SilverStone Tundra TD02 & TD03 Review

Author: AkG
Date: October 15, 2013
Product Name: Tundra TD02 and TD03
Part Number: TD02 / TD03
Warranty: 5 Years
Purchase at NCIX: |
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Closer Look at the Tundra TD02

Much like any All In Once cooling device meant for the retail channel, Silverstone’s Tundra TD02 shipping container is eye catching while still being very informative.

The exterior may be large and distinctive, but the internal protection scheme is very similar to that of the competition. A sturdy cardboard tray with foam topper is the de-facto standard for AIOs and it is not surprising to see Silverstone opt for this.

Silverstone have a well-deserved reputation for including high quality accessories with their products and the few which are included here are of excellent construction and design. The TD02 includes a well-documented installation pamphlet, a small box containing mounting equipment for all current Intel and AMD systems, a small tube of TIM and a two-in-one fan splitter cable.

The only minor disappointment was the lack of a second 2-in-1 fan splitter cable and no rubber anti-vibration gasket. Including a gasket is not all that common and can easily be overlooked, but with this being quad fan capable device, the lack of an additional fan adapter cable is quite a large miss given Silverstone typically covers all their bases. This missing cable will make internal case cable management harder and should have been included considering how inexpensive they are.

Currently, the majority of AIO devices are either CoolIT, Swiftech or Asetek based designs and have very few points of divergence to help distinguish one from another. Thankfully, Silverstone has not gone down this well-worn route. Instead of simply reaching out to one of the firmly established OEMs they undertook a yearlong R&D process to create an entirely new design which has only the most basic points of commonality with other manufactures’ designs. Sure, there’s still a radiator, tubing, waterblock and fans but once you go beyond the most basic of overviews the Tundra series radically differs from any other sealed AIO available today.

There is just no denying that the majority of the advancements Silverstone has achieved come from their radiator design. The TD02’s radiator is easily the most eye catching unit we have seen and the gunmetal gray aluminum chassis with white plastic fascia certainly helps it stand out from the crowd. However, when you get past the superficial appearances – no matter how impressive - and take a closer look, this radiator is easily in a different league than any sealed AIO radiator in use today.

Not only is this radiator thicker - 45mm instead of 27mm- but the way it dissipates heat from the water channels to the air more elegant than competitors’ solutions. Instead of relying upon narrow folded metal fins in between each channel and the small amount of surface area such a typical design brings to the table, Silverstone has taken a page from the air cooling market and used an actual fin array. Each fin not only envelops all the water channels but the amount of surface area is massive in comparison to the older folded fin designs.

The fins are not just pressure fitted in place but brazed so that the contact area is as large and consistent as possible which significantly increases efficiency. This combination creates what is best described as a water-based, 120mm X 240mm X 45mm cooling tower. As the air based CPU marketplace has proven, the greater the surface area the greater the cooling potential. Judging by the size of Silverstone’s design, the Tundra TD02 may in fact be able to outperform even larger but less refined 140mm based designs.

The only possible negative to this approach is the potentially larger static pressure roadblock for the fans. This is because the cooling fins are deeper than a typical radiator’s folded metal ‘fins’ and also stacked rather tightly together. To help lower the static pressure Silverstone has given each side of the radiator a saw-tooth pattern similar to that found on some large air-based coolers.

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