be quiet! DARK ROCK PRO 3: Review

be quiet! DARK ROCK PRO 3: Review

I know.... I know what you are thinking, "He promised this review on twitter over the weekend."  You Miss or Mr. are absolutely correct and I apologize for the delay.  Rain and flooding ruined my plans but I refuse to let it keep me from releasing this review!  That's right, literally rain or shine I am here to provide this amazing content for your consumption.  Now, let's get this party started!!

 

 

Introduction

As you all probably remember, we picked up the be quiet! DARK ROCK PRO 3 about a week ago and really wanted to test its capabilities.  I thought long and hard on how I can test its audible and thermal promises when finally, it hit me, AMD FX-9590.  Do you remember that little chip that AMD released and it didn't receive much love (like most of FX lineup)?  That beautiful little chip pulls up to 220W at 1.5vcore and requires 220W TDP for keeping things under control.  What better test than to take this power hungry heat generating monster and overclock it even further to test the thermal boundaries of this 250W TDP CPU cooler.

 

With our AMD FX-9590 and Gigabyte 990FX-Gaming motherboard in hand, we took to the task and put our test rig together.  It's been given the name, "Experimental" here in the BenchSpotter labs and I honestly feel it's deserving.  We went ahead and performed some tweaking to achieve an overclock of 5.02GHz stable on all cores/modules and tweaked our DDR3 memory to 2133MHz.  This gave a nice boost in performance from the stock 4.7GHz base and 5.0GHz boost (that almost never happens).  Luckily we didn't have to bump the voltage much but it was modified which means additional heat from the default clock and voltages.  Now, on to the testing!

 

 

 

Test Methodology

For this review, the metrics are rather simple.  How much noise does this cooler create and how much heat can it dissipate?  With that in mind, we devised a series of four different tests to measure its capabilities in a series of different configurations and load types.

 

Open Case - CPU Only

For this test, we opened the side panel of our Corsair Carbide Series 500R Arctic White case and kept the fan controls set to middle position (balance of airflow and noise). We ran Aida64 Extreme stress testing for 10 consecutive minutes while monitoring system health and stats with HWiNFO64.

Open Case - CPU and GPU

For this test, we opened the side panel of our Corsair Carbide Series 500R Arctic White case and kept the fan controls set to middle position (balance of airflow and noise). We ran Aida64 Extreme stress testing and Unigine Heaven (extreme preset) for 10 consecutive minutes while monitoring system health and stats with HWiNFO64.

Closed Case - CPU Only

For this test, we closed the side panel and connected the side panel fan of our Corsair Carbide Series 500R Arctic White case and kept the fan controls set to middle position (balance of airflow and noise). We ran Aida64 Extreme stress testing for 10 consecutive minutes while monitoring system health and stats with HWiNFO64.

Closed Case - CPU and GPU

For this test, we closed the side panel and connected the side panel fan of our Corsair Carbide Series 500R Arctic White case and kept the fan controls set to middle position (balance of airflow and noise). We ran Aida64 Extreme stress testing and Unigine Heaven (extreme preset) for 10 consecutive minutes while monitoring system health and stats with HWiNFO64.

 

Now that our test methodology has been defined, we are ready for the results! It's also worth noting, our GPU (MSI GTX 970) had a nice boost of 1450MHz core clock during these tests.

 

 

 

Results

 

 

 

  Decibels Test Duration Average Temp High Temp Idle Temp
Case Open - CPU Only 43dB 10 Minutes 56.3c 66.6c 30c
Case Open - CPU and GPU 43dB 10 Minutes 58.2c 71.8c 31c
Case Closed - CPU Only 45dB 10 Minutes 55.4c 66.5c 30c
Case Closed - CPU and GPU 47.5dB 10 Minutes 57c 69.9c 30c

 

 

Conclusion

From the results, we can clearly see that our be quiet! DARK ROCK PRO 3 lived up to the name and promises made on the retail box. The CPU was kept cool and quiet through all load types and didn't experience any problems or general instabilities. When be quiet! says, "NO COMPROMISE SILENCE AND PERFORMANCE" they really mean it. Overall, the cooler is a beautiful modern piece of extremely functional PC hardware. This cooler is worth the $84.90 USD we paid and I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another be quiet! product.

 

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