PC Water Cooling

Silverstone Tundra TD02-E CPU Cooler Review: An Affordable, Quieter 240mm AIO Option

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Test System and Benchmark Results

Test System

Type: Component name: Provided by:
Processor Intel Core i7-4770K (Retail) Reviewer
Motherboard ASUS Maximus VI Gene Z87 Motherboard ASUS
Memory Mushkin Stealth DDR3 Mushkin
Drive OCZ Agility 4 256GB SSD OCZ
Graphics Intel Integrated Graphics
Thermal Compound Noctua NT-H1 Noctua
Case NZXT Switch 810 SE NZXT
Power Supply Corsair HX850W Corsair
Operating System Windows 7 x64 Pro Reviewer
Test Software AIDA64 Engineer Edition AIDA64
SPL Meter American Recorder Technologies SPL-8810 Reviewer
Standardised Fans 4x Enermax Twister Pressure 120mm Enermax

Testing Methodology

Test was conducted inside a case for close to real-world performance. An NZXT Switch 810 SE full-tower case was used (supports up to 360mm radiators at the top) and the radiator was mounted at the top with the fans pushing cold air from outside through the radiator. This eliminates performance variance due to warm air from case internal (if the fans are positioned to exhaust up) vs controlled fresh intake air going through the radiator. Ambient temperature is measured at the radiator fan intake and kept constant. Testing was reset when the ambient air rises one degree up or down from the target temperature of 23.5C. To get closer to real world performance, a retail Intel i7-4770K CPU was used (non-delidded). Stock settings use a constant 1.1Vcore voltage while overclock settings use a constant 1.2Vcore voltage. The Intel core i7-4770K integrated graphics was used for display output and no discrete graphics card was installed to prevent additional heat sources from contributing inside and outside the case. Multi-core enhancement is enabled in the BIOS by default and left on (ASUS Turbo Core policy used instead of Intel standard).


Noctua’s NT-H1 thermal compound is used as it is non-conductive, non-corrosive, compressor-cooling compatible, long-term stable in storage or use, and does not require curing time. Plus, the compound’s consistency spreads well under pressure without the need to be manually spread. Line method is used across the i7-4770K surface area and dispersed only by the pressure applied by the IHS-to-coldplate/surface contact.

Naked DRAM PCB modules ensure full compatibility with any CPU cooler tested with a standard JEDEC module height of 30mm compared to other modules with heatspreaders which limit cooler compatibility.

Temperatures are averaged (last minute) from individual core temperature results monitored by AIDA64 after 15 minutes using the default CPU, FPU, Memory and Cache simultaneous load. AIDA64 is able to use the latest instructions including AVX and AVX2, etc unlike other older CPU load tests so it is also a lot more “future proof” as more software start to utilize it. FPU-only load average is used to simulate worst case scenario load levels similar to Intel Burn Test or OCCT. Please keep in mind that this test is brutal and not even close to real-world load (especially not that constant for that amount of time), so not many CPU coolers are expected to pass this test but the ones that do are exceptional. Results marked “100″ and in red means thermal limit was reached and the CPU was throttled, even for just but a second. This includes results where even just the first core reached the limit and even if it briefly happened. It is marked as 100 in red in the review if it happens three times. Three runs are conducted per cooler and a fourth run is done after a remounting to verify. Last minute average is taken instead of peak because it represents the averaged behaviour of the thermal performance instead of worst-case scenario or a snapshot. Temperature delta results are used to account for variance since not all heatsinks can be conducted on the same day.

Screenshot of the Noctua NH-U9S under FPU-only load surviving 15-minute run in AIDA64. Getting the thermal behaviour presents a more accurate performance assessment than a single second snapshot or a mere peak temperature recording.

The Corsair HX850W power supply’s fans only ramp up when system load is past 20% making it an excellent power supply to use for when testing the CPU cooler’s noise levels. Any load under that and the fan does not spin at all, effectively acting in passive mode.

The American Recording Technologies SPL-8810 meter is placed 20-inches/50cm from the source fan to measure sound level. The entire test unit is moved to an acoustically treated room to get the ambient noise as low as controllably possible for real-world results. All other fans are disabled to eliminate sound sources that are not from the cooling unit itself that is being tested. This includes all case fans and all other component fan is shut off. The boiler during winter or the air conditioner during summer is also shut off to eliminate ambient noise further and sound testing is conducted from 2AM to 5AM so sound traffic from the outside is minimized as much as possible. Fan levels are controlled manually via software and at a separate time from the temperature testing.

A FlirONE Thermal Imaging Camera was used to observe thermal behaviour under load. This is a lower-cost thermal imaging unit equipped with a low resolution thermal lens working in conjunction with a regular resolution camera lens to produces a composite image. Because of the FlirONE’s low resolution performance, it is not used as a benchmarking tool to measure temperature but rather a tool for observing thermal behaviour under load.


Silverstone Tundra TD02-E

Silverstone Tundra TD02-E

Thermal behaviour (white with red bias are the hot parts, black with blue bias are the colder parts):


Sound Profile (Fan RPM vs Noise Level) – Room ambient noise is 34.8dBA:

Fan Speed 2x 120mm fan
2500 50.2
2400 49.4
2300 48.8
2200 47.5
2100 46
2000 45.3
1900 44.5
1800 42.9
1700 41.5
1600 40.8
1500 38.9
1400 38
1300 37.2
1200 36.6
1000 35.6

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