With Intel’s new CPUs moving to the LGA1700 socket and the new larger socket requiring a wider mounting bracket after Intel sticking with the same sized mounting hole for a very long time it has had me looking at changing up the cooling in a few of my systems and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Not only that, there are a LOT of options on the market. Everyone and their mom is now getting into the AIO market. Cooler Master has been around going back near the beginning for AIO coolers and they are one of only a few who often make their own designs rather than going with a standard OEM design so I’m interested in seeing what their new MasterLiquid PL240 Flus is all about. I’m also curious to see how it will perform on our new 12900K based test bench so let’s dive in and see how it does.

Product Name: Cooler Master MasterLiquid PL240 Flux

Review Sample Provided by: Cooler Master

Written by: Wes Compton

Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE

 

Specifications

Product Name

MasterLiquid PL240 FLUX

Product Number

MLY-D24M-A23PZ-R1

Exterior Color

Black

RAM Clearance

N/A

Warranty

5 years

CPU

Socket

Intel
Intel® LGA 1700 /1200 / 2066 / 2011-v3 / 2011 / 1200 / 1151 / 1150 / 1155 / 1156 socket

 

AMD

AMD® AM4 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+/ AM2 / FM2+ / FM2 / FM1/TR4

Radiator Material

Aluminum

Radiator Dimensions

(L x W x H)

277 x 119.6 x 27.2mm(10.7 x 4.7 x 1.07inch)

Pump Dimensions

(L x W x H)

89 x 75 x 40 mm (3.5 x 2.95 x 1.57 inch)

Pump MTTF

>50,000 hours

Pump Noise Level (Max)

25dB(A)

Pump Connector

3-Pin

Pump Rated Voltage

12 VDC

Pump Power

Consumption

6 W

Fan Dimensions

(L x W x H)

120 x 120 x 25 mm(4.7 x 4.7 x 1 inch)

Fan Quantity

2 Pcs

Fan LED Type

Addressable Gen 2 RGB

Fan Speed (RPM)

0~2300 ±10%

Fan Airflow (MAX)

122.96 m3/h (72.37 CFM)

Fan Noise Level (MAX)

32dB(A)

Fan Pressure (MAX)

2.96 (mmH2O)

Fan Bearing

ORBS

Fan Life Expectancy

>160,000 hours

Fan Power Connector

4-Pin PWM

Fan Rated Voltage

12 VDC

Fan Rated Current

0.15A

Fan Safety Current

0.3A

 

 


Photos and Features

The Cooler Master MasterLiquid PL240 Flux box has a bright purple fading into black for its background, which isn’t too big of a surprise given that Cooler Master uses that purple often on their lineup. The front of the box is simple, but I really like everything they have going on. There is a picture of the cooler in the center which also has the fans and the pump lit up with their addressable RGB lighting. Then in the top right corner, they have the model name in a large and easy to read font. Then the Cooler Master logo is small and down in the bottom left corner. For the model name and for a few accents on the box they use a turquoise which is bright and goes perfectly with the purple. They have the AIO coolers specifications on the side of the box. Then for the back, they break down the controller included, the pump, and the fan to talk a little about each of their features which are then repeated multiple times in other languages.

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Once you get inside the box, there is a sheet of foam that sits across the top of everything. Then under that, a cardboard tray formed to fit each component individually. Everything is wrapped up in plastic other than the accessories which are all in a cardboard box.

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So the MasterLiquid Flux kit is available in the PL240 that I am checking out here and a PL360 kit, both are 120mm fan kits with one having two fans and the other three fans. The includes fans are a new PL-Flux fan series which have been redesigned now with a new interconnected blade design that helps add more structure and strength to give the blades more stability at high speeds. I was surprised with the overall quality feel of these fans. The housing feels more solid than your average AIO cooler kit fan. They have rubber anti-vibration mounts on each corner on both sides. They run from zero to 2300 RPM with a max airflow according to Cooler Master specs at 72.37 CFM and a max pressure of 2.96 mmH20. They have a life expectancy of 160,000 or more hours and use loop dynamic bearings which are the same bearings that Cooler Master used on their Silencio fans. The blades are translucent white which helps transmit the addressable RGB lighting that they have built in the center section. They have the standard two cables, one for the 4-pin PWM fan control and the other for the 3-pin addressable RGB lighting cable, and both cables have a black sleeving on the outside. The side profile of the fans is interesting as well because the housing has a ribbed design.

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The radiator for the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux is the standard boxy AIO radiator that we have been seeing on a lot of kits recently. I think these look a lot better than the older rounded end radiators but performance wise there isn’t anything that makes these stand out. Ours did come with a few dings and dents in the fins, but it also was a prelaunch kit. I like the textured black finish and on the edges, they also printed in a gloss black “designed by Cooler Master” which not a lot of companies can even say given that most stick with the standard AIO OEM. Overall it is 27.2mm thick and 277mm long and 119.6mm tall to fit the 120mm fans.

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Then for what drives everything, the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux has a pump and water block combo. They use a dual-chamber design like all of the Cooler Master AIO kits. The pump itself has ceramic bearings which gives it an MTTF of over 210,000 hours. This helps with the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux’s overall warranty which is a healthy 5 years. The Cooler Master specs have the pump height at 40mm but our measurement looked closer to 39mm which isn’t low profile like some Asetek designs but isn’t bad at all considering that they do have to stick with dual-chamber designs and that includes leaving room for the built-in addressable RGB lighting. The RGB lighting is integrated into the mirrored top finish with the Cooler Master logo outline as well as a ring around the outside that is also visible on the sides. So I say the top of the pump has a mirror finish, but it is a machined metal finish that you can still see the circular machine marks in, and the finish is tinted for a cool style. The pump, like the fans, has two cables coming from it as well. One is a PWM fan header that powers the pump and controls its speed then the other is a 3-pin addressable RGB plug for the lighting.

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So the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux does come with its own controller. I know some of the kits I have been seeing recently skip out on including their own lighting controller and I don’t blame them. They add complications and most importantly also mean you need to maintain software. Cooler Master was able to tie the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux in with their masterplus software which they already use for peripherals. This controller is only for the RGB lighting however, I know some other kits like from Corsair that like to bring the control of everything all together. You will still need to hook the fan and pump plugs into your motherboard. But for the lighting, you can plug everything in here. The controller has three RGB headers but they also include an adapter so that you can string the two fans and pump for the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux all together and only take up one of these plugs. They aren’t CM specific as well, so you can use the extra plugs to handle anything with a 3-pin addressable RGB connection. On the other side, the controller has a micro USB plug and a 2-pin power connection. The cables included give you power from a SATA plug and the USB runs on a USB 2.0 internal header. It has a light on top to let you know it is working as well as the Cooler Master logo outline. Then on the bottom, it has two rubber feet and room for double-sided sticky tape which you would think would be included but I didn’t see in our kit at all.

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So for accessories included with the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux kit. You start with three bags of hardware for the installation with one of those having multiple bags inside. I like that each is labeled and you can see that you have bags for the Threadripper bracket and the AMD bracket. There are two back brackets, one for the older Intel sockets and then the other is for the new LGA 1700 Intel bracket. For documentation, there is a user manual and one warranty book. There is a bag of fan screws and even standoffs for the LGA 2011 socket. They include a very small tube of thermal paste and a fan cable splitter. I mentioned the power and USB cables for the controller earlier and the RGB cable that ties all of the RGB lighting all onto one loop. That cable comes with one extra plug for the larger 3 fan model as well. The small black clips in that same picture are unique in that they help lock those RGB connections together to prevent problems in the future.

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Before installing the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux on to our test system I did get things ready by preinstalling a few components and I ran into a few interesting things along the way. The coolest feature that I think will go unnoticed by a lot of people are the thumbscrews that they used to install the fans. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen thumbscrews used for this. But it is amazing how much easier they make installing the 8 screws for the fans. But these have a second function. You can actually screw in screws to the ends. You can use this to mount the fan on the fan side without having to do the balancing the radiator and fans together trying to keep all of the holes lined up. It does mean that if you install things this way that there will be a gap and SFF builds wouldn’t be able to go this route. In fact with the thumb screws in general, if fitment is tight you don’t get a normal set of screws so that additional height needs to be kept in mind. I also really like the snap on clips that are included to lock the RGB lighting connections altogether. As a whole, I’m never a big fan of the wiring mess that RGB lighting adds, but at least with these, you don’t need to worry about the connections coming apart when fighting to hide all of that wiring.

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Test Bench

Testing Hardware

Live Pricing

Case

Primochill Wetbench

HERE

Motherboard

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme

HERE

CPUs

Intel i9-12900K w/ PL2 set to 250W

HERE

Ram

Crucial 2x32GB 64GB Kit

HERE

Power Supply

Corsair AX1200w

HERE

Thermal Paste

Noctua NT-H2

HERE

SSD

Sabrent Rocket Q4 2TB

HERE

OS

Windows 11 Pro

HERE

 

 


Noise Testing, Fitment, and Lighting

For the most part, AIO coolers all fit the same mold. They are almost always the same thickness when it comes to the radiator and fans and radiator size is tied to the number of fans you are running as well as the fan size. So the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux doesn’t stand out from the other AIO Kits tested there. It does have LGA 1700 support and even support for LGA 2011 and AMD’s TR4 as well. The only aspect on AIO Kits that differs a lot when it comes to fitment is the water block height and the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux didn’t do too bad there at 40mm officially and 39mm by my measurement. The H100i Elite was taller due to its LCD screen though the kit could be shorter if you went with a non-screen version. But the height is seen the most when compared with the MSI MAG Kit and the Sapphire kit which both are taller.

AIO Cooler

Fan Configuration

Radiator Thickness

Water block height

LGA1700 Support

Corsair iCUE H100i ELITE LCD Liquid CPU Cooler

2x 120mm

27mm

57mm

Yes

MSI MAG CoreLiquid C280

2x 140mm

27mm

52mm

Yes

Sapphire Nitro+ S240-A

2x 120mm

27.5mm

59.17mm

Yes

Cooler Master MasterLiquid PL240 Flux

2x 120mm

27.2mm

40 mm

Yes

 

My first round of testing was taking a look at the overall noise performance of the pump and fans. For this, I run things in three different configurations. I test at 100% and 50% fan speeds to get a look at the overall range of noise levels possible. Then I also test under load using AIDA64’s CPU workload which is less demanding and more like what you might see when gaming. I then test all three situations from 18 inches away in the open air so keep in mind that inside of a case will be a little quieter, especially on the lower fan speeds. 100% fan speed tends to be loud in open air or on the top/front/bottom of your case because the fans do blow right out of the case. I test using A-weighted and C weighted on our decibel meter. A weighted is your normal OSHA range which ignores lower frequencies focusing on 500-10,000 Hz where C does from 30 to 10,000 Hz. On the A-weighted 50% fan speed test, the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux came in a little quieter than the Sapphire AIO and it was a little lower than the Sapphire on the C weighted as well but on C weighted the MSI cooler was still a little lower. Cranking the fans and up to 100% was louder, but Cooler Master did well here with the A-weighted being the lowest out of the coolers tested but with a C weight it was the highest by a small margin. Then for the last tests, which I consider the most important, we have the results when the CPU is under load. This is as loud as you should expect things unless you are overclocking and the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux was well below the competition on both results here.

Noise Testing

50% Fan Speed A-Weighted

50% Fan Speed C Weighted

100% Fan Speed A-Weighted

100% Fan Speed C Weighted

Under Load A-Weighted

Under Load C Weighted

Corsair iCUE H100i ELITE LCD Liquid CPU Cooler

36.5

56.1

48.3

58.4

44.2

58.7

MSI MAG CoreLiquid C280

36.2

51.7

46.9

57.4

43.9

56.7

Sapphire Nitro+ S240-A

35.7

54.0

50.8

58.1

37.8

56.5

Cooler Master MasterLiquid PL240 Flux

35.2

53.8

45.2

58.6

34.4

54.5

 

I also wanted to check out the RGB lighting as well. This isn’t the most important aspect of the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux’s performance. But RGB lighting does add a lot to the overall cost of the cooler so it would be nice if it was worth it. The Flux fans are lit up better than I would expect given that they are running off the lights mounted in the center section only. Cooler Master does have options available if you also want an outer ring of lighting as well. I also dig the look of the lighting around the pump, with the addressable LEDs the inner logo being lit up stands out against the outer LED ring and the combination goes with the machined finish.

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I initially had problems with the lighting controller included with our test kit which is why I’m only now getting coverage published weeks after the original MasterLiquid PL240 Flux launch. But when I did get a new working controller in, getting things rolling with the software was easy. You don’t have to worry about having the right program, Cooler Master uses just the one and it works with the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux as well as any other Cooler Master products. When you first install everything it will check for firmware updates, then after that, it will show up in the list with any other products you have hooked up at the time. You can pick between them on the listing to the left. Beyond that, the software does have profiles as well as integration to pick up temperatures, voltage, and usage for your CPU and GPU.

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software 2

 

The software only picks up the controller but you can see what you have hooked up beyond that when you look on the custom lighting page. This does show the third fan for the PL360, so for the PL240 like ours, one of the four devices won’t do anything.

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Beyond setting up custom lighting, each of the other lighting effects does have at least a few options that you can change. For some, it is only the brightness levels, but others let you adjust effect speeds, colors, or even setting the colors to be random. I’ve included screenshots of all of the effect options below.

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Cooling Performance

For cooling testing, I did change things up from our previous test suite. Our old Ryzen test setup tested across multiple CPUs but the new one focuses on the latest Intel CPU the i9-12900K which is known for generating a lot of heat. I did still do testing with a stock fan profile as well as at 100% fan speeds, but cutting down on the CPU count helped simplify the testing overall. I should also point out that most of the tests are done with the CPU power limits set to the suggested 250 watts with the exception of the unlimited power test. This is the same wattage our CPU review was tested at as well but remember that most of the higher-end motherboards default to a much higher wattage that will auto overclock your CPU even more.

My first test was using AIDA64’s FPU workload which is an extremely demanding workload that normally pushes thermal and power limits. I ran the workload for a half hour until thermals leveled off and recorded the temperature using the CPU die sensor. When using the stock fan profile the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux came in a degree lower than the other coolers. Cranking the fan speed up to 100% it was right in line with the Sapphire cooler with its higher fan speeds.

AIDA64 FPU Stress Test

Stock Fan Profile

100% Fan Speed

Corsair iCUE H100i ELITE LCD Liquid CPU Cooler

93c

90c

MSI MAG CoreLiquid C280

91c

90c

Sapphire Nitro+ S240-A

91c

89c

Cooler Master MasterLiquid PL240 Flux

90c

89c

 

With that same AIDA64 FPU workload, I did also go in and turn the PL1 and PL2 wattages up to allow the CPU to go as high as it could being limited just by thermals. For this, I just documented the wattages on each cooler. Here the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux came in just one watt lower than the H100i. The C280 was higher, but that is with a larger dual 140mm setup.

AIDA64 FPU Stress Test With PL2 uncapped and 100% Fan Speed

CPU Wattage

Corsair iCUE H100i ELITE LCD Liquid CPU Cooler

262

MSI MAG CoreLiquid C280

272

Sapphire Nitro+ S240-A

258

Cooler Master MasterLiquid PL240 Flux

261

 

Next up I switched AIDA64’s workload over to the CPU workload which I consider to be more realistic to gaming and standard PC use where the FPU workload is more demanding like rendering can be. You can see just how big of a difference the workload makes just by the range of temperatures that the coolers are running in here. The MasterLiquid PL240 Flux did well here, matching the larger C280 when running the stock fan profile and matching the Sapphire AIO at 100% fan speed even with the Sapphire fans running at a higher RPM.

AIDA64 CPU Stress Test

Stock Fan Profile

100% Fan Speed

Corsair iCUE H100i ELITE LCD Liquid CPU Cooler

68c

62c

MSI MAG CoreLiquid C280

63c

62c

Sapphire Nitro+ S240-A

65c

57c

Cooler Master MasterLiquid PL240 Flux

63c

57c

 

For the last test, I changed the workload over to Blender Benchmark with the BMW render. This render doesn’t run for as long as I am able to run the AIDA64 workloads which does help keep the temperatures a little lower than the FPU results. But the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux did well with the stock fan profile. At 100% fan speed, it did a little worse, matching the C280.

Blender Stress Test

Stock Fan Profile

100% Fan Speed

Corsair iCUE H100i ELITE LCD Liquid CPU Cooler

90c

88c

MSI MAG CoreLiquid C280

90c

89c

Sapphire Nitro+ S240-A

86c

86c

Cooler Master MasterLiquid PL240 Flux

83c

89c

 


Overall and Final Verdict

Cooler Master has a wide range of all-in-one designs in their lineup and this can make it easy for the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux to blend in with the rest. Just off the top of my head, they have their Illusion kits, Mirror, Mirage,  MasterLiquid RGB’s, MasterLiquid Pro’s, the V2’s, and the RGB Phantom Gaming Edition. Those are just the coolers with RGB so I wouldn’t blame anyone for having a hard time keeping track. In a lot of ways, the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux is similar to their Illusion lineup, but the top of the pump and the fans are where the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux is different. The new Flux fans drop the outer aRGB lighting ring and just run the center lighting. But the fans can run up to 500 RPm faster while being similar in noise. With that, the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux in our testing was able to perform especially well in the stock fan profile testing compared to the other AIOs that I tested. It did that while also being quieter at both 100% fan speed and while under a normal workload. I don’t think that is a bad trade, especially with the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux still looking great. I like the machined top of the pump and the lighting on the fans, even when just inner LEDs are all you need. I’m also digging that Cooler Masters pump design has gotten significantly smaller with the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux, SFF builds won’t have issues with the 40mm tall design.

There were other unique aspects of the MasterLiquid PL240 Flux, like the thumbscrew fan screws that make installation much easier as well. You can also screw in shorter case mounting screws into those thumbscrews as well. But I do think that a set of normal long radiator screws would be nice to include for situations where the tall thumbscrews won’t fit. The only other downside I ran into with the PL240 Flux was the standard issue of having a mess of wiring to deal with due to the extra RGB cables and the controller. But that isn’t exclusive to the Flux, most AIO coolers with lighting have the same issue.

As for pricing, the PL240 Flux that I tested today has an MSRP of $189.99 and the longer 3 fan FL360 Flux is $209.99. I think the pricing is a little high. For comparison, the Corsair H100i Elite Capellix which has a similar inner addressable RGB set of fans as well as includes a USB controller has an MSRP of $149.99. Which is where I think the PL240 Flux should be. Cooler Master is normally on top of pricing, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see that even out in the future. The MasterLiquid PL240 Flux is a solid cooler if you are looking for addressable RGB lighting and a lighting controller to go with it, so I do hope that the price evens out eventually.

fv5recommended

 

Live Pricing: HERE

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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