As a rule of thumb there are two types of CPU cooler on the market. The “conventional” and most common design which is a “Tower-Heatsink” design. This consists of one, two or sometimes three aluminium heatsink “towers” with fans in between them and they are generally quite tall – around 160mm.
The second type of CPU cooler is a “Top-Down” style where there is normally a single aluminium heatsink which is positioned horizontally to reduce height. The “Top-Down” is reflective of the fact there is normally a fan at the top blowing downwards. Sometimes these types of cooler can equip two fans but normally there isn’t enough space for a fan below.
There are other coolers that won’t fall into either of these categories, the No Fan CR-95C, and some that fall into both, the Prolimatech Genesis, but as a general rule these coolers are very rare.
Today we have a cooler with is categorised into the “Top-Down” category, a hint perhaps given away by the “TopFlow” included in the name. Be Quiet! are sort of renowned for the matte-black design of their coolers and the Shadow Rock TopFlow bucks this trend abruptly as its nearly entirely silver metallic with a black 135mm Silent Wings PWM fan.
The top-down approach isn’t the most effective design for performance, consequently it will require a great combination of features if this is going to win an award because for a top-down cooler the Shadow Rock isn’t that much smaller in height than a tower heatsink.
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