The SilverStone Tundra Series TD03 liquid cooler performs well considering its size and design. The unit is inhibited by its 120mm radiator, but is made to be compatible with smaller cases such as a small ATX, mini ATX, or mini ITX style case.
As of March 8, the SilverStone Tundra Series TD03 All-in-one liquid CPU cooler was available at Newegg.com for $97.99 with free shipping, as well as Amazon.com for $97.99 with Prime shipping and Performance-PCs.com for $99.95.
Before continuing with our parting sentiments on the Tundra Series TD03 liquid cooler, we would like to take this opportunity to give our friends at SilverStone a hearty "Thank You" for giving us the pleasure and opportunity to review this quality 120mm radiator-based unit. When looking for a CPU liquid cooler, there are specific areas of concern to be aware of in the coolers design and implementation – the radiator size, thickness, and fin density, the water block construction and base plate quality, and the barb and tubing sizes used to transport the medium within the system. The TD03 was designed for compatibility with smaller cases, and as such, was designed with a 120mm-based radiator. SilverStone designed the unit's radiator with a thicker depth of 45mm to compensate for the use of the smaller length radiator. The fin density of the radiator does hurt the unit's performance, but the construction innovations used in affixing the radiator fins to the frame does make up for this performance deficit. As for the mounting mechanism, it is by far one of the easiest mounts to use that I have encountered. The locking standoffs and push-in plastic lock nuts makes the board mount easy to install and maintain. The block's unibody construction is another impressive design innovation that differentiates this unit from the competition. The copper base plate is soldered to the aluminum unibody, making for a strong bond and seal as well as making the base plate seamless for optimal interface with the CPU surface.
Their were several design challenges that inhibited the TD03 performance. The obvious inhibitor was the use of 1/4" diameter tubing connecting the CPU block and radiator. The small diameter tubing restricts the liquid flow through the CPU block, reducing the heat dissipation effectiveness of the copper block and internal liquid channels. The radiator construction was well done, but the material choice was questionable. In an air cooler, aluminum radiators are desirable because of the metals ability to absorb and shed heat from the embedded copper heat pipes. However, that changes in liquid cooling with copper being much better at stealing the heat back from the coolant to be dispersed via the radiator fins. The other issue with using an all-aluminum radiator comes from the use of the copper base plate. Mixed-metal liquid loops can suffer galvanic corrosion over time where the liquid actually acts as an electron transfer mechanism between the metals, causing pitting in one of the metals and corrosion deposits in the other. To alleviate the likelihood of galvanic corrosion, SilverStone added corrosion inhibitor to its cooling liquid, nickel-plated the inside of the aluminum unibody, and added an oxidation-inhibitor layer to the copper plate.
- Manual quality
- Performance under stock and overclocking conditions given the radiator size
- Build and machining quality of the cooler
- Mounting mechanism ease of use
- All metal water block construction
- Seamless construction of copper base plate on CPU block
- Radiator thickness
- Use of 1/4 tubing hurt performance
- Possibility of galvanic corrosion because of mixed metals between copper base plate, aluminum unibody, and aluminum radiator
- Use of aluminum radiator