SilverStone TD03-Slim Liquid CPU Cooler Review

Testing
The test rig consists of the following parts:

Processor: Intel Core i7 3770K
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H
Video Card: Zotac 560 Ti
Memory: Samsung Green MV-3V4G3D/US – 16GB
Power Supply: Enermax Maxrevo 1350W
Storage: OCZ Vertex 3 240 GB raid 0 Running Windows 7 64bit
Cooling: SilverStone TD03-Slim
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Luxe

As always testing was done using Intel Burn Test (IBT) with the AVX instruction set. The reason to use this instead of Prime95 with this setup is that it pushes our i7 3770K a whole lot harder. This gives us a better sense of extreme load temps. Most of the testing was done at the max memory setting for a single pass. While admittedly this in no way would qualify the chip as stable while overclocked, it gives us a realistic idea of what temperatures the CPU will be hitting. Additionally we are going to run 3DMARK Fire Strike Extreme to give you a realistic idea of performance while gaming.

Our baseline was established using a bequiet! Dark Rock Pro 2 with the 3770K on stock settings:

Ambient temps: 22.22C/72F
Idle temps: 38.75C/101.75F core average
IBT temps one pass max memory: 63.5C/146.3F core average

The first thing we did was to test the cooler with stock motherboard/CPU settings:

Ambient temps: 22.22°C/72°F
Idle temps: 36.25°C/97.25°F core average
IBT temps one pass max memory: 65°C/149°F core average

I see a couple of things to take away from the stock clock testing. One, the TD03-Slim does a really great job of keeping cool while idling. It actually beats out our baseline air cooler which doesn’t normally happen. However under full load and maximum stress level in IBT it is outperformed by the same air cooler by 1.5°C which is kind of a decent margin.

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As opposed to simply going for a max overclock, we are simply going to shoot to hit 4.5ghz pass or fail. If the cooler will allow our 3770K to hit 4.5 ghz we note the temperatures and move on to test it using 3DMARK Firestrike. If not then back down to a more acceptable and stable overclock. Not as extreme as our previous testing, but slightly more consistent and far more analogous to normal use such as gaming.

Here are our results for our i7 3770K @ 4.5ghz with 1.248V vCore:

Ambient temps: 22.22°C/72°F
IBT temps: 87.75°C/189.95°F with one core hitting 92°C

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graph

Unfortunately the TD03-Slim was unable to complete our overclocked test. With a single core hitting 92°C and the others running pretty hot as well I was forced to abort the test. There was still a good portion of the run to go and we were nearing thermal shutdown; almost certainly the test was causing harm to our processor. Overheating the CPU is pretty unfortunate, but not altogether unexpected. The 3770K in our test system creates a significant amount of heat and the surface area of the rad in the TD03-Slim is clearly just not up to task.

Still, we want to see what some real life gaming temps might be like. We are going to go ahead and run 3DMARK and see what happens.

Ambient temps: 22.22°C/72°F
3DMARK: 70°C/158°F with two cores hitting 71°C

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Altogether the temperatures we recorded in 3DMARK are not too bad. Certainly I could see risking running the 3770K at 4.5ghz under the TD03-Slim for gaming knowing it is a stable overclock and that the temperatures should remain safe.

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