Silverstone Tundra TD02-RGB review: Budget price, high-end performance

It's important to have a well informed opinion about the technology you're buying.

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No other watercooler matches the TD02-RGB’s balance of low pricing and high performance

Pros

  • High quality for a low price
  • Out-performs more expensive models
  • Easy to connect

Cons

  • No TR4 slot
  • No printed setup manual

Another month, another all-in-one (AIO) watercooler with RGB lighting. The TD02-RGB is a little more interesting than most, however. Despite the price, first impressions don’t exactly scream cheapness and corner-cutting.

The dual 120mm fans and rubbery tubes are impressively robust, and a huge range of AMD and Intel sockets – both old and new – are supported. The only noteworthy omission is the TR4 slot used by AMD’s gigantic Threadripper chips, although the far more common AM4 slot is catered for out of the box.

Silverstone Tundra TD02 RGB review: Price and competition

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The Silverstone Tundra is only £60 at a time when 240mm, RGB-equipped AIO coolers are still new enough to occupy the £100-plus range. That could potentially make it a great budget option, as long as build quality and cooling performance are up to the task.

There’s no printed manual, so you’ll have to go online to download the instruction guide, but putting the TD02-RGB together is easy enough. It’s slightly similar to the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240R RGB, in that the only fiddly bit is securing the mounting screws to a plate that sits behind the motherboard’s CPU socket, although this can be done separately before sliding the whole thing into place.

It’s the same process for AMD sockets and mainstream Intel sockets, and the Intel 2011 and 2066 sockets make things even easier: you just need to screw in a set of four standoffs. In any case, the water block – which has an integrated mounting bracket – can be easily attached with some thumbscrews. While thermal paste isn’t pre-applied, a small tube is included, and in a way this is better as you can adjust how much you put on according to the size of your CPU.

Silverstone Tundra TD02 RGB review: Specifications

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The TD02-RGB also avoids one of the most irritating mistakes made by AIO coolers: short cables. It’s easy to connect up either of the two fans to a 4-pin cooling header – even at the opposite end of a full-size ATX motherboard, which isn’t as common a quality as we’d like.

However, as useful as longer power cables are, the abundance of separate RGB cables end up making a mess. This is partly down to the lack of a dedicated RGB controller, as you get with the MasterLiquid ML240R RGB or Deepcool Castle 240 RGB. Instead of all the wires needed for fully customisable lighting being directed to hub, the water block and each fan need to be daisy-chained together (the requisite connectors are at least included) before being plugged into a single 12V RGB header on the motherboard.

If you don’t have a motherboard with an RGB controller (and thus no RGB header), you can still make the fans and pump glow a solid blue by hooking up all those wires directly to the PSU instead. Nonetheless, the absence of a dedicated controller both limits the systems in which RGB lighting – a key feature – will work, and makes for an incredibly long and difficult-to-manage chain of cables dangling within the PC’s case. It’s the first and starkest reminder of the TD02-RGB’s low-cost nature.

Silverstone Tundra TD02 RGB review: Performance

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Performance, however, is anything but low end. Cooling an Intel Core i7-4770K at stock speeds, it managed to outperform the £110 MasterLiquid ML240R RGB by keeping core temperatures between 45°C and 51°C when under the heavy load of our 4K benchmarks. Its absolute peak temperature of 53°C also beats the MasterLiquid’s 56°C, although idle performance was about even, with the TD02-RGB keeping things within the 27 to 34°C range.

With the CPU overclocked to 3.9GHz, the TD02-RGB still asserted itself, producing idle temperatures between 27° and 35°C, and load temperatures between 50° and 56°C. The peak temperature only rose to 58°C, an excellent result for such an affordable 240mm cooler. It’s not among the very best, though, as the NZXT Kraken X62 and Asus ROG Ryuo 240 both kept temperatures even lower, especially under load.

That said, these are significantly more expensive coolers than the TD02-RGB and neither of them has addressable RGB lighting as a focus. SilverStone’s AIO is, therefore, in the very strong position of being both thriftier and better at cooling than the likes of the MasterLiquid ML240R RGB, Castle 240 RGB and the Thermaltake Floe Riing RGB 240 TT Premium Edition.

Silverstone Tundra TD02 RGB review: Verdict

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It’s a fantastic addition to any sufficiently sized PC, especially if that PC has a motherboard with a built-in RGB controller. If not, the TD02-RGB is still inexpensive enough that it can be run with simple blue lighting (or no lighting at all – we tried leaving the RGB cables completely unplugged and it still works fine) without the sense that you’ve wasted your cash.

Still, check for that little 12V header if you want to make the most of it.

  • Silverstone Tundra TD02-RGB specifications
  • Technology-Closed loop
  • Fans-2x 120mm
  • Socket-Intel LGA 2066/2011/1151/1150/1155/1156/1366/775, AMD AM4/ AM3/AM2/FM2+/FM2/FM1
  • Radiator dimensions (no fan)-120x274x32mm

Source: expertreviews.co.uk