The all-in-one (AIO) liquid cooler market has exploded with products from most of the major players in the air cooling game. Even companies that had nothing to do with cooling are testing the waters (ba-dum-ching!), but for the most part, the products seem fairly similar to each other, at least from the outside.
Sure, there are aesthetic differences such as LED lights, and some manufacturers have decided to bump up the overall size of the radiators and fans, or even include custom software to control performance. When we look at it from a core cooling technology perspective however, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of visible changes, and many of us aren’t adventurous enough to void the warranty to see what’s going on under the hood.
For those who feel that seeing is believing, let’s have a peek at the latest 240mm AIO cooler from SilverStone, the Tundra TD02. SilverStone took the standard, pre-filled, factory sealed cooler, dressed it up, and sprinkled on a healthy dose of innovation, resulting in what we have on the test bench today.
Starting off at the block and integrated pump, we have a solid aluminum top cover whereas most coolers use black plastic. The top cover is finished off with the snowflake design, which is synonymous with SilverStone, and is flanked by countersunk screws to hold the unit together. Even the retention arms are solid aluminum and are much thicker than anything we have looked at in the past, which gives the cooler a well-built, quality feel.
Running from the side of the block and pump unit is the 4-pin power connection, while the business side has a flawless, solid copper block, devoid of any screws or bolts since these thread down through the top as mentioned a moment ago. The surface of the block is nice and flat on both axis when checked with a straight edge. SilverStone chose to go with ribbed, white FEP tubing for the hoses, which is more rigid than the smooth rubber hoses that we’ve seen lately. They measure 310mm long and have an outer diameter of 9.5mm.
The radiator is where things really get interesting. Forget about the contrast between the gunmetal finish and white accents for a moment, and look at how beefy this things is. A standard radiator is 25mm thick, and the thickest radiator that we’ve looked at so far has been 38mm. The radiator on the Tundra series of coolers measures an impressive 45mm thick due to the unique wrap around fin design.
Instead of using the typical folded fins found on most radiators, which only contact the sides of the fluid channels, SilverStone looked at what has been used on air coolers for years and put that technology to work. The result is a tightly packed, brazed fin array that contacts the channels on all sides to pull more heat away. Each fin has also been given a sawtooth edge to help get around the fact that this extra thickness requires more static pressure from the fans in order to cool properly.
Two 120mm high performance AS1225H12 fans have been included, and feature a 4-pin PWM connector. These fans have a top speed of 2500 RPM while pushing 92.5 CFM, and 3.5mm/H2O. They also feature two small teeth that extend into each blade to create three channels. Silverstone claims that this creates a more aerodynamic shape, in turn reducing the amount of noise to 33.5 dBA.
Included with the TD02 are the combination Intel/AMD back plate, the AMD retention arms (the Intel arms are pre-installed), various screws, nuts, and risers, a tube of thermal compound, and a Y-splitter cable to run both fans from a single motherboard header.
It’s time to see how the TD02 stacks up to the competition and also whether the design changes mentioned above will result in lower temperatures, but first we need to get the cooler installed into our test system.