The following system was used to test the cooler:
– Processor: Intel i9 9900K @ 5GHz
– Motherboard: ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming X
– RAM: Ballistix Tactical Tracer 16GB DDR4 @ 2666MHz
– GPU: MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Super Gaming X Trio
– SSD: Crucial MX500
– HDD: WD 1 TB Blue
– PSU: Seasonic Snow Silent 750W Platinum
– Case: Phanteks Enthoo Luxe White
– Thermal compound: Noctua NT-H2
Software used for testing the cooler:
– AIDA64 Extreme Version: 6.25.5400
– Intel Burn Test v2.54
– Prime95 29.1
The cooler was tested with the CPU at the default turbo frequency of 4.9 GHz and overclocked to 5 GHz with a core voltage of 1.261 V.
Also, the included fans have been used at their maximum speed.
The room temperature was approximately 26°C (78°F), with 2°C margin of error.
The idle test consists of the CPU sitting idle at the desktop for 30 minutes, the temperature was measured at the end of the test.
The settings of the software used are the following:
Intel Burn Test v2.54 – Stress level: Maximum
Prime95 29.1- small FFT
AIDA64 Extreme Version – FPU Benchmark & Temperature monitoring.
Each test was conducted for 40 minutes.
Full Load – IntelBurnTestV2
Full Load – AIDA64 CPU, FPU & Cache
The noise level was measured at three different distances from the fans (10cm, 20cm, 30cm.) the noise was measured with a margin of error of ± 2 db.
The Shadow Rock 3 will not cover the RAM slots on an ATX motherboard. This is due to the asymmetrical format of the heatsink.
The PCIe expansion slot clearance is very good, with approximately 30mm of space between the heatsink and the graphics card.
The be quiet! Shadow Rock 3 is available for around 50 USD or EUR at the moment of writing this review.
The cooler has a great build quality, starting with the mounting system which uses only metallic components, the exception being the plastic spacers. The heatsink has no uneven or bent aluminum fins, and the top plate has a flawless brushed texture.
The performance of the be quiet! Shadow Rock 3 is good, for a cooler of this size. In terms of temperature, the cooler is at the same level as similarly priced CPU coolers, such as the Noctua NH-U12S or the be quiet! Pure Rock 2.
One of the main advantages of the Shadow Rock 3 is the good clearance for the RAM and PCIe slots of the motherboard. This is achieved with the offset design of the heatsink and heatpipes. However, there is a drawback to this offset design, at the back of the cooler, there is little space available, especially for installing an additional fan.
The installation process is very simple, thanks to a mounting system that is now being used with most be quiet! coolers, and thus, has been refined with each model. The only inconvenient of this mounting system is regarding the main metallic beam. The beam sits above the base of the cooler, there should be a way to have the beam held attached to the cooler, in order to minimize the risk of it coming off during the installation process.
In conclusion, the be quiet! Shadow Rock 3 is a good mid-range CPU cooler that offers a great balance between performance and low noise operation. The clearance is great, and the same can be said about the build quality. The only inconvenient with this cooler is the lack of space at the back of the heatsink, especially since many users would like to have a two-fan configuration.