be quiet! Dark Rock 3 Reviewred454 -
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be quiet! Dark Rock 3 Conclusion:
The be quiet! Dark Rock 3 has several improvements over the previous design, such as improved dynamic wave-contour cooling fins with enhanced cooling area, small dimples on the surface to increase air circulation, six high-performance heat pipes with copper lining and aluminum caps, 190W TDP, and a new arrangement of heat pipes to enhance the cooling capacity. The included single PWM fan quietly gets the job done at stock settings, and even keeps the heat under control with a mild overclock. The diamond-cut aluminum top cap covers the heat pipe stubs, so if you have a case with a side panel window, you can proudly show off the Dark Rock 3.
Installation is a little more involved, especially if you're placing it in an existing system. My experience with be quiet! CPU coolers had me planning to remove the RAM and video card as the first steps. And it is safe to say that almost anyone who buys an aftermarket CPU cooler is likely not intimidated by having to remove a few componets to get the job done. I usually enjoy the opportunities to spend some time inside my case, so having to remove the RAM modules and the video card does not usually bother me, however this install did take me a little more time. I suspect that the issues I had are not normal, and more of a fluke. Regardless, I see some room for improvement with the mounting hardware. I have seen less expensive (and less attractive) coolers with more advanced mounting hardware. All four of my RAM slots are accessible with the Dark Rock 3, and if you use RAM with tall heat spreaders, you can just move the fan up a little for clearance.
So let's talk about performance. It can easily handle the thermal load of normal daily use. Stock performance is just fine. Overclocked and at load, the Dark Rock 3 still keeps the temps under control. But keep in mind that if you have a case that is perhaps a little lacking in the airflow department, along with a video card dumping excess heat, you may end up pushing the thermal limits of an overclocked CPU. Make sure you have plenty of airflow through your case.
Be quiet! gives you a three-year warranty and great build quality to go along with the attractive dark nickel finish. Priced at around $75, it is a little toward the higher end of the spectrum. If you're thinking about an air cooling solution and you don't load your system to the limits, then the Dark Rock 3 should be able to handle the load. On the box it says, "NO COMPROMISE SILENCE AND PERFORMANCE" and I think the be quiet! Dark Rock 3 delivers.
- Silent operation
- RAM clearance
- Attractive dark nickel finish
- Three-year warranty
- AMD & Intel socket compatibility
- Installation is a bit cumbersome