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be quiet! Shadow Rock 3 CPU cooler review

Rating: 8.0.

Shadow Rock is a premium air cooler series from be quiet!’s range of high-performance CPU coolers. The series has been running for a number of years now and has seen various iterations of the Shadow Rock introduced, including top flow and low-profile variants as well as traditional single tower air coolers. The new Shadow Rock 3 is the latest single tower air cooler from be quiet! that offers improvements over the previous Shadow Rock 2.

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The goal of the Shadow Rock tower cooler has always been to offer high-performance and low noise CPU cooling at an affordable price. be quiet! Is sticking with that strategy in the new Shadow Rock 3. However, Shadow Rock 3 has been treated a complete redesign compared with the previous version, although some of the core features remain similar.

Be quiet! Has equipped the Shadow Rock 3 with five, 6mm nickel-plated copper heat pipes to match the aesthetics of the aluminium heatsink that is designed with an asymmetrical layout to improve compatibility and avoid interference with memory DIMM slots. The heat pipes make direct contact with the CPU heat spreader to improve heat absorption and dissipation, there is also a small aluminium heatsink directly on top of the heat pipes.

Another noticeable difference with the Shadow Rock 3 compared to previous versions is the heat sink fin stack. It’s less dense than previously and gaps between the fins are larger than before. There is a total of 30 aluminium heat sink fins on the Shadow Rock 3 which is a reduction of 21 fins compared to the Shadow Rock 2 fin stack, however, be quiet! Has made up for this reduced surface area by adding an extra heat pipe, taking the total up to five for the Shadow Rock 3, the Shadow Rock 2 only had four.

Shadow Rock 3 comes bundled one be quiet! decoupled Shadow Wings 2 120mm fan. be quiet! claims the decoupled Shadow Wings 2 120mm fan produces just 24.4 dBA noise level, even at its maximum speed of 1600 RPM due to its high fin pitch and low air resistance, which sounds impressive. A combination of the high-speed fan and heat sink fin stack equipped with five heat pipes means the Shadow Rock 3 features a whopping 190W TDP rating in a cost-effective package.

CPU socket support for the Shadow Rock 3 includes all current mainstream desktop platforms. Be quiet! claims that the installation process is quick and simple, included with the cooler is mounting hardware for Intel socket LGA 1200 / 2066 / 1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 2011(-3) Square ILM, as well as AMD AM4 / AM3(+).

In terms of size, the Shadow Rock 3 lies somewhere between the high-end dual tower air coolers and budget single tower coolers such as the Arctic Freezer 34, it pretty much is slap bang in the middle with dimensions of  121 x 130 x 163mm (L x W x H) so should fit inside almost any standard ATX mid-tower desktop PC case with ease. The overall weight of the cooler is just 710g so it potentially puts less strain on the motherboard CPU socket area compared to larger coolers.

Key features

  • 190W TDP rating
  • Five 6mm nickel-plated copper heat pipes
  • low 24.4dBA noise level at maximum fan speed
  • Asymmetric construction provides improved memory clearance
  • Wide range of CPU socket support

Specification

Heatsink dimensions 96mm x 130mm x 163mm (L x W x H)
Number of fins 30
Fin material Aluminium
Base material Aluminum / Copper
CPU contact surface Heat pipe direct touch
Radiator material Copper
Heatpipe number / Diameter 5 / 6mm
Fan dimensions 120mm x 120mm x 25mm
Fan speed @ 100% PWM /12V (rpm) 1600
Fan bearing technology Rifle
Fan motor technology 4-pole fan motor
Fan connector 4-pin PWM
Fan rated Voltage (V) 12
Fan input current (A) 0.20
Fan input power (W) 2.4
Mounting set Intel & AMD

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