A TINY $25 CPU Cooler Might Be All You Need!
I want to talk a little bit about CPU cooler sizes. Now we all know the typical 120mm models – like the 212 Evo that we just reviewed – but then there is the massive ones like the Dark Rock Pro 4 from be quiet! It’s 140mm in size, it’s just a beast and a weapon if you need that kind of cooling capacity.
However, be quiet! just released a new iteration of their Pure Rock Slim series, and this little thing is the Pure Rock Slim 2. Look at the size difference even between this 92mm cooler and a common 120mm one. The reason it’s so small is that it’s meant to have super broad compatibility. It takes a bunch of the technologies that are present in the higher-end heat sinks and puts them into something that costs just $25. In this review I want to go over why this might be all that you need for your system.
I also wanted to discuss a little bit of the price controversy about this little cooler, and a lot of the other components on the market right now. Officially it is $25 not on sale, so it might even go lower than that, but the problem is right now is third-party sellers have actually started buying new PC components that are just released and reselling them on Amazon and on Newegg. So you are going to have to do a little bit of looking through the listings in order to actually find this for $25, but it is out there. Now look 92mm coolers are nothing new on the market, there are a bunch of other companies that have actually come out with these over the years. But this might actually be one of the least expensive ones from a big name manufacturer.
Moving onto size and this thing is fricking tiny. It is only 135mm high, 82mm deep, and 97mm wide. That is a heck of a lot more compact than a typical tower style heatsink, like the Noctua NH-U12S and the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo I mentioned just a while ago. This is actually perfect in height restrictive situations where you might actually want a cooler working with the case airflow rather than against it. Or if you a system that doesn’t really need an AIO or you don’t want to spend the money on one. A perfect example of this as the NR200, which can take a max cooler height of 155mm, which puts even something like the compact Hyper 212 series completely out of contention.
But what you get with the Pure Rock Slim 2? Well it’s a super basic design. There is a dense fin array along with three 6mm copper heatpipes that float down into a heatpipe direct touch base. That base had pre-applied thermal compound on it, but unfortunately I didn’t realize that and I touched it so we had to wipe it off to make sure all of these shots were done. The 92mm fan is pretty much par for the course with almost everything be quiet! does. This is their Pure Wings 2 model, and in this case it’s operating at 2300 RPMs. Now that might sound like a lot given the fact that a lot of 120mm coolers are well below that, but in this case this is actually one of the quietest fans that we have come across, I will talk a little bit more about that later.
At the same time, you might be wondering what are the differences between the Pure Rock Slim 2 and the original Pure Rock Slim? Actually, there aren’t that much. First of all, be quiet! extended this fin array just a little bit in the back. There has also been a little bit of a change to the base plate, but by far the biggest change is probably in this fan and in the installation process.
That installation is now completely revised and it’s super, super easy. In fact this might be one of the easiest ones I have come across. First of all, the AMD bracket is actually pre-installed, and props to be quiet! for actually doing that and acknowledging the fact that AMD systems are selling like hotcakes. I also wanted to talk about the Intel system because it’s not quite as good as I would have wanted. What you have to do is you have to take off these AMD brackets with these 2 screws and the substitute the Intel brackets.
Unfortunately be quiet! is using the old school Intel pushpin installation method. In reality this is a really good system for ease of use, but it’s not a great method when it comes to mounting pressure. Wwith that out of the way, I wanted to show you how this cooler is actually installed, and that is onto AMD’s regular mounting hardware that comes with every single motherboard. All you really have to do is flip the cooler over, then take these little brackets and push them down so the ribbed part is pointing downwards. Then you just rotate the cooler, clip it into each side, and then just finish the installation by pushing down on one side and theb pushing down on the other.
The one thing that you need to take into account here is that this is not a screw down mount, so there is a little bit of movement, but be quiet! did this in such a way that there is really not much. This is a really well done stock installation. And now about that memory clearance, well this is a super slim cooler so even if all your slots are completely populated by memory there are no possible clearance issues. That is one of the beauties of this cooler, not only the vertical clearance, but also that memory clearance.
With installation out of the way, let’s get right into performance testing, starting with how the fan speed percentages on this cooler align directly to decibel readings. As we look through this, the incredible thing here is the fan is so quiet that it hit our minimum noise floor at 70%, and I can’t tell you how impressive this is. Even at full speed it only topped out at around 40 decibels and that means it has a leg up on a lot of the competition that usually run a lot noisier. Right out of the gate the Slim 2 is super competitive against larger and more expensive coolers. And yes, the Evo 212 does cost more, unless you find it deeply discounted, but even then it’s able to offer Noctua U12S levels of cooling at lower decibel levels than the 212 Evo.
In a more comparative chart, it’s really, really hard not to like what this little cooler brings to the table since it’s able to stay super quiet while delivering great performance. But look this is at just 95W, so let’s see what a higher wattage does.
Now remember 125W is right up there near the Slim 2’s maximum TDP threshold of 130W, but it still holds together things super, super well. At first I couldn’t believe these results and ran the test over and over again, but in the end it was still literally matching the NH-U12S up to 37 decibels and actually beating the 212 Evo right across every level in this test. To put this into a little bit more context, look the Pure Rock Slim 2 isn’t going to dominate everything and anything, but for its size and price it’s ultra hard to recommend anything else we have tested over this thing, at least in this low price category, but there’s a little bit of a catch… Moving up to 150W and this thing reaches us thermal capacity super, super fast. There really isn’t anything else to say, you will need a larger cooler at this heat load.
So I guess it’s time to wrap this up and I think you know where this conclusion is going already. I am super impressed with everything that be quiet! is offering with this little cooler. Not only is it compact, but it also delivers really good performance, especially against the larger coolers that are out there that might cost a little bit more. It also has a really good installation process, as long as you are okay with using the stock installation process for both AMD and Intel. And it has really good noise levels, so that’s almost like the trifecta of things you look for in a coolers.
All I’m asking you guys to do is do not judge a book by its cover. Most people don’t need a huge heatsink, and this Pure Rock Slim 2 even competes against entry-level coolers that have been around for quite while and everybody seems to be buying. I guess that’s pretty much it for review, this to me is that perfect cooler for most people out there and that’s all we can really ask for at this point in time, especially for $25.