Each temperature result was calculated by taking the maximum value of the cores inside the CPU.

After letting my computer sit idle for a while, I checked the temperature of the hottest CPU core. From the first graph, you can see the be quiet! Dark Rock Elite idled at a temperature of 23c. This was slightly warmer than some other coolers on the chart, although this is still only two degrees above ambient. In quiet mode, this temperature increased to a slightly warmer 24c, which is understandable given the slower fan speeds. In either case, these numbers are not too concerning. Compared to the Dark Rock Pro 5, the Elite in quiet mode matched the Pro 5 in performance mode, which is good to see. Even still, idle numbers do not give a full representation of what CPU coolers can do, so we started up the Prime95 tests to see the more pertinent results.

With more than enough time to load the processor, you can see how all the coolers performed with the peak temperatures recorded. From here, the be quiet! Dark Rock Elite performed very well, scoring a 73c in performance mode. This is not the coolest of results, as it was bested by all of the tested liquid coolers as well as a handful of air coolers like the DeepCool AK620 Digital and Noctua NH-U12A. Even so, this is only one degree warmer than the best air cooler. In quiet mode, this peak temperature rose to 76c, which is a small delta considering the quieter output. In both cases, we did not observe any thermal throttling under load.

As for the sound analysis section, on a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 is silence and 10 is very loud, I would rate the be quiet! Dark Rock Elite at around 3.5/10 under full load in performance mode, and closer to 3.0/10 in quiet mode. It was notably quieter than most coolers from other manufacturers even as the two larger 135mm fans moved at its maximum 2000 RPM. It was quite impressive, as I never actually felt the need to use quiet mode. Unsurprisingly, the be quiet! Dark Rock Elite truly was quiet in its performance, regardless of its operating mode.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware; Installation
3. Test Results
4. Conclusion