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BeQuiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 review

Tom Morgan
27 Apr 2015
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
BeQuiet Dark Rock Pro
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
65
inc VAT

Fantastic cooling with minimal noise, but the Dark Rock Pro 3 is as expensive as some water coolers

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Specifications

Socket Compatibility: : Intel: 775, 1150, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011. AMD: FM2+, FM2, FM1, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2, Cooler type:: Tower, Fan mount type:: Metal clips

The Dark Rock Pro 3 is an enormous tower cooler designed to keep your processor cool without creating a huge amount of noise. With one 120mm fan at the front and a second 135mm model in the middle, its effectively two heatsinks bolted together; the 13 heatpipes dissipate heat through two massive stacks of aluminium fins to keep even the most heavily overclocked CPUs running smoothly.

Unsurprisingly given the cooler's size (it towers over most motherboards at 163mm tall) you'll need to add a backing plate before installing the Dark Rock Pro 3, but cleverly BeQuiet has incorporated this backplate into the mounting mechanism. You clip the backing plate to the bottom of the motherboard to keep it in place, then screw the cooler down on to it. This is much better than the self-adhesive backing plates we've seen on cheaper coolers, as it means you'll be able to reuse the cooler should you want to swap motherboards later down the line.

You'll seriously struggle to fit the cooler if your motherboard is already installed in a case, however; the mounting screws are fiddly and difficult to reach underneath the massive heatsink, and must be tightened with the supplied wrench. Otherwise it's easy enough to fit on Intel and AMD hardware.

The two fans come pre-fitted to the cooler, so you don't have to fiddle with mounting clips, and use a Y-splitter cable so you can connect both to a single motherboard fan header. There are also clips included in the box in case you want to add a third fan for even more cooling potential.

Using this cooler, we managed to overclock our Intel Core i5-4670K to a perfectly stable 4.5GHz – no small feat for a chip that typically runs at 3.4GHz and boosts to 3.8GHz – yet temperatures remained below 40 degrees when idle and less than 65 degrees under heavy load when running our benchmarks. This is a massive improvement over the Intel stock cooler, which hit its thermal ceiling in the middle of testing, forcing the chip to downclock to a lower frequency. It's also cooler than most single-fan water cooling systems can manage, and gives two-fan loops a run for their money as well.

This cooling performance is even more impressive when you consider just how quiet the cooler is. Despite using two fans, the Dark Rock Pro 3 was barely audible on our test bench – once we'd fitted it into a case it was, for all intents and purposes, inaudible. BeQuiet rates the fans for a maximum 26.1dB(A) of noise, and we certainly couldn't hear it over our case fans and graphics card.

Thanks to its ability to keep a processor as cool as many all-in-one liquid cooling systems, the Dark Rock Pro 3 is an excellent CPU cooler. It's very big, awkward to fit without removing the components from your case first, and expensive at £65, but it's difficult to get better, quieter cooling without spending significantly more.

Hardware
Socket Compatibility:Intel: 775, 1150, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011. AMD: FM2+, FM2, FM1, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2
Cooler type:Tower
Fan mount type:Metal clips
Fans included:1x 120mm, 1x 135mm
Fan speed800RPM
Adjustable Fan Speed Controller:No
Motherboard backing plate:Yes
Height:163mm

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