Over the last couple of years, we have seen quite a few things from the be quiet! lineup. Whether it be with coolers, or power supplies, they have kept us pretty busy here at TweakTown. While I did miss out on the original iterations of their cooler designs, when I was brought up to speed on what they had to offer, it did not take long to realize they were very tough competition for the rest of the air cooling segment. While their coolers may be a bit on the larger side, they have all been black in order to blend into the system. They have also delivered some of the lowest audio results in our testing, and at the same time, they are more than capable of standing tall on the thermal charts. For these reasons, there is a bit of excitement as we now get to look at their third generation of designs.
We have seen many a dual-tower design in the labs over the years (starting off with Noctua and the D-14), but over the years, many other designs have surfaced. Some of these designs were outright clones; while in other designs, you could really see where the design team really went to work implementing all of the tricks of the trade to try to squeeze more performance out of a basic concept.
There are quite a few things a company can design into the cooler, things like closed sides to the fins, textures added into the fin working like dimples in a golf ball, offsetting designs to the fins, extra spacing, and things of that nature. However, no matter the design implementation, it also takes a good pair of fans in the design to be able to rid the cooler of the mass amounts of heat produced by today's top-tier processors.
While this latest incarnation from be quiet!, the Dark Rock Pro 3, keeps the seven heat pipes, the black nickel plating, and black brushed aluminum top plate that has been a success for them, this time there are some newer ideas of how it all should be implemented. On top of that, they have changed a few things about the design in subtle ways, to gain more efficiency. Nevertheless, the one thing that remains a constant (aside from the product name) is that be quiet! did not mess with the fans that have made them rank as well as they have in our audio charts. Some things are better unaddressed, because if it isn't broken, why fix it?
With all of this in mind, I say we dive right into it, to see what the Dark Rock Pro 3 offers our test bench, and to see if this dual-tower cooler from be quiet! should in fact be on your "must-have" list next time you're building a new PC.