SilverStone Tundra TD03 Liquid CPU Cooler

Cooling
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MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recording starts with 5 second segments of room ambiance, then the fan at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again

FINAL THOUGHTS

The all-in-one water cooler SilverStone Tundra TD03 uses a different design than its multitude of competitors. Its radiator utilizes thick, heatsink-like fins rather than the traditional long and thin coils, and the pump exterior is a sturdy metal box instead of a round encircled with plastic. The mounting system is also more secure and less fidgety to install than those preceding it. Unfortunately, despite all these differences, the result is nothing revolutionary or even evolutionary. Out of the box, the TD03's overall performance:noise ratio is very close to previously tested liquid coolers, that is to say, middling at best compared to most large air-cooled heatsinks.

Furthermore, like most such devices, the TD03 doesn't boast great acoustics. The included fans are too high in speed, requiring a tremendous amount of undervolting to bring them down to quiet levels, and on PWM control, it might not possible at all depending on your personal standards. The pump also generates an unpleasant buzzing, though it is relatively quiet as pumps go and gets drowned out by the stock fan(s) at all but the lowest of speeds.

Typically, water coolers are paired with special fans designed specifically for high static pressure to match the dense structure of old school radiator designs. The TD03's stock fan is essentially the same as the larger versions of SilverStone's Argon heatsink series but this choice makes sense in theory given the radiator's unusual construction. In practice, it was surprisingly inferior to our reference Nexus 120 mm fans which previously had failed to impress when paired with similar coolers.

With our reference fan, the TD03 became a fairly decent cooling solution, but purchasing aftermarket fans adds even more cost to the TD03's already high US$100 street price. Even if the stock fans performed equally, you could still buy two or three comparable air-cooled heatsinks for the same money, such as SilverStone's own AR01 and AR03. On top of that, the TD03 occupies a 120 mm case fan mount which could otherwise be used to further complement CPU and overall case cooling. The Tundra TD03 is the best constructed water cooler we've seen, but like its contemporaries, it has little to offer aside from the novelty of having liquid coursing through your PC.

Our thanks to SilverStone for the Tundra TD03 CPU cooler sample.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Scythe Mugen 4 CPU Cooler: Scythe Strikes Back
SilverStone Argon AR02 CPU Cooler
NoFan CR-95C Copper Fanless CPU Cooler
SilverStone Argon AR01 & AR03 CPU Coolers
Noctua NH-U12S Slim Tower Heatsink
Cooler Master Seidon 240M: Dual Fan Liquid CPU Cooler

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