Introduction & Closer Look
It was just 1 month ago when we put Cooler Master’s range of air coolers through their paces, and they made a fantastic impact on our performance charts for CPU cooling. This time around we have the new range of all-in-one water coolers… and we have conducted the exact same tests to see if they can impress as much as their air cooling cousins did.
For anyone that has followed our recent reviews of Cooler Master products, the aesthetics of the outer packaging will now be very familiar. The full-colour image of the product, supported by the usual mix of blue and white text, all sitting on top of the cool gray background colour. This now familiar identity really makes Cooler Master products instantly recognisable, and I am a big fan of this new look that is now cemented across the Master range of products.
Both 120mm and 240mm variants of the MasterLiquid feature the same accessories inside the box, including the number of fans supplied… with the 120mm variant also coming with 2 MasterFans for push/pull configuration.
The MasterLiquid 120 and 240 variants both have support for all the major Intel and AMD sockets, including AM4. Cooler Master should be applauded here as quite a few CPU coolers we have had in for review recently haven’t supported AMD’s Ryzen straight out of the box. The full list of sockets supported is as follows:
The MasterLiquid 120 & 240 are identical in build and design, with the only difference being the size of the radiator. Both coolers feature aluminium radiators, with subtle branding embossed on the side.
The FEP tubing is nicely encased in a woven textured sleeve, and tight rubber shrink wrapping re-enforces the connections made when the hoses mate to both the radiator and the pump.
As with the MasterAir 120 CPU cooler, we reviewed last month, the MasterLiquid 120 and 240 both come equipped with dual 120mm MasterFans. Given the performance that these fans provided in our last test, I am very hopeful to see some good results this time around also.
Finally, the pump & CPU block is housed in a low profile, dual chamber casing. The Cooler Master logo adorns the top of the unit, whilst underneath we find a large copper baseplate.
|MasterLiquid 120||MasterLiquid 240|
|Radiator Dimension||157 x 119.6 x 27 mm||277 x 119.6 x 27 mm|
|(6.2 x 4.7 x 1.06″)||(10.9 x 4.71 x 1.06″)|
|Fan||Dimension||120 x 120 x 25 mm (4.7 x 4.7 x 1″)||120 x 120 x 25 mm (4.7 x 4.7 x 1″)|
|Speed||650 ~ 2000 RPM (PWM) ± 10%||650 ~ 2000 RPM (PWM) ± 10%|
|Airflow||66.7 CFM (Max)||66.7 CFM (Max)|
|Air Pressure||2.34 mmH2O ± 10% (Max)||2.34 mmH2O ± 10% (Max)|
|Noise Level||6-30 dBA||6 – 30 dBA|
|MTTF||160,000 hours||160,000 hours|
|L-10 Life||22,800 hours||22,800 hours|
|Rated Voltage||12 VDC||12 VDC|
|Number of fan||2||2|
|Pump||Dimension||85.6 x 70 x 49 mm||85.6 x 70 x 49 mm|
|(3.37 x 2.76 x 1.93″)||(3.37 x 2.76 x 1.93″)|
|Noise Level||15 dBA (max)||15 dBA (max)|
|MTTF||70,000 hours||70,000 hours|
|L-10 Life||20,000 hours||20,000 hours|
|Rated Voltage||12 VDC||12 VDC|
|Warranty||2 Years||2 Years|
Since our previous cooling reviews prior to November 2016, we have decided to update the method accordingly for better and consistent results. It isn’t ideal running Prime95 for a prolonged period of time and if you get called away to do something, it could be left running for much longer than needed. Our new methodology involves running a very stressful multi-threaded performance benchmark called ROG RealBench.
It should also be noted that the reason we omit acoustic/noise testing is due to an inaccuracy within the readings and method. To provide truly accurate readings, you need a lab setting with the same ambient noise on an hour by hour, day by day and week by week basis. As ambient noise can increase at different times of the day, we believe that it’s pointless providing noise testing if we can’t measure consistent and accurate data due to our office being a busy setting.
- CPU – Intel Core i7 6700k – (4.2GHz at 1.25v & 4.5GHz at 1.38v)
- Motherboard – Asus ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha
- GPU – ASUS ROG Radeon RX460 STRIX
- RAM – Crucial Ballistix Elite 16GB DDR4 3000MHz
- PSU – BeQuiet Dark Power Pro 11 1000w
- SSD – Crucial MX300 525GB SSD
- Case – Cooler Master Test Bench V2
Idle Testing Methodology
To test each cooler at idle, the minimum temperature is taken after leaving the PC with only start-up programs on Windows 10 being allowed to run for 5 minutes. After this, the minimum temperature with the core temperature being offset against the room temperature; thus achieving delta.
Load Testing Methodology
To load test, we run RealBench while selecting the heavy multitasking benchmark only. We run this a maximum of 3 times concurrently and the maximum temperature recorded is taken. This temperature is deducted from the current room temperature and our final delta temperature is provided.
Following the superb performance of the new Cooler Master air coolers last month, I was really hoping that the liquid variants of the Master range would be equally as impressive… and I wasn’t disappointed!
The MasterLiquid 240 smashed everything in sight and topped every single one of our charts. The 120mm variant wasn’t far behind, and was only beaten on occasion by a couple of coolers with radiators twice the size!
For premium performance, you normally expect to pay a premium price, but this isn’t the case with the MasterLiquid series. At the time of this review, the MasterLiquid 120 can be had for a shade under £60, with the MasterLiquid 240 available for just £10 more at £69.95. I will add links to these prices at the end of the review.
The simple fact is that these two MasterLiquid products are the best CPU coolers we have ever tested here at Play3r. The 120mm variant is beaten in a couple of the tests, but only by coolers boasting 240mm radiators. The MasterLiquid 240 sits proudly at the top of every single chart, and it will take something very special indeed to budge it from its position of the king of CPU coolers.
It’s very difficult indeed for an all-in-one water cooler to stand out from the crowd in terms of design, as the basic components tend to be all much of a muchness. The only real area where the designers can go to town is the pump & CPU block. Cooler Master have gone for a simple low profile design here, with just the CM logo illuminated in white. If I’m being hyper critical I guess it would have been nice if this was RGB, but at least with it being white, it will fit into any build, whatever the colour scheme.
Both units as a whole though look very nice, and the materials throughout feel of excellent quality. The mounting design is one of the best we have seen, and fitting couldn’t be simpler.
As mentioned before, the pricing on both the MasterLiquid 120 and 240 is extremely competitive. For the performance each of the coolers gives, there is no better value for money on the market today. The MasterLiquid 240 offers the best value at a solid price of £69.95 from Overclockers UK, or around this price from various other retailers.
So there we have it, just one month after we crowned a new king of the CPU coolers in the Antec H1200 Pro, it has been dethroned already by the Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240! Not only does the MasterLiquid have better performance, but it looks better, is easier to install, and also costs the same… a pretty comprehensive victory I would say.
With the results we have witnessed, I find it difficult to see how these will be beaten… and because of this, and taking into account everything else above, the MasterLiquid AIO water coolers receive the Play3r Platinum award.
Huge thanks to Cooler Master for sending the MasterLiquid 120 & 240 in for review.
- Supreme performance
- Excellent value for money
- High build quality
- Easy to assemble & fit
- LED logo on CPU block is white only