Be Quiet’s Dark Rock Pro 3 CPU cooler is beautifully sinister

CPU coolers aren’t always the most exciting PC components, but they’re often among the most striking. That’s certainly the case with Be Quiet’s new Dark Rock Pro 3 air tower, which wouldn’t look out of place inside Darth Vader’s PC.

The view from the back is even better:

This monster stacks dual radiators on top of a copper base. The cooling fins are aluminum, and there are 90 of them split between the two towers. Each tower is mounted on seven heatpipes that snake through the CPU slug at the bottom of the cooler. Nickel plating provides the dark finish, making the whole thing look particularly sinister.

A pair of fans moves air across the radiators. The one in the middle is a 135-mm unit, while the other measures 120 mm. Both have four-pin PWM connectors, fluid bearings, and "Silent Wings" blades. Be Quiet claims the tandem delivers the "best performance-to-noise ratio and the highest possible reliability." The spinners generate 13.2 dBA at 50% power and 26.1 dBA at full tilt, according to the company, and they’re said to be good for 300,000 hours of operation.

With 4.8" x 5.2" x 6.4" dimensions, the Dark Rock Pro 3 is fairly massive. At 2.6 lbs, it’s also a heavyweight. All that metal provides enough surface area to dissipate up to 250W, though. This beast should be capable of cooling even AMD’s 220W FX-9590, which is basically an overclocked Vishera chip with a 5GHz peak Turbo frequency.

Be Quiet says the Dark Rock Pro 3 will be available starting January 14. The German firm quotes an asking price of 79€, which works out to $107 USD with a straight exchange rate conversion. U.S. street prices don’t always track with exchange rates, but I wouldn’t expect the cooler to drift too far south of the $100 mark. This puppy’s predecessor, the Dark Rock Pro 2, retails for around $100 in North America. The gen-two unit actually looks very similar to the new model, but the specifications indicate that it’s a little bit heavier and slightly louder. You can see more of the Dark Rock Pro 3 in the image gallery below.

Comments closed
    • kilkennycat
    • 6 years ago

    Setting up for the LAN party:-

    Bob: Hey, Jerry what’s that banging around in your computer case ?

    Jerry: Let me see…. Bob, you wouldn’t happen to have a pot of epoxy and a soldering iron, would you ?

    • mcnabney
    • 6 years ago

    If you need to spend over $100 to cool a CPU you should be watercooling.

    This is just needless complexity.

      • Diplomacy42
      • 6 years ago

      water cooling is needless complexity, this is needless extravagance

      • Dashak
      • 6 years ago

      It depends whether or not the users’ “need” is for quiet or temperature restrictions; large fans pushing moderate airflow over increased surface area is required for low noise characteristics. Air cooling will be sufficient or even overkill in the vast majority of cases, so more exotic radiators are best left to the very few who push their components to extremes.

      My Noctua NH-D14, which isn’t much different from the above, is able to dissipate as much heat as I can generate in any processor I’m likely to use. It can manage a decent overclock even with the more power-hungry processors around the 200W level, so there’s little reason to go through the hassle and expense of needlessly complex water cooling systems.

      You do realize what you just did there, right?

      • pandemonium
      • 6 years ago

      Right. Same reason why people still tune for naturally aspirated engines instead of just getting turbochargers or superchargers.

      Point being: there are valid reasons why you would not or can not watercool, and this is just an eye appealing option. I personally see this as an interesting alternative – while being beautiful – if the side of your case is transparent and you’d like this to be lit by ambient LED lighting, it would be quite appealing.

    • Grigory
    • 6 years ago

    “I AM SINISTAR!”

    • slaimus
    • 6 years ago

    I still think Intel’s Nehalem i7 cooler is king when it comes to gavitas: [url<]http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Intel-DBX-B-CPU-Cooler-Review/1000[/url<] Heck even the Pentium 4 560J cooler gives it a run for its money: [url<]http://akiba-pc.watch.impress.co.jp/hotline/20041225/etc_btxp4560j.html[/url<]

    • albundy
    • 6 years ago

    reminds me of the borg.

    • iatacs19
    • 6 years ago

    What’s the weight on this baby? 2.6lbs. HOT DAMN!

    • Dracius
    • 6 years ago

    “CPU coolers aren’t always the most exciting PC components”

    Speak for yourself… I long for a sexy HSF. And this is it. I shall name her Betsy.

    • crabjokeman
    • 6 years ago

    I thought Be Quiet was more for our friends on the other other side of the pond (and those crazy Canucks up North). I/m a Thermalright man myself..

      • jodiuh
      • 6 years ago

      I am too, but this has me looking!

      • Firestarter
      • 6 years ago

      They’re pretty popular here in Germany, got a BeQuiet PSU myself (but a Thermalright HSF)

    • krazyredboy
    • 6 years ago

    Air resistance is futile…

    • bjm
    • 6 years ago

    Screw the Star Wars references, that’s a damn Borg vessel!

      • Steele
      • 6 years ago

      I kinda want one of these now, just to mod it with some green LEDs and maybe a couple stray panels (which hoepfully won’t kill airflow THAT much). It would be the only heatsink feared by the Federation!

      • Reuel
      • 6 years ago

      Yeah, my first thought was “Borg Cube!”.

      • Krogoth
      • 6 years ago

      We are the Borg! Resistance is futile! Your thermal and aesthetical distinctness will be added to our own. Your engineering and design will service us.

        • HisDivineOrder
        • 6 years ago

        “The knowledge and experience of the company, Thermalright, has been reverse engineered and added to our own. It has prepared us for all possible designs of a heatsink. Your resistance is hopeless, Number One.”

        “Come now, Locutus. If Thermalright’s knowledge and experience is a part of you, then you know that I have never strayed from air coolers. You should also implicitly trust me, is that not so?”

        “Thermalright implicitly trusted you.”

        “Then trust me now. Meet to discuss your terms.”

        “Discussion is irrelevant. There are no terms. You will remove all your Noctua fans and closed loops and escort us to all your computers, where we will begin assimilating your thermal and acoust–”

        “We would like time to prepare our people for assimilation.”

        “Preparation is irrelevant. Your PC’s will be assimilated as easily as Thermalright’s IP has been. Your attempt at a delay will not be successful, Number One. We will proceed to your computers, and if you attempt to intervene, we will destroy you.”

        “Then take your best shot, Locutus, ’cause we are about to ‘intervene’.”

        “NH-D14. Noctua, a premium brand. You too will be assimilated.”

        “Noctua will never yield!”

        “Why do you resist? We only seek to raise quality of design for all coolers.”

        “I like my coolers the way they are.”

        “A narrow vision. You will become one with the Borg. You will all become one with the Borg.” He stops, glancing up and down a new cooler. “The closed loop cooler. Corsair H110. Primitive thermal and acoustic solution. You will be obsolete in the new world order.”

          • Krogoth
          • 6 years ago

          You sir win one internet for that.

    • hoboGeek
    • 6 years ago

    With all due respect, Geoff, but I don’t find anything sinister about this cooler the size of Rubik’s cube. It is … well… cool, but I don’t foresee any nightmares looking at it.
    Maybe I haven’t seen enough horror movies?

      • ALiLPinkMonster
      • 6 years ago

      A flexed motherboard is pretty sinister.

      • Voldenuit
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<]With all due respect, Geoff, but I don't find anything sinister about this cooler the size of Rubik's cube. It is ... well... cool, but I don't foresee any nightmares looking at it. Maybe I haven't seen enough horror movies?[/quote<] You've never seen Rubik's Revenge: Yellow in the Wrong Corner? I still have nightmares...

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 6 years ago

    That is a rather attractive product. I like my noctua though. If I was to buy one now on looks I’d go with this one.

    • jodiuh
    • 6 years ago

    And you don’t have to worry about this!

    [url<]http://img850.imageshack.us/img850/4132/bycc.jpg[/url<]

      • Jon1984
      • 6 years ago

      Is this very common? I thought AIO coolers were relatively safe… I was thinking about getting one myself but…

        • GodsMadClown
        • 6 years ago

        And I *have* one. Should I be worried?

          • jodiuh
          • 6 years ago

          I wouldn’t be.

          It if it does, will you make a gif for us? ^_^

          • huge
          • 6 years ago

          me too!

        • jodiuh
        • 6 years ago

        I honestly do not know. It is the 1st pic I’ve seen of one. That said, I paid $45 for a Venomous X and according to more than a few sites the difference is a few C. Noise is a non issue because my board will turn the fan down to 600 RPM when not gaming. I simply fail to understand the $100 CLC.

        • EtherealN
        • 6 years ago

        That looks a bit excessive, but there are drawbacks. I use a Corsair AIO kit myself, and it works admirably on the cooling front with the added bonus of not having a huge amount of crap in there making things a bother with ramsticks and so on. But one issue that is apparently common is that they can turn suddenly loud after a while. Mine did after about two years of use (though, to be fair, that is two years where the computer has practically never been turned off); it’ll occassionally start giving a massive rattling noise, which can only be killed through tapping the backside of the motherboard (back plate of my case is removed permanently for this reason) with some force a couple times.

        Some googling told me it’s a common issue for AIO units that have been going for a while, and has to do with some of the fluid escaping through the hoses (nothing weird there, it’s very slow so there’s no drops or anything, but most materials and joints will let _some_ escape) and being replaced by air, which then occassionally catches up as bubbles in the waterblock which have to be punched loose.

        So my lesson was: no more AIO kits on computers I expect to possibly use for two years or more. At that point the hazzle of not having clean innards in the computer trades off quite nicely for not having to manhandle the back of the mobo a little now and then.

        However, I have done thermal monitoring during these behaviours, and even allowed it to continue for minutes until it goes away by itself, and saw no adverse effect on the cooling. But the noise is really annoying when it happens.

          • jodiuh
          • 6 years ago

          Lol!

            • EtherealN
            • 6 years ago

            You can imagine how freaked out I was the first time it happened. It is so loud I thought things had actually come loose and instantly killed power to the computer. 😛

            So yeah… I guess there’s a reason why a well-made custom watercooling installation will have methods for airing the ducts. Next time I build I’ll probably take a really close look at custom watercooling kit.

            • jodiuh
            • 6 years ago

            Anand tech has some news on an AIO by swiftech. Buying a cooler from a company that makes coolers vs a company that bins ram is probably a good thing.

            • cynan
            • 6 years ago

            What are these ducts of which you speak?

            In custom cooling solutions, negligible fluid loss/evaporation over time or the odd air bubble or three are a non issue. Air bubbles, at least in my experience, always end up working themselves into the top of the reservoir (sometimes with a bit of user help after a filling) where they harmlessly add to a bit of air space at the top, and gradual negligible fluid depletion over time does the same. Simply remedied by topping up your reservoir with a few ml every few months or by fluid replacement.

            Personally, I don’t see the huge advantage to liquid cooling for 99% of CPU usage, whether closed loop or custom, unless you are doing it purely to get a bit more overclocking headroom. Where liquid cooling really comes into its own is with higher power GPUs, particularly now that the largest chips and their cooling solutions in a high end graphics PC are crammed between a couple of PCI slots worth of space. My fairly modest single pump, single loop custom liquid cooling setup cools a mildly overclocked 3930k and two overclocked hd 7970s. The whole thing, including 5x120mm worth of radiators fits inside my full size ATX case. Yet the difference in the stability, overclockability and noise of the GPUs (and their cooling solutions) when being pushed is night and day compared to air (especially with the crap stock air coolers that AMD is strapping to their top end GPUs these days).

            That’s all to say that, other than for silly products like AMDs new factory overclocked FX CPUs, I’ve never really seen the appeal of closed loop CPU coolers in general. And the fact that they may turn out to be less reliable, further questions their value.

            • EtherealN
            • 6 years ago

            That’s what I meant… 😉

            The AIO solutions don’t have a reservoir or other method for getting any air bubbles segregated from the flow of coolant. None. This be the problem, it means that all air that gets into the system WILL get pumped, and also why custom is better as far as liquid cooling goes.

            Their appeal – the one I consider legit – is that they’re a very easy way to get clean innards in the machine (and I guess it also buys you out of the potential issue with having to check an aircoolers radiator clearance over memory slots). The ready-made closedloop systems don’t cool better than an equivalently priced aircooler, and unless one exchanges the radiator fans my experience is that they’re not noticeably quieter either. But as previously explained, after being exposed to this issue, I don’t feel that the above is worth it.

            • cynan
            • 6 years ago

            I don’t really get why watercooling obviates the requirement to clean inside the computer. You can still get dust inside if you have the radiators mounted inside the case and have the fans pulling outside air into the case through them. I suppose the smaller footprint around the CPU socket and GPU slots with water blocks over air coolers makes actual cleaning easier though.

            • EtherealN
            • 6 years ago

            Re-read, you’re not actually arguing against any point I have made. 😉

            “I use a Corsair AIO kit myself, and it works admirably on the cooling front with the added bonus of not having a huge amount of crap in there making things a bother with ramsticks and so on.”

            Note the ramsticks point. (We can add various mobo headers and connectors as well to that.) The “crap” is a ginormous block of copper sink with huge fan assemblies on top. Not “dust”. If I meant “dust”, I would have said “dust. 😉

            “At that point the hazzle of not having clean innards”

            Note I don’t say “not having TO clean THE innards”.

            …and a final edit: also, dust filters on intakes are made of win.

      • Chrispy_
      • 6 years ago

      Would you trust a $500 processor, $400 graphics card and $250 motherboard to a low-cost, plastic part “made in china by the lowest bidder” from a company that sticks their label on anything with a high-enough profit margin?

      Corsair products and support are generally good, but that doesn’t mean their products are magically immune to failure.

      I stick to air, especially when high-end air coolers outperform AIO water loops for my criteria, but that’s because I don’t overclock to the raggedy-edge, and I prefer silence over that extra 5% performance.

    • PrincipalSkinner
    • 6 years ago

    Someone once said “Now you can buy a $150 CPU cooler and a $30 CPU”.

      • Voldenuit
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<]Someone once said "Now you can buy a $150 CPU cooler and a $30 CPU".[/quote<] Kaveri sounds like it'd be worth $30.

    • Jon1984
    • 6 years ago

    Beautiful indeed. For that price lets hope it can keep up with the performance of the latest Noctua coolers.

      • Airmantharp
      • 6 years ago

      Noctua makes some nice coolers, but their fans are far more interesting- as is this Be Quiet!’s real competitor in the near-Benjamin price bracket, integrated water-coolers.

      I know not everyone is fond of using off-the-shelf water, and I don’t blame them, but if you’re venturing beyond stock air cooling or a simple Hyper 212+ upgrade, these giant and quite heavy ‘cooling cubes’ hanging off of your motherboard begin to look quite a bit silly. Even the largest integrated water-cooler keeps most of it’s weight at the radiator side of the loop, leaving the waterblock (and pump, usually) side to put strain on the board’s cooler mounts that’s much more similar to the minimal strain that OEM HSF’s impose.

      And those integrated water-coolers have the benefit of being very efficient due to being mounted on an enclosure wall where they can vent the heat generated by an overclocked and overvolted CPU outside of the enclosure quietly and efficiently.

        • nanoflower
        • 6 years ago

        I like the look of this cooler but I worry about something that large and heavy doing some damage over the long run. Not for desktop systems but for tower systems where the cooler is just hanging in the air. That’s a lot of weight to be supported.

        • jodiuh
        • 6 years ago

        I actually prefer the look of a giant air cooler over a CLC. 🙂

        • Neutronbeam
        • 6 years ago

        Totally agree. A multiple pound dumbbell hanging on a PCB has always made me worry about structural integrity and the point of diminishing returns of weight/cooling ability.

        My current rig has a Noctua cooler but with a louder not-Noctua fan pushing more CFM, but my new one computer under construction will have a Corsair H100i (refurbed from Corsair store at 50% off during the holidays).

          • Klimax
          • 6 years ago

          If you are worried about big hunks of metal hanging of board, so how about those not so huge but very effective like Zalman’s CNPS12X. (Damnit, I sound like Zalman’s sales representative… :D)
          [url<]http://www.zalman.com/global/product/Product_Read.php?Idx=449[/url<] ETA: BTW: I don't use water cooling, too expensive equipment around it.

        • BoilerGamer
        • 6 years ago

        The “Big Air cooler will bend your motherboard” fear mongering by AIO water backers always amuse me. There are far more actual cases of AIO leaking than those of twin tower air cooler damage a motherboard.

          • EtherealN
          • 6 years ago

          I generally agree (I chose watercooling specifically for clean innards; I like to tinker inside the box even when it’s not strictly necessary), though I should note that there can be concern in cases of people that frequently move their computers – if handled without the proper care. Solution is of course to handle the computer with proper care when moving it… 😛

          An often overlooked fact regarding cooler weight specifications on motherboards is that they assume “traditional” mounting – that is, just the four pins used by Intel socket designs, for example. Obviously, the cooler makers are aware and that is why they include backplates – and most mobo makers are also aware and endeavour to keep the back of the mobo clean enough there to allow said backplates.

          I have seen cases where I actually would worry though – like that 2+ kilogramme all-passive cooler someone made a while ago. THAT one I would feel is a bit iffy – though in that specific case, the cooler manufacturer actually did say overtly that you should have the mobo horizontal.

            • Klimax
            • 6 years ago

            That’s why LGA2011 has backplate already integrated…

          • Airmantharp
          • 6 years ago

          Sure, I guess (no real statistics available), but there are more benefits and fewer drawbacks to integrated water-coolers. Now that reliability between water sealing and water pumps has been proven, with pricing being fairly reasonable, it’s hard to recommend hanging a massive HSF off of the motherboard.

          Keep in mind that it’s not a big deal to hang something heavy off of the motherboard in a system that doesn’t move much, but for one that does, the IWCs are much less likely to cause damage.

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