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Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120L V2 RGB Review

Introduction

Apparently, Cooler Master’s Ml120L RGB wasn’t enough and Cooler Master released a follow-up Version, the Cooler Master ML120L RGB V2. With an upgraded pump and increased Radiator surface area combo, Cooler Master is trying to win over the Budget All-In-One Liquid / Water Cooler market. But if that isn’t enough, Cooler Master decided to tweak the Pump and Fan RGB Design and deliver a better performing Cooler for the same price!

 

The Cooler Master Liquid Master Ml120l RGB V2 is available on Amazon:

 

Positive

  • Runs quieter than most 120mm Competitors
  • Supports most relevant Sockets on AMD & Intel
  • Easy Installation for AMD and Intel
  • Slick Design
  • RGB Included!
  • RGB Controllable
  • Remote included for Mainboard without RGB Header

Negative

  • Remote Only usable inside of the Case
  • Still uses Molex...
  • Tubes not extremely long

 

What's in the Box?

Like most other PC Components, the Master Liquid ML210L RGB V2 comes in a Carton Box featuring an image of the Cooler while showing off its RGB Capabilities and Notifying potential Buyers about the compatibility with every major Mainboard RGB Controlling software.

cooler-master-liquid-master-ml120l-v2-rgb-box

 

The Back of the Box gives a brief overview of the individual features and upgrades over the previous version.

On the left side, we find a Spec-sheet that provides every necessary information. But let’s not believe these numbers blindly and double-check them later on.

Dimensions (Radiator)

157x119,6x27mm

 
Fan 120x120x25mm  
Fan Speed 650-1800RPM  
Fan Airflow 62 CFM  
Fan Noise 27 dBA (@1800RPM)  
Pump Noise < 15 dbA  
Included Accessories RB Controller, RGB Splitter, Screws for everything, Mounting Hardware, MasterGel Pro Thermal Paste  

Once we open the box, we will find the AIO and every other part wrapped in individual plastic bags. Once each component is unwrapped we are able to create a definitive Parts List.

  • Cooler Master LiquidMaster ML120l v2
  • Cooler Master Sickleflow 120 Fan
  • Intel Brackets
  • AMD Brackets (With screws)
  • AMD Backplate (With Screws)
  • Fan-Radiator Screws
  • RGB 4 Pin 1-3 Splitter
  • Thermal Paste
  • Remote (but cable bound)
  • Molex Power adapter for Remote
  • RGB 4 pin Male-Male adapter

Compatibility

Although Cooler Master maintains vast compatibility across both, the AMD and Intel Platform, Cooler Master decided to drop their support for Intel’s LGA775 and LGA1366 Socket. But with both Sockets being almost 10 Years old, this will probably not affect many potential buyers.

This being said, the Cooler Master ML120l v2 maintains support for every AMD or Intel released CPU from the last few years including Intel’s newest 10th generation and AMD’s upcoming 5000-Ryzen Series.

 

Compatibility List

Intel AMD
LGA2066 AM4
LGA2011-v3 AM3+
LGA2011 AM3
LGA1200 AM2
LGA1151 FM2+
LGA1150 FM2
LGA1156 FM1
LGA1155  

Usually, the usage of AIO Liquid Coolers allows PC Builders to not pay attention to Ram clearance issues that may arise with overgrown Air coolers. And the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120l v2 also delivers on that front, neither the Intel nor the AMD Brackets poses a potential (touching) risk for any Mainboard-Ram combination.

Individual Components

WaterBlock / Pump

cooler-master-liquid-master-ml120l-v2-rgb-pump

 

The Water Block which also contains the Pump got a major overhaul in Cooler Master’s V2 revision. With a sleeker design, the Water Block is capable of showing off some decent RGB while not appearing flashy or exaggerated and keeping the overall design minimalistic.

Inside of the new Water Block, Cooler Master installed its newest version of the in-house developed dual Chamber Pump with improved housing and impeller that should keep the ML120l quieter and cooler while also providing a longer life span.

 

Underneath the Water Block, we will find the (probably) same copper plate as seen in the V1 version. Only a couple of Screw Holes within the plastic were removed which may be a by-product of removing support for LGA775 and LGA1366. But with the usage of copper instead of aluminum, we can already expect that Cooler Master did not save on Performance.

Radiator

cooler-master-liquid-master-ml120l-v2-rgb-radiator

 

Even though they look almost identical, the Radiator also got an upgrade with the improved version of the MasterLiquid ML120L V2. By lengthening the fins by 25%, Cooler Master was able to enlarge the overall Surface area of the Radiator by 20%, which should result in either a cooler CPU or quieter Build.

 

Fan

The upgrades to individual Components also affected the Fans. With improved rifle bearings, better Air Balanced Fan blades, and a hardened frame, the newer version of the SickleFlow 120 Fans are supposed to deliver better cooling performance while also staying quieter!

Looking at the numbers, the fans should push 62cfm of air while spinning at 1800RPM and omitting not more than 27db.

But the most important part within Fans in 2020 is most certainly its RGB Capabilities. With an all-white Fan and 6 LED’s build into the back of the frame, the Fan does not only keeps your CPU cool but also delivers stunning RGB effects that provide you with at least 2FPS.

 

Tubes

cooler-master-liquid-master-ml120l-v2-rgb-tubes

 

Although the Tubes are sleeved from start to finish, which gives the product a premium look and feel, they are quite short. The Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120l RGB V2 will certainly fit in the Back and Top of any case, but mounting it to the front of a larger case may end up being a stretch, ignoring the fact that front-mounted 120mm AIO’s look kind of absurd.

Peripherals

The ML120L’s RGBs within the Pump and the Fan are controllable by an RGB Header from your mainboard in combination with any major Software. This means that as long as you have a 4 Pin RGB Header on your Mainboard, you’re good to go. In order to make sure that Customers with only 1 Header do not have to decide between the 2 RGB Components, Cooler Master includes an RGB 3-1 Splitter.

But there’s More!
Cooler Master also thought about its customers that do not have any RGB Header on their Mainboard. For these cases, CoolerMaster includes a little Remote which can adjust the Brightness and loop through all of the Build In RGB Effects with a button Click.
The Remote just has to be connected to the Input connection of the 3-1 Splitter and powered by a Molex connector.
But this, unfortunately, creates a new problem. In order to use the remote, you have to either leave the case open or find a hole that is big enough for the remote and have an extremely short weird-looking cable-attached remote dangling out.
Even though an included remote is a nice try, Cooler Master should have exchanged it for an IR-Powered System.

Installation

cooler-master-liquid-master-ml120l-v2-rgb-installed

 

The CM MasterLiquid ML120L RGB V2 can be mounted to any mainboard by using the appropriate Mounting Brackets. Once the AMD or Intel Bracket is slid unto the notch of the Waterblock, it can be attached semi-permanently with 4 Screws.

 

cooler-master-liquid-master-ml120l-v2-rgb-intel

 

On the Intel platform, the bracket is using the 4 pre-drilled holes around the CPU Socket in order to be attached to the mainboard. For the LGA115x Users, this means that the included Backplate will have to be used with the Standoffs before the Cooler can be mounted.

The LGA2011/x Users can skip this part as the Build in Mechanism allows them to only use the Standoffs to proceed to the next step.

 

Even if the Cooler does not come with any thermal paste pre-applied on the Block, Cooler Master includes a small syringe for those who forgot to bring their own. But because we want to normalize the Benchmarks across all of our other Coolers, we will be using Arctic Silver 5.

 

On an AMD CPU, the Brackets are designed to use the original Cooler Holder on top and bottom of the CPU. So removing the Backplate will not be necessary, which makes the installation very easy. But even though it doesn’t make you disassemble anything, the Cooler is held down with the usual Hooks which sometimes needs to be installed with a bit of force, making us fear for our Mainboard, Socket, and foremost the CPU.

Appearance

cooler-master-liquid-master-ml120l-v2-rgb-w-iii

 

For us, the Cooler Master ML120L V2 RGB shines the mist with it’s Slick Design on the CPU Block. The small Acrylic Hexagon lets the light shine through and gives the whole Build a mature look. The Fans are letting the light shine from the center up until the end of the blades which ends up in one big circle of light. Both RGB Effects combined are creating a decent look while lighting up the System.

Because all of this is controllable by Software, you can adjust the color of every LED to match the other colors within your case and create synchronized color coordinations.

 

As we are using an AMD Ryzen 3700x paired with a B450 ASRock mainboard, the installation can be done by only using the hooks making it a 2-minute process. As mentioned, the cooler will need to be pressed against the CPU in order to clamp the hooks but once they are in, tightening them down by hand finishes the installation process.

 

Benchmarking

For the CoolerMaster MasterLiquid ML120L V2 RGB, we will be using the same Test System as for any other Cooling Benchmark. On our testbench sits an ASRock B450M-Pro-4-f (check) with a Ryzen 3700X locked at 3.7GHZ All core and a Palit RTX 2060s (even if it doesn’t matter). The Cooler is attached to the Mainboard while using some Arctic Silver 5 Thermal paste in between. The Room Temperature is set to 24° as while performing any other test.

 

For our first Test, we are hitting the CPU with our Stress Test of choice, Heavy load, and comparing the CPU Temperature with our other Coolers while letting the Fans spin at 100% and 50% of the maximum fan speed. This will show us the overall performance of the Cooler.

 

 

While letting the fan only spin at 50%, the Cooler Master LiquidMaster ML120L v2 RGB manages to keep the CPU 67°C. Ramping up the fans to 100% lets the CPU stay 2°C colder, at 65°C.

These results are meaning that the CoolerMaster ML120L V2 performs exactly the same as the Cougar Aqua120. But we need to keep in mind that the Fan SickleFlow fan is a lot quieter and spins slower than the Cougar fan, which results in a noticeable quieter System while delivering the same cooling performance.

 

 

For our second test, we will try to keep the CPU at 70°C or less and try to minimize Fan speed as much as possible to see how efficiently the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120L v2 can run.

 

While keeping the Ryzen 3700X at 70°C we managed to keep the fans spinning at 40% of their maximum rated speed, meaning that they should be spinning at around 720rpm. These results repeat that the Cougar Aqua 120 and Cooler Master ML120L v2 are indeed performing exactly the same, with the difference that the ML120L runs a lot quieter, making it the overall winner of this competition.

Conclusion

After Performing our Benchmarks, we can clearly see that the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120L v2 RGB performs exceptionally well for a small 120mm cooler while operating at barely hearable noise levels. Even compared to the top of the shelf Air coolers like the Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4, the ML120L v2 stands its grounds and delivers excellent performance for a competitive price.

With the included 120mm Fan, the ML120L v2 will be able to cool any Entry- to Mid- Tier Cpu’s like the Ryzen 3,5,7 and Intel i3,i5,i7. If on the other hand, you’re planning to cool a High-End CPU like a Ryzen 9 or Intel i9, you may want to take a look at the ML240L as the cooling capacity may just not be enough for these Power Houses.

 

Overall we are more than happy with the Performance but can still suggest a few changes for future versions. The included Remote is nice to have, but making it cable bound makes it hard to think of a scenario where the remote is being used more often than during the installation. Changing this to an IR Remote would solve this issue permanently.

Even though we had no issue installing the Cooler in the top and back spots of all of our cases, the tube length may be a bit on the shorthand if a customer wants to install the ML120L v2 in the front of a gigantic case. But this will probably apply to very few customers.

 

The Cooler Master Master Liquid ML120L v2 RGB can be bought for around 50€ and 65$ on most of the usual Retail sites, which places the Cooler at around the same price as the comparable Cougar Aqua 120.

 

We will include the affiliate links to the most known sites right below.

 

 

In Summary, the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120L v2 delivers very good performance for the price and we can overall recommend this Cooler for any Entry- to Mid- Tier Build that you are planning.

 

strumace
Introduction
What's in the Box?
Compatibility
Individual Components
Installation
Appearance
Benchmarking
Conclusion
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