If you want to get the best performance that the processor can provide, then you would certainly want to have an efficient CPU cooler to keep the temperature of the CPU low. Although, the stock CPU cooler that comes with the processors is capable of keeping the temperatures of the processor in check. However, if you want to overclock your processor and want the best, stable, and efficient cooling performance, then you should get an aftermarket CPU cooler.
We will be talking about the Noctua NH-D15 and the Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 CPU coolers, which are one of the top CPU air coolers available in the market. Both of these CPU coolers offer one of the best cooling performances that an air-cooled setup can provide. Their performance is on par with some of the AIO cooling solutions. Both are very popular CPU coolers to be used for enthusiast-level PC builds and are often compared with one another. Many of the PC builders happen to stumble upon the same question during their build that, which CPU cooler to go with?
Here in this guide, we will be doing a comparison between the Noctua NH-D15 vs Dark Pro 4 CPU coolers to help you choose the right one for your PC build.
Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 vs Noctua NH-D15 – Specifications
|Name||Noctua NH-D15||Dark Rock Pro 4|
|Socket Compatibility||Intel: LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1200, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA2066 AMD: FM1, FM2, FM2+, AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, AM4 (Added since 2019, older coolers require NM-AM4)||Intel: LGA1366, LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA2011 & LGA2011-v3 (Square ILM), LGA2066 AMD: FM1, FM2, FM2+, AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, AM4|
|Dimensions||With Fan: 165mm (H), 150mm (W), 161mm (D) Without Fan: 160mm (H), 150mm (W), 135mm (D)||Heat Sink: 162.8mm (H), 136mm (W), 145.7mm (D)|
|Weight||1320g (with fan) 980g (without fan)||Heat Sink: 1.13kg|
|Fan Compatibility||140mm x 150mm x 25mm (with 120mm mounting holes) 140mm x 140mm x 25mm (with 120mm mounting holes) 120mm x 120mm x 25mm||N/A Included Fans: 1 x Silent Wings 135mm PWM 1 x Silent Wings 3 120mm PWM|
|Max. Airflow||140.2 m3/h or 80 CFM 115.5 m3/h (with Low-Noise Adapter) Minimum: 33 CFM||90 CFM Minimum: 34 CFM|
|Max. Noise||19.2 dB(A) (with Low-Noise Adapter) 24.6 dB(A)||24.3 db(A)|
|Voltage||12 V||12 V|
Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 vs Noctua NH-D15 – Comparison
The overall cooling performance that both of these CPU coolers are capable of providing is very similar, with both offering performance that is similar to some 240mm AIO liquid coolers, and even some 360mm AIO liquid coolers. That is very impressive for air CPU coolers.
Noctua NH-D15 air CPU cooler has the same dual-tower CPU cooler design as the Dark Rock Pro 4. It will be able to provide somewhere around 1-3 degrees cooler performance under load when compared to the Dark Rock Pro 4. This depends on many different variables like airflow, case internals, and many other factors that can affect thermal performance. But, if you want the best performance and want to squeeze every last bit of speed out of the processor, then NH-D15 will certainly help you achieve this.
Noctua NH-D15 air CPU cooler has a nice simple design. It has the silver metallic color on the Heat Sink and the fans have the Noctua’s traditional brown color scheme. It has six copper heat pipes that are soldered to the base, which is a nickel-plated copper base. Every fin in both of the stacks of the CPU cooler has been soldered directly to the heat pipes. That allows the low CFM fans to work well and increase the CPU cooler’s efficiency.
The fan mounting system of the Noctua NH-D15 is much easier to use and install if you compare it with the Dark Rock Pro 4’s fan mounting system. Be Quiet! did update the mounting system for the Dark Rock Pro 4, which is quite similar to the NH-D15 and is way easier and simpler than its predecessor, the Dark Rock Pro 3. But, it’s still not as good as the NH-D15’s.
On the other hand, the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 lives up to its name and performs much quieter under load and at idle when compared to the Noctua NH-D15. The Dark Rock Pro 4 will be able to operate at 1-3 decibels lower noise. It isn’t much, but if you want a PC that operates quietly, then the Dark Rock Pro 4 is certainly a better choice. Especially, since both of the CPU coolers have a very similar cooling performance.
The Dark Rock Pro 4 also looks better than the NH-D15. It has a sleek design with a nice matte black finish to it, which will look fantastic in any PC build. Noctua’s brown color scheme doesn’t go with every PC color scheme, but black goes with everything.
It has a top-notch build quality. It has seven heat pipes, which will certainly help in getting the heat away from the processor. Dark Rock Pro 4 CPU cooler’s base has two parts with different metals. The top section of the base has a pre-cooler and is made of aluminum, and the lower part of the base is made of copper and is responsible for transferring heat from the CPU to the heat pipes.
The Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 vs Noctua NH-D15 comparison has proven that both of the air CPU coolers provide excellent performance for the price they come at. Choosing which one is better for your PC build will come down to your personal preference. One thing is clear, you will not be able to get better cooling performance for the price that these coolers come at.
Why the Noctua NH-D15 is better
It offers slightly better cooling performance than the other one. It has a solid build quality. If you simply want the best cooling performance from the CPU cooler to get the best performance from the processor, then Noctua NH-D15 is the better choice for you. Although, it makes very slightly more noise which will not be a problem.
Why Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 is better
On the very first look, it looks better than the NH-D15. The matte black color scheme will go with pretty much any PC build. It also operates at a slightly lower noise than the other one and provides very similar cooling performance. If your main goal is to have a quieter PC, then the Dark Rock Pro 4 is the better choice for you.
How do I know that my case is high/wide enough for the CPU cooler?
There are specifications provided for the maximum CPU cooler height/clearance by most of the manufacturers. Check out the manufacturer’s specifications to confirm whether the CPU cooler will fit inside your PC case or not. If there are no specifications available, then you can measure the distance yourself. First, measure from the motherboard tray to the side panel (if you have a tower PC case) or top panel (if you have a desktop case). If it is bigger than the height of the CPU cooler, then the height/width of your PC case is sufficient.
Do I need an aftermarket CPU cooler?
That depends on your needs. It will keep the processor from thermal throttling because the temperature will not get so high and it will make sure that you get the best performance that the CPU can provide. Although a stock cooler is good enough, if you want to overclock the processor, then you should get an aftermarket CPU cooler because it will provide better and more stable cooling performance to keep the temperature of the CPU in check.
How do I mount the air CPU cooler?
It is a fairly simple task if you know what you’re doing, but some CPU coolers have a little complicated mounting mechanism. All you need to do is take out the already mounted CPU cooler (if there is one already mounted) by unscrewing it from the socket.
You may need some extra installation hardware, but that depends on your motherboard and CPU cooler combination. You may need a bracket that goes behind the motherboard for your CPU cooler to be mounted on. Check if there was a bracket included with the components and make sure which one is appropriate for your motherboard and CPU, and attach them.
Before you go on and put the CPU cooler on the processor and start screwing it in, make sure that you have applied thermal paste on the CPU. Some of the CPU coolers come with pre-applied thermal paste, if it is not then go ahead and apply the thermal paste. Now, simply grab the cooler and hold it over the CPU, and carefully line it up with the screws with the holes in the motherboard or the standoffs that you installed earlier. Just lower the cooler on the CPU.
Just screw it in using an X pattern. Attach fans if you removed any fans from the cooler or still have to install any. See the manual to figure out how they will connect, which depends on the cooler and the fans that you’ve got. Now that you have attached everything, ensure that all of the fans have power. A simple air cooler fan will have a specific connector on the motherboard, it may have “CPU_FAN” written next to it. Regardless of your setup, make sure that you have everything connected to their appropriate power source. Voila! You’re all set.