With what we were witness to with the Tundra series of coolers first entry, the TD03, it wasn't the stereotypical AIO that one would have expected to be looking at. The trend up until then was to just use the basic plastic and stamped steel components that Asetek and CoolIt had been offering for years, of course with many variations along the way. When I first unboxed the TD03, I finally realized why it was so weighty, and the aesthetic wrapping that is put into the Tundra series of coolers is something I think other manufacturers and modders are going to be coming up with their own versions of similar designs from this point forward.
We have also seen that the performance is right near the top of what we can get out of a single, thick, 120mm radiator, even though the noise levels were high. Part of that was due to the fact that it utilized a push/pull orientation to those fans, and the second fan was not muffled by the radiator. We will find out soon enough if that would make a huge difference in the audio testing, as this latest version from the Tundra series brings forth a dual 120mm radiator for SilverStone, and with two fans being sent with it, these will be oriented strictly as push fans and that may limit the noise levels down to where I can tolerate them long term. My guess is that this new radiator layout won't be doing much muffling since the idea here it to increase the contact of the fins to the tubes, but also to allow more air flow to pass through the fins, elevating the efficiency of these units.
What I really like about the Tundra Series, be it the previous TD03 we reviewed, or the TD02 we are going to be looking at today, SilverStone has made certain that they raised the bar to all other companies offering these sealed AIO units.
Delivering an AIO with aluminum used for all of the structural components of the head unit and the top mounting hardware, using a solid steel back plate, and even offering a very dressed up looking aluminum radiator, where everyone else leaves you with a plain Jane design, there is no doubt that SilverStone dove in with both feet and plans to take the market head on with these Tundra coolers.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The TD02 shares all of the same specifications of the water block and the pump. It comes made out of a copper base with no screws poking through, and the exterior of the head unit is a mix of extruded aluminum for the hardware and brushed and polished aluminum for the top and sides. The pump inside will run at a speed of 2000 RPM, plus or minus a couple hundred RPM if 12V is run through that fan style power connection. This head unit is a bit heavier than the usual entry, but it still stays very clear of its surroundings only measuring 60mm long, 55mm wide and standing only 33.5mm above the CPU IHS. To get the liquid inside the sealed unit to and from the pump, SilverStone opts for white tubing and white corrugated plastic sleeves for them.
There are also two AS1225H12 fans that are sent with the kit to cool this much longer aluminum radiator. These fans are capable of delivering 92.5CFM of air flow across the fins while spinning at 2500 RPM. They are specified to run with 33.5 dBA of noise level, while producing up to a very promising 3.5mmH2O of static pressure. These fans are to be attached to one side of the radiator and they are also shown to be blowing through the radiator, but not necessarily from the outside of the chassis inward as most other companies specify. You are also going to need more room than for the TD03, as the TD02 has a radiator that now is 45mm thick, 124mm wide, but is now 278mm in length.
Since the TD03 released at $99, we have to expect that the price to obtain the larger TD02 is going to cost you s fair bit more. As with most of the dual 120mm radiator solutions, SilverStone is holding true to the release price point of all of them. This means that pretty much anywhere you are going to find this cooler currently, like at Newegg, you are dealing with a $119.99 base price, and of course you may need to contend with shipping charges as well.
If the Tundra TD03 is any indication of the TD02 and how it should perform, I really cannot find a reason why you would opt for the plain model, when you can get the Tundra series cooler that are dressed up for a night on the town and will look stunning with any black and white themed build.
Technically speaking, this would be the top of the outer package, as this is the panel you will lift to open it. Here SilverStone puts their name, the Tundra Series name, and the TD02 moniker in with a couple of images of the AIO inside of this box. Along with five key features of the Tundra series, there are all of the compatible sockets listed along the bottom, next to the QR code.
On this much smaller panel you see the TD02 with the radiator standing and the tubing reaching the head unit that is flat on the photo table. There are also the features listed again at the bottom above the company's web address.
On the bottom of the packaging you will find the same image we just saw, but much closer this time. To the right of it there are nine lists of the features along with the QR codes in various languages.
This other smaller panel is a direct copy of what we found on the opposite side of this packaging.
On the large side panels you will find more information. On this one you can find the specifications chart, along with a dimensional image of the cooler to deliver the measurements you will need to fit inside of your chassis.
The last panel of the packaging covers the series and product name, and once again shows the tag line of "durable high performance all-in-one liquid cooler" we kept seeing. At the bottom it shows the new radiator design, a look at the fans used, and the uninterrupted copper plate under the head unit.
When you open the box there is a dense layer of foam covering the entire top of the cardboard tray that holds all of the components and hardware. In each section the fans, radiator, and head unit are all wrapped in plastic for added protection, and the hardware comes in the white box at the right side.
SilverStone Tundra TD02 AIO CPU Cooler
The top of the head unit for the TD02 shares the same brushed aluminum plate that gets screwed into place with the snowflake logo just like the TD03 had. As I said then, this is much better to see than looking at shiny black plastic.
The sides of this polished aluminum head unit has grooves cut into it to allow for the extruded aluminum hardware to me screwed into it. These units come shipped with Intel hardware, sorry AMD fans, you have to do a bit of work first.
With the TD02 I went ahead and removed the screws so you have a better idea of how easy this really is. Just remove the screws, pull out the Intel bits, add in the AMD ones and align the holes, and screw it into place. It doesn't get any easier.
Here the black fittings for the inlet and outlet of the coolant mixture, and as you can tell they do swivel all the way around until the tubing runs into the other fitting. This should give plenty of flexibility for most installations.
The 3-pin fan header comes out of the cap on these units, but I also took this shot so that you can fully appreciate the aesthetics of this on your CPU over some shiny black head unit with a white painted logo.
There are two things I want to address with the copper cold plate in this head unit, and something you will get nowhere else. The plastic sticker you need to remove is my first point, but the lack of any screws around the edges is something no one else has yet to deliver to an AIO.
Removing the plastic protective film allows a much better look at the surface. There is an arced milling across the entire plane of copper. This doesn't mean the surface deviates, as it does not change or allow light under the razor blade when set against this in various directions.
SilverStone uses the measurement of 310mm of tubing length, but my tape measure only has inches on it, and it is easy to see that there is just more than 12 inches of tubing, and if the fan connection for the head unit wasn't curved, it would also reach the one foot mark.
This radiator is 124mm from top to bottom and 278mm side to side the way I have it in this image. Both ends have white plastic caps applied to it, and this version offers 240mm by 120mm worth of cooling area.
With the much longer radiator, the gunmetal or charcoal grey used on the side skirting has been adapted to work on the TD02 as well. Yes those are screws, and yes if you wanted, you could remove this, but why on earth you would want to; that is way beyond me.
Judging simply by the fact of comparing the numbers found on the stickers of either AIO, this is either a serial number of the product line, or it is some sort of a date code.
Before we dive into the hardware and move along with the review, I thought maybe you would like to see the TD02 all-in-one image.
Accessories and Documentation
Here we have the two extruded parts of aluminum on the left that are the AMD mounting legs. In the middle is the universal back plate for both AMD and Intel mounting. That leaves us with the sleeved y-splitter cable to allow you to power both fans from one motherboard header.
In this image I took the tube of TIM, the AMD isolation plastic stickers, the fan corner rubber stickers to isolate them from the radiator, the 775 load block, and the black nylon risers and placed them all together to get a closer look at them.
The rest of the hardware covers the LGA2011 socket mounting studs, and the top nuts to secure the head unit to the bolts at the left of the bottom row. That leaves eight long screws to go through the case and fans before securing it to the radiator. You also have eight sorter ones so you can mount the fans to the radiator and the chassis separately.
There are also these two fans that come in the kit. These fans have black frames with nine white blades, each of which with three grooves cut into their trailing edges. Keep in mind that both fans are capable of over 90CFM and should push through this radiator without much restriction.
The manual that was setting on the top of the inner packaging is full of useful text and images that take you step by step through both the AMD and Intel installations. Both the images and text is top notch and should leave nothing to be confused about when installing your Tundra series cooler.
Let's be honest though, with as many years as the AIO has been on the market, even with this new hardware, really all you need to know is what part is for what purpose. Looking at the contents chart provided just inside, you now know what you have in hand, and the assembly is pretty self-explanatory.
Installation and Finished Product
You need to align the through bolts to the flat side in the Intel trio of holes on each tab. You can see similar flat spots in the AMD holes. The back plate comes with the plastic pads on the Intel side, but AMD users will want to put the clear stickers on the side facing you marked for AMD.
Holding the back plate to the motherboard is these four black plastic risers. Not only are they what supports the hardware when it is bolted into place, their inner diameter holes are tight on the bolts and keep it from backing out while you add the head unit over it.
The extruded legs on the sides of the head unit will go around the bolts, and you simply screw the top nuts down until there is no more turning left in it. The springs under these nuts will even out the pressure and keep the block firm against the CPU.
As with any AIO, there is no restrictions incurred with using one. You can use whatever memory you would like, and it does not matter about the cooler hitting the video card either. One thing to consider is localized air flow, but with the dual radiator just above the motherboard, there is more of a draft offered here than with the TD03.
As I did with the TD03, I will do the same with the TD02. Since my test chassis does not offer fan placement in the top of it, I will go about testing by just setting this radiator on top of my D-Frame, allowing the fans to draw air in from the bottom to replicate what you will get when setup in most chassis designs.
The Test System and Thermal Results
Testing for the CPU coolers is done with the use of RealTemp to ascertain temperatures, Intel Burn Test to deliver the load to the CPU and CPU-Z to verify the CPU speed and the voltage being used in Windows. All of the testing is done with an ambient temperature of 24.5-25C and humidity is maintained to 35% sometimes less.
For the "stock" runs, it's more of a plug and play setup where the PWM of the motherboard is in control of the fans speeds for both the idle and load results. Speed Step is active and the processor idles at 1600 MHz and loads at 3500 MHz for the stock settings. I also set the memory to run at 1600 MHz for stock. As for the overclocked runs, I load the CPU at 4.5 GHz and idle results are obtained with 7.5V to the fans while the load run is set to deliver 12V to the fans. This allows me to gauge the lowest and highest fan ratings for my charts.
You will also see that the charts have been slightly adjusted. From now on I will mention the idle temperatures if there is something worth noting other than an average of twenty-five to twenty-seven degrees as the PWM controls and Speed Step allow for almost ambient results in most instances. What you are now getting is a stock speed loaded temperature chart and an overclocked loaded temperature chart. To clean up the audio results, I also removed all of the fans that aren't on the thermal charts. If you want to compare those results to new coolers, the old chart is still available in the older reviews.
The stock testing results for this thermal chart is a bit surprising to me, but I ran this test five times with various mounts, but I kept getting back to the 45 degree mark on all of them. That puts it slightly beyond AIO, and right into the mix with some of the custom water cooling solutions.
Thermally speaking, once the overclock was applied, the TD02 does lose a bit of ground. It falls behind custom water cooling as we would all expect, but it is slightly bested by both the H220 from Swiftech or the NZXT Kraken X60 AIO sitting up there in sixth place. Don't let me drag you down in any way though, this 67 degree result still gets the TD02 into the top ten, and that is not an easy thing to do with my CPU.
Noise Level Results
Now that I have tested both the TD03 and this newer TD02, I know the noise levels were not a fluke. With the fans spinning at 1400 RPM with 7.5V running through them, the meter shows a result of 40 dB. Not having the second fan on the back was somewhat helpful, but I wouldn't call 1 dB a miracle or anything.
When we allowed 12V to course through the veins of these beasts, we again see a pretty high sound level at 58 dB. It is not the loudest we have ever tested, but it will definitely get noticed inside of a chassis as the hum makes its way out and to your ears.
I feel like I used up all my good lines when I looked at the TD03. I mean, I was really going on about the aesthetic appeal of that cooler, and just when you thought a larger cooler might look a bit awkward, SilverStone comes off with the TD02 dual 120mm radiator version and it is just as sleek and stylish as the first one was. There are only a couple of things to separate the masses in AIO coolers. One is the option for software, and the second is some sort of lighting. SilverStone does add a bit of blue LED lighting around the snowflake on the top of the head unit, but currently does not offer any software. That being said, outside of that, all other AIOs besides the H220 look exactly the same and SilverStone made sure that wasn't the case with their Tundra series.
The performance at stock levels were very good for the TD02, and when we applied the overclock, it dropped a few spots, but still hung tough in the top ten of all coolers tested. The installation is like that of any other cooler on the market these days, and it took SilverStone to deliver a far superior mounting kit before I realized how weak and flimsy most AIO mounting solutions are.
There still is that one black eye about the Tundra series though, and that is the high level of noise you have to deal with from the fans. The head unit, with the pump inside, that is near silent, but those fans will drown out most other fans in any system. Of course you can look at it like I do and just acknowledge that you are likely to change the fans on this AIO for a set of four to do a push/pull setup, and you can get noise appropriate fans then if you already don't have a set that will work on hand currently.
With a price set as high as $119.99 to obtain this dual 120mm radiator version of the Tundra series with the TD02, I bet many potential buyers will let others lead the way in buying theirs in hopes that just like any other AIO out there, pricing tends to drop as the kit becomes older or slightly outdated. If you want the best of the best, in all categories, and are tired of that plain and simple looking AIO that is currently in your system, step up the quality of your build and opt for an AIO that not only can handle the heat, makes like easy with its awesome mounting system, but with the use of top end materials and finishing touches, you will definitely be the envy of all of your friends and likely the trend setter.
Even if you decide against buying the Tundra series because you own a recently released version from someone else, I bet you are Google searching various vinyl sheets to make yours look like this anyways, and that in itself says a lot. While the pricing is a touch expensive, you definitely get everything an AIO should be.