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SilverStone TD03 Slim AIO Liquid Cooler Review

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Testing & Results

Testing Methodology

The first test will be performed with the system shown in the Intel installation portion of this article. Perhaps the most relevant test of the TD03 Slim, it should show the performance advantage of using the only AIO cooler capable of being installed in the slim Fortress FTZ01. This is most likely the main use-case scenario for this product, but we’ll also install it on a new Intel testbed for comparison to other coolers next. Other than the system used, the testing methodology will stay the same – an AIDA64 stability test will be used to generate max/average temperatures.

Test System

  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z97N-WIFI
  • System Memory: 2x4GB Samsung DDR3
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4690K 4.4GHz @ 1.26V
  • Audio: On-board
  • Video: Nvidia GTX970 Reference (using Titan cooler)
  • Disk Drive 1: Samsung 250 EVO
  • Enclosure: SilverStone Fortress FTZ01
  • PSU: SilverStone 500W SFX-L
  • Monitor: 1920×1080 LCD/120Hz
  • Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Results

Case Avg CPU Temp (Delta over Ambient) Max CPU Temp Reached
Fortress FTZ01 37.2C 56.8C

That’s a very respectable result for an overclock (albeit a conservative one) in a tiny slim mini-ITX case. 4.4GHz with a max temp under 60C means there’s still quite a bit of overhead. The system stayed pretty quiet throughout testing – again, quite a feat for a case only 14L. It’s pretty clear the TD03 Slim opens up quite a few options for the slim chassis it is designed for – unfortunately, I don’t have a Cryorig C1 (or SilverStone Argon AR06 / NT06) ITX cooler to compare, as the low profile C-type coolers may be the only coolers capable of competing in the FTZ01.

Testing Methodology

Now for the new Intel testbed. Thermaltake’s Core v21 should be able to accommodate most coolers on the market as well as allow for multiple orientations (vertical/horizontal/inverted) while providing easy access to every component, and Asus’ Gryphon Z87 mATX motherboard (with all of its thermal sensors) housing a Core i5-4670K should serve well as a long-lived test platform. Since this is a brand new testbed for my reviews, I won’t have that many data points at first. The TD03 Slim is a relatively unique product – there aren’t any other slim AIO coolers out there (unless you count the TD02 Slim, naturally), so I chose a 120mm cooler of similar price to begin the comparison: the Noctua NH-U12S.

SilverStone TD03 Slim_023

I’ll be using the stock 200mm Thermaltake intake fan at the front, with a Noctua 140mm fan added to the rear for exhaust (all fans will run at 100% during the stress test). In the case of AIO liquid coolers, their radiators will be mounted above the motherboard, exhausting outside of the case. The system will be left to idle until temperatures stabilize, then AIDA64’s System Stability test will be run for two minutes as a warm up. Once the two minute mark is reached, the statistics will be cleared and the stability test will run for another five minutes. At the end of the test, max and average temperatures will be recorded, and the average ambient temperature over the course of the test will be subtracted from the average core temps to arrive at the temperature shown in the chart. All fans will be run at 100% for the cooling stress tests, with the intent to compare all coolers at their maximum performance capabilities.

Test System

  • Motherboard: Asus Gryphon Z87
  • System Memory: 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4670K @ 4.6GHz / 1.33V/1.42V LLC
  • Audio: On-board
  • Video: Integrated/GTX 660 Dedicated
  • Disk Drive 1: OCZ Vector 460
  • Enclosure: Thermaltake Core V21
  • PSU: Cooler Master V700
  • Monitor: 1920×1080 LCD/120Hz
  • Operating System: Windows 7 64bit Ultimate

Results

Cooler Average Temp (Delta over Ambient) Max Temp Reached
NH-U12S 45.6C 65C
TD03 Slim 49C 71C

Both of these coolers can be found for around $65. Even with a fan that spins almost 1000 RPM faster than the Noctua (~2200 RPM vs. 1500 RPM), the slim TD03 just doesn’t have the mass to keep shedding the heat fast enough to keep up with the Noctua 120mm tower cooler.

If you’re looking for the “best CPU cooler at $65”, the Noctua is the obvious choice between the two. However, you can’t fit the Noctua in the FTZ01 – or many other ITX cases for that matter. With all of its limitations, the TD03 Slim performs admirably in its intended role. When looking at these results – even though they cost the same – it is apparent these are two different coolers designed for different purposes.


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