be quiet! Dark Rock 3 Reviewred454 - June 26, 2014
Category: CPU Cooling
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be quiet! Dark Rock 3 Introduction:
Be quiet! is one of Germany's top manufacturers of power supplies and is well known outside the US, but is looking to break into the US market with a full line of power supplies and high end air cooling solutions, including the Dark Rock and Shadow Rock series of coolers. Be quiet! has won the Manufacturer of the Year award six times in a row from the German hardware magazine PC Games Hardware and recently won the prestigious Red Dot Design Award for 2014.
The Dark Rock 3 is be quiet!'s single-tower, single-fan 190W TDP cooling solution that has been refreshed and upgraded over the previous Dark Rock 2 model. The Dark Rock 3 features the SilentWings® PWM 140mm fan, six large diameter (6mm) heat pipes, and dynamic wave-contour cooling fins all in an attractive dark nickel finish. It touts several improvements over previous models, including improved dynamic wave-contour cooling fins with enhanced cooling area and small dots (dimples) on the fin surface to increase air circulation and contribute to high convection efficiency. The six high-performance heat pipes have a copper lining and aluminum caps to carry heat to the optimal location on the cooling fins. The new arrangement of the heat pipes also enhances the cooling capacity.
If you are not familiar with the Dark Rock series, be quiet! has (in ascending TDP order) the Dark Rock Advanced C1 (180W), the Dark Rock 3 (190W), and the Dark Rock 3 Pro (250W). From the be quiet! website: "Dark Rock 3 offers top performance-to-noise ratio and the highest reliability available. Improved cooling efficiency (190W TDP) and really silent operation (only 21.1dB(A) at maximum speed) mean this cooler strikes the perfect balance between cooling and serenity — truly silence and performance without compromises." So today we will test all the improvements and see just how well the Dark 3 can silently handle the heat.
be quiet! Dark Rock 3 Closer Look:
The packaging for the be quiet! Dark Rock 3 reflects the name of the cooler, with a black background showing the cooler front and center on the front panel. Under the image is the name "Dark Rock 3" along with the fact that this cooler can manage a 190W thermal load.
The back side of the package has a technical drawing of the cooler, a list of the specifications, and descriptions of the features, such as the aluminum top plate, low turbulence cooling fin design, and six high-performance 6mm heat pipes. On the side panels there are a brief description of the features in five languages and a list of awards.
Opening the box, the be quiet! logo pops out at you right away. I'll bet that round cut out in the top foam was put there on purpose! The closed-cell flexible foam forms a three-sided envelope to prevent damage to the fan and large fin array and seems more than adequate. The cooler sits on the foam, which also protects the base. There is a separate cardboard box that contains the AMD and Intel hardware, along with the base plate and thermal paste.
Opening the hardware box, you are greeted by three clear plastic bags with all the mounting hardware you need for the installation, as well as the instructions and the thermal paste. There is also a small wrench that will come in handy a little later. There is a separate sheet with the warranty info, while the instructions are on a single folded sheet in five languages. The illustrations and text are clear and easy to follow. So let's see how the Dark Rock 3 stacks up!