Review: Cooler Master Masterliquid Pro 120 CPU cooler

The wonderful thing about All-in-One water coolers is how easy they are to install. Rather than having to fiddle around with proprietary components and different fittings, an AIO should be able to be installed in less than 10 minutes. It’s a lesson that Cooler Master still needs to learn, as the Masterliquid Pro 120 is an absolute pain to install.

Unlike Corsair’s efforts, which take less time than a cup of tea to install, the myriad of intricate pieces included in this kit makes it a truly tedious endeavour. The first time we installed it, our CPU started hitting temps of over 80C, showing that we’d done it wrong, so we had to spend another hour or so getting it right. 

Apart from the horrid mounting mechanism, Cooler Master has made some serious improvements to its latest AIO. The surface area of the water block has increased by a huge 65%, thanks to a massive increase in the number of micro-channel cooling fins within. The water block also now uses a twin-chamber design, splitting the water down the middle to cool it faster than ever. It’s also been paired with an ultra-silent pump that Cooler Master claims should max out at 30dB. The fact we measured 52dB at max temp suggests this isn’t quite so true. 

The radiator hasn’t escaped attention either. A new rectangular design means it has more surface area than before, and comes with twin fans of 120mm diameter. To keep things fair, we used just one fan, to measure it against our old Corsair version of the H80. After an hour of Prime 95 on an overvolted I7 6700K, it measured in at 47C, compared to the Corsair’s 55C. Not too shabby really.

If only Cooler Master could come up with a much simpler mounting mechanism, this would be the AIO to buy, but then again we haven’t tested Corsair’s latest and greatest. 

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