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Cooler Master MasterLiquid PL360 Flux Review: Form, Function and Affordability

Mature cooling elegance

Cooler Master PL360 FLUX
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Tom's Hardware Verdict

The Cooler Master PL360 Flux provides reliable cooling potential at reasonable decibel levels, although don’t expect the absolute lowest possible temperatures under heavy overclocks.

Pros

  • +

    + Simple installation and ease of use

  • +

    + Supports nearly all AMD and Intel sockets (including Threadripper)

  • +

    + 5-year warranty

Cons

  • -

    - No software UI for pump and fan curve control

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    - Lighting control module does not have fan or pump speed control options

Cooler Master's latest flagship 360 AIO, the MasterLiquid PL360 Flux, expands the brand's already formidable liquid cooling lineup. With an incredibly attractive front bezel and brushed-metal face finish, the PL360 Flux has an elegant design to accompany its relatively standard cooling potential. While it doesn’t provide cutting-edge thermals, it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

For the vast majority of system builders, the Flux aims to deliver performance that meets day-to-day gaming and desktop needs. That makes it a solid choice for a cooling system with the ability to add some style and personality to no-nonsense desktop builds.

Specifications

Thickness1.125" / 28.6mm (2.25" / 57.15mm w/fans)
Width4.75" / 120mm
Depth15.5" / 394mm
Pump Height1.5" / 38.1mm
Speed ControllerBIOS
Cooling Fans(3) 120 x 25mm
Connectors(3) 4-Pin PWM
(3) 3-Pin aRGB
(1) 3-pin tach
(1) SATA
(1) 9-pin USB
Weight59.4 oz / 1685g
Intel Sockets115x, 1200, 1700, 2011x, 2066
AMD SocketsAM2(+), AM3(+) AM4, FM1, FM2(+), TR4, STRX4
Warranty5 years
Web Price$190

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Cooler Master ships the MasterLiquid PL360 Flux with a relatively robust set of mounting gear, so it's ready out of the box to support most current and previous-gen AMD and Intel mainstream, and enthusiast desktop CPUs while also supporting high-end desktop (HEDT) chips as well. Included in the bundle is a Cooler Master aRGB controller to manage aRGB lighting with an integrated 9-pin USB header, but the package does not offer PWM fan or pump speed control.

Thermal paste is provided for builders to immediately install the PL360 Flux, and comes as a small tube of Master Gel Pro to apply as you choose.

Cooler Master covers the PL360 Flux with a 5-year warranty.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The heart and soul of the PL360 Flux features a newly designed, dual-chambered pump and ceramic bearing, which is touted to provide better flow through the cooling system while an enlarged copper cold plate and revised cooling fins are meant to pull heat away from the CPU IHS and dissipate more efficiently into the coolant stream. A pair of 90-degree swivel fittings feed into sleeved tubing while providing a high level of flexibility for tricky installations.

Pump power and management comes via a dedicated 4-pin PWM connector, lighting is managed via standard 3-pin 5v aRGB plug and the pump itself has an expected average lifetime of more than 210,000 hours.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The base of the PL360 Flux showcases a rather defined and somewhat enlarged milled copper cold plate which allows the cooler to also support the massive Threadripper IHS–although as we’ll see later, it does not come close to completely covering the massive AMD high-end desktop (HEDT) parts.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Included with the Cooler Master PL360 Flux is an integrated aRGB (5v) lighting management module which makes use of a 9-pin USB header to connect with your internal motherboard socket. While the cooler comes standard with three (3) 120mm aRGB PL-Flux fans, the lighting module doesn’t provide additional dedicated sockets for other compatible accessories, unless aRGB splitters are purchased separately to allow for shared lighting control.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The 360mm aluminum radiator is relatively standard for large AIOs and features a set of gloss-on-matte writing which says ‘Designed By Cooler Master’ along the side of the heat exchanger. The trio of 120mm PL-Flux fans are rated up to 2300 RPM and feature 4-pin PWM management, while 3-pin aRGB (5v) plugs handle lighting effects. Cooler Master specs the fans with an expected lifetime of more than 160,000 hours of operation.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The base of the PL360 Flux is milled quite flat, making for a uniform mating surface for all CPUs.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

This milling results in a very uniform mating surface with our Core i9-10850K, which allows for a uniform thermal compound spread under tension.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The same can be said for Threadripper mounting, as the entirety of the copper cold plate makes contact with the face of AMD’s massive processor, although with a caveat.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

As mentioned before, the copper cold plate only covers the center 2/3 of the Threadripper integrated heat spreader (IHS). And while this does provide coverage over most of the processor’s cores, it relies heavily on the IHS to help dissipate thermal loads evenly, so the PF360 Flux can pick up the heat and remove it from the CPU package.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Installation and mounting of the Cooler Master PL360 Flux is the same as any standard 360mm AIO, meaning the target case needs to support 3x120mm fan and radiator sizes.

Garrett Carver
Garrett Carver

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.