SilverStone Tundra is the first and the only AIO water cooling series in the company portfolio, which was originally introduced a few years ago with Tundra TD01, which was a somewhat unique water cooling system. Anyway, TD01 went to EOL status long time ago and after that SilverStone revived the series with the Tundra TD02 and TD03. Not even 2 years passed after the release of the two models and the series already includes several products which are constantly being improved by adding better appearance and most of all better cooling performance.
As you can see from the title of this article, for this test and review I received SilverStone Tundra TD03-lite. A product, which is meant to replace the TD03, which I’ve already tested in the past and to be honest I am really excited to check the new AIO structure, its features and, most of all, its performance.
|The front of the box||The back of the box|
SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite arrived carefully packed in small, pretty simple and eco-friendly package made of a very thick recycled carton. On the front panel of the package there is the company logo, a big picture of the product itself, the name of the model and a lot of information regarding the various features of the AIO cooler. Of course, the full technical specifications and all of the additional details, including pictures and information regarding the structure are explained on all other sides of the box. Plain and simple …
I believe it is time to open the package and check what is inside.
And this is the view, which I got after I opened the package.
|Installation manual||The AIO packed inside|
The first thing, which attracted my attention after I opened the package, was the pretty typical for the company very detailed installation manual placed on top of the Styrofoam sheet meant for protecting the AIO itself. After I removed the manual and the Styrofoam sheet there was the AIO, of course accompanied by the fan and all of the additional accessories placed inside a white carton box.
And this is the view, which I got after I took the AIO, the fan, the installation manual and the accessories pack out of the carton box.
All of the accessories were packed in several nylon bags according to their socket compatibility and purpose just to ensure that everything will arrive with the AIO in perfect condition. So before we continue with checking the AIO’s structure, let’s talk about the additional accessories.
SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite ADDITIONAL ACCESSORIES
Actually, taking all of the accessories from the nylon bags and arranging them for taking some pictures took me some time and after I am done this is the view which I got.
The standard SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite package offers:
- Installation manual
- Two painted in black metal brackets, which should be attached to the water block, so the AIO can work on Intel platforms
- Two painted in black metal brackets, which should be attached to the water block, so the AIO can work on AMD platforms
- Combined black back plate needed for both Intel and AMD platforms
- A set of 4 long screws needed to pass through the back plate and the motherboard to secure the water block for Intel and AMD sockets
- A set of 4 short thumbscrews needed to secure the waterblock for Intel 2011 sockets
- A set of 4 nuts with springs, which should be fastened to the long bolts and the thumbscrews to hold the waterblock in place.
- A set of 4 plastic stand-off tubes which should be placed between the motherboard and the water block brackets for both Intel and AMD sockets.
- A set of 8 Fan A screws (25mm) to hold up ot 2 x 25mm thick fans
- A set of 8 Fan A screws (15mm) to hold up ot 2 x 15mm thick fans
- A set of 8 Fan B screws, to attach the radiator directly to the case
- A thermal compound
- 4-pin cable for powering the fan or the water pump directly from the PSU.
- 1 x 120 x 25mm fan to cool the radiator
After checking all of the additional accessories, I believe SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite will definitely deliver the best possible compatibility and allow the AIO to work with every Intel and AMD socket inside every modern case with a 120mm case fan slot.
I think it is time to put the accessories pack aside and finally check out what the AIO water cooling system has to offer in matter of structure and performance.
SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite STRUCTURE
Before I started checking every single module of the AIO, I spent some time examining its structure. SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite features a completely redesigned structure with pretty thin radiator made to work with up to 2 x 120mm fans in a push-pull setup (only one is included in the package), pretty thick and pretty long tubes and a very sleek and stylish water block. Of course, all of the modules are painted in black, apart from the fan’s white propeller.
To keep the tradition, let’s start by checking the water block.
|Water block – top view||Water block – side view|
SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite is equipped with a completely renewed according to the TD02 and TD03 models entirely painted in black and very stylish looking square water block with dimensions of 65mm (L) x 65mm (W) x 38mm (H) featuring:
- perfectly milled 100% pure copper contact plate designed with 0.2mm micro-channels focusing the water flow inside the water block to improve the overall cooling performance of the product. The contact plate is attached to the water block with 8 screws for secured and reliable leak-proof connection.
- like every other model in the series, TD03-Lite features ceramic bearing pump installed right on top of the contact plate inside the water block made to operate at maximum 2500±200 revolutions per minute powered with 12V.
- very typical for the models of the series is that right above the pump there is the power and control circuit, of course with the typical for the series blue LED, whose light can be seen from cuts in the plastic cap just beneath the SilverStone logo when the AIO is on.
- and of course the water block is covered and finished with a solid plastic cap with the company logo protecting the whole structure and improving its overall appearance. Of course, entirely painted in black.
SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite is equipped with a dedicated filling port placed on the left side of the water block, which is made to help if someone decided to replace the original coolant or just for regular maintenance of the system. A procedure, which to be honest is not really recommended or even needed because according to SilverStone the product is maintenance-free and no refilling is required. And as a personal experience while refilling Project Black Water I could say it is pretty tricky and requires a lot of time.
Apart from that the water block is designed with two painted in black plastic fittings, made to provide a secure seal and connect the water block to the slim radiator via the 310mm long leak proof, featuring braided line for improved durability and entirely painted black rubber tubes with outer diameter of 12mm.
And by mentioning the cooling radiator, let’s check its dimensions and what we can expect from it.
|Radiator – side view||Radiator – front view|
Tundra TD03-Lite is equipped with a pretty simple, painted in black aluminum radiator with dimensions of 153mm (L) x 120mm (W) x 27mm (H). The radiator itself is not equipped with any additional plates, smaller heat sinks or any other visual effects and is actually plain and simple made to be entirely neutral inside the case.
|Radiator – back view||Radiator – fins|
The radiator itself is compatible to be used with up to two 120 x 25 mm fans installed on both sides of the aluminum fins in push-pull setup, which could be attached with the long or short bolts provided in the package. In fact, the product is provided with only one 120 x 25 mm fan to cool the whole setup. And by mentioning the fan, let’s check what the included model in the package has to offer.
By default, SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite is provided with only one fan with dimensions of 120 x 25mm made of square plastic black frame and a white propeller with nine narrow and very sharply angled blades meant to work at 1500~2500 revolutions per minute range and provide maximum stable airflow level of 92.5CFM with static level pressure of 3.5mm/H2O and noise level range of 18~35 dBA. The fan is powered and regulated by a 12V through a 4-pin PWM cable and connector.The fan itself could be installed on the radiator via 4 long black bolts provided in the package.
Also, the AIO could be used with slim 120 x 15mm fans and then the shorter bolts will be required. Apart from that the radiator could be attached directly to the case via 4 very short bolts also provided in the package. The best thing here is that the guys from SilverStone predicted a possible push-pull setup with additional fan and added 8 x 25mm long and 8 x 15mm bolts.
And this is what the fan look like installed on the front side of the radiator.
To power and regulate the fan it should be connected to one of the fan headers on the motherboard. Preferable the CPU fan header for the best possible and accurate automatic regulation. Also it could be powered directly from the PSU but there will be no regulation at all.
After I assembled the water cooling I can say that the AIO looks really neutral with its stylish colour scheme and inspires reliable and very serious performance capabilities. Hopefully I will confirm this statement a bit later.
To use the AIO I will have to install it using the provided in the package mounting kit and according to the official technical details Tundra TD-03 Lite is capable to work with:
- Intel sockets: LGA LGA775/115X/1366/2011/2011-v3
- AMD sockets: AM2,AM2+,AM3,AM3+,FM1,FM2,FM2+
For doing the tests I will have to use the AMD brackets to attach them to the water block, the back plate, some bolts, plastic tubes and the thumbscrew spring nuts as you can see on the picture below.
These are all of the parts which should be assembled so I can install the water block to the processor on my motherboard.
As always before the actual installation the first thing to do, just to be sure I do everything right, is to check the installation manual, which provides a lot of information and pictures of how things should be done.
As a next step I decided to install the two AMD brackets to the water block and then proceed with assembling of the mounting kit.
|Installing the AMD brackets||The AMD brackets installed|
Both of the metal brackets should be attached by placing them into specially designed channels on both sides of the water block and then fasten them with 4 small screws. Actually it is pretty a easy process and after the brackets are in place they fit just perfectly without any edges which can only present and guarantee the perfect build quality. Something which is pretty common for all of the SilverStone products.
|Back plate with the assembly parts||The backp late ready to be installed|
Of course to install the water block so it can perform its duties I had to prepare the mounting kit and attach it to the motherboard. The only thing I had to do is to place the four long bolts through the back plate holes and then attach the back plate on the back of the motherboard.
|All of the parts for AMD sockets||All of them installed|
Of course, the 4 plastic tubes should also be installed before fastening the water block to the motherboard.
And this is what the AIO water block looks like installed on the motherboard. In addition I want to add that it was pretty easy to attach the water block to the motherboard and the processor. Also with this mounting kit the processor and the water block have a solid, tight and will have very, very hot connection.
And this is what the AIO looks like installed back into the case ready to roar and cool…
I am done with the review of the water cooling system and all of its parts and now it is time to give it some hard time through the tests.
SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite TESTS
With the AIO installed, the time to check my testing rig has arrived and to continue the article with the tests…
CPU: AMD Vishera FX-8350
- At standard frequency 4.020 MHz (at 1.356V)
- At low overclock frequency of 4.220 MHz (at 1.392V)
- At medium overclock frequency of 4.420 MHz (at 1.416V)
Motherboard: GigaByte 990FXA-UD3
Video card: 2 x Gigabyte GV-R927XOC-2GD
Memory: 2 x 4GB Geil Black Dragon 1866 MHz
Hard drive: Kingston SSD SV100S264G
Hard drive: WD Server Edition WD1002F9YZ 1TB
Case: SilverStone Raven RV-03
Power supply: Antec HCP-750W
Cooler: SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite
Thermal paste: Noctua NT-H1 thermal compound
For this test and review I am going to use the standard 120mm fan working at up to 2500 revolutions per minute, providing maximum airflow level 92.5CFM, static level pressure of 3.5mm/H2O at noise level of 35 dBA installed on the front of the radiator and attached to the top fan slot of my SilverStone Raven RV03 case.
The tests will be conducted in a closed system with:
- 2 x SilverStone AP181 – 180mm fans on the bottom panel of the case putting fresh air in and spinning at about 1200 rpm
- 120mm fan behind the motherboard cooling the socket and spinning at about 1000 rpm.
- Room temperature of about 20 degrees.
Both SilverStone AP181 – 180mm fans were connected together to the chassis 1 connector and were rotating at maximum speed.
And here I want to describe my testing method.
I will install SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite and do stress tests using Prime95 AVX software with constant load on the AIO for 14:30 minutes with custom settings of minimum FFT size (in K of 128), max FFT size (in K of 128) and Run FFTs in place at standard frequency of 4.020 GHz (at 1.356V), at low overclock frequency of 4.220 GHz (at 1.392V) and at medium overclock frequency of 4.420 GHz (at 1.416V) using the fan provided with the AIO system rotating at maximum speed of 2500 revolutions per minute.
Now let’s check out the test results:
|SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite @4020MHz 1.356V||SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite@4220MHz 1.392V|
|SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite @4420MHz 1.416V|
All of the test results have been summed up in the following charts:
And the fan speed during the tests:
I believe the time for conclusions has arrived.
SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite CONCLUSIONS
1. SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite performance:
SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite is a product in which I’ve invested a lot of time. Examining its structure, additional accessories, taking pictures, reviewing and finally after I am done testing I can say that this product really made me smile.
Tundra TD03-Lite is definitely an AIO water cooling system made to be a really simple product to provide amazing build quality and at the same time very stylish appearance and most of all very serious cooling performance. Overall, the cooler has its good and bad sides, but of course let’s first check the best of the model.
According to the test results which I got, I can say that SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite is a pretty small AIO, made to be installed on a 120mm fan slot cooled by a maximum of two 120mm fans but at the same working with only one fan it proves that it is an outstanding performer. Through the tests the cooler was running extremely hot and I mean the water block, the tubes and the radiator were probably at the maximum of their capabilities but the AIO kept the processor running stable and pretty cool. A worthy successor of TD03 and overall, member of the Tundra series I should say.
As a negative side I would like to mention the noise, which this AIO is capable to generate. Through the tests and since the fan and the pump were working at full speed they were very and I mean it … very loud. But what should we expect from a fan and pump working at 2500 revolutions per minute. Of course, through a normal daily usage with automatic PWM regulation the fan is pretty quiet until there is some serious load applied to the processor. Then the fan starts roaring a lot for some time and then goes back to quiet mode again. And one more thing is that the overall PWM regulation is too sensitive and is constantly increasing and decreasing the revolutions of the fan. And that might be a bit annoying for people who are more sensitive towards the noise.
Enough about the performance, let’s talk about the appearance of the product
2. SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite appearance:
What should I say…? SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite looks pretty neutral to the whole system with its really clean and stylish design, which when installed inside a black middle or full tower ATX case will stay absolutely neutral and at the same time will be pretty attractive. The completely black setup with just one blue LED under the water block cap boosts the overall visual appearance of the whole system.
According to my review, I think that SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite deserves the following reward:
Official SilverStone Tundra TD03-Lite (MSRP) price : 57.5 euro
Official warranty: 36 months
Special thanks to SilverStone for providing us with a test sample.