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Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 Review

Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 Review

Manufacturer: BeQuiet
UK price (as reviewed):
£65.99 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $89.90 (ex TAX)

You might wonder what large expensive air coolers are still doing hanging around in the enthusiast scene but the fact remains that they can represent some of the best cooling and lowest noise CPU coolers have to offer. Noctua's NH-D15 is a classic example (see our review here - it was pretty pricey, £10 more than the Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 we're looking at today, but was fairly easy to install and blissfully quiet. So much so that it picked up top marks in both our test systems.

Noctua has been an acquired taste for some due to its colour scheme, although it does have some new models in the works that do away with the beige and brown. However, Be Quiet! certainly can't be accused of producing unattractive coolers. They've continually impressed us with their build quality and aesthetics and to be sure the reasons their's an extra premium to pay for them is blindingly obvious.

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The Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 is no exception. The company's new flashship dual-fan cooler is a monster, but actually retails for a fair bit less than other giant coolers we've seem recently. Even so, at £65, it's in direct competition with the likes of Corsair's H75, so it won't have it all its own way. It's got the cooling to cope, though, and sports a single 120mm SilentWings fan at the front and larger 135mm fan in the centre.

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Both are removable and use some fairly finger-friendly fan clips to hold them in place while the 120mm model spins slightly faster at maximum speed - 1,700rpm vs 1,400rpm for the 135mm fan. The cooler itself is fairly compact as far as dual-fan coolers go. It's just 163mm high and 150mm deep, although the height will mean it sits closer to your memory as a result.

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The heatsink sports 90 aluminium fins in a fairly dense arrangement with the base being made up of a nickel-plated copper contact plate. There are seven 6mm heatpipes, again nickel-plated, that feed both heatsink stacks while the contact plate also sports small fins to help shed some heat here too.

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The fans, which sit on fluid dynamic bearings, are powered by two 4-pin PWM connectors, although these reduce into one using an included adaptor. There's no resistor cables here, though, although being 4-pin connectors, most motherboards will likely offer a modecum of fan control but that's partly where the extra cash is required for more expensive coolers such as the Noctua.

Be Quiet!'s trademark heatpipe caps and brushed aluminium heatsink top really to add a quality, exclusive feel to the Dark Rock Pro 3 and as it will be very visible through side panels and the like, it's clearly scoring highly here if aesthetics are at all important to you. Installation, however, is sadly somewhere it's going to lose points.

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Installing the cooler with the motherboard mounted in the case is out of the question, but even once you've removed it, you'll be looking at a pretty fiddly half an hour or so dealing with four tiny nuts and a spanner along with a backplate and four mounting pins. Due to the coolers low height, getting the spanner to the nuts proved tedious and you'll need to remove some memory modules too. On LGA2011 this presented a bit of an issue - with the modules removed and the cooler fitted, we were then barely able to squeeze the modules back in under the cooler. To be on the safe side here, especially with LGA2011 systems, we strongly suggest using standard-height modules.

Specifications

  • Compatibility Intel: LGA115x, LGA2011; AMD: AM3(+), AM2(+), FM2(+), FM1
  • Size (with fans)(mm) 137 x 150 x 163
  • Fan size (mm) 1 120 x 120 x 25, 1 x 135 x 135 x 22 (W x D x H)
  • Fan(s) 1 x 120mm,1 x 135mm (included), 1,700/1,400rpm
  • Stated Noise21.5/20.8dBA
  • Extras None