CPU Cooling can be a very daunting task when trying to decide on parts for a new build. With so many All in one and custom loop water cooling solutions, can air cooling still be a viable option? Well, the answer is, of course! Some of the top-end air coolers can do just a good job at cooling as some of the 120/240mm AIO CPU coolers so it really all comes down to personal preference. There are a good few companies who still focus on just the air side of things as far as CPU cooling goes and fair play to them as they offer some of the best air coolers on the market. If you’re not keen on putting something with water inside it, inside your PC, then you will definitely want to take a look at the rest of this review.
- Manufacturer Website: be quiet!
- Product Page: Dark Rock 3
- Purchase on Amazon UK: £53.96 At the time of review
- Purchase on Amazon US: $89.95 At the time of review
Today we will be taking a look at the be quiet! Dark Rock 3 CPU cooler which comes equipped with one of be quiet!’s 135mm Silent Wings fans. The Silent Wings fans offer great airflow, even through heatsinks and are very quiet, which is always a plus. The Dark Rock 3 is definitely a great looking CPU cooler with an all black design, it will definitely look amazing in any PC build. The Dark Rock 3 features aluminium fins with a copper base as we see from most top-end air CPU coolers on the market these days and as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Also, as with most CPU coolers these days the Dark Rock 3 is compatible with most Intel and AMD socket types so you should be able to use this on most PC’s you can get your hands on. Enough of the talk, though, let’s take a look at the specifications and get into the fun part, the closer look.
General fan specifications
Logistics data, RRP
There is no denying that the be quiet! Dark Rock 3 is definitely a great looking cooler. It features an all black design, even the aluminium fins have a dark nickel treatment to them. One the top we can see 12x caps, 6 on each side and these are to cap off the u-shaped heat pipes. be quiet! have also added a nice top plate to the Dark Rock 3 to make it look just that much nicer.
The fan is easily attached to the heatsink VIA the included retention clips. While only one is included, the Dark Rock 3 can accommodate two fans, one on each side if you need that bit of extra cooling power from a push/pull setup.
One of the things companies do to help improve the airflow through the heatsinks is given them a bit of a unique design. As we can see in the photo below, be quiet! has gone with a nice multi-level layered effect for the stacking of the fins on the Dark Rock 3.
The dark nickel look is simply amazing and really needs to be seen in person to be appreciated. The only issue I have with it is how easy finger prints are left on it, you can pretty much just think about touching it and a fingerprint will appear on it.
The Silent Wings fan is definitely a great fan, it offers both a pleasing aesthetic and great performance thanks in part to its unique shaped fan blades.
Installation literally does not get much easier than this, at least on the 2011-3 socket. First up, install the 4x screws into each one of the corners around the CPU socket.
Next up, find the correct retention bars for your socket type and screw them onto the base of the heatsink, using two screws on each side.
To finish things off, apply some thermal paste onto the CPU, set the Dark Rock 3 on top of the CPU making sure the holes from the retention brackets lined up with the screws that were previously installed and then use the included nuts to securely screw it into place. That’s it! It really takes no time at all to get this bad boy up and running!
Performance and Testing
For our testing, we use the Prime 95 stress testing program to make all the cores on our CPU run at 100% then we monitor them with CoreTemp and CPU-Z.
To have the best chance of having like for like results, all testing is done in an open air environment.
- Windows 10 with all the latest updates
- Intel i7 5820K CPU Stock / 4.0GHz @1.300V OC
- MSI X99S SLI Plus Motherboard
- 16GB Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 4x4GB @ 2400Mhz RAM
- Samsung 840 Evo 250GB SSD
- Cooler Master V650 Power Supply
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 770 2GB GPU
I’ve put the Dark Rock 3 through its paces and while the price could be a bit better, it’s still a very solid cooler. The Silent Wings fan combined with those dark nickel fins really do look amazing and will add a bit of class to any build. With that said, let’s go ahead and finish this review up with a recap.
Performance wise, the Dark Rock 3 fits in right where I would expect it to. Out of all the coolers we have tested here at Enos Tech so far, the Dark Rock 3 is the best single fan cooler on record. However, not only does it offer great cooling performance, it is also features one of the quietest fans we have tested on a CPU cooler as well which is very nice. These days, a lot of people are very conscious of noise so having something this quiet perform as well as it does is amazing. be quiet! have done an amazing job at making sure the Dark Rock 3 is a great all around cooler. For those looking for a bit of extra performance, let’s not forget that you can easily attach the 2nd fan onto the Dark Rock 3 which will allow it to offer even better cooling performance.
This is probably my favourite part of the cooler, the design. The Dark Rock 3 features a mostly all-black design to it thanks to the Silent Wings fan and the dark nickel aluminium fins. This cooler really needs to be seen in person to be properly appreciated for its aesthetical appearance as it really is just amazingly beautiful. Aside from the aesthetics, it is quite obvious that be quiet! have done a great job at designing this from an engineering standpoint as it does offer some amazing performance. The 6 u-shaped copper heat pipes and copper base allow for fast and efficient dissipation of heat which is extremely important when running your CPU at higher loads.
Unfortunately, I feel the Dark Rock 3 is a tad overpriced at the moment. Not majorly, but there are a few other coolers on the market that while bigger, offer a bit better performance for around the same price. If be quiet! could give us a small price cut it would really help to make the Dark Rock 3 one of the best single tower air coolers on the market. On the other hand, it’s not extremely overpriced so if you fall in love with its looks and really want it, you won’t feel too bad purchasing it, especially if you can find it on offer from you preferred retailer.
I would like to thank be quiet! for sending in their Dark Rock 3 CPU cooler for review. e