If you’ve been following the CPU-cooling market over the past year or so, you’ve probably noticed some stagnation. Multiple vendors license a design from a few manufacturers, resulting in a roughly identical product. Sometimes the fan control software is the same program with a different skin. Wouldn’t it be nice to shake things up a bit? Silverstone seems to think so, and it seems to understand that it’s not just about looking fancy.
The TD02 gets points for style and toughness, but the extra-thick radiator may not fit in your case.
The Silverstone Tundra TD02 closed-loop cooler is immediately distinctive, with brushed-aluminum banding around the 240mm radiator, decorative white strips on each end, and white tubing connecting the rad to a copper block housed in more aluminum. Silverstone also trumpets higher radiator fin density. Because of these features, the TD02 is more than double the weight of a comparable 240mm cooler; it’s also 75mm thick after the fans are installed, and that extra 20–25mm won’t fit in a number of mid-tower cases. The extra metal also drives up the price a bit.
On the bright side, installation was pretty breezy. The TD02 comes with Intel CPU brackets pre-installed (AMD brackets are bundled in the retail box), and they’re sturdy aluminum. Remove four screws to swap the brackets. The backplate is solid steel, as well. The tubing has a plastic sleeve, so it’s not super flexible, but it does help prevent the tubes from getting accidentally slashed open. The unit as a whole has a rugged feel, and Silverstone reinforces that impression with a five-year warranty, matching Corsair’s H100i as the longest available.
Silverstone does not share the same cabling system, though. Instead of hooking into a SATA or Molex cable, you just connect the sleeved 4-pin fan cables to a sleeved and bundled Y-adapter, and connect that to your motherboard’s CPU fan header. The pump has a 3-pin fan that you can connect to a nearby case fan header. So you will be using your board’s fan controls instead of software provided by Silverstone. Our board uses Asus’s Fan Xpert2, so that was no big deal. We don’t think that a lack of bundled software is necessarily a bad thing, but it’s worth mentioning.
The fan behavior is also pretty different. This AS1225H12 model (also bundled with Silverstone’s Argon AR03 air cooler) is officially rated to idle at 1,500rpm, which is fairly high for 120mm units. But in our test rig, the fans hovered at just over 1,400rpm, and did not crack 1,700rpm on “silent” mode when we put the CPU under full load, using Intel’s internal torture-test software. As a result, the cooler maintained impressive acoustic levels. Silverstone has worked hard on its own fan designs to reduce noise from air turbulence, and that dedication bears fruit with the TD02.
While the NZXT Kraken X60 arguably has the best performance among closed-loop coolers, its 280mm-class radiator won’t fit in a large number of mid-size cases, and it has a plastic backplate and three-year warranty. The H100i is the other main contender; like the TD02, it has a five-year warranty and metal backplate, but it also gets comparable performance from a conventional size, giving it an edge when it comes to case compatibility.
Excellent performance; smooth installation; rugged and distinctive
design; five-year warranty.
Raised in a Barn
Pretty bulky; relatively expensive.
Tundra TD02 Quiet /Performance Mode
Kraken X60 Quiet / Performance Mode
H100i Quiet / Performance Mode
212 Evo Quiet / Performance Mode
19.8 / 19.8
20.9 / 20.7
20.3 / 20.5
20.3 / 20.5
29.8 / 29.5
29.67 / 28.8
30.7 / 29.3
35.5 / 30.5
65.8 / 63.0
66.0 / 61.8
67.1 / 61.0
70.0 / 67.3
Load - Ambient
46.0 / 43.2
45.1 / 41.1
46.8 / 40.5
49.5 / 47.3
All temperatures are in degrees Celsius. Best scores are bolded. All tests were performed with an Intel Core i7-3960X at 4.1GHz, on an Asus Rampage IV Extreme motherboard, in a Corsair 900D with stock fans set to Standard.