Testing & Results
The CPU coolers tested were installed in a computer case in its normal, upright orientation (a NZXT H630). A 200mm top/rear exhaust fan was added to the enclosure to aid in cooling VRMs and most of the front drive cages were removed to clear the path from the 200mm intake fan. The GPU remained installed during testing. All fans were set to 100% to remove that variable from the results (motherboard fan control was disabled). In the case of liquid coolers, they were mounted in the rear exhaust location if possible (otherwise, as in the case of the Swiftech H220, mounted in the “floor” of the H630 as an intake). This is how I would assume most enthusiasts would set up a similar case while overclocking a similar platform.
All tests were performed using the AIDA64 Extreme Edition System Stability test, using 100% fan settings on an Asus M5A99FX PRO R2.0 (PWM/motherboard fan controls were disabled for testing). The test was allowed to run until temperatures plateaued, then I recorded the ambient temperature of the intake air and began logging temperatures over the next minute. After an initial warm-up run, I ran each test at least three times (more if I received inconsistent results), and recorded the ambient temperature again. Once I had “good data,” I dropped the best and worst results and subtracted the (average over the test) ambient temperature from the median result to arrive at the delta T temperature you see in the chart.
Each time a heatsink was swapped, the Tuniq TX-2 thermal interface material I used for each application was cleaned off of the contact surfaces with Arctic Silver’s ArctiClean two-step TIM remover, and an appropriate amount of TX-2 replaced for the next heatsink. Due to the nature of applying TIM and mating two surfaces, I would like to adopt a 3% margin of error – even though my thermometers and the built-in thermal diode measure temperatures down to one-tenth of a degree Celsius, it could be assumed that temperatures within a degree of each other are essentially the same result.
Motherboard: Asus M5A99FX-PRO R2.0 w/ 1708 BIOS/UEFI
System Memory: 8GB (2x4GB) GSkill Ares 1600MHz DDR3 CL8
Processor: AMD FX-8320 Piledriver, 4.6GHz/1.428V
Video: Sapphire Radeon 7950 3GB 1000MHz Core, 1300MHz mem
Disk Drive 1: OCZ Vertex 2 240GB
Enclosure: NZXT H630, +200mm exhaust fan (top/rear)
PSU: Rosewill Lightning 800W Modular 80+ Gold
Monitor: 1920×1080 120Hz
Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit w/SP1
At least on my overclocked AM3+ FX platform I use for testing, the changes SilverStone made to the AIO cooler formula appear to have worked. Unfortunately, I don’t have a Corsair H80i available to test, as that would be the most natural “competition” for the TD03. I’d be most interested in seeing these results as well! Still, it’s a strong showing for the TD03, and it seems to fit nicely along the price/performance curve.
With the fans running 100%, they did get pretty loud, but the pump itself was near silent (I couldn’t hear it over the rest of the case fans). At PWM speeds, the fans are quiet enough to make the move to water cooling worth it to help with noise. Overall, an impressive performance for a cooler that has to contend with a CPU that is consuming around 200W at load.