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be quiet! Dark Rock 3 CPU Cooler Review

be quiet! Dark Rock 3 CPU Cooler Review
We have seen the third-generation Dark Rock Pro cooler, but now we have a look at the single tower design in the Dark Rock 3 from be quiet!
| CPU Air Coolers in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Mar 14, 2014 2:13 am
TweakTown Rating: 94%Manufacturer: be quiet!

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

 

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Just last month, we had a chance to take a look at the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3. In fact, we were sent said cooler as soon as it was released and even before retail stock was available. Looking back to the DRP3, we were given a dual-tower cooler that covered most of the top half of the motherboard, which made accessing screws a bit tough.

 

Mounting the cooler took sleight of hand and a bit of magic, and it even blocked off three of the four DIMM slots, which made memory choice a huge concern. On the flip side, the cooler performed well, and as with anything from be quiet! that we have had the pleasure of testing, it was near silent at any stage of the game.

 

Things change slightly as we now take a look at their newest solution in CPU air cooling. Many of the problems or issues that show up with the DRP3 are gone with this design: the mounting becomes much easier, memory clearance is much less of an issue, and since this is a single tower design, we no longer are taking the majority of the top of the motherboard with this cooler, making getting the motherboard mounted into a chassis with the cooler already mounted an easy task to accomplish.

 

Today, we will be getting very close and personal with the newest of be quiet! coolers, the Dark Rock 3. We addressed the single tower nature of this air cooler, but behind this design is a lot of engineering and tricks of the trade being applied to hopefully take this silent single tower into the charts at a respectable level. One thing that remains a constant: no matter the performance levels achieved, the major selling point to all be quiet! products is the near silence afforded to the users when sitting at idle or allowing their SilentWings fans to spool all the way up under gaming or benching.

 

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As we see in the chart, be quiet! has no issues putting it all on the table for potential buyers to educate themselves with what they have to offer. Right out of the gate, we start with the cooler dimensions. It shows the main assembly to be 97mm long, 137mm wide, and 160mm in height. It also shows us that this cooler weighs in at 976 grams fully assembled and boasts a TDP of 190W. The chart then goes on to show all of the Intel and AMD mounting compatibility. It also shows that we receive a single SilentWings PWM 135mm fan and covers the noise level for said fan at various power levels.

 

The next section of the chart specifies information about the cooler body. The dimensions are, of course, smaller once the fan is removed, and the measurements reflect that. We are also given the fin count so we don't have to do it ourselves. This is also where be quiet! covers the aluminum used in the 50 fins, the copper used in the heat pipes, and the CNC milled base. The last bits mentioned in this section cover the six 6mm diameter heat pipes used in this design, the fact the aluminum bits of the cooler have dark nickel plating applied to them to dress things up a bit, and the features that follow the "Dark" part of this cooler's naming.

 

The last section then covers the fan supplied with the Dark Rock 3. This fan is 135mm in diameter and is 25mm thick. It is said to spin at 1400 RPM. With maximum power offered to it, it offers 68.3 CFM of airflow and also offers 2.1mmH2O of static pressure. The nine blades of the hub spin on a fluid dynamic bearing. The chart also covers the rated voltage of 12V, the maximum current of 0.11A, and the 1.56W this fan pulls when powered via the 4-pin PWM connection at the end of 220mm fan cable. We also see that the SilentWings PWM 135mm fan has a life expectancy of 300,000 hours, which we think is a typo because 300,000 hours works out to something like 34 years of run time.

 

Just like with our DRP3 sample from be quiet!, this Dark Rock 3 also arrived well ahead of schedule, and, while not on store shelves as we write this, we are privy to the MSRP pricing. Since we know the dual-tower DRP3 was set with an MSRP of $89.99, we expected a lower price for this single-tower design. That being said, the $69.99 US dollar MSRP set for the Dark Rock 3 is very reasonable, and while breaking our old $50 comfort mark we used to talk about all the time, with these tough times in the economy, pricing is bound to rise some, and we feel that on paper, and just looking at what this design offers, the MSRP is on point and not that unreasonable.

 

At this point, you may as well get comfortable and settle in for the latest release from be quiet! in the form of the Dark Rock 3. We plan to put this cooler through all the same testing all of our samples receive and see just how well be quiet! and this Dark Rock 3 can compete with other space saving tower coolers as well as comparing it on the larger scale against all other solutions. Hopefully, if the noise levels don't win you over, the styling, accessibility to the rest of the system, and its performance levels will send you hunting this cooler down to put in your own system.

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