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SilverStone Tundra Series TD03-Lite AIO CPU Cooler Review

SilverStone Tundra Series TD03-Lite AIO CPU Cooler Review. Today we examine one of two, new models from the TDO3 range. The original launched about a year ago now, offering welcome changes and differences, between it and most other similar products. Much of these were visual enhancements, such as the carbon style radiator edges, and metal housing around the block.

Visual elements added to overall costing, of course Cue the more budget friendly version we have today, the TD03-Lite. The real emphasis is now is price point rather than looks. The dual fan setup has been trimmed back, in favour of a single 120mm PWN fan. I praise SilverStone’s efforts here to offer more choice in an already crowded, and often confusing market.
To coincide with this new product, SilverStone have also added a slim version to the series, the TD03-SLIM. With a slimmer radiator (22mm vs 27mm) and bundle it with a slim fan too. No availability here in the UK or word on pricing on the day of review, however.
The SilverStone Tundra Series TD03-Lite is retailing for around the £47 here in the UK, which is below the original by a fair amount.

[Features and Specifications]

? Maintenance free, no refill required
? Auto adjustable 120mm PWM fan included
? Thick, leak-proof tubing improve reliability
? 0.2mm micro-channel water block design for improved performance
? Large 100% copper base plate for fast heat transfer
? Integrated blue LED indicator
? Compatible with socket LGA775/115X/1366/2011/2011-v3/AM2/AM3/FM1/FM2
         The advantages of a pre-filled, closed loop or all-in-one (AIO) liquid cooler are the convenience of installation and improved compatibility over high end air cooling solutions. The use of liquid as heat transfer medium also brings about improved cooling performance at the expense of higher cost. To offer enthusiasts or casual PC users an affordable alternative, SilverStone has released the Tundra TD03-LITE, a liquid cooler with 100% copper base plate, thick leak-proof tubing, and a water block with 0.2mm micro-channels. This feature rich model is an excellent performer for the price and a great entry point for users looking to upgrade their system to liquid cooling.
Model No. SST-TD03-LITE
Water block Dimension 65mm (L) x 65mm (W) x 38mm (H)
Material Copper base with plastic body
Pump Motor speed 2500±200RPM
Rated Voltage 12V
Rated Current 280mA
Fan Dimension 120mm (L) x 120mm (W) x 25mm (D)
Speed 1500~2500RPM
Noise level 18~35 dBA
Rated Voltage 12V
Rated Current 0.3A
Max airflow 92.5CFM
Pressure 3.5mm/H2O
Connector 4 Pin PWM
Radiator Dimension 153mm (L) x 120mm (W) x 27mm (H)
Material Aluminum
Tube Length 310mm
Material Rubber
Application Intel Socket LGA775/115X/1366/2011/2011-v3
AMD Socket AM2/AM3/FM1/FM2
Net Weight 750g

Courtesy of SilverStone. More information available HERE

[Packaging and Bundle]

The main box is typical of any budget friendly product. Rather than a flashy looking box with lots of graphics, SilverStone has opted for the good old brown box. Each side contains only relevant information, such as size and key features.

The product is found, with ample protection and padding, ensuring it arrived at in the same condition as it left the factory. Being a sealed and preassembled product, the main unit takes up the bulk of the box, the accessory/mounting kit is found inside a separate box (white).

Inside which, you’ll find all the necessary mounting kit for AMD and Intel, bolts and such. A welcome addition is the Y Splitter to run the pump and fan from a single header. An additional 4 pin PWN to Molex is also bundled, keep in mind that connection will ensure the product runs at 100% constantly, losing the PWN function.
td03-lite-7

The Aluminum radiator comes in at 153mm (L) x 120mm (W) x 27mm (H)

Tubing is 12mm thick and very pliable, but due to the thickness it’s very resistant to kinking and has a total length of 310mm
SilverStone Tundra Series TD03-Lite AIO CPU Cooler Review (6)

 
The main CPU cooling block is a simple addition. Upon first glance you’re aware that it’s made up from plastic. Design wise it’s a fairly common style, with the brand logo dominating the centre. Out of the box its set up to use on an Intel platform, for AMD the arms need to changed.  The unit is powered from a single 4 pin header.

Despite being a budget orientated product, I was happy to see they’ve kept the LED indicator system here on the LITE model.  The copper base has been swapped out for the more common screwed base, yet it still has a fair shine (not mirror finish)

Finally, we have the  single bundled 120mm fan, capable of pushing  92.5CFM and operating between 18~35 dBA (1500-2500RPM)

[Installation Process]

Typical mounting method for the SilverStone Tundra Series TD03-Lite

  • Four bolts are passed through the backplate, and then flip the motherboard over.
  • The Block is lowered down, (add thermal paste first!)
  • Secure it down with the pressure mounted bolts (with springs).
  • To complete the install,  add the connectors to the header of your choice, or bypass them and use the converter for 12V Molex.

[Clearance and observations]

Compatibility is usually one of the many areas that AIO units excel, with their small footprint. Using RAM with tall heatsinks in the neighbouring DIMM slots, should be trouble free. That’s not always the case and  on some products we’ve looked at in the past, actually hinder them, depending on the orientation of the actual block. Theirs not right or wrong way, you’ll just need to experiment with your setup and have the tubing avoids any components, (RAM OR GPU)
No issues to report!

[Test Setup & Method]

Proudly Powered by our Dimastech Mini V1.0 Test Bench

Processor:

Intel® i5 4670K

Cooling:
Memory: Kingston HyperX Beast 2400Mhz 8GB
Motherboard: MSI Z97 GAMING 7
Video Card:  MSI Radeon 270X Gaming
PSU: CoolerMaster  v750
Hard Drives:

SSD – Kingston HyperX 3k 240GB

M.2 -Kingston M.2

OS: Windows 8.1  64-Bit

We would like to thank or sponsors for their support with our test system, Kingston,Dismatech,Cooler Master,Noctua and MSI

*Methodology*

CPU coolers and test method is an area that causes much confusion and debate. We should point out that many sites test in different ways, but the majority share the same core idea that a simple math equation should be used. So that a consistent value can be recorded and re-used against other products
This simple equation of [recorded result] [minus] [ambient room temperature] = Delta
This test method simply means no matter how warm or cool the testing room is, the data is comparable. There will always be a degree of error in such testing.  There are so many variables such airflow, testing location and such. So we perform all our testing on the same hardware and in the same location.

  • Our procedure is to fit the cooler and allow a 24 hour period before any testing, allowing the thermal paste to settle. The system is booted and allowed to sit idle for 15 minutes. We take our first recording. Then using a selection of software forcing the CPU to run at 100% load. We then take our load temperatures.
  • This process is repeated 3 times and the results are converted to an average.
  • We provide delta temperature [Load temperatures minus ambient room temperature].
  • This allows us to provide consistent results no matter the room temperature.

Many factors can skew results and to ensure accuracy we repeat all of the above three further times. Including refitting the cooler, this compensates for factors such as burn in time, amount of thermal paste and such.

[Software Used]

To keep things neat and easier to read, we no longer provide idle or ambient numbers, now only load delta results.

Tundra Stock

I must point out that we do not manipulate and force the fan to run at 100%, it is something we had considered in the past and if we had done, most of the products in the chart would appear to have better results.
However what we present is a fair representation of how a product will perform out of the box. With this in mind what we tend to find, in our stock testing is that the fan(S) does not always hit 100%.

This is our first 120mm AIO cooler to be tested, so don’t have a direct comparison *yet* what we tend to focus in on, is what the product is delivering for its price point. In terms of raw performance the product is delivering about the same as similarly priced air coolers, however combined noise emission for both the pump and fan, were on the higher side peaking at 37db.
Ideally this should have been reduced, if the fan was tweaked to operate below 1500RPM, as that is quite a high starting point compared to others we’ve seen.
It’s certainty not an issue but louder than anticipated

Tundra Overclocked

Our test CPU is ran at default auto clocks and voltage for stock testing. For overclocking it’s not the best around and requires 1.375 volts to operate at 4.6 GHz. All results shown are at these settings unless otherwise stated*

The test that matters more for Overclockers… we applied a heavy overclock, which requires lots of vcore. As I said above, no other 120mm AIO units for comparison, buy we do have a  single 280mm and two other 240mm systems, the SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite was between 5c and 9c behind those products, which on the face it isn’t that bad at all
Again I must point out the overall noise emissions, were not so impressive, as shown below.

Tundra Sound

At its quietest from the idle test, we measured 37db, both the hum of the pump and 120mm fan are contributing to this, the pump like most units does have a humming effect, I do suspect that if SilverStone tweaked the fan and allowed it run below 1500RPM, then we would have seen a lower result.
Once overclocked and things literally began to heat up, the fan hits it’s max of 2500RPM and you can really hear the difference, peaking at 44db, just that little too high for my liking

[Conclusion]

What was once an exciting and limited segment of the market, has gained momentum over the last few years. Confidence is at an all-time high, and while some users will always be sceptical, the masses now purchase AIO units like this, without a second thought. Over time many brands have branched out and entered the AIO market, this in turn produces a negative impact for the consumer. On one hand more choice, means competitive pricing but does add confusion, when trying to separate one product from to the next. That was the real strength of the original TD03, visually it stood out and appealed, now that’s gone…

That’s not such a bad thing I suppose, not everyone wants the visual elements anyway, but as I referenced earlier, I was hoping for more tempting price difference between this version and the original. It just feels like you lose too much for such a small saving, to be honest. There’s only a single fan bundled, the original had two. I know the performance difference between single fan configuration and dual, don’t often yield much, actually the negative of using two fans is added overall size. So it’s grey area anyway. That said added into the mix are other small but key differences too, the radiator is smaller, the block is now plastic and the copper base isn’t the same design. Ideally I would have like to have seen the product retailing for less.

On the performance front, I was impressed with the unit in a stock setup, granted the fan could do with a tweak, to bring it further down but in general it delivered good numbers. With a heavy overclock applied, the TD03-Lite did produce fair temperatures, but not much different, than what a cheaper air coolers could.

Noise from the pump was not annoying, but apparent… and I feel the actual fan is to blame for the overall higher acoustic levels. . This will always be heavily affected by your own case and component setup. Some users won’t even notice it, often the GPU fan is the most prominent sound from any system. Other users who have carefully selected components to create a silent system, will notice the hum at idle and for sure, the fan once the system is under load. I’ve mentioned it many times before, and it’s relevant again here today, noise is a strange thing to write about. It bothers some people more than others, that said the product is certainly not the most audible to date, neither the quietest!

Everything you would expect from a solid AIO product is here, but I can help but look at original and gravitate towards it instead. This model exists for a logical reason, and how SilverStone has tackled the approach to keep costing down is obvious. The consumer should be attracted to it, and at this price point I don’t think they will. As is, with the price point issue and considering noise output overall, I have to award the SilverStone Tundra Series TD03-Lite AIO our Silver Award.

Update 08/10/15
After further researching the price here in the UK, and speaking direct to SilverStone. It would seem not all resellers are following the MSRP, and actually the product can be purchased for a little as £47 from SCAN, . With this information, I have amended my original score from 8.7 to 9.2

SilverStone Tundra Series TD03-Lite AIO CPU Cooler Review. Today we examine one of two, new models from the TDO3 range. The original launched about a year ago now, offering welcome changes and differences, between it and most other similar products. Much of these were visual enhancements, such as the carbon style radiator edges, and metal housing around the block. Visual elements added to overall costing, of course Cue the more budget friendly version we have today, the TD03-Lite. The real emphasis is now is price point rather than looks. The dual fan setup has been trimmed back, in favour of a…

SilverStone Tundra Series TD03-Lite AIO CPU Cooler Review

Price - 9.5
Performance - 9
Design - 9
User Rating: Be the first one !

We would like to thank SilverStone for sending the sample out for review. We look forward to seeing more from them, in the near future.

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