The Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3

Be Quiet! is a German manufacturer of cooling, case and power PC-related products and one of the few European companies that has managed to push their way into the North American markets. We have checked a few of their power supplies in recent months and most recently saw their new cases and fans at Computex. For this review the company supplied us with the best and largest cooler they currently offer, the Dark Rock Pro 3.

The Dark Rock Pro 3 is supplied into a bizarrely shaped, deep cardboard box, well protected within thick layers of polyethylene foam and cardboard walls. A very basic black and white leaflet with installation instructions and the absolute necessary parts for the mounting of the cooler are supplied, nothing more, with the sole exception of two wire clips for those that want to install a third fan on the cooler.

  

Much as its name suggests, the Dark Rock Pro 3 is a very large, dark cooler. It is a symmetric dual tower design, meaning that the seven 6 mm heatpipes run through the base and to a separate cooling tower on either side. A metallic black top cover extends across the entire cooling body, covering both towers and the middle cooling fan but leaving the front fan exposed. With the exception of the black top cover, everything else is nickel-plated.

The front of each tower forms a jagged saw tooth design facing the fan that inclines inwards toward the center of the tower, while the rear forms a geometric pattern fashioned from half-octagons. The jagged front is supposed to reduce harsh airflow state transitions and aerodynamic noise, but the rear is most likely shaped for aesthetic purposes only.

The company is using their own SilentWings series fans on the Dark Rock Pro 3. The dimensions of each fan differs, with a 135 mm fan installed between the towers and an 120 mm fan at the front of the cooler. Still, both fans share the same features, such as the decoupling frames, wavy blades and six pole engines with fluid dynamic bearings. They are very high quality and expensive models, yet they are optimized for low noise operation, not high static pressure, which we will see the results of in the testing.

Be Quiet! paid a lot of attention to the base of the Dark Rock Pro 3. It is a very solid construct, forming a small heatsink, possibly to aid the overall performance of the cooler a little bit. The base has been polished to a perfect mirror finish, with no imperfections to be found.

Introduction The Cryorig R1 Ultimate
POST A COMMENT

135 Comments

View All Comments

  • mrvco - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    I agree. It would be helpful to know how the 212 compares both with regards to cooling and quietness. I typically prefer "quieter" so I'd be curious to know how much better the "Dark Rock Pro 3" is than the 212... is it $40+ better? Reply
  • Eidigean - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    I actually bought the 212 and added a second fan to it, not because it was cheap, but because it would fit between the 2x2 banks of memory on my Rampage IV Formula perfectly (with 1 mm of space on either side) allowing the tall memory heatsinks to rise up, and inconsequentially get a breeze from the fans. The CPU runs nice and cool (and quiet) with a modest overclock.

    I'd get the offset Noctua NH-D15S if I ever upgrade from a 4 core 3820 to a 6 core 4930K.
    Reply
  • effortless - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    Exactly my thoughts. The Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO needs to be included in this test, to show exactly what 90% who buys CPU coolers are missing out on, or eventually not missing out on. Reply
  • randomlinh - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    I'm confused about your complaint. What's wrong w/ the 212? What's wrong w/ saving $10 for 1 deg celcius difference?

    I genuinely don't know, I have a 212 from almost 4 yrs ago? It works. It's quiet (for the time). The only complaint is if I try to go super small form factor, it won't work.
    Reply
  • icrf - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    If it were only $10 I might agree with you, but when it's half the price, and sometimes a whole lot less, it makes a lot of sense. I looked at the Noctua when I built my 5820 last fall, and couldn't justify the 2.5x price. For $35, the 212 EVO is a great cooler. As good as the Noctua is, it's not two and a half times as good. That's why the 212 is so popular. It's in the proverbial sweet spot. Reply
  • andrewaggb - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    I agree. I've bought several 212 EVO's and I've been very happy with them. I was mostly looking for something that would run quiet under load (without overclocking) and I think they've been great. I've used some less expensive coolers and they were much worse - so in my opinion it's the cheapest cooler that met my needs. Reply
  • Araemo - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    Obsession is pretty harsh given the facts... I went and looked up a comparison over on frostytech, and it looks like the Hyper 212 evo is only 2C hotter than the Noctua chosen as the realistic 'best choice'.. for 1/3 the price. Given that my ambient temps change by more than that 2C over the course of a year, 2C is never the stability margin I use on my overclocks. Reply
  • Nfarce - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    Except that the 212 is not a "premium" cooler. When you start getting into extreme overclocks like I have (i5 4690k @4.8GHz, or a 23% overclock) and into water cooling needs territory, the 212 falls well more than a 2C behind which is where it is on lower level overclocks (5-15%) on my chip. Reply
  • StrangerGuy - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    Who cares whether if the 212 isn't a "premium" cooler when I can simply buy the 4790K at stock 4.4GHz instead of premium cooling to barely OC a 4690K past a 4790K. You overclockers STILL think there is tremendous value to be had with OCing when the 2500K ship have long sailed. Reply
  • Nfarce - Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - link

    According to my benchmark tests in games and applications like Sony Vegas Studio, my overclock to 4.8GHz yields quite a bit of performance increase over the stock turbo of 3.9GHz. Oh and since I was on a budget and game about 80% of the time on that 4690K rig, I justified saving the extra $100 over a 4790K and put it towards a better GPU solution.

    And yes, I still have a 2500K build as well (not sure what that has to do with the price of ketchup), which used to be overclocked to 4.6GHz on that NH-D14 cooler (it is now relegated to backup duties and running at stock speeds on a Zalman 9700LED cooler). Which, incidentally, roughly equals the performance of my Devil's Canyon chip running at 4.2GHz.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now