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.

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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. 

Water block
Dimension
65mm (L) x 65mm (W) x 38mm (H)
Material
Copper base with plastic body
Pump
Motor speed
2500±200RPM
Rated Voltage
12V
Rated Current
280mA
Fan
Dimension
120mm (L) x 120mm (W) x 25mm (D)
Speed
1500~2500RPM
Noise level
18~35 dBA
Rated Voltage
12V
Rated Current
0.3A
Max airflow
92.5CFM
Pressure
3.5mm/H2O
Connector
4 Pin PWM
Radiator
Dimension
153mm (L) x 120mm (W) x 27mm (H)
Material
Aluminum
Tube
Length
310mm
Material
Rubber
Application
Intel Socket LGA775/115X/1366/2011/2011-v3
AMD Socket AM2/AM3/FM1/FM2
Net Weight
750g

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.

UNBOXING THE TD03-LITE:

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.

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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.

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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.

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A CLOSER LOOK AT THE TD03-LITE:

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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INSTALLING THE TD03-LITE:

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.

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The back plate is easy enough to install, and features small flat-headed bolts with a quarter cut to keep themselves in place.

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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.

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Finally, we get to install the pump after applying the thermal paste provided by SilverStone. Nothing extraordinary here.

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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.

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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.

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TEST SETUP & METHODOLOGY:

Coolers are far from being the most difficult components to test, but it doesn’t mean they are easy enough to deal with as there are multiple factors to take into account. That includes the ambient noise, ambient temperature, the enclosure, and the test system’s overall cooling performance. That said, keeping all those things checked should be paramount to provide the readers a subjective and consistent result.

AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
27 DEGREE CELCIUS
± 0.5 DEGREE CELCIUS
AMBIENT NOISE
37 DBA
± 1 DBA
CHASSIS FAN SPEED
850 RPM
± 20 RPM
TIM APPLICATION
LINE DOWN
SPREAD IF NEEDED

For our tests, we used the SilverStone FT02 chassis – which is one of best enclosures I personally own due to its motherboard tray orientation and natural air convection aided design. It is certainly not a perfect case, since it doesn’t officially support closed loop liquid coolers with sizes above the 120mm mark. With that said, we are restricted with 120mm coolers, tower coolers, and down draft air coolers.

TEST SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS
CPU
INTEL CORE I5 6600K
WHERE TO BUY
MOTHERBOARD
ASUS Z170-A
WHERE TO BUY
CPU COOLER
SILVERSTONE TD03-LITE
WHERE TO BUY
MEMORY
CRUCIAL BALLISTIX TACTICAL 16GB  2666MHZ
WHERE TO BUY
GRAPHICS CARD
NVIDIA GTX 1080 FE
WHERE TO BUY
INT. STORAGE
KINGSTON HYPERX FURY SSD 240GB
WHERE TO BUY
PSU
COOLER MASTER SPH 1300W
WHERE TO BUY
DISPLAY
27″ DELL U2715H WQHD IPS PANEL
WHERE TO BUY
OS
MICROSOFT WINDOWS 10 PRO
WHERE TO BUY

The AIDA64 Extreme Edition System Stability Test is used to stress our Intel Core i5 6600K. We specifically selected the CPU, FPU, Cache, and Memory at the stability test’s 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. AIDA64 has an intensive compatibility with sensors too which is a plus.

PROFILE
CLOCK SPEED
VOLTAGE
STOCK CLOCKS
3.5 – 3.9 GHz
0.72v – 1.12v
CONSERVATIVE OVERCLOCK
4.0 GHz
1.08v
MILD OVERCLOCK
4.4 GHz
1.23v

TD03-LITE FAN SPEED & DBA LEVELS:

We tested the 120mm PWM fan included by SilverStone on a variety of fan duty cycles available thru our ASUS Z170-A motherboard, with the lowest attainable speed of 1626 RPM via the UEFI. Using the ASUS Fan Xpert, we could go as low as 500 RPM and could go up as high as 2347 RPM. That’s 153 RPM short according to SilverStone’s specifications. For the record, we will take that figure as the 2500 RPM equivalent on our test. Tundra-TD03-LITE-Benchmarks-2

 

Noise levels are good below the 1500 RPM mark, reaching a 38.9 dBA at 500 RPM and 40.8 dBA at 1000 RPM. Don’t you dare go higher than 1500 RPM though if you want to keep your sanity in check. At 2347 RPM, this is one noisy fan and could be louder if the 2500 RPM mark has been actually attained. Do note that radiator mounted fans are generally louder than their down draft or tower cooler counter parts due to their natural position at any given chassis.

COOLING PERFORMANCE & CONCLUSION:

The SilverStone TUNDRA TD03-LITE isn’t exactly what I can call lite on performance. It manages to cool my overclocked Intel Core i5 6600K with ease and that’s without even a sweat going just as far as 41 Degree Celsius at load. The cooler’s performance is at its best for most clock profiles we tested but we saw the best temperature when our CPU hits 0.72v at idle.

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At 1500 RPM, the CPU manages to hit 44 Degree Celsius. That said, 1500 RPM is optimal for the best possible balance between noise and heat dissipation. We decided not to graph it since we are aiming to normalize our future CPU cooler tests at 100% fan speed. But, we will always test more fan profiles to check what’s best.

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 there could be improvements especially with the included 120mm PWM fan. 1500 RPM is good enough, but there’s basically no reason to go beyond that due to the additional noise output. Unless of course, you value cooling performance over acoustics. This had us thinking that SilverStone should instead go with a conservative 1000 RPM – 1500 RPM fan profile without requiring the end user to use specialized software to attain that range. Anyway, 1000 RPM – 1500 RPM is easily attainable but at the expense of extra work on your part.

The SilverStone TD03-LITE retails for around 59.99 USD, which should be around 2, 800 PHP. We have seen its bigger brother, the TD03-E retailing at its intended international MSRP so rest assured local pricing wont be much different if compared to our calculations. This makes the Tundra TD03-LITE an affordable and a capable enclosed liquid cooling solution.

THE TUNDRA TD03-LITE RETAILS FOR AROUND 59.99 USD / 2, 800 PESOS WITH A 2 YEAR MANUFACTURER WARRANTY.
PROS:
  • GREAT COOLING PERFORMANCE
  • THICK YET MANAGEABLE TUBING
  • GOOD VALUE FOR MONEY
  • GOOD BUNDLE OF ACCESSORIES
  • 2 YEAR WARRANTY
CONS:
  • FAN PROFILE TOO STIFF
  • NOISE OUTPUT ABOVE 1500 RPM
 2016-Performance