3 Best CPU Coolers for the Intel i5-10600K (2020)

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Winner
AORUS ATC800 CPU Cooler Smart RGB Functions, Dual 120mm High Airfllow Optimized Fans, 6X High Performance Copper Heatpipes, Maximum Surface Area Heatpipe Direct Touch Technology GP-ATC800
Best Price-Performance Ratio
Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black, Dual-Tower CPU Cooler (140mm, Black)
be quiet! Dark Rock 4, BK021, 200W TDP, CPU Cooler
Model
AORUS ATC800
Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black
be quiet! Dark Rock 4
Test Result
Test Result 9.8/10 Excellent June 2020
Test Result 9.6/10 Very Good June 2020
Test Result 9.3/10 Very Good June 2020
Manufacturer
AORUS
Noctua
be quiet!
Fans
2x NF-A15 PWM 120mm Fans
Award-winning dual NF-A15 140mm fans
Virtually inaudible Silent Wings 135mm PWM fan
Design
State-of-the-art dual-tower design with 6 heatpipes and 2 fans
Classic dual-tower design with 6 heatpipes and 2 fans
Six high-performance copper heat pipes
Size
10.63 x 9.29 x 7.56 inches
160x140x130 mm
8.25 x 8.25 x 5.78 inches
Cooling Performance
Value for money
Weight with fans
3.8 lbs
2,73 lbs
2.03 lbs
Pros
  • Very elaborate lighting on both fans and the cover
  • Integrated display for temperature and fan speed
  • Two A-RGB fans for push-pull configuration included, Y-adapter
  • Quiet operation
  • Very good processing
  • Excellent cooling performance at low noise levels
  • Extensive accessories including Y-cable, low-noise adapter and screwdriver
  • Best price-performance ratio
  • Good cooling capacity
  • High quality processing
  • Very quiet fan
Cons
  • No change to other fans provided
  • Small power drop in the (semi-)passive or low speed range
  • Limited RAM compatibility
Recommended by us?
Winner
AORUS ATC800 CPU Cooler Smart RGB Functions, Dual 120mm High Airfllow Optimized Fans, 6X High Performance Copper Heatpipes, Maximum Surface Area Heatpipe Direct Touch Technology GP-ATC800
Model
AORUS ATC800
Test Result
Test Result 9.8/10 Excellent June 2020
Manufacturer
AORUS
Fans
2x NF-A15 PWM 120mm Fans
Design
State-of-the-art dual-tower design with 6 heatpipes and 2 fans
Size
10.63 x 9.29 x 7.56 inches
Cooling Performance
Value for money
Weight with fans
3.8 lbs
Pros
  • Very elaborate lighting on both fans and the cover
  • Integrated display for temperature and fan speed
  • Two A-RGB fans for push-pull configuration included, Y-adapter
  • Quiet operation
Cons
  • No change to other fans provided
Recommended by us?
Best Price-Performance Ratio
Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black, Dual-Tower CPU Cooler (140mm, Black)
Model
Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black
Test Result
Test Result 9.6/10 Very Good June 2020
Manufacturer
Noctua
Fans
Award-winning dual NF-A15 140mm fans
Design
Classic dual-tower design with 6 heatpipes and 2 fans
Size
160x140x130 mm
Cooling Performance
Value for money
Weight with fans
2,73 lbs
Pros
  • Very good processing
  • Excellent cooling performance at low noise levels
  • Extensive accessories including Y-cable, low-noise adapter and screwdriver
  • Best price-performance ratio
Cons
  • Small power drop in the (semi-)passive or low speed range
Recommended by us?
be quiet! Dark Rock 4, BK021, 200W TDP, CPU Cooler
Model
be quiet! Dark Rock 4
Test Result
Test Result 9.3/10 Very Good June 2020
Manufacturer
be quiet!
Fans
Virtually inaudible Silent Wings 135mm PWM fan
Design
Six high-performance copper heat pipes
Size
8.25 x 8.25 x 5.78 inches
Cooling Performance
Value for money
Weight with fans
2.03 lbs
Pros
  • Good cooling capacity
  • High quality processing
  • Very quiet fan
Cons
  • Limited RAM compatibility
Recommended by us?

For gamers the new Comet Lake Intel i5 10600K CPU offers great performance.

But it is important to keep the heat that a CPU creates down or you can suffer performance drops.

If the CPU gets too hot you could even damage it, until full destruction.

As many gamers and enthusiasts are upgrading to the new Intel Core i5 10600K CPU, PC users are looking for the right CPU cooler.

To support you in your decision to buy the right CPU cooler, we tested three top CPU coolers that are compatible with and suited for the i5 10600K.

We not only highlight performance, but also the price-performance ratio of every CPU cooler.

At the end of the article down below or in the table on top you can find our final verdict and recommendation in short form.

Test Results: Best CPU Coolers for the Intel i5-10600K

Ranking First: AORUS ATC800 RGB

AORUS ATC800 RGB

Pros

  • Very elaborate lighting on both fans and the cover
  • Integrated display for temperature and fan speed
  • Two A-RGB fans for push-pull configuration included, Y-adapter
  • Quiet operation

Cons

  • No change to other fans provided

Best performing CPU for i5-10600K

Gigabyte, respectively the gaming label Aorus has also been active in the cooling segment for some time now.

The ATC700 already attracted attention at first glance with the large and illuminated Aorus logo.

The new ATC800 is now even more conspicuous.

In addition, Gigabyte no longer only illuminates the logo, but also a multi-level display for temperature and number of revolutions as well as the two fans.

The illumination is controlled by Gigabytes RGB Fusion.

The Aorus ATC800 is a single-tower cooler.

It is already equipped ex works with two 120 mm fans, which work in a push-pull configuration.

Gigabyte wants the cooler (and the eye-catching RGB lighting system) to be well worth the money.

The scope of delivery is practical and doesn’t hold any surprises.

Gigabyte includes instructions, mounting materials, a small open-end wrench for tightening the mounting screws and a syringe with heat-conducting paste.

There’s not much to see of the actual heat sink.

It largely disappears under plastic covers, which have an aggressive gaming look. The two 120 mm fans are already pre-assembled at the factory.

The fans can be controlled by PWM (pulse width modulation) between 600 – 2,000 rpm.

We were also able to use this speed range on the test system.

The fans are screwed to the cooler including the bezel.

Although this eliminates visually disturbing fan clamps, disassembly is more complex.

It doesn’t even provide for gigabytes: The ATC800 is designed for a mounting with attached fans.

Rubber buffers are supposed to decouple the fans from the cooler. A conventional cooling fin structure appears behind the fans.

The actual heat sink turns out rather slim.

The Aorus ATC800 is of course more massive because there are fans on both sides.

AORUS ATC800 RGB

The upper cover is itself the eye-catcher on the radiator when it’s not illuminated.

Both the Aorus logo and the bar display for temperature and fan speed can be seen on the glossy surface.

The fan speed should be indicated by the number of bars, the temperature by the color.

The six 6mm heatpipes have direct contact with the processor.

In the area of the contact surface, they appear flat and with only minimal gaps.

For mounting on Intel’s mainstream platform, spacer bolts are screwed into the backplate and two mounting bars are attached to them.

On the cooler itself, only the screw sleeves on the mounting bridge need to be tightened.

The fact that the cooler and fan should form one unit in the ATC800 becomes a problem here.

Because of the fans, the screws cannot be tightened from above, but only from the side.

But this is hardly possible in the case, or at most by feel on the left side.

Therefore, we removed the test mainboard for the cooler assembly.

This is a step that no other cooler has forced us to take in recent years.

The cooler keeps sufficient distance to the memory slots on the test platform so that there is practically no height restriction for the RAM modules.

Our test system is supposed to reproduce the typical heat development of a gaming system.

Intel’s Core i7-4790K, a popular processor for high-performance gaming computers, is therefore used as the processor.

It finds its place on an ASUS Z97-DELUXE(NFC & WLC).

Power supply and graphic card are passively cooled so as not to impair the subjective listening impression.

The test system is accommodated in NZXT’s H630.

The full tower offers more than enough space for the highest processor coolers and also allows us to test larger AiO water cooling systems.

The soundproofed H630 hasn’t been uncompromisingly optimized for cooling performance, but rather should offer a balanced compromise between cooling performance and noise.

With this design it is similar to the popular Define models from Fractal Design, for example.

AORUS ATC800 RGB

The two factory-fitted case fans have been replaced by Noctua’s high-quality fans.

Both the NF-A15 PWM front fan and the NF-A14 PWM on the rear panel are operated at 1,000 rpm via PWM control. In the end, a reasonable compromise between sufficient cooling performance and moderate noise levels is achieved for the case fans, making the test conditions as realistic as possible.

A too intensive influence of the case fans is excluded as well as heat accumulation in the case.

The volume is measured using a VOLTCRAFT SL-400 sound level meter at a distance of 20 cm from the left side of the housing.

The sound-insulated housing is opened for this purpose, the housing fans are stopped.

In this way the volume of the CPU fans or the AiO cooling can be determined without interference from other components.

For temperature measurements, the room temperature is normalized to 20 °C and the current deviation from this is measured with a VOLTCRAFT IR 800-200 infrared thermometer.

With the start of the stress test we also start the time measurement.

Each cooler must endure a total of 30 minutes of Prime95 per test run.

Specifically, the intensive Small FTT test is started.

The temperatures are logged over the entire period with the log function of the CoreTemp tool, whereby the arithmetic average of the maximum achieved temperature is transferred to our diagrams (minus a possible difference to the normalized room temperature).

Arctics Evergreen MX-2 is used as the thermal compound. We distribute it evenly with a WLP spatula on the heatspreader.

The software used:

  • CoreTemp 1.0 RC6
  • Prime95 x64, Version 26.6 (build 3)

The test scenarios at a glance:

  • Semi-passive (only air cooler and if reasonably possible)
  • Standard ventilation at 1,000 rpm
  • Serial ventilation at maximum speed
  • Reference ventilation at 600 rpm
  • Reference ventilation at 1,000 rpm

As a result of the measurements, all calculated temperature values are plotted graphically in Celsius and analysed.

It is not surprising that the two 120 mm fans become really loud at 2,000 rpm.

However, it is pleasing that the Aorus ATC800 can also be operated pleasantly quietly.

Even at 1,000 rpm, the fans are only discreetly audible.

At the minimum possible 600 rpm they even become whisper quiet. We measured 30 dB(A) and thus reached the limits of the meter.

AORUS ATC800 RGB

In the next test scenario we examine the performance of the cooler with the series fan(s) at 1,000 rpm and at maximum speed.

For AiO-coolings we remove the housing cover for the cooling capacity measurements because it reduces the cooling capacity disproportionately.

With Intel LGA 115x, the fact that Gigabyte relies on six heatpipes with direct CPU contact takes its toll.

This is because with these relatively small processors only the four inner heatpipes have proper contact, whereas the two outer heatpipes are actually hanging in the air.

This is the only way we can explain why the Aorus ATC800 on the test platform falls well behind the other tower coolers in the test field.

Because Gigabyte doesn’t provide for fan replacement, we had to do without measurements with reference fans.

Verdict: Best performing CPU for i5-10600K

At first glance, the Aorus ATC800 makes a big entrance.

The single-tower cooler looks massive with the two pre-mounted fans and the gaming design and gives hope for a high performance.

The addressable RGB lighting on the fans and the cover turns out especially spectacular and literally puts most other RGB coolers in the shade.

The temperature and RPM display is also impressive.

AORUS ATC800 RGB

But already during the cooler mounting, the disillusionment follows, because not only a fan change is made more difficult because the fans are screwed to the cooler.

In the last step of the cooler mounting, screws have to be screwed from both sides.

This is only possible in a halfway comfortable way when the mainboard is removed.

We could do without this step with actually all other coolers and AiO coolers of the last years.

In operation, the ATC800 can then convince with a pleasantly low noise level in the lower speed range despite the push-pull configuration.

Because all of the six heatpipes have proper contact with Intel’s mainstream processors, the cooler can use its full potential.

Visually, it turns out much simpler – which can also be an advantage depending on taste. Alternatively, an AiO cooler can be considered in this price range.

All in all, the ACT800 is our absolute performance winner of this test and we can highly recommend as an CPU cooler it for the i5-10600K.

Ranking Second: Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black

Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black

Pros

  • Very good processing
  • Excellent cooling performance at low noise levels
  • Extensive accessories including Y-cable, low-noise adapter and screwdriver
  • Best price-performance ratio

Cons

  • Small power drop in the (semi-)passive or low speed range

Best price-performance ratio CPU for i5-10600K

The philosophy behind Noctua’s new flagship model has remained unchanged since its predecessor, the NH-D14: “ultimate cooling performance with maximum running smoothness”.

According to the Austrian cooling specialist, a full three years of development work went into the NH-D15.

Through this long development time, Noctua wants to ensure that the NH-D15 can truly live up to the high expectations placed on the successor of such a popular cooler as the NH-D14.

The NH-D15’s biggest and probably most obvious innovation are the two new series production fans, two Noctua NF-A15 PWM, which at 140x150mm are even slightly larger than conventional 140mm fans.

However, in addition to the new and larger series fans, the heat sink widened from 140 to 150mm as well as the increased distance between the heatpipes should also provide even higher cooling performance.

Furthermore, Noctua hasn’t forgotten the often underestimated, but for many buyers and users still very important issue of compatibility.

The bottommost external cooling fins have been moved back to ensure that the NH-D15 can be mounted together with up to 64mm high memory bars, at least in combination with a single fan.

For mounting, Noctua continues to rely on the SecuFirm2 system, which can be used on AMD’s AM3+, AM2+, FM1, FM2 and FM2+ sockets as well as Intel’s LGA 1150, 1155, 1156 and 2011 sockets.

With the optionally available NM-I3 mounting set, it can also be used on sockets LGA 775 and LGA 1366.

Future sockets should also be supported if possible.

The NH-D15’s direct competition consists mainly of well-known air coolers and classics such as the Noctua NH-D14 SE2011, Phantek’s PH-TC14PE and the EKL Alpenföhn K2 – as well as several all-in-one water coolers.

Other coolers in the comparison database are normal tower coolers such as the Akasa Venom, the Prolimatech Megahalems, the Arctic Cooling Freezer i30 or the Alpine Foehn Brocken 2.

It should also be mentioned that our test database has grown steadily since the relaunch of the CPU cooler tests and the test system has now found its place in the new and large NZXT Phantom 820.

The new test system thus offers space for all kinds of coolers, including larger AiO water coolers up to 280 mm, and is thus much more future-proof.

Let’s start with the packaging and some general information about the Noctua NH-D15, as usual.

Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black

The packaging design is very similar to that of its predecessor.

The Noctua NH-D15 is also delivered in a nicely finished box, on which you can find and read all the interesting information about the cooler and the fans.

It’s remarkable how clean, efficient and well-organised Noctua has accommodated the accessories and packaging.

All accessories that belong together are separated from each other in different small boxes – unnecessary searching for the right or needed parts is completely eliminated.

This makes assembly and preparation much easier.

As usual, detailed information and all cooler specifications can be found on Noctua’s website.

All information is available on the website in several languages.

With regard to unique selling points, it’s of course not easy to order one of the most popular and excellent air coolers.

Noctua chooses the apparently right way here and tries to improve the performance of its predecessor within the bounds of what’s reasonable, without losing sight of the issue of compatibility.

Aside from improving performance and efficiency, however, as usual with Noctua, operation at maximum smoothness is still one of the paradigms behind Noctua’s philosophy.

As standard fans, Noctua includes two 150×140 mm fans from its own Noctua NF-A15 series with PWM connection.

The fans have thus been increased in width from 140 mm to 150 mm and, according to the manufacturer, run at up to 1500 rpm (our models managed up to 1560 rpm), generating an airflow of up to 140.2 m³/h at a noise level of up to 24.6 dB(A).

The two series fans are fixed with four enclosed mounting brackets with 105 mm hole spacing – this is usually used by 120 mm fans, therefore other 120 mm models or 140 mm fans with 105 mm hole spacing can be used analogously

Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black

Also included in the scope of delivery is Noctua’s well-known SecuFirm2 mounting kit for mounting on Intel and AMD systems, two low-noise adapters, a Y-cable that allows the two fans to be controlled together, said clips for mounting the fan as well as a small tube of Noctua’s well-known heat-conducting paste Noctua NT-H1.

However, in order to ensure the comparability of all coolers, our reference thermal compound – see test system – is of course used in this test.

The assembly instructions are only available in printed form in English, probably out of consideration for international buyers.

The Noctua NH-D15 is a twin-tower cooler that’s 10 mm wider than its predecessor in order to offer even more cooling surface.

With a size of 15.0 cm (W) x 16.5 cm (H) x 16.1 cm (D), both mounted fans will definitely collide with any protruding RAM heatsinks.

But more about that later. The height of 16.5 centimeters isn’t overly protruding, though, and shouldn’t lead to compatibility problems with average-sized towers.

As is so often the case, it should be very helpful to measure up beforehand or to be clear about the spatial conditions in your own tower.

The base plate of the cooler, i.e. the contact surface to the CPU, was cleanly nickel-plated and has a flat – and not convex – shape.

Convex base plates are often controversially discussed and allow a higher contact pressure on the CPU, which under certain circumstances allows a better cooling performance (depending on the shape and variant of the heatspreader of the specific CPU).

Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black

Like its predecessor, the NH-D15 has six symmetrically arranged six-millimetre heat pipes that run through the entire radiator surface of the cooler.

In contrast to its predecessor, however, these heatpipes are much further apart, which should increase the much-awarded efficiency of its predecessor even further.

All heatpipes are neatly integrated into the bottom of the cooler – as with the predecessor, there is no reason for criticism here.

The bottom of the cooler has also been cleanly nickel-plated and no dirt or unevenness can be detected.

The radiator itself consists of 45 (or 44 without the top finish) aluminium fins with 2 mm internal spacing.

This relatively narrow fin spacing already gives a first indication that the heat sink has been optimized for operation with high-efficiency fans and can probably only develop its strengths with such fans.

Of these 45 fins, the seven lowermost fins are clearly indented to the rear in order to allow some upward clearance for Ram kits with larger coolers and thus massively increase compatibility with various OC kits.

Of course, the Noctua NH-D15 can only be operated with one fan and the front fan is left out.

Furthermore, the heatsink has four notches in each of which the clips for mounting the fans can snap into, allowing for a firm and easy mounting of the fans.

The heatsink’s fins have been cleanly deburred throughout and no excessively sharp edges or corners were found in the test where the user could possibly injure himself.

The NH-D14, the predecessor, was occasionally criticised for its sharp edges.

We couldn’t find any manufacturing faults in our sample and the manufacturing quality of the cooler is on an excellent level.

Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black

The assembly of the cooler is almost identical to that of its predecessor, can be done in a few minutes by trained hands and is overall very comfortable.

We succeeded in mounting the cooler without having to remove the mainboard from the case beforehand.

It should also be possible to mount the cooler on other Intel or AMD systems without removing the mainboard, if the case has a correspondingly large cutout on the back of the mainboard tray.

First, the four supplied bolts are screwed to the threads of the base, then the two mounting bridges are placed on them according to the desired mounting direction and fastened with two large thumbscrews.

Then the cooler itself is lifted into the case from above and placed in such a way that it “docks” on these mounting bridges.

After that, it is easily screwed from above through the gap of the missing 140 mm fan (which can only be fastened afterwards).

Especially praiseworthy is the fact that the cross brace, which is screwed to the mounting bridges, is firmly attached to the heat sink and thus cannot slip – which makes mounting much easier and more comfortable.

The competition should be happy to take this as an example.

Volume impression and measurements

The Noctua NH-D15’s serial fans, the two Noctua NF-A15 PWMs, leave a very positive first impression.

They really please in the test scenario with 600 rpm as well as in the test scenario with 1000 rpm and only stand out in the latter with a slight, but not disturbing noise.

Although the operation at full speed, which was about 1560 rpm in our samples, is a good deal louder, the noise characteristic at these speeds was just about acceptable.

Both the operation at 600 revolutions per minute, as well as the operation at 1000 revolutions per minute, are therefore also suitable for very noise sensitive users.

Merely in the test scenario with maximum rpm, the background noise could already be described as unpleasant and disturb the immersion into the gaming world without sealed off headphones.

Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black

With a measured noise level of 34.8 dB(A), the Noctua NH-D15 also ends up in one of the top positions on the test field in the test results of our VOLTCRAFT SL-200 sound level meter.

The measurement results at 1000 rpm seem to confirm our subjective hearing impressions.

The NH-D15 lands, now somewhat audible but not yet disturbing, on a place in the midfield.

At maximum fan speed (1560 rpm in our samples), the NH-D15 goes to work and once again ends up in the midfield.

However, this placement can be seen as quite positive in view of the two fans and quite high speeds.

For just under 90 Dollar, the Noctua NH-D15 is a worthy but somewhat more expensive successor to one of the most popular and well-known air coolers, the Noctua NH-D14.

Instead of throwing the predecessor’s successful concept completely overboard, the NH-D15 features many small improvements and changes in favour of better compatibility, in keeping with the motto “evolution instead of revolution”.

For example, the radiator’s lowest seven cooling fins have been shortened or moved to the rear to ensure a very high level of compatibility with high-height ram kits when operating without the front fan.

Furthermore, the heatsink was widened by 10 millimeters, presumably to compensate for the missing cooling surface.

In addition, the distance between the heatpipes has also been slightly increased, so that the heat can be dissipated even more efficiently to the radiator.

Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black

There have been major changes for this, in the truest sense of the word, in the series fans.

With the two NF-A15 PWM fans, which at 150×140 mm are even slightly oversized, Noctua’s NH-D15 is the first to include two powerful and powerful series fans in the package.

As our tests with reference fans have shown, the heatsink and series fans were perfectly matched – in operation with our reference fans the performance dropped slightly compared to the predecessor.

However, this can hardly be seen as a point of criticism, as very few buyers will want to replace the included series fans with smaller and less powerful fans.

Further points of criticism did not come to light in the test, both the heat sink itself and the extensive accessories are excellently manufactured and never gave cause for criticism.

Verdict: Best price-performance ratio CPU for i5-10600K

In our various test scenarios, the NH-D15 was usually able to place itself at the top of the test field, leaving most of its direct competitors – often even some water-cooling systems with smaller radiators – behind.

Only in the (semi-)passive test scenarios and the test scenario with slowly rotating fans did the NH-D15 not manage to place itself completely in the limelight – even though it still managed to position itself well in the upper part of the test field.

The NH-D15 can therefore be recommended without hesitation to all buyers looking for an uncompromising premium cooler that is not only very powerful, but also has silent quality.

Due to its well-rounded package, extensive accessories and excellent cooling performance at a very low noise level, the Noctua NH-D15 deservedly receives our highly coveted Excellent Hardware Award.

As the NH-D15 is priced very fairly it wins the best price-performance ratio award for CPU coolers for the i5-10600K.

Ranking Third: be quiet! Dark Rock 4

be quiet! Dark Rock 4

Pros

  • Good cooling capacity
  • High quality processing
  • Very quiet fan

Cons

  • Limited RAM compatibility

Solid performing CPU for i5-10600K

With Dark Rock 4, be quiet! relies on the well-known recipe of dark rock coolers: a black cooling tower made of aluminium fins meets a nickel-plated copper plate.

The construction is combined with a silent wings fan, which is supposed to guarantee a quiet operation. Compared to its predecessor Dark Rock 3, the iteration 4 is supposed to be better:

By reworking the “inner workings”, i.e. the heat pipes as well as the black coating of the cooling tower, the tower cooler is supposed to cool minimally better than its predecessor at the same noise level.

This results in a TDP rating of 200 instead of 190 watts.

A further innovation is introduced with the mounting system, which according to be quiet! is now more convenient to use.

Apart from these two points, however, the manufacturer is saving on further developments – additional differences between Dark Rock 3 and 4 have to be looked for with a magnifying glass, as the coolers are almost like two peas in a pod.

It remains with six heatpipes, the top finish of the final fin is unchanged and the cooling tower also remains central: an asymmetrical arrangement for increased compatibility with high RAM modules is still denied to Dark Rock in the fourth generation.

In the test the Dark Rock 4 has to show on the AM4 test system whether it keeps the manufacturer’s promises.

However, a direct comparison with the predecessor Dark Rock 3 is not possible, as be quiet! could not provide the editorial staff with a sample of the older cooler.

Instead, Dark Rock 4 has to face the potent tower coolers Thermalright HR-02 Macho (Test) and Scythe Mugen 5 (Test).

be quiet! Dark Rock 4 in detail

be quiet! designs the Dark Rock 4 as a classic tower cooler.

A copper base plate transfers the waste heat of the CPU to six heat pipes, which in turn transfer it to a radiator made of aluminium fins.

Finally, an axial fan provides for the ventilation of the cooling tower, whereby the heat ends up in the ambient air.

The cooling tower and the base plate are of high quality workmanship.

For visual reasons, be quiet! gives the cooler the black end fin known from the Dark Rock series and uses a black coating for the entire cooler – with the exception of the base plate, which is nickel-plated.

be quiet! Dark Rock 4

A silent wings fan is used for ventilation, the technical data of which correspond to the fan of the Dark Rock 3: The fan, measuring 135 × 135 × 22 mm, reaches a maximum speed of 1,400 rpm.

It uses an FDB bearing and the manufacturer’s standard drill holes, which are shifted to the centre of the frame in a proprietary way.

The scope of delivery corresponds to the generous standard of an expensive CPU cooler:

All current CPU sockets except AMD TR4 are covered and an additional set of fan clamps for mounting a second silent wings fan is included:

Standard fans are not compatible with the wire brackets.

Mounting instructions are printed and available in several languages; thermal paste is available in a resealable syringe.

The manufacturer has also thought of a screwdriver for assembly.

In test use, however, the Silent Wings fan appears bitchy: In combination with the fan control Aquaero 6 LT (Test), no reasonably linear speed response is achieved by PWM control.

Instead, the fan stops under 50% PWM power, only reaches 900 rpm at 99% and finally makes a jump to the maximum achievable almost 1350 rpm at 100%. In return, the MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium achieves the expected speed curve with PWM control.

Almost everyone ignores the standard

After consultation with Aqua Computer, this is due to the PWM implementation of the fan, which does not exactly follow the specifications given by Intel.

Since the average mainboard also does not stick to the PWM standard from Intel, hardly any user will be able to reproduce this problem.

Only the combination of the fan with a controller that correctly implements the PWM specification will lead to the described behavior.

be quiet! Dark Rock 4

The bearing of the fan is convincing all along the line.

Starting with a starting speed of about 200 rpm, the fan runs without any perceptible background noise until, at higher speeds, unavoidable air noises gradually appear.

The fact that the fan operates more quietly than other 140 mm fans at the same speed is, however, at least partly due to its shallower depth: the Silent Wings fan is only 22 mm deep instead of the usual 25 mm, which is why less air is conveyed at the same speed.

Assembly in the test system

be quiet! explicitly advertises the updated mounting system of the Dark Rock 4, which has been made much more user-friendly than its predecessor.

In practice, be quiet! has thus arrived at the stand that Thermalright, for example, has been using for four years with the HR-02 Macho Rev. B (Test):

The backplate is screwed to the front of the mainboard with mounting brackets.

Then the cooler is placed on the CPU and screwed to the mounting brackets from above via a mounting bar.

The system works and does not present the user with any major problems.

However, the current competition from Scythe shows that it can be even easier:

With Scythe Mugen 5 (Test), the CPU cooler’s mounting bracket together with the screws is already pre-installed – this way, these parts can not detach from the whole construction during installation, which makes mounting the cooler even easier.

The fact that the Dark Rock 4 cannot be rotated in 90° steps when mounted on AM4 is criticism on a high level:

Due to the protruding cooling tower, only the RAM slots would be covered anyway.

RAM against cooler

be quiet! Dark Rock 4

Dark Rock 4 has one major criticism for the non-staggered cooling tower:

While it is now common practice in the industry, even with small tower coolers (test), to move the radiator so that there is a generous distance to the first RAM slot, be quiet! ignores this development.

The Dark Rock 4 sits centrally above the processor so that the fan completely covers the first RAM slot.

If a standard model with 25 mm frame depth were to be used instead of the slim 22 mm fan, even the second slot would be affected.

The problem can be solved to a certain extent by moving the fan of the cooler upwards.

The almost 4 cm high G.Skill FlareX modules of the ComputerBase test system thus fit under the fan with gentle force:

The fan still presses lightly on the heatspreader of the memory bar, even after the fan has been moved as far as possible upwards.

Memory with even higher heat sinks will therefore no longer fit in a fully loaded system under any circumstances.

The competition with staggered cooling towers has been doing this better for years.

Those who move the fan upwards must take into account that the overall height of the cooler rises to over 16.5 cm.

The case must therefore offer a corresponding amount of space for processor coolers.

Verdict: Solid performing CPU for i5-10600K

To sum up, the be quiet! be quiet! Dark Rock 4 can be described as a very high-quality tower cooler with an especially quiet fan and good cooling performance at a proud price.

In comparison to its predecessor, however, very little has changed – mainly the mounting system has been updated, so that the competition is finally caught up at this point.

However, the mounting of a processor cooler is still a bit more pleasant for some competitors.

be quiet! Dark Rock 4

A relevant point of criticism for Dark Rock 4 is still the limited RAM compatibility.

The fan hangs over the first RAM slot, so that a full configuration is only possible with low memory bars.

be quiet! could have solved this limitation (as is usual with large tower coolers) by moving the cooling tower, but decided against it.

This counteracts the unusually quiet fan – because the attribute “quiet” is now opposed by an unusually incompatible CPU cooler.

All in all, the Dark Rock 4 is a solid performing CPU cooler for the i5-10600K.

Final Verdict: Best CPU Coolers for the Intel i5-10600K

All in all, the final decision in this test is pretty easy.

If you are an enthusiast gamer and put emphasis on the looks of your gaming rig, there is no way around the Aorus ATC800.

It offers ammazing performance for th i5-10600K.

Especially gamers and power users will be very happy with this kind of CPU cooler. And compared to the other tested CPU coolers, the Aorus ATC800 is not that much more expensive.

If you are looking to get the best price-performance ratio CPU to go with the i5-10600K, you should get the Noctua NH-D15.

It offers great performance at a lower price than the Aorus ACT800, but also a bit less performance.

If you are really super budget conscious and don’t care that much about performance you can get the be quiet! Dark Rock 4.

However we would recommend at least the Noctua to everyone else, as you get a lot more performance for not too much more money.


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