Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240R RGB Review: Impressive Cooling & Color

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Testing Results & Conclusion

Using data charted from prior cooling tests and evaluations, we’re able to build charts and comparisons to measure how the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240R RGB performs against other cooling solutions similar in both cost and performance. We’ll benchmark against data from the NZXT Kraken M22, the Raijintek Orcus 360 and the Enermax LIQFUSION 240 RGB.

Posting the best thermal performance of our testing group, the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240R RGB sneaks by the Raijintek Orcus 360 by a mere tenth of a degree Celsius. While this might seem minimal, the ML240R RGB accomplishes this feat with 33% smaller radiator and one less fan.

The 120mm fans on the ML240R RGB are advertised at 2000 RPM +/- 10%, and we found them performing a little above their rated average speed at just over 2100 RPM, making them the fastest of the comparison group. However, with higher rotational speeds often comes higher decibel readings.

Having a spread of just over 5 decibels at 100% fan speed makes for close competition here. And while the MasterLiquid's ML240R RGB fans did post the fastest speed readings, they didn’t account for the highest overall cooler noise levels. And even the loudest option here, the the Enermax LIQFUSION 240, isn’t noisy enough to interrupt a quiet library conversation.

Nearly inaudible noise levels and acoustic separation of only mere decibels makes for a slightly skewed acoustic efficiency chart. Only the Raijintek Orcus 360 manages a positive bar for 100% fan speed value, due to its large radiator and slower fans.

Our performance value chart gives some perspective of cooler performance in terms of unit pricing and overall group average cost. At $119, the Cooler Master MasterLiquid hovers at the same price as the Enermax LIQFUSION 240, while being $20 more than the NZXT Kraken M22 and $30 less than the Raijintek Orcus 360.

Thermal imaging from our FLIR One Pro shows some minor difference between full and half fan speeds around the pump and most prevalent from the coolant tubing and radiator. It's also interesting to note that the 100% fan speed thermal profile shows additional heat produced from the fans themselves.

With the MasterLiquid ML240R RGB, Cooler Master has delivered a 240mm AIO cooler that makes us ask whether a 360mm cooler is warranted, even on a highly overclocked, high-TDP processor. Its ability to perform as well as (and even slightly better than) a larger cooler should make for a very interesting debate in PC enthusiast forums. Feel free to voice your opinions in the comments below.

Along with its great performance, the MasterLiquid's RGB lighting meets the customization demands that many of also searching for, though with a caveat. We're still struggling to find the purpose of the USB connectivity provided, given the lack of software to support it. Maybe Cooler Master is still working on its own unified, RGB-controlled ecosystem, perhaps?  Either way, the lack of information in the documentation and product website around USB connectivity leaves a ding in an otherwise glowing opinion of this cooler.

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Garrett Carver
CPU Cooling Reviewer

Garrett Carver is a contributor for Tom’s Hardware, primarily covering thermal compound comparisons and CPU cooling reviews; both air and liquid, including multiple variations of each.

  • modusoperandi00
    "...with higher rotational speeds often comes higher decibel readings." ~ Uncle Ben
  • parkerygc8
    But if you only need those speeds in torture runs.
  • FD2Raptor
    Seriously, I want Thomas back writing for Toms instead of these "editors/reviewers".

    Giving "Editor Choice" for this RGB piece-of-crap AIO with worse cooling and 3+ times the price of the "Editor Recommended" $47 Scythe Fuma: