When we buy a processor it comes with a cooler by default. We typically refer to that as a box cooler. In most cases, with mid or lower class processors, it handles the task of cooling with ease, but with the higher class we need a more powerful unit which allows us to make use of our processor to its full potential. If you own an AMD or Intel processor with an unlocked multiplier (identified by the “K” that follows the model number), it is strongly recommended that you get a cooler other than the box one, so that you don’t encounter problems such as high temperatures due to the BIOS’s defenses.
Today, for the fist time ever, we will be doing a review of a cooler. It’s medium sized, but its quality and price are more than suitable for it to serve as a box cooler upgrade. It comes courtesy of an outfit which has been active for quite a while now in the PC component industry. be quiet! is a German company, which began its career in 2002. Its main activity was to create power supplies, or the PSU (Power supply unit), but as time went on they began constructing cases, fan boxes and CPU coolers as well. After establishing themselves on the European market, and especially in Germany where they received the “Manufacturer of the year” award 6 times in a row, they’ve now caught our eye and we’ve decided to see what their products are capable of, since they offer something of extreme importance – silence.
be quiet!’s Pure Rock is a budget cooler, which is extremely silent, although it’s not entirely passive (i.e. it’s not ‘fan-less’). Its silence is secured by a specially designed fan, tasked with cooling the CPU as quietly as possible. As we said, its size is standard, which means you will be able to install it in almost any kind of case (except for some m-ITX models). Its price is more than appealing, but we’ll find out whether it’s actually worth it in a few moments.
You can check the current price of bequiet! Pure Rock here:
Inside the box
The box in which the Pure Rock arrived was really practical. Almost all of the cooler’s information was printed on it and we didn’t even have to dig through to find out what’s in store for us. The cooler itself is displayed on the front, and you can read more about the installation process in all sorts of languages. Additionally, there is information about the specifics of the model, as well as the guarantee terms and conditions. On the back you can see what the heat sink itself is made of, the technical specifications of the fan’s, as well as the types of motherboards you can secure it on
Of course, there is no way to install the cooler in our rig without removing it from of the box, which was “full of mystery”. At first we notice only the upper part of the Pure Rock, made of aluminum. In the middle there’s an inscription which assures us that the cooler is part of be quiet!’s family. We expected other components, useful when mounting a new cooler to the motherboard. The Germans company has opted for a simpler and tidy look by placing a second cardboard lid inside the box itself, which hides away the components.
After removing it, we see a fan, as well as another cardboard box, which houses the rest of the installation components. The two instruction booklets are placed at the bottom. They contain information on the mounting process, as well as what the whole package includes. Since the model can be mounted on Intel and AMD motherboards, there is a number of approaches, and if you’ve never installed a cooler before (other than the box on, that is), it is highly recommended that you follow the manual’s instructions.
Design, construction, and parts required for assembly
Pure Rock has a height of 155 mm, it is 87.5mm wide and 121mm long. The fan is a 120mm x 25mm unit, which means that the width of the cooler when fully assembled is 112.5mm, and it weighs 660g. The lowest portion of the Pure Rock, which comes in contact with the CPU itself, is made of copper, and the whole base is “powered” by four 6mm copper heat pipes, whose upper section is sealed in aluminum and passes through the 48 ribs, which are designed with a couple of things in mind.
The first benefit of the radiator’s irregular shape is turbulence reduction, which lowers the cooler’s operating noise levels. Thanks to the innovative shape, the ribs themselves allow for better air circulation, which cools the CPU more efficiently. And last, but not least – you can mount up to two fans (up to 12cm) if your motherboard can power them. As we said before, the upper part of the Pure Rock, where the “be quiet” inscriptions is, is reinforced with aluminum.
The fan, Pure Wings 2, has a standard size of 120mm and can rotate at a maximum speed of 1500rpm. In order to function properly, it needs 12volts, and the fans themselves have an irregular pattern, which helps the device function quietly. The length of the cable which powers the cooler is 22mm and the slot has 4 pins – keep that in mind in case you want to use it for something else. The model doesn’t include any extra LEDs or other sorts of lights, typically used to add a certain ‘atmosphere’ to the computer case – you only get a solid black matte fan.
Apart from the cooler, the fan, and the two manuals, inside the box we found a huge number of screws, required to mount the cooler. To install the first two, you are given 2 brackets which hold the fan firmly to the base. Also included is the so called “Back plate”, which mounts on the the motherboard. Without it, there would be no way to install the Pure Rock if you have a 775 model socket, 115X or 1366. With AMD or socket 2011 this “stand” is not required.
When you begin mounting the back plate, you will need the 4 rubber feet, which are placed between the back plate and the motherboard, so that you don’t end up with any nasty scratches. You also need the remaining 4 long screws (not applied directly). Next we notice the 4 star-shaped screws, which are mounted along the 2 brackets, which hold the cooler in place.
Four of the washers (those screwed on directly) come into action, but only if you have a motherboard which sports the 2011 socket, while the other four are used only for the aforementioned sockets. The back plate is paired socket 775, and the two washers are mounted on AMD sockets 754, 939, 940, AM2(+), AM3(+), FM1, as well as FM2. The other two screws, and the bridge as well, are mounted on the upper part of the motherboard on two plates. These are all parts that you need in order to set up your Pure Rock.
Tech Specs of the Pure rock
|AMD socket support||AMD: AM2(+) / AM3 (+) / FM1 / FM2 (+)|
|Intel socket support||LGA 775 / 115x / 1366 / LGA2011(-3) Square ILM|
|Average noise level||19.1 / 22.1 / 26.8 decibels at 50/75/100% working capacity|
|Design material||copper/aluminum (base/ribs)|
|Number of heat tubes||4 copper ones with a diameter of 0.6 mm|
|Speed and compatibility||1500 rotations per minute/ 4-pin slot|
|Dimensions||87.5 wide x 121 long x 155 high (without the fan)|
|Weight||0.66 kg (with the fan), 0.52 kg (without the fan)|
Tech specs of the configuration
|CPU||Intel Core i7-6700K (4-cores, 4.00 – 4.20 GHz, 8MB cache)|
|Motherboard||ASRock Z170 OC Formula|
|RAM||32GB (4x 8192MB) – DDR4, 2133Mhz|
|Graphics card||1x MSI GeForce GTX 980 (4GB GDDR5)|
|HDD/SSD||1000GB (+ 256GB SSD)|
|Connectivity||LAN 10/1000/1000 Mbit/sec|
Mounting the Pure Rock
As you can see from the specifications of the unit we are using for this review, the motherboard has a 1151 socket, so we need the back plate. We’ll go through each step of the installation process, in order to help you learn how to mount your own cooler.
Mounting the back plate
Before you begin, make sure there’s nothing to get in the way, and that you’ve thoroughly removed the paste from the previous CPU cooler – the Pure Rock comes with it’s own paste, awaiting application in the proper position. If you haven’t used a cooler at all, and you happen to have removed the paste from the new one, it is highly recommended (mandatory, rather) that you get some paste before installing.
Assuming you’re starting afresh, arm yourselves with the four screws (the ones with the smooth heads), the four rubber feet and the plate itself. Before attaching the plate to the bottom, slide in the screws in the middle hole (for socket 115xt) along with the feet, and only then mount the plate to the bottom. To secure that, you will need the four washers which can be set in place with the help of a Torx screwdriver (star pattern) from the inside of the motherboard.
Mounting the side brackets
Once you’re done with the first stage, next come the side brackets. The latter are mounted on the ‘face’ side of the motherboard, where the four washers hold the back bracket. The installation is just as easy. You need Two Torx screws on each side to secure the “bases” that are needed to mount the Pure Rock.
Mounting the cooler
All that remains is step three. Before we continue, we feel obliged to share that we mounted the fan after after we’d secured the base to the motherboard. In addition to the cooler, you will need the bridge that connects the two side brackets, so that the cooler has solid contact with the CPU and cools it properly. If there’s too much paste, or otherwise – some of the contact surface remains bare, you will most likely have problems with the CPU’s temperature.
All the screws need to be sufficiently tightened to keep the Pure Rock from flying off and wrecking your graphics card. First, work on a screw on each side just a bit, because if you put too much pressure on one side, you will not be able to secure the other screw. The fan itself obstructs the first memory slot, and if you, like us, have high profile DIMMs, you will have to do without one or two if you want to use dual-channel mode.
Configuration setup photos
In order to find out how the cooler manages, we will have to stress the CPU to its full potential. We did this with our own standard solutions, while a later on we included the relatively cool GeForce GTX980 to see if the air inside the case will affect the cooler, as there were no fans to push out air from case ( we only had one fan at our disposal, located in the upper back portion of the case). While idle, the CPU ran at 27 degrees Celsius – the graphs below indicate how the cooler handled the various tasks. All of the measurements, including the general tests, were conducted right after the benchmarks had been finalized.
Cinebench 11 and R15
The two benchmark test are nearly identical – rendering the same image, which determines the productivity of the CPU, which in our case was non-other than the Intel Core i7-6700K. Here are the results and temperatures.
Fritz is a benchmark test that reflects the CPU’s efficiency in analyzing chess moves. Intel Core i7-6700K handles 16869 million moves per second. One of the most powerful chess computers in the world, the Deep(er) Blue, reached a speed of 200 million positions per second in 1997, when it beat the world champion Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.
NovaBench is cross-platform and completely free. The application loads the CPU with MD5 hashing, a test that includes integer and floating point calculations. The CPU scored 1013.
Probably the heaviest piece of software – it maxes out CPU usage at 100%, squeezing everything out of it. The program itself is a very good choice if you are having trouble with your PC and you think the problem may lie in the processor. The benchmark can be left running for a few hours and it will report any potential issues. Here we recorded the highest temperatures, which were a long way away from the ones Intel Core i7-6700K allows for.
Since we had the Intel Core i7-6700K and the ASRock Z17o OC Formula at our disposal, we decided to see how would the Pure Rock would handle a 4.4GHz, 1.3V CPU. The tests are identical those mentioned earlier. Thus, we can compare the temperature and capabilities of the processor after increasing the multiplier. In idle mode the processors runs at 28C, which was good news. Now, let’s see how that changes once the test comes into play.
Cinebench 11 and R15
|Test||[email protected]||[email protected]||Difference|
|Prime||83 degrees||83 degrees||No difference between maximum temperature|
By analyzing the data we got from out comparison chart, we can conclude that even after we overclock the processor, the Pure Rock manages to deal with the increased temperature without any problems and the processor remained stable even during the tough Prime test. We managed to get some good results from the 4.6GHz, but after a while we discovered that our Core i7-6700K wasn’t stable. In any case, a 4% increase in productivity with no issues from a budget cooler is not something we’ll easily forget.
Since the cooling system managed extremely well in our bench tests, we decided to see how the Pure Rock manages with more prolonged tests that also include the graphics card. Each of the following tests is unique and gives us details about everything you can do on your PC – gaming, watching movies, surfing the web , even video conferencing.
An awesome program, which simulates successive sessions of surfing, video chatting, photograph editing and gaming (we’ve included a video game a bit further down). Here you see the temperatures following 44 minutes of test sessions.
One of the heaviest and most long-lasting benchmark tests that we commonly run to find out how stable and powerful the graphics card is. Of course, we have no reason to doubt the GeForce GTX 980, since it is one of the most advanced graphic accelerators currently on the market. That’s why we will focus on the heat added by the graphics chip – note that most of the time (while conducting CPU tests) the video card itself remained cool, so its fans didn’t spin up.
A game that broke records when it was launched for the PC! It still keeps users entertained, and the integrated benchmark test in the game lets us track the temperatures and FPS count, which are, of course, saved in a separate text file upon completion. We won’t bother with the FPS count here, as we’re focusing on the Pure Rock. Here are the gameplay stats we got.
The Pure Rock is a great low budget purchase. In addition to quality cooling, it also offers silence that many users consider to be crucial. The cooler itself managed to fend off the heat of the Intel Core i7-6700K without making any noise. We didn’t encounter any difficulties during its installation. Everything you need to know can be found in the instructions manual, which makes the installation process easy and guarantees you won’t be experiencing any mounting issues even if you’re installing a cooler for the first time. The option to install an additional cooler is a nice bonus – feel free to do so if you still think the temperatures are a bit high.
The only drawback we can point out is that the cooler prevents you from using one of the memory slots due to its bulk. If you’re thinking about using the Pure Rock passively (without the fan that comes with it) you won’t have any problem. Naturally, if you have standard DIMMS, there’s nothing to worry about. We’ve got GEIL EVO Potenza (high-profile) DIMMs and we had to live without some of the memory so that we could still make use of dual-channel mode. If we have to give a conclusive mark for the the whole test run of the Pure Rock, as well as its capabilities, we would rate it at 9/10 – mainly because of the minor issue high-profile users might have with ‘clocker’, high-efficiency memory module.
You can check the current price of bequiet! Pure Rock here:
- Low price
- Sufficiently powerful to cool high-class CPUs
- Can be mounted on AMD and Intel platforms
- Easy assembly and installation
- Obstructs the first memory slot