Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R RGB Review 0

Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R RGB Review

Value and Conclusion

  • The Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R RGB has an MSRP of $160.
  • Attractive design
  • Good clearance around the socket
  • Fairly easy to install
  • Good build quality
  • RGB control via hub and software
  • Pump top can be rotated
  • Appearance takes priority over performance
  • Cooling performance could be better
  • Price to performance is lackluster
  • Short warranty
  • A bit loud at maximum RPM
The Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R RGB stands out as the first all-in-one liquid cooler I have tested that features fully addressable RGB LEDs. While most people will just select a color they like and stick with it, the fact remains that it is an interesting capability for those who like to tinker or want full customization of every facet of their system. Regardless, the LEDs offer an even display of color that looks quite good if that is what you're looking for. The LEDs can be controlled to a limited extent over the included hub; however, when you combine the hub with Cooler Master's software, you end up with a solid software suite that gives you complete control. They even made sure the pump top can be rotated so it is always positioned correctly. This is a good example of attention to detail, and it is small things like this that tend to be overlooked.

Build quality is quite solid overall with no real problems to report. This extends to the mounting hardware as well, with it being fairly easy to work with in regards to physically installing the ML360R RGB. Clearance around the socket and graphics card is also exceptional with no issues I could spot. Overall, from a physical standpoint, everything looks good. Performance, while not class-leading, is still decent with the MasterLiquid ML360R RGB keeping the Intel Core i7-8700K overclocked to 4.8 GHz at 88°C, same as the Corsair H150i PRO and 2°C ahead of the ID-Cooling Dashflow 360.

As with any cooler, improvements can be made, and the MasterLiquid ML360R RGB is no exception. Cooler Master has gone all out in regards to looks, and while it certainly is an attractive cooler, performance isn't quite where it should be. While overall performance is not terrible, it does fall short of expectations compared to more traditional 240 mm all-in-one liquid coolers. The fact that these more affordable options offer better performance means the ML360R RGB is not going to win in regards to performance per dollar.

The short warranty doesn't help matters either. With the likes of Corsair and ID-Cooling giving much longer warranties, Cooler Master needs to step up their warranty coverage to be more competitive. Finally, the only other issue is noise. At idle or low loads, the cooler is fairly quiet; however, in order to reach its maximum performance, it hits 48 dBA with the fans at full speed. In that situation, performance, while on par with Noctua's NH-D15 and Corsair's H150i PRO, ends up far louder as the two sit at just 43 dBA at 100% fan speed.

In general, Cooler Master has an interesting, albeit flawed offering in the MasterLiquid ML360R RGB. My only other thoughts come down to the fact that it doesn't quite perform as well as other available options on Intel's mainstream LGA1151 platform. I have no doubt Cooler Master's latest liquid cooler will perform a bit better on AM4 or LGA2066. The use of TIM rather than solder under the IHS on the Intel i7 8700K hurts thermal transfer. While a wall of sorts exists here, the fact remains that smaller AIO liquid coolers are managing better performance at lower noise levels, which means there is room for improvement here.

Cooler Master's lack of documentation is also a bit of a shame. Nowhere on the box or in the manual do they mention their own software in detail. Even a guide laying out the ARGB hub and its features is missing. While that info is available on their website, it is never mentioned where it matters on the box or in the included manuals. Having talked with Cooler Master about this, they are looking to remedy the issue, but it's still a problem for units available today.

Overall, the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R RGB is an attractive all-in-one liquid CPU cooler that offers a bevy of features, but even so, falls short of the mark.
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