Page 1: Test: be quiet! Dark Rock 3
Earlier this year we tested the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3, the big brother of the Dark Rock 3, so now it's time to have a look at the smaller Dark Rock. be quiet! aims to appeal to price-conscious buyers and convince them with a solid performance at a very low noise level. Our review will show whether the cooler can live up to its expectations.
Probably the most obvious difference between the be quiet! Dark Rock 3 and its big brother, the Dark Rock Pro 3, is its size. The Dark Rock Pro 3 is a as twin-tower cooler, it's significantly bulkier, whereas the Dark Rock 3 is a much smaller and narrower single-tower cooler, it's much handier and will occupy much less space.
It also makes use of the stanard fan, a 140mm Silent Wings PWM version, as well as numerous detail improvements to the heatsink and the cooling concept. The Dark Rock 3 is three millimeters smaller in heigth than its predecessor, so as to meet the customers feedback which most demanded for a higher compatibility with smaller computer cases. To ensure that the cooling surface is still big enough, the cooler is a bit wider, and features mini heatsink on top of the bottom plate.
The included fan of the Silent Wings series has a new motor, with six instead of four poles. The use of the new motor is said to increase efficiency while reducing wear. Furthermore, the noise of the fan seems to have been somewhat reduced thanks to this new engine.
Another unique feature of the Dark Rock 3 is its completely nickel-plated and black anodized heatsink, making for a very elegant and restrained look. In particular, the top-finishing of black anodized aluminum elements is eye-catching, and in this price range, it's anything but granted.
It has been available in stores since the beginning of the year, and currently costs just over 50 Euros.
The direct competition of the Dark Rock 3 consists mainly of renowned air coolers and classics such as the new Noctua NH-D15, the Noctua NH-D14 SE2011, Phanteks PH TC14PE and the EKL Alpenföhn K2 - as well as a few all-in-one water cooling systems. Our database also includes are normal tower coolers like the Akasa Venom, the Prolimatech Megahalems, the Arctic Cooling Freezer i30 and the Alpenföhn Brocken 2.
Our test database has been growing steadily after the relaunch of the CPU cooler tests at the beginning of 2013, and since our test system has found its place in the new and large NZXT Phantom 820, the test system provides adequate space for all kinds of cooler types, and even allows testing of the larger AiO water cooling systems with 280 mm fans. This ensures a comparison of a variety of coolers of all sizes, and the test system has become significantly more future proof.
Here is a list of specifications of the Dark Rock 3:
|Cooler name||be quiet! Dark Rock 3|
|Street Price at release||51.20 Euro|
|Mass||13.7 cm (W) x 16.0 cm (H) x 9.7 cm (T)|
|Material||Bottom panel: Nickel plated copper
Heatpipes: Nickel plated copper
Cooling fins: aluminum
|Cooler Type||Tower cooler|
|Series ventilation||1x 140mm be quiet! Silent Wings PWM|
|socket||AMD AM2 (+), AM3 (+), FM1, FM2 (+)
Intel: 775, 1150, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011 (-3)
|Manufacturer Warranty||3 years|