be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 Reviewred454 -
Category: CPU Cooling
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be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 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 Pro 3 is be quiet!'s dual-tower, dual-fan cooling solution that has been refreshed and upgraded over the previous Dark Rock Pro 2 model. Like the previous model, the Dark Rock Pro 3 features two fans: the SilentWings® PWM 120mm fan and the SilentWings® PWM 140mm fan. We also have seven large diameter (6mm) heat pipes, along with the dynamic wave-contour cooling fins. Of course we still retain the attractive dark nickel finish.
The Dark Rock Pro 3 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 seven 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. The TDP has increased over the Pro 2 by 30 watts, so we are at a TDP of 250 watts with the new Dark Rock Pro 3.
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 Pro 3 offers top performance-to-noise ratio and the highest reliability available. Improved cooling efficiency (250W TDP) and really silent operation (only 26.1dB(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 put all the improvements to the test and see just how well the Dark Rock Pro 3 can silently handle the heat.
be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 Closer Look:
The packaging for the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 clearly shows 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 Pro 3" along with the fact that this cooler is designed for a 250W 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 seven 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 Pro 3 stacks up!