Cooler Master Masterliquid 360L Core ARGB Review – Start Considering a Larger Liquid Cooler Purchase

    Product: Masterliquid 360L Core ARGB
    Intended Use: PC Gaming
    Manufacturer: Cooler Master
    MSRP: $119.99

In a world of repeatedly debated arguments over PC parts, you may find yourself taking a side on whether a liquid cooler or a fan installed on your CPU is the way to go. I have been a fan person for most of my life because I just prefer the simplicity, and for the most part, I know they will fit.

Now to flip that switch, the Cooler Master Masterliquid 360L Core ARGB, and from this point, we will refer to this as the Masterliquid 360L because, DANG, that’s a long name, has changed my mind on CPU coolers, their affordability, and the improvement for your PC’s health.

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Style / Feel / Build / Hardware

For $119.99, which isn’t that bad in the grand scheme of things, the 360L is cheaper than most of its competitors with ARGB connectivity. It’s even more affordable than some 240mm AIO coolers.

The Masterliquid 360L is made pretty well with a reasonably thick metal structure. It doesn’t feel like at any point you should worry about the longevity of the materials on the frame, granted I can’t speak for the liquid internals themselves. Anyway, with a decent weight to it, you know this is worth a little more money than your average cooler.

Granted, it does require a little bit more insulation than your typical fan, and you also need to really make sure this will fit. The 360L barely fit in our Mid Sized ATX case, so we had to make the best of the space, remove fans from the front of the PC, and place the radiator in their place. I will get into why this added hassle is worth the time, but for now, let’s stay on topic.

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The Thermal head is quite thick and heavy, with your typical mounting hardware provided in the box for both Intel and AMD. Cooler Master also offers top-notch thermal paste, which could add to your reason to buy in on the 360L. For those who don’t know, the three fans provided in the box at 120mmx120mm create the naming convention of these products; hence 120×3 is 360. The Masterliquid 240L uses 2x120mm fans with a smaller radiator, which in turn uses less liquid and contains less surface area on the radiator, thus making smaller radiators harder to cool.

Also provided in the box, Cooler Master makes sure you have everything you need, giving you splitters, so if you are out of RGB or Fan power pins, the splitters come in handy. Also, splitters make the installation that much easier. Instead of trying to find every pin on your motherboard or temporarily unplugging things for hand space, the splitters make PC building easy for all. With my RGB power supply, I was able to route the power supply RGB wire to the splitter, so everything was knowingly linked together.

A minor hardware-related con to the Masterliquid 360L is that with this unit, you most likely need an ARGB controller or a compatible Motherboard to control your RGB features seamlessly. These pieces usually run for about $35, so you could add this to your cooler cost if it makes sense for you.

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Performance / Hands-on Use / Features / User Experience / Analysis / Etc.

With excellent processing comes great responsibility, and what would processing be without heat? Heat is the ultimate bittersweet source of energy we all hate when it comes to PC gaming, rendering, and more. This brings us back to the fan versus liquid cooler debate.

Is the Masterliquid 360L worth the extra $100 you will throw otherwise on a fan? Is it worth it over a two-fan radiator, being that the 360L has three fans and is larger in size? The answer is simply… Yes, and surprisingly this product brings excellent results back from review testing.

Primarily for this review, we took the results from a two-fan, 240mm radiator from another competitor, using Cinebench as a control group. Cinebench is a way to test performance by forcing the processor under heavy usage via rendering, and resource-intensive processes, thus providing speeds, temperatures, and more as data. You can also run multi-core or single-core tests to see the rise in temperatures when switching to multi-core.

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My old self would probably say something like, “There is no way that one of those liquid coolers, no matter how big or small, will be THAT much better than a simple and less expensive fan.” Boy, was I wrong this time.

When running single core on the competitor’s product, our average temp was 69.2C, with a relative Cinebench score of 1,256, whereas the multi-core test provides temps of 82.4C with a score of 12116. Here is the kicker of this review, the Cooler Master Masterliquid 360L, three-fan radiator, provides single-core average temps of 61.8 C with a score of 1,289 and a multi-core temperature read at 75.8 with a score of 12315.

  • In single-core performance, Cooler Master scored 33 points more in Cinebench while making it cooler by 7.4 degrees Celsius.
  • In multi-core performance, Cooler Master scored 199 points more in Cinebench while also being cooler by 6.6 degrees Celsius.

These results are astonishing, and I have to eat my words because clearly, there is performance and processor longevity to gain when switching over to a larger AIO cooler like the 360L over single-fan standard coolers or two-fan radiator coolers.

Not only does it perform well, but it looks damn nice as well, as expected from more RGB lighting only obtained by spending $100 more than a fan. Anything over $100 on a PC, and I expect it to have RGB now; Cooler Master delivers here, end of story. There is something fun about finding new ways to sneak RGB into your PC, and we have yet to get enough of it.

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Overall, this is a terrific product for $119.99, but in most cases, be prepared to add a tax of $35 for an ARGB controller if you do not yet have one. Maybe buy a case that comes with one? The choice is yours. Anyway, the 360L looks slick, is pretty easy to install, granted you have the space and the patience for tiny hand work, and is fairly cheap compared to its competitors.

Not only that, but it cools your CPU to almost 5-10 degrees Celsius over a 2x120mm AIO cooler. Pretty neat if you ask me, and I will never forget it. It’s simply a great piece of hardware for a reasonable price, but I would have liked to see a slight increase in MSRP for an included ARGB controller.

It would raise that much-needed level of ease for the customer, especially since those controllers are cheap to make. Also, it’s quite large and could be difficult for some installers to fit in their build, so it limits the customer base, but hey, if you buy a large enough case, you can enjoy the cooler temperatures of the Masterliquid 360L.

Noisy Pixel is giving the Cooler Master Masterliquid 360L Core ARGB an A.

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Mark DiMattei

Designer/Producer - Art is my Thunder Stone to your soon to be Raichu. Former video game nerd with a love for all things images and visual creativity. Currently waiting for Halo Infinite. Instagram: @markd_arts