Cooler Master MasterLiquid 360L Core Review: Impressive Budget Cooling

Top-end cooling performance at a cut-rate price.

Cooler Master MasterLiquid 360L Core
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Tom's Hardware Verdict

Cooler Master delivers top-tier cooling performance at a lower price than the competition.


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    Top-tier cooling performance

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    Full RAM clearance

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    Just $119


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    Louder than the competition

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Cooler Master has been busy updating its entire cooling lineup, and this summer and fall we expect to be testing many releases from the company. We recently reviewed the MA824 Stealth air cooler, which impressed us with its high-end cooling performance, combined with quiet operation. 

Here we’re looking at Cooler Master’s latest 360mm AIO liquid cooler, the MasterLiquid 360L Core ARGB. It features a new “Gen S” dual-chamber liquid pump and a thicker radiator for improved cooling capacity vs its predecessor, the PL360 Flux. But is it enough to earn a spot on our best AIO Coolers list? We’ll have to install and test the cooler to find out. 

Cooler Specifications

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CoolerCooler Master MasterLiquid 360L Core ARGB
Installed Size394 (L) x 119.6 (W) x 27.2 mm (H)
Radiator MaterialAluminum
Socket CompatibilityIntel LGA 1700 / 1200 / 1151 / 1150 / 1155 / 1156
 AMD AM5 / AM4 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / AM2 / FM2+ / FM2 / FM1
BaseRedesigned Copper Base
Warranty3 years
Max TDP (Our Testing)~250W on Intel's i7-13700K

Packing and Included Contents 

Cooler Master’s MasterLiquid 360L Core ARGB arrives in a box similar in size to other coolers in its class.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The inner contents are protected by molded foam and cardboard, helping to ensure the cooler arrives undamaged.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Included with the package are the following:

  • 360mm Radiator & Gen S Water Pump
  • Three 120mm Fans
  • CryoFuze Thermal Paste
  • ARGB & Fan Splitters
  • Mounting for Intel and AMD Platforms

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Installation on LGA1700

Installing the cooler on our LGA 1700 testbed was a pretty standard process.

1. Apply the backplate to the back of the motherboard.

2. Secure the mounting standoffs on the mounting holes.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

3. Screw in the mounting bars against the base of the CPU block, and then secure the mounting bars against the standoffs using the included thumbscrews.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

4. Attach the fans to the radiator, and then secure the radiator to your computer’s case.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

5. Lastly, connect the fans to the PWM & ARGB splitters, and then connect the splitter cords to the motherboard.

Features of Cooler Master’s MasterLiquid 360L Core

Gen S Dual Chamber Pump

The MasterLiquid 360L’s pump features the latest dual-chamber “Gen S” design, which features boosted water flow and stronger liquid pressure levels over previous models, for improved cooling performance.

(Image credit: Cooler Master)

Full Copper Heatplate

The copper contact plate has been redesigned to target heat spots with precision.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

New Pump Aesthetic 

The MasterLiquid 360L Core features a newly redesigned CPU block.

(Image credit: Cooler Master)

Complete RAM compatibility

As the compact CPU block of the AIO does not overhang or interfere with RAM in any way, all sizes of DDR4 & DDR5 DIMMs are supported.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

CryoFuze thermal paste

While many companies only include a bare minimum of thermal paste, Cooler Master includes a full tube of its signature CryoFuze thermal paste along with the cooler.

(Image credit: Cooler Master)

Increased fin surface area

Compared to previou- generation Cooler Master liquid coolers, the radiator fins of the MasterLiquid 360L Core are larger to allow for increased heat dissipation. 

Three 120MM ARGB fans

There’s more to a cooler than just the heatsink or radiator. The bundled fans have a significant impact on cooling and noise levels. Included with the MasterLiquid 360L Core are three new ARGB fans designed for use with radiators.

(Image credit: Cooler Master)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Dimensions120 x 120 x 25 mm
Fan Speed650-1750 RPM ± 10%
Air Flow71.93 CFM (Max)
Air Pressure1.86 mmH20 (Max)
Bearing TypeRifle
MTTF>160,000 hours


Modern high-end CPUs, whether Intel or AMD, are difficult to cool in intensive workloads. In the past, reaching 95C+ on a desktop CPU might have been a cause for concern. But with today’s processors, it is considered normal operation. Similar behavior has been present in laptops for years due to cooling limitations in tight spaces. 

Despite assurances from the CPU manufacturers that there is no concern in running the CPU at or near its maximum temperature, many enthusiasts still prefer to have their CPUs run at lower temperatures. The majority of coolers won’t be capable of achieving this in the strongest and most power-hungry of workloads, but the strongest of 360mm AIOs are able to handle the heat with Intel’s i7-13700K.

Our expectations are high for Cooler Master’s MasterLiquid 360L Core, and as such we’ll be testing it against two of the strongest AIOs on the market: DeepCool’s LT720 and MSI’s MAG S360.

LGA1700 Socket Bending

There are many factors other than the CPU cooler that can influence your cooling performance, including the case you use and the fans installed in it. A system's motherboard can also influence this, especially if it suffers from bending, which results in poor cooler contact with the CPU. 

In order to prevent bending from impacting our cooling results, we’ve installed Thermalright’s LGA 1700 contact frame into our testing rig. If your motherboard is affected by bending, your thermal results will be worse than those shown below. Not all motherboards are affected equally by this issue. I tested Raptor Lake CPUs in two motherboards. And while one of them showed significant thermal improvements after installing Thermalright’s LGA1700 contact frame, the other motherboard showed no difference in temperatures whatsoever! Check out our review of the contact frame for more information.

Testing Methodology

All testing is performed at a 23C ambient room temperature. Multiple thermal tests are run on each CPU to test the cooler in a variety of conditions, and acoustic measurements are taken with each result. These tests include:

1. Noise-normalized testing at low noise levels

2. “Out of the box”/Default Configuration Thermal & Acoustics Testing

     a.) This means no power limits on Intel’s i7-13700K

     b.) Because CPUs normally hit Tjmax in this scenario, the best way to compare cooling strength is by recording the total CPU package power consumption.

3. Thermal & Acoustics testing in Power Limited Scenarios

     a.) I’ve tested with limits of 175W and 125W enforced.

The thermal results included are 10-minute testing runs. To be sure that was sufficiently long to tax the cooler, we tested both Thermalright’s Assassin X 120 R SE and DeepCool’s LT720 with a 30-minute Cinebench test with Intel’s i9-13900K for both 10 minutes and 30 minutes. The results didn’t change much at all with the longer test: The average clock speeds maintained dropped by 29 MHz on DeepCool’s LT720 and 31 MHz on Thermalright’s Assassin X 120 R SE. That’s an incredibly small 0.6% difference in clock speeds maintained, a margin of error difference that tells us that the 10-minute tests are indeed long enough to properly test the coolers

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Testing Configuration – Intel LGA1700 Platform
CPUIntel Core i7-13900K
Air Coolers TestedCooler Master MasterAir MA824 Stealth
 Jiushark JF13K Diamond
 Thermalright Silver Soul 135
 Thermalright Peerless Assassin
 Montech D24 Premium
 Noctua NH-D15S
Liquid Coolers TestedCooler Master MasterLiquid 360L Core
 DeepCool LT720
 MSI MEG CoreLiquid S360
MotherboardMSI Z690 A Pro DDR4 
GPUIntel ARC A770 LE
CaseBe Quiet! Silent Base 802, system fans set to speed 1 setting. 
MonitorLG 45GR95QE
PSUCooler Master XG Plus 850 Platinum PSU

 MORE: How to Buy the Right CPU Cooler

MORE: How to Check CPU Temperature

MORE: All CPU Cooling Content

Albert Thomas
Freelancer, CPU Cooling Reviewer

Albert Thomas is a contributor for Tom’s Hardware, primarily covering CPU cooling reviews.

  • Zforgetaboutit
    "CPU: i7-13900K" in the testing config?

    Multiple "CPUs" are mentioned.
  • RichardtST
    These liquid coolers are so completely overpowered it is utterly ridiculous. There is far more than enough headroom to replace WATER with MINERAL OIL so that those of us who are paranoid about mixing water and electricity don't have to... Where is my OIL cooler? I don't want water leaks in my computer! I want an OIL cooler!
  • Albert.Thomas
    Zforgetaboutit said:
    "CPU: i7-13900K" in the testing config?

    Multiple "CPUs" are mentioned.


    This review was tested with Intel's i7-13700K
  • freedomqn
    from Vietnam country reseller selling only 89 usd including ship ,this cooler really master
    best p/p ,only one problem mounting socket 1700 like a very weak joke, flimsy plastic, after attaching the base screws, it feels like the mount is running back and forth
  • phxrider
    Funny, it's loud vs the competition, but I bought the 280mm version of this from Amazon a while back without reading any reviews because I needed one quick and it was cheap... One thing I was really happy about was how quiet it is.

    (The cooling is great too, at least on the old Haswell system I first had it on, and the 9900K it's on now - the temps were ~20C lower than the previous Corsair H100 that died and this replaced on the Haswell, and it could actually stress test without throttling for the first time.)
  • phxrider
    phxrider said:
    Funny, it's loud vs the competition, but I bought the 280mm version of this from Amazon a while back without reading any reviews because I needed one quick and it was cheap... One thing I was really happy about was how quiet it is.

    (The cooling is great too, at least on the old Haswell system I first had it on, and the 9900K it's on now - the temps were ~20C lower than the previous Corsair H100 that died and this replaced on the Haswell, and it could actually stress test without throttling for the first time.)
    I bought the 360mm one for my new system and except when beating it up, it's also very quiet, and keeps the 7800x3d in the 50s while gaming.