It’s been over a year since I received my first ever Cooler Master AIO, and if not for the 360mm version I would later review I’d likely still be using that trusty 240mm cooler in my main system, at least until today. It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for pretty lights (after performance) so with the ML240r from last year keeping pace with the popular Corsair H100i V2 and looking a lot better while doing it, it’s no wonder I kept with the RGB goodness that came on the pump. Not to be outdone by… themselves, Cooler Master gave their radiator fans a sexy new look, went transparent on the pump (complete with visible impeller), and kept the RGB that so many of us enjoy. But does it stack up against the competition and its older brothers? We’ll take a look in this review.
- MSRP: $TBD
- Intel: LGA 2066/2011-v3/2011/1151/1150/1155/1156/1366/755
- AMD: TR4/AM4/AM3/AM2+/AM2/FM2+/FM2/FM1
- Waterblock Dimension: 85 x 80 x 41.7mm
- Radiator Dimension: 277 x 120 x 27mm
- Radiator Material: Aluminum
- Fan Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 26mm
- Fan Speed: 2000 ±10% RPM (Max)
- Fan Air Flow: 60.95 CFM (Max)
- Fan Air Pressure: 2.33 mm H2O (Max)
- Fan MTTF: 160,000 Hours
- Fan Noise Level: 27dBA (@1m)
- Fan Power Connector: 4-pin (PWM), ARGB 3-pin
- Fan Rated Voltage: 12VDC
- Fan Rated Current: 0.30A
- Fan Power Consumption: 3.60W
- Fan LED Color: Addressable RGB
- Pump MTTF: 160,000 Hours
- Pump Noise Level < 20 dBA (@1m)
- Pump Rated Voltage: 12 VDC
- Pump Power Consumption: 3.96W
Probably the nicest thing about being a remote writer for hardware reviews is the fact that I get to test out all the latest swag in my home computer, it’s the benefit of not having a central office we all go to. It does come with drawbacks, however, in that as a single reviewer I don’t have access to all the products that MMORPG.com has reviewed over the years - only the devices that I’ve either bought or reviewed in the past. It’s for this reason that you may not see certain products stacked against each other when they’re comparable and warrant comparison: I simply don’t have access.
Moving on, if you’ve been reading my cooler reviews as of late then you can skip this section and move along to the next - it won’t be anything new. If this is your first time with us I want to touch on our methodology for testing and the test rig. There’s some debate between stressing the CPU and generating heat using Prime 95 or Aida 64. I’ve found that Aida64 typically gives me lower temperatures so I opt to use Prime 95. My goal is to report the absolute worst case scenario of how you could expect the cooler to perform. In reality, the temps you see should be much lower than what I report. On the flip side, idle temperatures are recorded while the CPU sits as idle as it can be in Window. Temperatures are recorded 30 minutes after a cold boot and other than logging in and starting up the hardware monitor, no other activity is to be had. The ambient temperature in my house is kept at a steady 75 freedom units (24 Celsius) and all temperatures are reported as over that temperature, not absolute values. Quickly, before we begin, the PC specifications are as follows:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600x 4.3Ghz @ 1.41v
- RAM: 32GB HyperX Predator 3200 RGB DDR4
- GPU: MSI RTX 2080 Duke
- PSU: ThermalTake Riing 800w Modular Power Supply
- Boot Drive: Kingston KC2000 1TB NVMe
Unboxing and Installation
If you’ve owned a Cooler Master AIO before, nothing has changed with the boxing technique in the ML240P Mirage. Everything is fit snuggly in a cardboard cutout with spots for the radiator, pump, fans, and accessories. It’s well protected and despite the best efforts of my lovely postal service, nothing on the inside was damaged.
The major beef I had with the Cooler Master ML240r and ML360r was the complication of installing the cooler. I would love to chalk it up to a byproduct of being compatible with AMD and Intel, but previous coolers I’ve owned have been compatible with both and had easier installation processes. For installing on AMD there are a few steps you have to take to get the pump attached to the CPU socket in addition to mounting the fans, radiator, and routing the cables. The first thing you have to complete is attaching the machined bracket to the pump and screwing it in place - you can see my fingers holding the two pieces in place on the pump in the picture below.
I was hoping this would be the extent of it and Cooler Master would use the standard AMD backplate as other manufacturers have done but there’s a custom one to use as well, that even has you mounting the small screw inlets on the bracket in the right place for your socket. Make sure you pay really close attention to what side you’re inserting the screw inlets to on the bracket, as there’s another piece that has to slide over them to keep it in place and it’s possible to do it backward - as I learned.
After these steps it’s like any other cooler, screwing the right pieces in the right place to allow the pump to be mounted snuggly on to the CPU - easy enough. Mounting the fans to the radiator is a simple procedure as well, you just need to decide if you want them to push air through the radiator or pull it through. The internet machine will furiously tell you one way is better than the other but there’s really no perceptible difference for our use case unless you had double the fans and did a push-pull configuration.
Getting the RGB to work, for me, was an easy process as my Cooler Master Cosmos case came with a control unit already installed but the directions included in the box are straight forward and the process isn’t any more complicated than any other RGB AIO setup. If you're curious about the process you can check out the previous Cooler Master AIO reviews I linked above.
I’ve already described how idle temperatures are recorded but before getting into the results I want to touch on how load temperatures are taken. Unlike Air Coolers, which reach peak heat capacity extremely rapidly, AIO’s take longer to stabilize in temperature. If you’re wondering why it’s due to the difference in specific heat capacity between metal and liquid. It takes a relatively small amount of energy to get the metal hot and reach the point where it balances between what it can get rid of and what we’re putting into it. Liquid, on the other hand, requires significantly more energy in comparison meaning it takes longer to reach the balancing point. Because of this load temperatures are recorded after 20 minutes of Prime 95 beating the hell out of the CPU.
You’ll notice that the ML240P Mirage has temperatures slightly lower than the ML240r and right on par with the Corsair H100i V2. This is well within the margin of error and the variance is likely due simply to human error - my suspicion would be with thermal paste application as I’m only human and every application is different no matter how hard you try. Really, being right on par with the most popular AIO coolers on the market is a good look for Cooler Master, especially considering the ML240P Mirage is subjectively much better looking than Corsair’s H100i V2. The bottom two results are 360mm radiators and while none of the 240mm come close to Cooler Master’s ML360r, if you’re looking to get an NZXT Kraken x72 it might be worth it to save some money and get a 240mm radiator instead.
The Cooler Master ML240P Mirage is a solid AIO solution that holds it’s own against the competition. The transparent pump design is a great selling point for those of us that love aesthetics just as much as performance, and the new fan design is a sight to behold compared to the previous generation.
- Transparent Pump Design looks great
- Competitive Performance
- New Fan Design is a plus
- Installation is a little complicated
- Excessive RGB could be a turn off for some
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.