Cinebench Test Results
Running Cinebench without power limits is the most thermally demanding load in my testing, and most coolers don't pass this specific test. While the PL 240 Flux does well in other metrics, it wasn’t able to handle the heat of this test without throttling. Restricting power limits to a more reasonable 200W made cooling easier, but the PL240 still ran a bit toasty here.
When power limits are restricted to a more reasonable 200W, the PL360 Flux runs a few degrees warmer than the competition, at 66 degrees Celsius over ambient. While not beating it’s competition in this scenario, it does run quieter than any of the other coolers I’ve tested so far. We’ll cover acoustic measurements in the next section. That said, the PL360 isn’t able to run without throttling when the fan speeds are reduced to 50%.
OCCT Test Results
I like to run OCCT's small set stress testing for stability when overclocking. But on Alder Lake, I haven't found a cooler that's capable of handling OCCT without throttling unless power limits are enforced.
I test OCCT at 200W to demonstrate a thermally demanding load, but also with a 140W power limit enforced to show how these coolers might perform with a CPU that's easier to cool, like Intel's i5-12400 or AMD's Ryzen 5600X.
When limited to a cooler 140W in OCCT, in order to emulate a CPU that’s easier to cool such as Intel’s i5-12600K, the overall cooling performance of the PL240 Flux wasn’t the greatest, averaging 55 degrees Celcius above ambient. However, I’m not complaining; the PL240 Flux’s fans ran at just over 50% speeds and tied with Corsair’s H100i Elite for most silent operation.
Noise Levels and Acoustics
To test noise levels, I used the SLM25TK Sound Level Meter, positioned 18 inches behind the rear of the Be Quiet Silent Base 802 PC case, and recorded early in the morning to achieve the lowest noise floor possible. The chart below shows averaged results, recorded over the course of five minutes, to account for sudden variations in measurements.
While the PL240 Flux wasn’t the strongest contender for overall cooling performance, it does run rather quietly. When limited to 50% fan speeds, it tied with the H100i Elite for the lowest noise levels recorded of the coolers I’ve tested thus far. When run at maximum fan speeds, its noise levels were comparable to the average noise levels of other coolers at the same speeds.
I wondered if Cooler Master’s MasterLiquid PL240 Flux would be capable of cooling Alder Lake well, given the increased difficulty of cooling in certain scenarios, and the fact that it was launched prior to Alder Lake’s arrival. While this cooler wasn’t quite able to handle the 12900K when power limits are removed, the PL240 Flux was able to adequately cool up to 200W.
My primary complaint about this cooler is the price. It’s much more expensive than similar competing coolers, some of which perform better. Lovers of silence will be pleased to know that this unit runs silently most of the time, and its thin radiator makes Cooler Master’s PL240 Flux ideal for small cases, so long as there is mounting space for the radiator and two 120mm fans.
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