SilverStone Tundra TD02 & TD03 CPU Liquid Coolers Review

Silverstone is stepping in to the sealed all-in-one CPU cooler market which is far from deserted. Silverstone is however bringing some features to the segment which some others do not have. It is touting better radiator designs and builds as well as a better water block design. Will these features make a difference to the end user?

Introduction

Today we have a special treat for our readers. Not only are we reviewing the SilverStone Tundra TD02 and TD03 hybrid water cooling units, we are also introducing the fourth generation [H]ardOCP testing platform. The new platform uses Intel’s latest chip based on the Haswell architecture along with a new ASUS motherboard to run it. We have also scrapped Prime95 in favor of a much more thorough AIDA64. We are very excited for these updates and can’t wait to put our new coolers to the test.

Speaking of cooler, SilverStone is back again to help us launch another platform. If you recall, it was SilverStone that helped us launch our third generation platform and introduced us to the Heligon HE01. Today SilverStone launches its hybrid water cooling system and just like the Heligon HE01, it is breaking away from the pack.

The Tundra TD02 and TD03 are hybrid water coolers like we’ve seen in the past but these are designed very differently from the other competing brands. For starters, the radiator on the TD02 and TD03 is thicker and completely surrounds the water channels with cooling fins rather than just on the side. Also, the water block doesn’t have any screw holes on the bottom like other models. It is one smooth piece of copper.

We have some exciting stuff ahead so how about we get to it.

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System Setup

Today's review introduces our fourth generation [H]ard platform. The test bed consists of the ASUS Z87-Deluxe motherboard, eight gigabytes of Corsair 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM and the Intel Core i7 4770K.

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Test Methods

CPU

The biggest change you will notice is the removal of hardware testing. In recent years, Intel has shifted its methods of testing to software based and so we find it acceptable to do the same.

GPU

Once again we have an integrated GPU in our processor which alleviates the need for a discrete one. With the removal of a discrete GPU comes the advantage of not having an additional variable to account for.

The iGPU will not create any anomalies in our testing as long as we practice consistent testing methods.

Case

Corsair was kind enough to provide us with its Carbide series chassis. It provides excellent airflow and interior space and is a good reflection on current case design.

Thermal Paste

Noctua's NT-H1 thermal paste was selected as the paste of choice for a few key reasons. The thermal paste has been shown to provide excellent thermal conductivity allowing the heat sinks to better do the job. There is no observed curing time. That is, performance does not get any better over time. Any curing time could have introduced variables into the equation causing at best dubious results and at worst unreliable ones.

Temperatures

Ambient temperature will be kept at 25C for the duration of the tests and measured with a MicroTemp EXP non-contact infrared thermometer and cross referenced with the Sperry Digital 4 Point thermometer. Any variance greater then 0.2C will halt the testing until temperatures return within spec for fifteen minutes.

Idle

Idle temperatures will be recorded after a twenty minute period of inactivity. Any fluctuation during the last sixty seconds will reset the timer for an additional five minutes.

Load

Load temperatures will be recorded after a twenty minute period of 100% load. To obtain this load we will be using AIDA64 Extreme Edition v3.00.2500. This places an even greater load on the CPU than before and includes some benefits. Because the load is so extreme we see the temperature vary wildly from 72C to 86C in some instances. To get an accurate reading we will utilize AIDA64’s ability to average the temperature over time. Given twenty minutes at 100% load we arrive at a temperature that accurately represents our heatsink’s performance.

Sound

Sound levels will be measured with a Reliability Direct AR824 sound meter from a distance of four feet away. With everything turned off and the room completely silent the meter registered a sound level of 38dB(A). This is a very quiet room where a simple pin drop could be heard. All sound measurements are recorded in the very late evening to further reduce any ambient noise.