Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML280 Mirror Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware; Installation

The overall design of the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML280 Mirror is very generic when it comes to the general shape of an all-in-one cooler -- not that there are many other ways design one. The radiator is rectangular likewise to all other radiators. The corners of the radiator are not rounded out, leaving a more angular shape. The cooler is completely black, aside from the small portion of Cooler Master branding on the side. Aside from the basic rectangular design of the radiator, we also have the classic wave pattern in the middle of the radiator. This design allows the heat to be dissipated more effectively. Coming out of the top of the radiator are two sleeved tubes. Sleeved tubing adds to the quality of the build. They also connect to the pump with some hinges, allowing the tubes better mobility for installation.

When talking about size, the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML280 Mirror radiator comes in at 318 mm by 140 mm by 27.2 mm. This is a standard size for two 140mm fans to be attached to. Aluminum is a good choice of material for the radiator, as it does not add too much weight, while providing relatively good heat transfer. The two fans can be mounted on either side of the radiator for either a push or pull configuration.

The Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML280 Mirror water block is mostly circular, but with two straight edges. The water block is made out of copper, which is better for heat transfer compared to aluminum, making it an excellent choice for the base of this cooler. After further inspecting the milling job, the entire surface was generally pretty smooth with only one barely noticeable scratch mark. Although imperfect, this should not affect the overall performance too much. Something Cooler Master could have done to further improve the quality would be to electroplate the base with nickel to protect against oxidization. Nickel is highly resistant to corrosion, making it perfect for sustaining copper surfaces. The MasterLiquid ML280 Mirror features Cooler Master's third-generation pump. Cooler Master claims there will be better cooling, efficiency, and lower noise levels using this new pump. As previously mentioned, the MasterLiquid ML280 Mirror does come with its own tube of thermal paste rather than having pre-applied thermal paste. This all sounds great, but we will see how it actually performs on the next page.

The two fans included are the Cooler Master Sickleflow 140 fans, which are larger versions of the SickleFlow 120. Cooler Master advertises these fans to have improved structural support with anti-dust prevention mechanism. This fan uses rifle bearings. Rifle bearings are similar to sleeve bearings, but are quieter and have a longer lifespan. As for specifications, the RPM ranges from 650 to 1400 RPM, maximum airflow of 67 CFM, and a maximum static pressure of 2.25 mmH2O. The RPM on these fans might seem a little lower than usual, but remember these are 140mm fans and these fans still has a relatively average airflow. The noise levels were rated relatively low at 10 to 27 dBA.

The installation process of the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240 Mirror was very simple for AM4 processors, which is the type of processor I was using. The instruction manual provides steps for the installation for many CPU sockets. These include LGA2066, LGA2011-v3, LGA2011, LGA1200, LGA1151, LGA1150, LGA1155, LGA1156, AM4, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2, FM2+, FM2, and FM1. As you can see in the image above, I used my stock AMD mounting bracket. If you are installing an Intel CPU, Cooler Master does provide the correct mounting bracket for the installation.

After installing the necessary mounting brackets onto the pump, the pump can simply be installed onto the stock AMD bracket. It was a simple hook and turn to fully tighten the pump into place. The radiator was also easy to install. I simply placed it on the front of my case and screwed it in with the provided screws using a fan pull configuration.

The Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML280 Mirror comes with some nice accessories. As previously stated, if your motherboard does not support ARGB, Cooler Master provides an RGB controller to cycle through fixed effects. The RGB design is something incredibly unique and something I found simply beautiful. Hence the name, the mirror effect gives the water block so much more depth when you look at it. This cooler was designed incredibly well aesthetically. In addition to the ARGB controller, it also comes with a few cable clips to keep the cables from unplugging themselves.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware, Installation
3. Test Results
4. Conclusion