Installation and Finished Product
The first thing we did when preparing the Dark Rock 3 for our test rig was to go ahead and mount the two Intel mounting brackets to the base of the cooler with the provided countersunk screws.
We have also kept a hold of the back plate that we have had to mod to fit our specific motherboard's thermal armor. As you can see, it can only go on two ways and still clear the socket, and the Phillips headed studs are ran through the board so we can mount the rest of the hardware to this back plate.
On the top of the motherboard, once the studs are through the motherboard, you need to lock it in place with the black plastic clips. After those are in place, you also need to add the nut that screws over the studs and expands the threads to the same as the nuts that secure the cooler brackets to these stud assemblies.
With the Dark Rock 3 now mounted, we were able to keep our taller flame tips on the Tridents we test with. We are only populating two slots currently, but you can see the fan will still ride low on the fins and not make it sit much higher on the cooler as a lot of others do.
That isn't exactly the whole story, though. If you have the desire to populate all of the slots, you will run into clearance issues. Not only does the fan cover the slot nearest to the CPU, even with low profile sticks in the board, the fan would have to be raised, increasing the overall height.
Once we have the Dark Rock 3 and the motherboard back into the D-Frame, the perspective of size is much easier to see. With this single-tower design not only can I swap out my memory with the cooler still mounted, but we can also access the 8-pin easily, and there are no issues with encroachment into the PCI-E slots.