Cooler Master celebrated it’s 30th anniversary in November, and has re-released a number of their most popular products with branding to celebrate this event. In their press release, Cooler Master states:
Following humble beginnings as a thermal solutions manufacturer, Cooler Master has grown and developed into a multi-faceted technology company driven by innovation, agility, and passion. With a collective eye on the future and the constant pursuit of improvement and advancement, Cooler Master welcomes a new future that will stretch beyond its established roots in PC components, broadening to represent a new generation’s technology driven lifestyle.
[…]Over the past three decades Cooler Master has pioneered technological developments, such as the first aluminium chassis in 1999, the first CPU cooler with embedded heatpipes in 2001, production of the industry’s first all-in-one water cooling solution for retail markets in 2004, establishment of a vapour chamber (VC) factory in 2009, and implementation of a 3D-VC manufacturing line in 2015 – and the list goes on. Whether it be innovation in manufacturing, broadening of direct manufacturing capacity, supplying solutions to other industry leaders, or pursuing excellence with an enthusiast, DIY attitude, Cooler Master continues to adapt to service the needs of consumers and businesses via Cooler Master
Technology and Cooler Master Corporation respectively.
We’re looking at the 30th anniversary version of Cooler Master’s PL360 Flux, and we’ll be testing it with Intel’s i9-13900K to give it a proper challenge. I’ve changed the way I’ll be testing coolers on this site to match how I’m also testing coolers on Tom’s Hardware. This will allow you to compare the results I’m showing here to other coolers I’ve tested, despite that data not being shown here. My latest review on Tom’s Hardware of DeepCool’s AG400 air cooler is available at this link and has results from 7 coolers in total. Where applicable, I’ll include comparison data from the tests I previously posted on this website.
Cooler Master’s PL360 Flux comes in long length box, with molded cardboard, foam, and plastic for the protection of the inner contents.
And here’s a view of all of the included components
|Motherboard||ASUS Z690 PLUS WIFI D5|
|Computer Case||Cooler Master HAF 700 Berserker, system fans set to 35%|
|Storage||1TB Micron P3 Plus, 1TB Micron P3|
|GPU||Intel ARC A770 LE|
|RAM||32GB (16gb x2) Crucial DDR5-4800|
|Comparison Coolers Tested|
(See Tom’s Hardware for more comparison data)
|Arctic Freezer 34|
Enermax AquaFusion ADV 360mm
Intel LGA 1700/1200/2066/1150/1151/1155/2001(-3)
|Pump Dimensions||89 x 75 x 40mm|
|Pump Rated Noise||15 dBA (max)|
|TIM||Cooler Master MasterGel Pro|
What’s unique about this unit?
30th Edition Branding
The fans, radiator, and CPU block have branding celebrating Cooler Master’s 30th anniversary.
There’s more to a cooler than just it’s heat sink. The fans included have a huge impact on cooling performance and noise levels. Included with the PL360 Flux are 30th edition versions of Cooler Master’s Mobius 120P ARGB fans.
These feature Ring Blade design – “interconnecting fan blades designed for a reinforced and rigid structure, eliminating vibration for stable and fluid fan operation”, Loop Dynamic Bearings, Dust Proofing, and an Anti-Sway system – a “magnetic ring [which] prevents [the] bearing shaft from tilting, stabilizing the fan to prevent fan blade obstruction”
|Fan Model||Mobius 120P ARGB|
|Rated Noise Level||30 dBA (max)|
|Fan Size||120 x 120 x 25mm|
|Speed||0-2400 RPM +-10%|
|Air Flow||75.2 CFM (max)|
|Static Pressure||3.63 mm H20 (max)|
|Bearing||Loop Dynamic Bearing|
|Connector||4 Pin PWM + 3 Pin aRGB|
MasterPlus Control Software Controls, Hardware ARGB Controller
Cooler Master provides two options – you can connect the aRGB headers of the PL360 Flux to an aRGB port of your choice, or you can use the included aRGB controller to control the lighting effects of the CPU pump and fans. Additionally, Cooler Master includes an aRGB extension cable which supports connecting up to 5 additional devices.
Full Copper CPU Plate
Dual Chamber Pump
Cooler Master’s latest dual-chamber pump is powered by a “high speed motor utilizing a ceramic bearing impeller, which forces balanced waterflow to and from the radiator for ultimate efficiency of heat exchange”
Mid-thickness radiator size
At 27mm, the radiator included with PL360 Flux isn’t the thinnest or thickest radiator we’ve tested, and it should be compatible with most cases on the market. This radiator features a user-serviceable refill port, though accessing it voids the warranty.
The installation of this cooler is fairly simple, much like many other coolers on the market. I’ve included relevant images from the user manual below.
For thermal tests, we’ll be using Cinebench R23’s multi-core benchmark with power limits set to 3 different configurations.
- Power Limits Removed
With power limits removed, Intel’s i9-13900K can consume over 350W in this scenario and is extremely difficult to cool. Every cooler I’ve tested thus far has throttled to some extent in this scenario. Because of this, we’ll be judging the results in this by two measures : total watts cooled, and loudness of the fans.
200W is still fairly demanding, but much easier to cool. In theory, this should also be comparable to Ryzen 7000 CPUs when pushed to their maximum power consumption. The vast majority of coolers should be able to keep the CPU under TJMax with a 200W power limit, so we’ll be judging this scenario with a typical delta over ambient thermal measurement as well as the loudness of the fans.
125W is very easy to cool. While we will look at thermal performance by measuring the delta over ambient temperature, noise levels are more important at this low power limit.
In terms of total potential cooling performance, Cooler Master’s 30th Edition PL360 Flux does great. This is the 2nd best result I’ve seen of all coolers I’ve tested, including those on Tom’s Hardware. Please check out my review of DeepCool’s AG400 for more comparative data.
The best cooler I’ve tested – DeepCool’s LT720 360mm AIO – can only cool 315W on average in this scenario, and most air coolers can only handle around 250W in this scenario.
If you’re wondering why the chart above starts at 36, it’s because that is the reading my noise meter records when my computer is turned off. This makes it the floor for the noise level results included in my tests. Keep in mind that dBA results are logarithmic, meaning that differences in loudness will be larger than what my charts might suggest.
While the PL360 Flux does very well in terms of total cooling potential, it achieves this at the cost of noise. This isn’t the loudest unit I’ve tested in this scenario, but it is amongst the louder units I have tested with fans running at full speed.
When restricted to 200W, the PL360 Flux kept the CPU at 51c over the ambient room temperature (75c actual temperature). This is a better thermal result than you’ll see from any air cooler, and in line with most 360mm liquid coolers on the market.
Unlike the previous thermally unrestricted results, the PL360 can cool this workload while running fairly silently. At only 45.3 dBA total system noise levels, this is one of the quietest results I’ve seen in this scenario – only a few have run quieter.
Finally, we’re looking at 125W. In this scenario, I consider noise levels more important than thermal performance – and the PL360 performs silently in this scenario. 125W is the lowest TDP level I test at because anything less would not be a challenge to cool at all – and many coolers run whisper silent at this setting.
With a total system noise level of 41.4 dBA, the Cooler Master PL360 Flux is one of the quietest coolers I’ve tested in 125W testing – just barely distinguishable from the system fans, if you listen carefully.
Looking at the thermal performance here, a 33c delta over ambient is amongst the best results I’ve seen in this TDP restricted scenario.
Cooler Master’s PL360 Flux 30th Anniversary edition comes with special branding and lives up to the challenge of taming Intel’s most difficult CPU to cool – handling up to 309W in our most demanding test with the Raptor Lake i9-13900K. When workloads are restricted to 200W or less it runs fairly quietly, and when TDP is reduced to 125W or less it runs whisper silent.