Cooler Master MasterLiquid
GREAT LIGHTING, SUPERB VALUE AND DECENT COOLING, ALTHOUGH IT’S A TAD LOUD AT FULL SPEED.
The last 120mm all-in-one liquid cooler we saw from Cooler Master was its MasterLiquid 120, which put in a decent effort. However, not only has the company since revised the design and included a plethora of RGB lighting, but the new cooler also costs just $75, which undercuts the original cooler and comes close to making the ML120L the cheapest cooler on test.
Both have the powerful MF120R RGB 2,000rpm fan, and the pump sports RGB LEDs. They can also both be controlled separately or together using an included three-way RGB LED splitter cable, allowing you to power an LED strip in addition to the fan and pump from one RGB LED header on your motherboard.
There’s an extension cable for you to connect all the paraphernalia too, and Cooler Master has even managed to include a basic lighting controller in the box. This controller can switch between several colours, brightness setting and lighting effects, and will come in handy if your motherboard doesn’t support RGB lighting.
You’ll need a 4-pin Molex connector to power the controller, but the RGB lighting proved to be vibrant and accurate, working ne with the Asus Aura software we used with our motherboard.
Should you wish to expand the cooling potential, Cooler Master includes eight long fan screws allowing you to add a second fan to the radiator, but shorter screws are also included to mount the radiator directly to the case with the single included fan in push mode, blowing air through the radiator.
Installing the MasterLiquid ML120L RGB was relatively easy, although there’s some construction work required to mount plates to the cooler. On Intel sockets, you’ll need to hold the cooler in place while you deal with some small, ddly thumbscrews. On AM4 motherboards, you only get a two-point clamp, as with this cooler’s predecessor, but you can lock it down quite rmly using the included thumbscrews, and it’s blissfully easy to t too.
Noise wasn’t a strong point for the MasterLiquid ML120L RGB, which dished out 50dBA at full speed, although its noise is still preferable to the whiny pump on Corsair’s H60 cooler. Amazingly, the exact opposite occurred when we switched to our motherboard’s silent fan speed mode. Both the fan and pump can be controlled using fan headers, and the MasterLiquid ML120L responded well to our silent mode with the system at idle, with the noise bottoming out at just 31dBA, making it barely audible at all outside the case.
Cooling was good in all our test systems too, with second-place spots in our Intel systems and joint second place with ARCTIC’s Liquid Freezer 120 in our AMD system, with its CPU delta T of 42°C sitting behind the top 40°C result recorded by NZXT’s Kraken M22.
It might not have the cooling clout or low noise offered by the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer 120, but the MasterLiquid ML120L RGB still offers great value for money, dishing out decent cooling on all our CPU sockets, along with full RGB lighting. It’s also especially quiet once the fan and pump spin down. If you’re on a tight budget, you really want RGB lighting and you’re prepared to reduce the topend fan speed, the Cooler Master is the cooler for you.
Compatibility Intel: LGA775, LGA2011, LGA2011-v3, LGA2066, LGA115x, LGA1366; AMD: Socket AM4, AM3/+, AM2/+, FM2/+, FM1 • Radiator size with fans (mm) 120 x 157 x 52 (W x D x H) • Fans 1 x 120mm • Stated noise Up to 30dBA
$75 • www.coolermaster.com
“Cooler Master has even included a basic lighting controller”