< BackMar 28, 2022

be quiet! Shadow Rock 3 Review


In this review, we will have a closer look at be quiet!'s Shadow Rock 3, an Air cooler that is supposedly part of be quiet's mid-tier lineup, but due to its interesting heatsink, could end up way higher than expected.



  • Excellent Performance
  • Best-in-Class Noise
  • Heatsink Design
  • You will get a permanent companion in form of a Screwdriver


  • Silver Heatsink design must be a choise


  • Central Mounting brigde


What's in the Box?



be quiet!'s mid-range Shadow Rock 3 comes in the usual all-black be quiet! styled packaging containing a couple of product images and some sort of summaries and feature overview.

Once every item from the box is removed, we will have the following things on the table:

  • be quiet! Shadow Rock 3 Heatsink
  • Shadow Wing 2 120 High Speed
  • Intel Mounting 
  • AMD Mounting
  • 2x Fan Clips
  • Thermal Paste
  • be quiet! !SCREWDRIVER!

Down below we also attached a short summary of the most important specs:

Name be quiet! Shadow Rock 3
Dimensions 120x130x163mm (WxDxH)
Fan be quiet! Shadow Wing 2 120mm High Speed
Fan Connection PWM
Fan Airflow Not specified
Fan Speed  1600RPM
Fan Noise <24.2dB
Fan Air Pressure Not specified




Due to the Shadow Rock 3 being a rather new cooler, its compatibility list does not date back as much as coolers with a longer history, however, this does come with the advantage of newer sockets being supported by default.


Down below we added the full compatibility list for both platforms:

AMD Intel
AM4 LGA 1700
  LGA 1200
  LGA 115x
  LGA 2011-3 (square ILM)
  LGA 2066 (square ILM)

Individual Components




The Fan used on the Shadow Rock 3 is theoretically one of be quiet!'s own Shadow Wings 2. However, although the actual Fan lineup exists, the specific model does not exist as a stand-alone product. 

With a regular Shadow Wing 2 being available, the "High-Speed" sub-version does only come with a Shadow Rock 3 cooler.




Due to these circumstances, we are unable to get more information except for what we are able to gather from the spec sheet... which is not a lot.

The Shadow Wing 2 High-Speed PWM is connected using a 220mm long PWM cable and is spinning at 1600 RPM. That's it. 




The heatsink used on the Shadow Rock 3 is surely the most impressive part of the cooler.

While be quiet coolers are usually designed in a way that the whole cooler occupies the least amount of space, the Shadow Rock 3 goes completely against this approach. With a total of 30 fins on about 163mm of Heatsink height, the Shadow Rock 3 does not even come close to the Fin-density of any other be quiet cooler.


For the heat transport, be quiet! used 5 copper heat pipes that traveled from the be quiet! engraved top plate down to the base and up again forming a U shape.




The copper base of the Shadow Rock 3 does not come with any Nickel Plated block underneath it. Instead, the 5 Copper Heatpipes are used in a direct touch approach, revealing the heatpipes copper color underneath the cooler.

Usually, we are not used to seeing direct touch heatpipes approaches with more than 4 heat pipes. On the Shadow Rock 3 however, 5 are being used. This immediately became noticeable to us due to the 5 heatpipes creating a significantly bigger base than we are used to with this build format.




Although we were not anticipating it, as it turned out, we are huge fans of the Shadow Rocks 3's Design.

Its un-naturally huge heatsink paired with highly spaced-out fins creates a very unique design that we highly appreciate.




Additionally to that, the color in which the heatsink is painted is not the usual Aluminum Silver we've all known for the last century. Instead, the cooler comes in a Matt-Silver finish. Something that we have not seen before.

All of the above paired with a highly clean and simple overall design created by just adding a very simple Shadow Wing Fan created this minimalistic- yet rustical-looking cooler.

A design which we overall just loved.


We benchmarked the be quiet! Shadow Rock 3 on our usual testbench using a Ryzen 3900x.




While letting the Shadow Wing 2 spin at its max rated 1600RPM, the Shadow Rock 3 was able to keep the 3900x at 54°C, exactly on the same level as the premium Dark Rock 4 counterpart.

After researching why the Shadow Rock 3, a cooler which should not be able to compete with its better counterpart, managed to perform how it did, we came to the conclusion that the sheer size of its heatsink must be the reason. Comparing a Dark Rock 4's heatsink to a Shadow Rock 3 makes it immediately obvious why the Shadow Rock starts off with quite the temperature bonus. Additionally, we believe that the huge fin-gap of the Shadow Rock acts a bit like a passive heatsink, assumed due to its similarly-looking design compared to a Noctua Passive heatsink.

As nice as this temperature comparison is, we do have to note that this is probably only sustainable in lower workloads. As soon as the workload becomes higher than the 130 watts that we are pushing through the cooler during benchmarking, we are assuming that the Dark Rock 4's "optimizations" will start to show, regardless of its smaller heatsink.




On the Noise-to-Performance end, it does not start to look worse.

Although the Shadow Rock 3 was not able to keep up the same level of performance compared to a Dark Rock 4, it did manage to outperform pretty much every other cooler available. 

The closest comparison in terms of price would be an Arctic Freezer 34 eSports, a cooler which did not manage to come even close.




After having a closer look and having used be quiet's Shadow Rock 3, we can summarize our complete findings into a short sentence: we love it.

From the Noise it omits in both max performance and in normal operations, to the heatsink design, there is little negative to be said about this cooler.




On a performance end, the Shadow Rock 3 managed to deliver exceptional results. Although it is to be considered as a be quiet!'s -mid-tier- range of coolers, the Shadow Rock 3 managed to keep up with its more expensive premium counterpart.

Though we need to add here that the Dark Rock 4 will most probably start to gain traction once the overall heat output exceeds the 200w line.




The only negative aspect about the Shadow Rock 3 that we are able to come up with is the never-ending story of a be quiet! cooler. Whilst installing the Shadow Rock, we are required to balance the not-permanently attached central mounting bridge. This fiddly and highly annoying task is nothing enjoyable. As we stated in every single be quiet! review before this one, we believe that the mounting bridge should be permanently attached to the cooler with a spring in the center in order to make it movable for easier installation.




But ignoring that little installation point, once the cooler is mounted down, it looks absolutely gorgeous. Additionally to that, the price tag is equally amazing. At roughly 44€ it is not only surprisingly powerful but also surprisingly affordable.

Due to all of the reasons mentioned above, we can absolutely recommend it to anybody who is looking for a CPU Air Cooler for anything like a 12700k, 5800x, or blow.


What's in the Box?
Individual Components
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