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.

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  • mr_tawan - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    Used to have 212+ once. Later I swapped out for a cheap closed-loop. Though the CPU temp is a few C lower, the closed-loop was much louder than the 212+ (due the the 'pump whine').

    Years later I upgrade the rig to a Core i5, which is not really that hot, and I'm not interested in overclocking anymore (being more mature I guess).

    I find the 212 is pretty good for its price. It's a great entry-level cooler for those who want to upgrade. I also think that it could serve well as a baseline for the comparision.
    Reply
  • zodiacfml - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    I didn't know that overclocking enthusiast would prefer a lower performing heatsink instead of the best available. The reason is simple; CPUs consume less power throughout the years even with continuous but non synthetic workloads including gaming.

    Many years ago, I was a fan of watercooling then big-air heatsinks then not anymore. It is just not logical anymore as they are more expensive, larger, and cumbersome.
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    To me, the whole point of overclocking is to get a better cpu than what you paid for. So overpaying for a heat sink doesn't make sense - the whole point is to get the best possible performance, while spending the least amount of money. At least that is what overclocking means to me, and I'm sure a lot of other people as well. Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    That's usually how most people start with overclocking. For others, it's getting the best performance regardless. That's why people still that the i7-K and push it, rather than a Pentium-K and tweak it. Reply
  • kmmatney - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    I bought my Hyper 212 for $19.99 - a much bigger savings than $10. It does the job, and in the end my overclock was not limited by temperature, but by the CPU itself. A more expensive heatsink wouldn't gain me anything. Reply
  • aj654987 - Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - link

    What are you even talking about. The 212 is $35 and half the cost of many of these heatsinks. Its been the gold standard for years, if you only get another 1 C out of a HSF that cost double then its not worth it. Reply
  • CummingsSM - Thursday, July 9, 2015 - link

    Yep. You save $9.99 and then this happens: https://i.imgur.com/COC5qW9.jpg

    (In case someone is wondering: No, I didn't over-torque it, the bolt got caught in the back-plate and sheared under the power of a screwdriver lightly applied; And yes, that bolt is hollow; And yes, that is the mounting hardware from a CM 212 EVO; And yes, I'm done buying CM products.)
    Reply
  • LittleLeo - Thursday, July 9, 2015 - link

    Or a Beer and a bag of chips Reply
  • tabascosauz - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    Are you kidding me? Intel's CPUs might be efficient compared to AMD's, but there is hardly a valid reason to dismiss the dual-tower crowd. Intel's CPUs are hotter than they have been in years, thermal performance having declined steadily since Sandy Bridge due to sh*ttier and sh*ttier TIM and other reasons. Reply
  • rickon66 - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    Regarding the CM 212+/EVO -They did not want to show a $25 cooler that beat the expensive guys. Reply

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