There are several flavors of heatsink on the market from tiny OEM styles to oversized versions aimed at maximum performance. While the majority of the heatsinks we have reviewed are designed for overclocking a select few focus on cooling efficiency in an attempt to be as quiet as possible.
In this review we will be looking at the bequiet! Dark Rock Pro 3. The Pro 3 is a dual tower heatsink that is designed to be a no compromise cooling solution for silent operation and thermal performance. Some of the bequiet! coolers we have reviewed in the past have been large single fan design that function more like passive coolers to keep the overall noise footprint down. The Dark Rock Pro 3 takes a different approach that favors active cooling over pure thermal mass.
Like with previous designs the overall construction is extremely good thanks in part to the thicker aluminum radiator fins and solid construction. The material choices also allow the heatsink to use fewer interlocking tabs between the radiator fins and allow the leading edges to feature more surface area.
The Dark Rock Pro 3 is a seven heatpipe cooler split across two cooling towers. This allows each side of the heatpipe to be cooled differently and should double cooling capacity. In actuality you get some instances where only half of the cooler is efficient while the other half suffers due to an increase in ambient air temperature. You will notice a gap between the towers, this helps to cut down on fan blade resonance passing thru the radiator fins, basically this makes the heatsink quieter.
To help with the thermal transfer you will notice that each side of the radiator features a different texture along the edges and a slight dimpling along the fins. These are designed to help promote thermal transfer thru the aid of increased surface area and air turbulence.
Coloring of the Dark Rock is very unique and features a dark nickel plated finish over the entire heatsink. Some may argue the thermal benefits of the special plating but does increase durability, prevents corrosion and improves the looks of a typical copper + aluminum heatsink.