SilverStone Tundra TD03-LITE Any Good?
Closed loop liquid coolers are now considered staples at this side of the industry. They are now effectively the equivalent of tower coolers when it comes to their general availability, pricing, and performance. Both categories of cooling solutions definitely got their own highs and low, but more and more system builders generally go with closed loop configurations. This is due to the ease of assembly, compatibility, and the overall look that they provide to the end user’s system. A good example is the Tundra TD03-LITE from SilverStone.
SilverStone Technology is no stranger to cooling solutions. In fact, it has been embedded into their portfolio since the early days of the Taiwanese company. The Tundra series is the next step for the company’s expanding solutions featuring 6 initial models to choose from. The TD03-LITE is the middle ground between the high performance TD03-E and the slimmer TD03-SLIM.
Specification wise, the TD03-LITE is a simple 120mm cooler. It works by dissipating heat from the cold plate and pumps it out to the radiator via a liquid coolant. It then pumps it back and the cycle goes on. The pump has a rating of 2500± RPM, and features a copper base to ease up dissipation. The fan on the other hand features a 1500~2500 RPM rating, with a maximum of 35 dBA noise level.
PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:
The cooler comes in a environment friendly packaging featuring loads of specifications and details at front. The cooler is also well illustrated here to show off the differences that SilverStone made especially at the pump design.
Inside, you’ll find the TD03-LITE cradled by a molded cardboard specifically made to keep the cooler safe and free of stress from the elements.
The TD03-LITE comes with a good amount of accessories. That includes a thermal paste, a 4-pin PWM to MOLEX adapter, an installation manual, and the 120mm SilverStone fan rated at 1500 to 2500 RPM. The rest included are the mounting brackets for Intel and AMD plus the mounting accessories comprising of screws, washers, and what not.
DESIGN, LAYOUT AND BUILD QUALITY:
The SilverStone TD03-LITE features a 120mm aluminum radiator, with a thick pair of 310mm long rubber tubing. It isn’t the fanciest cooler, but it definitely looks proper in black.
The 120mm radiator is 27mm thick, which is the standard with today’s enclosed liquid cooling solutions. It features a maximum length of 153mm, so you’d better check the clearance of your chassis. Rest assured, most cases usually has 160+ mm of clearance for their 120mm fan mounts.
The rubber tubes are around 12mm thick, yet they are far from being stiff. This made the TD03-LITE an easy all in one cooler to work with. But, do note that at 310mm long, the rubber tubing only permits the cooler to be mounted at the top or at the back of the chassis.
The pump housing is designed by SilverStone themselves, featuring their legendary snowflake logo and has a hefty feel to it. It’s definitely chunkier and taller than ASETEK made pumps, so there’s this feeling of extra quality assurance.
The base plate is made out of 100% copper – which is the optimal option between the commercially available heat conducting materials. It is flat, but is not made to feature a mirror finish. The plate’s surface area covers up even the largest of CPUs. LGA 2011 based CPUs to be precise.
The pump requires to constantly output 2500 RPM, so SilverStone decided to use a 3-pin fan header. Granted, it still can be controlled via a capable motherboard. However we do not recommend you to do that for optimal performance. You can’t even hear the pump at all even at such RPM values.
The TD03-LITE is a simple straight forward to install cooler, featuring mounts for either Intel and AMD. Since we are using an Intel setup, we are going with the Intel mounting kits. The kit consists of spring loaded thumb screws, flat-headed bolts, a universal back plate, plastic washers, and the already mounted pump brackets for the Intel setup.
The back plate is easy enough to install, and features small flat-headed bolts with a quarter cut to keep themselves in place.
Once the back plate is in place, you can now slot-in the plastic washers for the CPU. These are not required for LGA 2011 setups.
Finally, we get to install the pump after applying the thermal paste provided by SilverStone. Nothing extraordinary here.
It is at your discretion to choose a push or pull configuration for the fan. But, we decided to go with a pull setup due to its practicality with cooler maintenance.
Finally, we get to take a look at how the cooler influenced the aesthetics of our system. You should keep in mind that closed loop coolers are the best if you want to showcase your memory, and the VRM area of your motherboard. The Snowflake logo at the pump actually lights in Blue. You can’t see it on this angle since it’s not bright. Just enough to provide an accent to the logo.
TEST SETUP AND METHODOLOGY:
Coolers are far from the hardest components to test, but it doesn’t mean they are easy enough to deal with since there are multiple factors to take into account while benchmarking. Factors includes the ambient noise, ambient temperature, the enclosure, and the test system’s overall configuration.
|TEST SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS|
|PROCESSOR||Intel Core i5-6600K|
|CPU COOLER||Cryorig C1 Top Flow|
|MEMORY KIT||Crucial Ballistix Tactical @ 2666MHz 4x4GB Kit|
|GRAPHICS CARD||ASUS GTX 1060 STRIX OC 6GB|
|INTERNAL STORAGE||Crucial BX200 480GB|
|POWER SUPPLY||CORSAIR RM850X 850W|
|DISPLAY||27″ DELL U2715H + LG 43UF680T 4K UHD TV|
|OPERATING SYSTEM||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro|
The AIDA64 Extreme Edition System Stability Test is used to stress our Intel Core i5 6600K. The CPU, FPU, Cache and Memory are selected at the options. AIDA64 has been chosen due to its inclusion of AVX, AVX2 and FMA – 3 important instructions that will help us push our CPU to its limits.
- Ambient Temperature – 27°C (±1°C)
- Ambient Sound Level – 34dBA (±1dBA)
- Stock Profile – 3.9GHz (1.088v)
- Overclocked Profile – 4.4GHz (1.248v)
Noise levels are tested on a variety of fan duty cycle settings available thru our motherboard. To measure the levels, a sound level meter is secured on a tripod with a foot of distance away from the cooler.
The SilverStone TUNDRA TD03-LITE is the noisiest cooler we’ve tested – really far from the quietest we’ve tested. The culprit here is the 2500 RPM capable fan at full load.
Temperatures are tested with attainable CPU clock speed configurations that should resemble common systems. To measure the cooler’s capabilities, the CPU temperature is logged with HWiNFO64 and is cross referenced with AIDA64.
The SilverStone TUNDRA TD03-LITE is not the best on our list. Though to be fair, the performance is reasonable enough for us.
WRAPPING IT UP:
The SilverStone TUNDRA TD03-LITE isn’t exactly what I can call lite on performance. Though, we can’t say it is a high performance cooler either – at least on our list of tested coolers.
The pump is silent enough even at 2500 RPM, and SilverStone really made a great job by designing a pump housing that doesn’t leak much noise. However the same can’t be said with the included 120mm PWM fan. 1500 RPM is good enough and there’s basically no reason to go beyond due to the additional noise output. Unless of course, you value cooling performance over acoustics.
The SilverStone Tundra TD03-LITE retails for around 59.99 USD, which should be around 2, 800 PHP. A cooler with good value but with an acoustic performance to watch out for.