We came away impressed with the SilverStone Tundra series of all-in-one water-coolers after our short hands on demo at Computex. Their striking design and build quality appeared to be a step above anything we'd seen before. Now we have the chance to look at them properly.
The new Tundra coolers are available in two flavours, the double radiator TD02 which we're looking at today and the single rad version, the TD03, which we'll also have a review of shortly. At £100, the TD02 is about £10 more expensive than both of Corsair's double radiator offerings, the H100i and the H110, but is almost £20 less than NZXT's Kraken X60.
The TD02's radiator is thicker than other AIO coolers, as it measures 45mm tall. This means you'll need at least 70mm of clearance to install it with its fans, or 95mm if you're after a push-pull set-up. While this should give it an advantage in cooling, it also reduces its versatility, as this is more room than a lot of cases can spare for a double radiator.
Click to enlarge - Ice flow, nowhere to go...
SilverStone's cooler also differs itself from the sealed loop competition through the design of its radiator's fins. Whereas such fins usually zig-zag between a pair of pipes, the densely packed fins on the TD02 cut straight across the entire pipe array, wrapping around each pipe as they go in a way similar to how traditional heatsink fins are arranged around heat pipes. This is a patented design that comes with the usual boasts of increased cooling efficiency.
As we saw at Computex, the build quality of the Tundra TD02 is outstanding thanks to the heavy use of aluminium. The radiator is enclosed in a thick, two tone aluminium casing with white plastic caps at either end, so it really stands out visually too, especially when compared to the regular 'black with a hint of black' Asetek clones we've become so used to. Other than the solid copper base (which is completely flat and screw-less), the water block and even the attachable mounting arms are made from solid aluminium too. The white FEP piping is the only let down in this sense as we much prefer the construction of rubber tubes, but the Tundra's are nevertheless nice and flexible.
Click to enlarge - The radiator features a patented fin design
The pair of fans bundled with the Tundra TD02 are the same nine blade AS1225H12 models used in SilverStone's Argon AR01 cooler, but here they use a black and white colour scheme. Their cables, along with the pump's power cable, are braided to a high quality, as is the splitter cables that lets you power them both from a single fan header. The fans can be installed either side of the radiator, although only a single set of eight long screws is provided. Eight shorter screws are also supplied for securing the radiator directly to your case, but if you want to add fans to both sides, you'll either have to find your own fan screws or put up with two per fan.
Unlike similar offerings from Corsair, NZXT and Antec, there's no software control offered for the Tundra coolers. The biggest loss here is that of monitoring and controlling fan speeds. That said, we've often found AIO cooler software to be unstable or unreliable, and the fans on the TD02 are PWM enabled, so it's still possible to adjust their speed with relative ease.
Click to enlarge - The solid water block and mouting arms are made from aluminium and attached to a flat, screw free copper base
The height of the radiator meant we were only able to install it on top of our Corsair Carbide 500R's roof (with the fans below it and inside the chassis as usual) and this further highlights that it won't be an easy fit for everyone. Otherwise, installation is hassle free and simply involves passing some screws through the backplate (unless you're using an LGA2011 CPU) and fastening the appropriate mounting arms onto these. A nicely sized tube of thermal grease is supplied, and the whole process can be done with the case upright and the motherboard left in the chassis.