Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

SilverStone Tundra TD-03 Slim AIO CPU Cooler Review

Silverstone has a whole lot of focus on PC accessory footprints and its latest "smaller is better" mantra seems to be working for it. Today we are reviewing another Tundra Series All-In-One CPU cooler. This time is a single fan radiator design that promises to be thin enough to stick just about anywhere.

Introduction

Recently we looked at the TD02-Slim from SilverStone and came away pretty happy with our experiences with it. It performed very well for such a thin setup and the price was spot on.

Taking everything one step further SilverStone has released the TD03-Slim for people needing something even smaller but don't want to use air cooling.

The TD03-Slim is designed for people with the smallest of systems that have the least amount of space. Can SilverStone replicate the magic of the TD02-Slim and can they do it for a competitive price? These are just some of the questions I hope to answer.

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System Setup

Today's review takes place on 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 thermal interface material (TIM) 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 its 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 for air cooled systems, and thirty minutes for liquid cooled systems, at 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/thirty 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.