Introduction

When it comes to PC Cooling and Chassis, Cooler Master needs no introduction. Ever since its foundation in 1992, the company rolled out their first CPU Cooler in 1993 with major breakthrough coming in 1999 when their first all-aluminum based handmade chassis was launched. There was no stopping to the continuous innovation that took the company to the new frontiers of introducing liquid cooling solutions, power supply units, gaming peripherals etc. Cooler Master is making strong come back in recent times with their cooling solutions and chassis.

Cooler Master has sent their ML240L RGB CPU Liquid Cooler for the review. This cooler is from their Master Liquid Lite series with a focus on optimal performance and budget friendliness. The cooler features a 240mm radiator with double tubing and low-profile dual chamber pump design. Cooler Master has used their Air Balance series RGB fans with this cooler to strike a balance between the looks and the performance. The water block also features the RGB lighting as the Cooler Master brand logo lights up when powered on and connected to the RGB Controller. This lighting is compatible with all leading lighting solutions on the majority of the today’s motherboards from various manufacturers. Cooler Master has also bundled a dedicated RGB Controller in case the user does not have such enabled motherboard. This cooler is compatible with major Intel sockets including LGA-20xx and 115x as well AMD’s AMx socket including AM4. This is also compatible with TR4 though the user would need to buy a mounting kit for TR4 separately. Cooler Master is offering 2 years warranty on this cooler.

  • Item:                 ML240L
  • Manufacturer:    Cooler Master
  • Category:          CPU Liquid Cooler
  • Price:                PKR 8500/- [At the time of the review]

Specifications

Packaging and Unboxing

The cooler is shipped in a cardboard box with standard Master series styling in black and purple colors. The front side of the box has Cooler Master brand logo printed on the top left. RGB Lighting solution’s compatibility is printed on the top right. There is a picture of the product with lights on in the main section. The cooler includes a wired RGB Controller in the accessories. The backside of the box has Cooler Master brand logo printed on the top left followed by the MasterLiquid ML240L RGB text. Salient features of the cooler are printed in 8 different languages. The dimensions are shown on the right side using the block diagrams. The right side of the box has specifications of the cooler printed in a tabular format. The left side of the box shows the RGB illumination of the unit. The top side of the packing box has Cooler Master brand logo printed on the top left and MasterLiquid ML240L on the bottom. The bottom side has Cooler Master brand logo printed on the top left side. There are EAN, UPC, and Serial No stickers printed/pasted at the bottom. Compliance information to various regulations is printed at the bottom.

Opening the box will show a white color Styrofoam on top of the contents as a safety measure. Removing it will show an egg carton packing for ruggedness. Contents are placed in their own compartments.

 

Contents

Following are included:

  • 1x Radiator
  • 2x Fans
  • 1x Intel/AMD Backplate
  • 1x RGB Controller
  • 1x Molex Cable
  • 1x LED Splitter Cable
  • 1x Y-Cable
  • 1x MasterGel Pro Thermal paste
  • 4x Intel LGA-20xx Screws
  • 4x Hex Nuts
  • 4x Intel/AMD Screws
  • 4x Arm covers
  • 2x Intel Mounting Brackets
  • 2x AMD Mounting Brackets
  • 4x Small Screws
  • 8x Fan Mounting Screws
  • User Manual and Warranty Guide

Closer Look

The Master Liquid Lite focuses on bringing an adequate performance at user-friendly pricing and ML240L RGB is among the liquid coolers from this series. L suffix indicates the Lite and RGB needs no introduction. Here is what the Cooler Master has to say about this cooler, “With its matt-black styling, braided cabling, and RGB lighting effects, the ML240L RGB is a Cooler Master original design and enables a colorful and great performing entry into liquid cooling. Cool in any color as the RGB options extend to both fan and water block, with six lighting effects for control. Reliability, performance and quiet operation are ensured by its unique Dual Chamber Pump and twin 120mm Air Balance fan design. Whether you’re building new or just upgrading, it’s easy to install on the latest Intel or AMD systems and 240mm radiator fits many performance PC chassis’ roof or front spaces.”

It is time to look into the design of this cooler followed by our testing to see what does it offer to the users. The dimension of the radiator is 277×119.6x27mm where 27mm is the thickness or height of the radiator. It is a slim radiator. With 25mm fans, the total height would be 52mm and keep in view the thicker heads of the metal screws, expect 55mm of the total height (approximately with rounding). This is a 240mm low resistance cooling solution from Cooler Master. The radiator is made of aluminum hence it is lightweight. FPI count is 20 on this radiator and fans with high airflow and air pressure make sense here. Our particular sample has too many fins bent. Normally, we could expect a few bent fins but this radiator seems like an exception. There are 13 channels in the radiator. The edges of the radiator are straight design to our liking, unlike some other designs where the edges are rounded. The barbs have heat shrinks used on them. Cooler Master Brand logo is printed in the white color on both sides of the radiator assembly. Assembly is in matte gray color. The total length of the radiator is 277mm including the head chambers. There is a 105mm of spacing between the mounting holes. The total length of the fins area is 246mm. The depth of the radiator is 119.6mm. There is no protective plating under the mounting holes on this radiator so take care while installing the fans on it as long screws could easily damage the fins that would least impact the performance or worst leakage from the radiator. There is a sticker pasted on the hoses chamber. Note the heat shrinks covering the braided hoses on the barbs. There is what seems like a refill port – if I am not wrong – on the left side of the chamber which is covered with a Warranty Void when removed sticker. The far chamber is a slim design. The fins on this side are mostly bend. The tubing on this cooler has two layers. The inner tubing is made of FEP while the exterior is meshed and braided for nice and clean looks. The tubings are somewhat flexible on this cooler.

 

Let’s take a look at the pump. The pump housing has two colors tone to it which are gray and black. The total height of the complete block is 42.2mm. The pump is following a low profile dual chamber design. The housing is circular design. Looking at the back side of the housing, we can see that tubings are implemented at a different height with respect to each other. There is an arrow direction printed on the 90° barb indicating the flow of coolant on both barbs. The bottom tubing is bringing the cold/normal coolant inside the pump whereas the top hose is taking the hot coolant out of the block. There are two flat cables coming out from the right side of the outgoing hose. One is the 3-pin power cable having a length of 330mm approximately and the other is a 4 pin LED cable having a length of 290mm approximately. There is an extended portion at the bottom of the housing which is a part of the housing body. It has drilled holes in each corner. The mounting brackets are installed on the block using these mounting holes. This mounting plate has a length of 76mm and width of 80.3mm. The circular portion has a diameter of 65mm. The copper base measures 65x50mm. There is no pre-applied thermal paste on the copper base and it has a transparent sticker cautioning the user to remove the sticker before installing the block. There is a Cooler Master brand logo on the top of the block. It lights up when powered with LED cable connected to the source. The copper base is almost in a convex polygon shape though 4 sides are angular not a straight line design. There is what seems to be a refill port on one side of the housing which is covered by a white color Warranty void if removed sticker. The pump is rated at 70,000 hours MTTF that would mean running it 24/7 would see it functional for 7.37 years. Its noise level is rated at < 15 dBA at 12VDC. Our sample was doing 2170 RPM at 100% speed.

Let’s take a look at the fans as well. The Cooler Master has bundled two MF120R RGB fans with this cooler. Each fan measures 120x120x25mm. Its rated speed is 650~2000 RPM ±10%. Our sample at full speed was operating at 2057 RPM. Fan airflow is 66.7 CFM ± 10%. Air pressure is rated at 2.34mmH₂O ±10%. Noise level is rated at 6~30 dBA depending upon the speed. It has a 4-pin PWM connector. The fan is rated at 12VDC with 0.37A rated current. The fan’s power consumption is 4.44. The fan’s MTTF is massive 160,000 hours which roughly equal to 18.26 years on a 24/7 hours run. There are two cables coming out from the fans. One is the 4-pin power connector having a length of 295mm approximately and the other is 4-pin RGB LED cable having a length of 290mm approximately. There is a fan Y-splitter cable having a length of 226mm approximately. One connector on this cable is in black color and the other is in beige color. Cooler Master has included LED 3-way splitter cable with a length of 218mm + 317 (3x). There are 4 Cable pins included as well.

Looking at the fan from the front side, there are 9 transparent impellers. The trailing edge of each impeller has raised surface. The center hub is also transparent. The RGB LEDs are located inside the hub. The fan’s frame is circular in design with four mounting hubs in almost a trapezoid shape. Each mounting corner has anti-vibration rubber pads which are cut to shape to ensure symmetrical design. The backside of the fan has 4-arms assembly with one arm widened to form a path for cables routing. Two flat cables are coming out of the fan’s hub. There is a dark gray color sticker pasted on the hub with Cooler Master brand logo printed on the top. MasterFan 120 AB is printed below it. AB stands for Air Balance version. The fans are made in China.

Cooler Master has bundled an RGB controller to control the lighting effect of the cooler. The RGB LED cable can be attached directly to the motherboard’s RGB enabled header (12V one) or can be connected to the bundled controller. Wise thinking on the Cooler Master’s part as not everyone would have such motherboards, particularly in the microATX/mini-ITX versions. These LEDs are not addressable and operate at 12V.

Following lighting modes are available using the bundled controller: –

  • Static
  • Stars
  • Cycle
  • Breathing
  • Cycle Breathing
  • Mirage

The lighting effects are right on the money and I love the colors. It is not overly done and has even lighting for smooth and better visuals. Users can customize the looks as per the build’s color theme though personally, the purple color looks that good in person on this cooler. The brightness of the lighting can be controlled as well in 4 steps.

Installation

I have tested this cooler on Intel LGA2011-V3 socket (X99). Below is the installation guide for Intel LGA 2011-V3:

  • Install the LGA-2011 screws on the mounting holes around the CPU Socket
  • Install the Intel mounting brackets on to the Cooler’s base using 4x small screws. Make sure that brackets are pointing outwards. Consult the manual before installation. The screws are mounted from an underside of the base.
  • Take off the warning sticker from the base of the cooler.
  • Apply thermal paste on the CPU Surface.
  • Place the cooler on the CPU by aligning the holes on the mounting brackets’ heads with the LGA 2011 screws.
  • Secure the cooler by using the hex nuts. Use a screwdriver for this job and go diagonally for even pressure.
  • Connect the 3-pin PWM cable to the CPU fan header or any of your desire fan header.
  • Connect the 4-pin LED cable to the controller or RGB header on the motherboard. Make sure to match the small arrow symbols on the same side. Arrow side is the 12VDC.
  • This would complete the installation.

Clearance and Installation Notes

The best thing about AIOs is the maximum clearance and compatibility with respect to the chassis, DIMM slots, PCIe slot. This cooler has no such clearance issue. The tubes are not blocking any DIMM slot and RAM modules of any height can be used. Similarly, the block is not obstructing the first PCIe x16 3.0 slot. Make sure that chassis has provision for a 240mm radiator mounting and you are good to go.

 

Testing

Following test bench was used for testing this cooler: –

  • Asus Rampage V Edition 10
  • Intel i7 6850k
  • Crucial Ballistix Elite 4x4GB @ 3000MHz
  • Nvidia GTX 1080 FE with Alphacool Eiswolf GPX Pro
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD
  • WD Black 6TB
  • Corsair AX1200i
  • PrimoChill Praxis WetBench

Following software were used for the testing and monitoring.

  • Asus Real Bench v 2.44
  • Real Temp GT v 3.70

The thermal paste being used on the test bench is the Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste. The use of a same thermal paste for all coolers will ensure the standardization and mitigate any performance benefit that may come using the supplied thermal paste. Delta temperatures are reported on the graphs. The cooler is tested on stock clocks i.e 3.6GHz using 1.136V manual VCore. The Asus RealBench 2.44 is used to stress test the cooler’s performance. Each run of the test was of 15 minutes followed by 15-30 minutes break to let the system cool down. Fans were set to run at their 100% RPM. CPU is overclocked to 4.3GHz with 1.350V manual Vcore. Three test runs are made. Average of each test run is calculated. The max temps on each core is summed up and divided by the core count to give the average figure. The max average of three tests is used for reporting. Delta temp is calculated by subtracting the ambient temp from the max average temp. The pump was made to run at 100% during the testing. The testing is done on an open-air bench system. Once inside the chassis, the temperatures are expected to rise and would largely depend upon the optimal airflow inside the chassis.

Let’s take a look at the results. On stock clocks, i.e 3.6GHz at 1.13V the chip was idling at 1.67°C. Under the stress test, the cooler was doing a delta of 24.21°C. There is a marginal difference between this cooler and other coolers like Reeven’s Naia 240, Deepcool’s Castle 240.

With overclocked chip at 4.3GHz using 1.350V the chip was idling at 2.67°C and under load it was doing 42.2°C. It is sitting at the bottom of the 240mm AIOs in the graph. No complaint there as this is more than an adequate cooling from a budget cooler.

I could not measure the sound level of the unit as the summer season here is at peak and ceiling fan plus the noise coming out of the room would invalidate the actual sound level. Based on my experience with the fans and coolers testing so far, the fans were audible but not teasing at all.

Conclusion

The Cooler Master is making a strong come back with their Master series of products. Master Liquid is a name given to their liquid cooling line of the products. This line covers almost all segments of the market starting from the entry level to be going all the way up to the open loop kit. ML240L is a 240mm cooling solution from their Master Liquid Lite series. Here the focus is on the adequate cooling performance backed by sublime visuals yet at affordable pricing. The cooler features an aluminum-based radiator with a low resistant design. The radiator has 20 FPI count for which Cooler Master has bundled MasterAir 120 AB version of the fans better air pressure and airflow. This is Cooler Master’s own design. The dimension of the radiator is 277×119.6x27mm where 27mm is the thickness or height of the radiator. It is a slim radiator. With 25mm fans, the total height would be 52mm and keep in view the thicker heads of the metal screws, expect 55mm of the total height (approximately with rounding). There are no angular borders on this radiator but straight line design which looks that well in person. The barbs have heat shrinks used on them. Cooler Master Brand logo is printed in the white color on both sides of the radiator assembly. Assembly is in matte gray color. The total length of the radiator is 277mm including the head chambers. There is a 105mm of spacing between the mounting holes. The total length of the fins area is 246mm. The depth of the radiator is 119.6mm. There is no protective plating under the mounting holes on this radiator so take care while installing the fans on it as long screws could easily damage the fins that would least impact the performance or worst leakage from the radiator.

The Cooler Master is using a low profile dual chamber design in the pump. The block features RGB lighting as well to compliment the looks. The pump housing has two colors tone to it; black and gray. The barbs are in 90° fitting and are not in parallel implementation. The lower fitting is bringing the cold coolant inside the pump whereas the raised fitting is taking the hot coolant out of the block. There are arrow indicators on the barbs to show the direction of coolant flow. The tubes are in double layers. The inner layer is the FEP type which is covered with a braided mesh to give a clean look. The tubing is somewhat flexible. There are two flat cables coming out from the right side of the outgoing hose. One is the 3-pin power cable and the other is a 4 pin LED cable. There is an extended portion at the bottom of the housing which is a part of the housing body. It has drilled holes in each corner. The mounting brackets are installed on the block using these mounting holes. This mounting plate has a length of 76mm and width of 80.3mm. The circular portion has a diameter of 65mm. The copper base measures 65x50mm. The pump is rated at 70,000 hours MTTF that would mean running it 24/7 would see it functional for 7.37 years. Its noise level is rated at < 15 dBA at 12VDC. Our sample was doing 2170 RPM at 100% speed. The coolant inside the loop is in green color.

The Cooler Master has bundled two MF120R RGB fans with this cooler. Each fan measures 120x120x25mm. Its rated speed is 650~2000 RPM ±10%. Our sample at full speed was operating at 2057 RPM. Fan airflow is 66.7 CFM ± 10%. Air pressure is rated at 2.34mmH₂O ±10%. Noise level is rated at 6~30 dBA depending upon the speed. It has a 4-pin PWM connector. The fan is rated at 12VDC with 0.37A rated current. The fan’s power consumption is 4.44. The fan’s MTTF is massive 160,000 hours which roughly equal to 18.26 years on a 24/7 hours run. There are two cables coming out from the fans. One is the 4-pin power connector and the other is 4-pin RGB LED cable. There is a fan Y-splitter cable having a length of 226mm approximately. One connector on this cable is in black color and the other is in beige color. Cooler Master has included LED 3-way splitter cable with a length of 218mm + 317 (3x). There are 4 Cable pins included as well as a wired RGB Controller in case user’s motherboard does not have RGB lighting header. There are 6 predefined modes using a wired RGB Controller. The user has the option to connect the RGB enabled devices to the motherboard’s lighting header and are compatible with the Asus AURA Sync, Gigabyte RGB Diffusion, ASRock RGB LED, and MSI Mystic Lighting. Colors are vivid and there is an even color diffusion. This lighting solution is based on 12VGRB and is not addressable.

The Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240L RGB is listed at PKR 8500/- at the time of the review and is available at Shing, Pakistan. Cooler Master is offering two years of warranty on this cooler. However, Shing is not offering any warranty on these coolers. I have tested this cooler on Intel LGA2011-V3. This cooler was sitting at the bottom of the other 240mm coolers tested on this test bench with closer margin. This is actually a good performance at this price range which is bundled with RGB lighting solution.

I am thankful to the Cooler Master for giving the opportunity to review their MasterLiquid ML240L RGB CPU Liquid Cooler.