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be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 Review

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be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 Conclusion:

The be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 is definitely an attractive cooler. It 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, seven high-performance heat pipes with copper lining and aluminum caps, 250W TDP, and a new arrangement of heat pipes to enhance the cooling capacity. The included PWM fans quietly get the job done at stock settings, and even keep 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 Pro 3.

Installation is not horrible, but it does take some time - especially if you're upgrading an existing system. The size of the cooler comes into play in that accessibility to the mounting hardware is restricted. Not a show stopper, but my experience with be quiet! CPU coolers had me planning to remove the RAM and video card as the first steps. That's probably not a problem for most people though, as it is probably safe to say that almost anyone who buys an aftermarket CPU cooler is likely not intimidated by having to remove a few components 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 a little more time. Fortunately, most of us don't change coolers every week or so - well, unless you happen to review coolers like I do! Regardless, I definitely see some room for improvement with the mounting hardware. I have seen less expensive (and less attractive) coolers with more advanced and user-friendly mounting hardware. This is perhaps a good opportunity for be quiet! to gain some ground on future designs. This cooler is a little sensitive to RAM size, so tall modules may cause you some problems, particularly if you use all four RAM slots. Low profile RAM will be fine, but check for clearance if you use RAM with tall heat spreaders.

How about performance? The Dark Rock Pro 3 can easily handle the thermal load of normal daily use and the stock performance is just fine. Overclock and crank up the load, and the Dark Rock Pro 3 still keeps the temperatures quietly 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 in your case, you may end up pushing the thermal limits of an overclocked CPU. Make sure you have plenty of airflow through your case.

So how does it compare to the little brother, the Dark Rock 3? Is the Dark Rock Pro 3 worth the extra money? We are only talking about $15, and there is not really a large performance gap. They are both quiet, even at full throttle, and the smaller Dark Rock 3 is a little easier to install. But, for only $15 more, you get a second fan, load temps that are a few degrees cooler, and an impressive looking cooler. I would be on the middle of the fence on this one. I like both of them, so it is up to the toss of the coin for me.

Be quiet! gives you a three-year warranty and, while I may not be a fan of the mounting system, the Dark Rock Pro 3 does have great build quality to go along with the attractive dark nickel finish. Priced at around $89, it is toward the higher end of the spectrum. If you're thinking about an air cooling solution and you don't constantly load your system to the limits, then the Dark Rock Pro 3 should be on your list. On the box it says, "NO COMPROMISE SILENCE AND PERFORMANCE" and I think the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 lives up to the claim.

 

Pros:

  • Silent operation
  • RAM clearance (short RAM is fine)
  • Attractive dark nickel finish
  • Three-year warranty
  • AMD & Intel socket compatibility

Cons:

  • Installation is a bit tedious
  • RAM clearance (tall RAM may be a problem)
OCC Gold



  1. be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3: Closer Look (Continued)
  3. be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3: Specifications & Features
  4. be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 Testing: Setup & Results
  5. be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3: Conclusion
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