CoolerMaster MasterLiquid ML360R RGB Review: The New Cooling Champ

Change is good. Change is constant. Change is inevitable. But at times, months or years can go by before a new product arrives to dethrone the previous incumbent juggernaut atop our component rankings. Many challenge, few succeed.

The Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R RGB is one of those few. When it comes to keeping overclocked CPU load temperatures in check, it’s the new chilling champ. As the 360 variant of our previously reviewed MasterLiquid ML240R RGB, the newly available MasterLiquid ML360R adds 33 percent more radiator surface area for even more cooling prowess. The result? It cools even better than the mighty NZXT Kraken X72.

Supporting most consumer (including high-end desktops) Intel and AMD processor sockets (sorry, no Threadripper / TR4), Cooler Master ships the MasterLiquid ML360R RGB with a dizzying accompaniment of accessories and mounting hardware. In addition to the usual backplates, threaded offsets and bolts, the packaging includes a syringe of Cooler Master thermal compound, an RGB lighting control module and USB connectivity cabling to allow desktop control of your RGB lighting within the UI suite.

Specifications

Thickness

1.1 inches / 25.1mm
(2.3 inches / 57.9mm w/fans)

Width

4.8 inches / 120.7mm

Depth

15.5 inches / 393.7mm

Pump Height

2.1 inches / 52.9mm

Speed Controller

BIOS

Cooling Fans

2x 120 x 25mm

Connectors

1x 3-Pin
3x 4-Pin PWM
4x 4-pin RGB

Weight

90.5oz / 2567g

Intel Sockets

2066, 2011x, 1366, 115x, 775

AMD Sockets

AM2(+), AM3(+) AM4, FM1, FM2(+)

Warranty

Two years

Speaking of the RGB lighting module, be prepared to route and configure the plethora of included cables required for full integration of the ML360R RGB. The rectangular control module has a magnetic base, which should let you avoid the double-sided tape needed for most steel-based chassis. USB handles the connectivity and control of the module--either via adapter to a 9-pin USB motherboard header, or a standard Type-A port.

The sleek, rounded Cooler Master pump housing provides an almost-discreet level of RGB lighting by today’s standards, with the chosen lighting pattern illuminated through the Cooler Master hexagonal logo and around the edges of the rounded cover dome. The cover is removable and can be oriented to match your specific installation--no one wants an upside-down Cooler Master logo. Rubber tubing is sleeved beneath nylon braid, which is terminated with heat-shrink tubing at right-angle rotational fittings on the pump.

The ML360R RGB uses a large, single-piece copper baseplate with fine, linear grain milling to mate with the surface of the CPU's integrated heat spreader. The included adapter brackets secure to the housing tabs with four small screws from the accessory contents.

The aluminum 360 radiator of the ML360R RGB offers a good balance of fin density and airflow for the MF120R aRGB (addressable RGB) pulse-width modulation (PWM) fans. Thumbscrew-type fan bolts allow for speedy, tool-free installation of the trio of fans to the radiator housing, but you can also tighten them a bit more with a Philips-head screwdriver. 

Turning down the lights provides a bright, consistent glow from the aRGB fans and pump housing. You can choose any shade of color on any component you wish.

As with most 360 AIO coolers, mounting the radiator serves as the biggest hurdle. However, if your case supports a 360 (3 x 120mm) cooler, installation troubles should be minimal. We made good use of the 90-degree rotational fittings on the pump unit in order to get everything into place inside our accommodating Corsair Graphite 760T chassis, although a bit more length in the tubing department really would do wonders.

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  • Lucky_SLS
    Damn you NZXT! You still look better than the rest!
  • manleysteele
    But it will work just fine without the RGB junk, right?
  • rubix_1011
    RGB lighting is simply for color. The cooler can be operated without it configured or just turned off with the controls.
  • lpide
    damn 159.99!
  • The Paladin
    yeah, unfortunately the non RGB models are becoming like some of us computer guys.... ancient .. lol
    I refuse to use anything RGB and pay twice the price for a cooler for what it is worth.

    Besides for an 8700 you only need an H110i with 2 fans on the radiator, to keep it cooled properly. you dont need a 3 fan super long radiator. yes I know maniacs out there that cannot live without overclocking everything and want super duper flashy RGB lights on their disco ball computer.

    I rather pay less for hardware with comparable performance minus the " look at meeeeee " statement
  • Lucky_SLS
    For what it's worth, the kraken has rgb only on its cpu block. No rgb fans. Looks minimalistic and perfect, on the rgb-ness thing.
  • rubix_1011
    It is also more expensive and doesn't perform as well, but I do prefer the NZXT infinity mirror pump face and lighting over that of most AIO coolers.

    Besides, you can opt to just turn the RGB lighting 'off', although a non-RGB version that doesn't carry the LED lighting price premium would be a generous option.
  • manleysteele
    Hell. Just don't install any of that mess. Cabling problems solved.
  • GR1M_ZA
    I have an Antec Mercury 360 on my 8700k @ 5Ghz and it keeps nice and cool even at load ( 38C-42C in games) and 70C-80C under extreme stress testing.
  • tyr_antilles
    If I am forced to buy something like this because of the good performance of the product, my first action will be to cut down all the RGB crap and curse the producer for forcing me to pay more money for those idiotic lights for idiotic peasants.
  • MrMuse
    Interesting that your previous "champ", the Thermaltake Floe Riing RGB 360 TT, was not included in these tests. Why is that exactly?
  • Karadjgne
    No offense, but this wasn't a test of the performance offered by a 360mm rad/coolant/pump, but a test of the ability of the 3x CM RGB fans on a 360mm rad.

    Would have been interesting to see the difference if the nzxt fans were also used on the CM rad or maybe the venerable Noctua NF-F12 on all of the rads, eliminating the fans themselves as a variable.

    There's 2 temps you can play with, cpu temp and liquid temp. With as erratic as cpu workloads and resultant instant temps are, that's not going to be reliable for daily testing, it changes second to second. Liquid temps are solid, takes forever for them to change 1°C in either direction, so for me, the same performance at a quieter volume puts the nzxt fans above the CM as king. So far. But thats also dependent on the ability of the rad to effectively dissipate the heat, which is also an unknown, not having been tested against the other rads.

    I'd not even give it the value crown either, not with its $230 current price, vrs $180 for the TT floering or $116 for the Fractal Design Celsius S36. Could buy the FD, 3x RGB fans without the cabling nightmare that would be easily matched with gpus or mobo or case lighting, and still come out cheaper. For similar performance.