Hello good people, I am bluedevil. Today we are gonna have a look at the Shadow Rock 3, from be quiet!. Just have to put this out there, be quiet! did send this out to me for review. This CPU cooler boasts a 190w TDP while being almost inaudible.
Aesthetically, the Shadow Rock 3 doesn’t feature dRGB, which is EVERYWHERE. What be quiet! has focused on is a simple, clean, but most of all a functional design. Sporting the tower design, the Shadow Rock 3 is a little different than the rest of be quiet!’s own product line. The asymmetrical design allows the Shadow Rock 3 to be mounted on socket 1151 and AM4 without issues pertaining to memory clearance, thanks to it’s very offset design. Moving to fin design, fin spacing that is, is fairly spaced out,as my suspicions suspect that this will aid in acoustic performance. On the top of the Shadow Rock 3, is a brushed aluminum top plate with some black accenting. The black accenting will help blend in with most black cases as well as silver and or white. In the center of the top plate is a hole, which be quiet! which also includes a magnetic tipped screwdriver, for much easier access for the hard to reach mounting screw on the bottom of the CPU mounting bracket. Speaking of CPU mounting, five 6mm nickel plated heatpipes lead down to the direct touch CPU mount.
Installation of the Shadow Rock 3, was actually pretty easy. be quiet! really has simplified the process for installing a big tower CPU cooler. If installing on Intel, just install the backplate with the standoffs, mount the brackets to each side, then secure the Shadow Rock 3 down with the midplate with two mounting screws. The same pretty much goes for AMD’s AM4 socket, except that the plastic brackets need to be removed prior to installation.
The included Shadow Wings 2 fan, which is of the 120mm variety, runs at a max speed of 1600RPM via it’s 4 pin PWM connector. Two sets of fan mounts are included inside the box to mount a second 120mm fan to the other side of the Shadow Rock 3 for a push/pull configuration.
Now I had previously done an article as well as video, Battle of the Towers, in which I pitted 4 different tower style CPU coolers against each other. One of them was the be quiet! Dark Rock 4, which took the crown. I will be using that data that I collected for comparison.
So running on my test bench is my 8700K running at 5ghz, on a Asus Z370 Maximus X Code. In the RAM department, is a 2x8GB kit of HyperX’s new Fury RGB DDR4 at 3733mhz. From Team Group, the T-Force Vulcan 500GB SSD for game and benchmark storage, with the OS handled by Samsung’s 500GB 970 Evo Plus, which happens to be fast as hell on NVME. For graphics, usually an Nvidia RTX 2070 Super FE is on duty, however to give the Shadow Rock 3 a fair sound test, the EVGA RTX 2060 Super SC Ultra is standing in due to it’s Zero RPM fan mode. Also the EVGA 750w P2 Platinum rated PSU, provides ample power for the test bench.
So with regards to the Battle of the Towers, the Shadow Rock 3 actually did really well with compatibility. This is because of the offset asymmetrical design that be quiet! has gone with, which seems to have an edge over the Dark Rock 4 in terms of memory slot 1 clearance.
Thermals, it was a different story. The Shadow Rock 3 couldn’t quite cut the mustard ergo I had to lower my 5Ghz OC down to 4.8Ghz because my 8700K hit 100C in Aida64’s stress test while at 5Ghz using the Shadow Rock 3. Now comfortably sitting at 4.8Ghz, at idle the Shadow Rock 3 was able to match the Dark Rock 4 in temps at 36C, the Dark Rock 4 did it 3 dB quieter. At load, the Shadow Rock 3 temps hit a high of 92C, but settled back down to 73C at around 49dB. The Dark Rock 4 also managed to outpace the Shadow Rock 3 with a temp of 65C while running 7dB quieter. I guess that 135mm fan that spins 450 RPM slower makes a bit of difference when it comes to noise.
So kicking it up a notch, why not add another fan to the Shadow Rock 3? It has another set of fan brackets, and I just happen to have an extra Silent Wings 3 120mm fan here. SOOOOO….yeah. Not much really. At idle, running two fans on the Shadow Rock 3, temps didn’t change much, if anything 1C is added as well as an extra decibel of noise. Load, yeah load has to be better right? Nope, the same thing happened as on idle, added 4C more and kept the same noise profile.
When it comes down to it, be quiet!’s Shadow Rock 3 really is a decent CPU cooler. I tested with an 8700K, which is a 14nm, 6 core, 12 thread, 95w TDP CPU. Now according to HWMonitor, the 8700K overclocked at 4.8Ghz, pulled about 140w. The Shadow Rock 3 is rated for 190w TDP as advertised on the packaging. I would beg to differ and say around 150w is more appropriate. The Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition, as well as the whole Hyper 212 family, are highly regarded as great CPU coolers, and are great competition in the sub $50 dollar price bracket.
Ok guys, I am bluedevil. Thanks so much for sticking around to the end. If you haven’t liked and subscribed by now, it would be much appreciated.