Starting with the good, we have a single tower cooler that won't dent the bank account when obtaining it, and that is huge to many if not all users! With that acceptable asking price, you get a CPU cooler that looks stunning when viewed through tempered glass case windows, and it is free of any clearance issues such as motherboard screws, 8-pin access, PCI-e slot functionality, or RAM on either side of the tower! We appreciate that we get all of the parts needed to make every aspect of installation and use as easy on the user as possible. Including a screwdriver is all the rage now, and we got one with this affordable cooler! We did not have to pay $80 or more for the sort of support and attention to detail that was provided with the Shadow Rock 3.
As to the bad, well, it isn't bad, just things to consider. Do not be like us and try to stand the tower without a fan attached, as the center of gravity of the Shadow Rock 3 will fight you every time! Beyond that, we only have an issue with the fan supplied with the tower. Not that it is an awful choice, quite the contrary. Considering it takes 1600 RPM to get all of that pressure and a whopping 38.5 CFM at max, we feel that the Shadow Rock 3 does damn well! The overclocked results were with roughly just 28 CFM of airflow, and our stock chart was with only 20 CFM. Think about that a second!
That is why we mentioned the fan choice, as we feel that with something a bit more powerful, while still keeping noise at bay, this is a design with the potential to get to the top of the charts. The design is that efficient! Just that you will need a more powerful fan to accomplish it. Since this cooler is not going to break the bank as it ships, considering you could strap a better fan on it and be in the $70 to $80 range for potentially chart-topping performance, it could be worth it if your pockets are deep enough to invest.
When it comes to the Shadow Rock 3, it is a significant advancement on the previous design, with much sleeker lines and much improved aesthetic appeal. The price is just below $50, which is something we love when it comes to air cooling and call us old school, but we feel this is still the magic price for reliable solutions in air cooling. Be Quiet sticks to their guns on the silence front, and were still able to do better than average, and surpass more expensive options.
It may not be the best performer out of the box, but we still hold this cooler in high regard for the efficiency of this design, the potential that is just waiting to be taken advantage of, and the fact that you get everything you need to get underway! While scoring will take a bit of a hit, we still think that the Be Quiet Shadow Rock is good enough out of the box, and even better, for those who don't mind trying other fan options.
The Bottom Line
The Shadow Rock 3 hit the nail on the head visually, and performs fair, but not great. However, you do get a lot for the investment, and while we will still recommend this cooler, it will come with the added cost of a better fan! be quiet! is close here, and we would love a revision with a fan change.