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be quiet! Shadow Rock 2 [Review]

October 5, 2013 in Cooling, CPU, Gaming, Intel, Overclocking, PC, Review, Uncategorized

 

A closer look at design

What has be quiet! got to offer over the competition – where achieving this goal of “be quiet!” is concerned? A single fan solution that cools on par with many dual fan solutions – without the noise that comes with most of them.

The design and engineering elements are considered as well as performance and sound testing. Questions like; how long will it last, how will it perform, how often will I need to maintenance the product and if I have an issue will I get support? are generally answered in two places, the public feedback arena and the care taken to design the product. Here one can see how much effort goes into the design and manufacture of the product which reflects on quality and longevity.

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At a glance the observer may notice a couple of details that stray from the norm, but nothing that really separates the Shadow Rock 2 from the pack - until the components are studied in a little detail. After separating the fan from the heat sink assembly, scrutinizing the details reveals some design elements that, though just pretty to some, truly bring a higher level of functionality. Starting with the fan, the features that are most noticeable are also the features that add function and denote quality.

mini-IMG_1768

The lower angle of attack (The acute angle between the chord of an airfoil and a line representing the undisturbed relative airflow) limits the stall effect which is known to impede airflow (kinetic potential) at higher RPMs and limits static pressure; which in turn causes fan noise and can shorten fan motor life due to lateral forces and fan hub vibration that contribute to noise. Adding to this the number of blades, ridges (which may not appear advantageous), weight of the fan seemingly concentrated in the motor and the blade thickness help reduce noise from an effect similar to cavitation.

The fan housing has one element that stands out – an apparent lack of noise dampening mechanisms – but the limited contact area may negate any vibration related to this.

The heat sink assembly offers many elements of design which are advantageous; most notable are the ridges and the concave fan mounting surfaces (x4). This may have a positive effect on airflow that is slightly impeded by the two perpendicular surfaces and noise dampening may also be negatively affected by the two perpendicular surfaces.

The effects of the ridges should still give an overall positive impact:

  • the ridge high points break up airflow (in a good way) causing turbulence, potentially increasing the time between cleanings and helping to prevent whistling at higher RPMs
  • the ridge valleys should gather dust first leaving openings at the higher points which can be more forgiving to those who do not regularly clean their computer cases
  • the concave fan mounting surface should aide in air flow at all RPM ranges and reduce noise as the sink gathers dust by allowing excess pressure to escape instead of being forced through partially clogged cooling fins creating noise

The four 8mm (25.15²x4) heat pipes (some say 8) distributed to take advantage of the area allowed by the fins the Shadow Rock 2 offers advantages over much of the competition – offering over 100² mm of cooling volume.

  • each pipe is allowed to dissipate more heat as the pipes are staggered
  • temperatures are normalized across the cooling fins
  • air flow is not restricted in hotter areas
  • the cooling fan can operate at a lower speed as the heat is more evenly distributed across the fin surface allowing more effective convective cooling

Examining the finish of the CPU contact patch, machine marks can not be observed. Surfaces rarely, if ever, get smoother than this – even with the perfect lap job.  The care taken to achieve this smooth surface must be taken into consideration. mirror

The design features that may make this HSF more desirable (to many users) are the ability to mount the fan on any side and the ability to mount the fan low or high – depending on needs.

Thus far the Shadow Rock 2 proves to be a well thought out product with many good design elements. Will these elements add up to a better product than is offered by other manufacturers? That is very subjective and the more prudent question is “Will the Shadow Rock 2 perform its designed function in such a way that the end user will be satisfied?”

Introduction
Packaging, contents and specifications
Installation
Performance
Conclusion

 
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