be quiet! Dark Rock 3 Reviewred454 - June 26, 2014
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be quiet! Dark Rock 3 Testing:
Testing of the Dark Rock 3 will be accomplished by installing the cooler into the test system case, rather than a test bench. Most systems are built and mounted into a (relatively) sealed chassis, so this method will be used to generate the idle and load results to give a real world view as to the cooling performance one can expect, based on the test system listed below. Of course, your results may vary by several degrees due to case design, case fan placement, and ambient air temperature. The CPU load is generated by Prime 95 version 27.9 for a period of two hours, with a cooldown period of one hour after the computer has returned to an idle state. Real Temp 3.70 is used to log the temperatures with the highest and lowest averages across the four cores of the Core i7 4770K test CPU. Ambient temperatures are kept at 24 °C during the testing to minimize the effect of temperature variations. Each cooler is tested with the manufacturer-supplied thermal compound as delivered.
- Processor: Core i7 4770K @ 3.9 GHz (100 MHz x 39)
- CPU Cooling: be quiet! Dark Rock 3
- Motherboard: MSI Z87-GD65
- Memory: Patriot Viper 3 Series Black Mamba PC3-19200 16GB
- Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 770
- PSU: Thermaltake SMART 750W SP-750P
- Hard Drive: Corsair Force GT 240GB SSD
- Optical Drive: ASUS DRW-24B1ST
- OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit SP1
- Chassis: Phanteks Enthoo Primo
- Ambient Temperature: 24 °C
- be quiet! Shadow Rock 2
- Cooler Master Nepton 280L
- Thermaltake BigTyp Revo
- Deepcool Neptwin
- Noctua NH-U12P SE 1366
- Noctua NH-D14
- Noctua NH-D15
- Titan Dragonfly 4
- Noctua NH-U14S
- Deepcool Gammaxx S40
- Reeven Hans RC-1205
- Reeven Justice RC-1204
- Gamer Storm Lucifer
Initially I had some issues with the temperatures. They were high - too high for this style of cooler, so I knew something was not right. Once in a while I will have to reinstall a cooler with a fresh application of thermal paste. Sometimes they just don't seat properly. But the reinstall usually does it. But this time it took several installs, and finally I had to shift the orientation by 90 degrees so the fan was on top, blowing down toward the video card. I was then able to get temperatures that were what I would call in the normal range. And really, I would consider this more of a fluke and not to be expected.
Ok, back to the testing. At idle, the Dark Rock 3 is able to keep the 4770K CPU at 32 °C stock with the included fan, which is no surprise. With the CPU loaded, we are at 69 °C, which is not bad, but a few degrees above what the Shadow Rock 2 tested at a few months ago. I would have expected the Dark Rock 3 to be at least the same as the Shadow Rock 2, if not a degree or so cooler. But that was not the case.
As for overclocking, we max out at 85 °C, which is a bit on the toasty side, but still safe. At 85 °C, the Dark Rock 3 comes in five degrees cooler than the Shadow Rock 2, and in between two Noctua coolers, so it is in good company. The Dark Rock 3 can keep you cool whether your system is a daily driver or a mild gamer. Adding a second fan (not included) is certainly an option. It may drop the temperatures by another degree or so, and as quiet as the SilentWings® fans are, additional fan noise won't be a concern.