Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240R RGB Review: Impressive Cooling & Color

Cooler Master brings the RGB light show to a CPU near you with their new MasterLiquid ML240R RGB AIO cooler. Facing a stalwart market of closed-loop liquid coolers, the ML240R RGB offers enough value, performance and visual appeal to carve itself a respectable spot among other AIOs, both within and even above its class.

Specifications

Thickness

1.11" / 25.1mm (2.28" / 57.9mm w/fans)

Width

4.75" / 120.7mm

Depth

11.0" / 279.4mm

Pump Height

2.09" / 52.9mm

Speed Controller

BIOS

Cooling Fans

(2) 120 x 25mm

Connectors

(1) 3-Pin, (2) 4-Pin PWM, (3) 4-pin RGB

Weight

70.0 oz / 1985 g

Intel Sockets

2066, 2011x, 1366, 115x, 775

AMD Sockets

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

Warranty

2 years

Features

With a concrete performance showing for the 240mm AIO class, we were surprised to actually see the MasterLiquid ML240R RGB also provides better thermal numbers (spoiler: by just 0.1 degree Celsius) than the larger, Raijintek Orcus 360 AIO in direct comparison. When you pause and consider the ML240R RGB cost $300 less and has a smaller footprint, while besting bigger, pricier solutions, it's easy for us to come away impressed.

With mounting hardware included for most Intel and AMD processor sockets, the MasterLiquid ML240R RGB offers support for just about every modern desktop CPU, save Threadripper. With PWM fan and pump controls, Cooler Master have opted to rely on motherboard fan curves and user control rather than to supply their own software for managing all aspects of this AIO.

Users can choose to either plug the cooler into the motherboard's 4-pin RGB headers, or the included Cooler Master RGB lighting controller for light show controls. Connectivity of the RGB controller internally to a motherboard using 9-pin header or via USB male adapter is physically possible. But the included documentation doesn't offer any information about what software you'd use if you went that route.


The top of the MasterLiquid ML240R RGB pump is a removable, matte black domed cap, which shows an opaque outline of the Cooler Master logo. The cap can be rotated to reflect the installed orientation. Coolant tubing enters and leaves the housing via 90 degree swivel fittings, and the entire length of hose is sheathed within black nylon braid and sealed with heat shrink.

The base of the ML240R makes use of a laterally milled copper cold plate, recessed into the pump housing. Integrated mounting tabs allow the installer to swap out proper hold-down plates to provide relatively proportional tension all the way around.

The 12-tube aluminum, 240mm radiator is cooled by dual addressable RGB MF120R ARGB fans, which use an individual IC per LED for individually controlled modules to allow ‘waves’, ‘cycles’ and other effects, rather than all operating in unison (check the previous link for an animated demo. The 120mm fans are rated up to 2000 RPM and have both 4-pin PWM and RGB cabling.

Control of 16.7 million colors (actually, 16,777,216 to be precise) can be done only from motherboard RGB integration. However, those of us without a compatible board can still use the included controller to summon pre-set displays and lighting patterns.

Be careful when installing, though: While some of the extension cables have pins molded into them, most of the connections between the control unit and to the fan leads themselves were rather loose and just the weight of the extension cables themselves would cause them to pull free of the connection. Most RGB connectors we’ve seen used for CPU coolers make use of thin wiring (due to very low current used) and offer more robust terminal contact.

Mounted to the top panel of our Corsair Graphite 760T, the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240R RGB provides unified RGB lighting of both the fans and the LED ring within the rounded face of the pump unit. Having the detachable faceplate allows the pump to be mounted with the best orientation for the installer, while still allowing the Cooler Master logo to be displayed as you choose. This is such an elegantly simple solution for multiple mounting possibilities, we’re shocked this isn’t more commonplace. Until manufacturers begin creating full-face interactive LCD displays for AIO coolers, this is the next best way to ensure a logo is properly displayed.

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