The CPU liquid cooling market is often described with the words Corsair, Asetek, CoolIT, NZXT etc about with a good majority of people often misunderstanding how the market works. Asetek, while definitely big in the market, is not the only player and everyone does not just rebrand their designs. Take Silverstone for example- they were one of the first to get into the CPU liquid cooling markets (2006-2007 is when they launched the TD01 liquid cooler kit) and have since maintained an arguably underrated presence in that many skip by their Tundra series of liquid coolers. I was guilty of this myself just a few years ago! As I got more interested in the nuances of watercooling, I started to appreciate the various other brands in the market and also how the Asetek pump-on-coldplate patent has resulted in a lot of unique, forced innovations since. As such, today we take a look at the TD03-E (with the TD03-LITE coming up immediately after) CPU cooler from Silverstone which employs their own design using a manufacturing factory that has little to do with Asetek or even CoolIT. Thanks to Tony for the review unit!
Let’s take a look at the specs courtesy the product page:
Silverstone also has a visual comparison of how their waterblock and radiator units differ from more traditional designs, but we will get to that soon ourselves. In the meantime, let’s go over the reasonably extensive spec sheet. I am apprehensive about a copper coldplate having direct contact with aluminum in general, but that’s the story of most all-in-one (AIO) coolers with aluminum radiator tubes and chambers to save cost as it is. Silverstone has nickel-plated the aluminum on the CPU block unit- primarily for aesthetics I would assume, and also for their patented design to get around the Asetek patent- but it does lower direct contact corrosion risks and keeps the outside looks nice and longer lasting. Just about every AIO (especially a closed loop cooler, CLC) has a pump that focuses more on noise mitigation and adequate performance over higher flow rates at the expense of higher noise levels, and this is no different. Note that the pump is not given an RPM range, but only a max speed of 2500 +/- 200 RPM. This suggests that Silverstone recommends the pumps be just powered at a constant 12 V. The current rating for the unit is well within the power delivery of a standard 1 A motherboard fan header, so that does take care of it. As far as the fans go, the TD03-E comes with two of them. They have an interesting rated RPM range of 1500-2500, as I would have generally expected fans to be able to go slower. But performance and noise matters more than the absolute speed values, so again this is something we will examine ourselves later. These are 4-pin PWM fans meant to be connected to the CPU fan header. The radiator in this case is a single 120mm aluminum radiator with aluminum fins as well, and it is connected to the block/pump unit via 31 cm (~12″) long rubber tubing. The cooler comes sealed out of the box with coolant inside already, and has excellent CPU socket compatibility with support for just about every Intel and AMD consumer socket released in the past decade. The cooler warranty is described in the general Silverstone product warranty page here, with the TD03-E getting a good 5 years of warranty in most regions keeping it on par or above contemporary products from other brands. Let’s now take a better look at the cooler on the next page.