We've already reviewed the MasterLiquid Lite 120 once, comparing it against Corsair's H45 which was our best selling AIO at the time, now we have replaced that with the MasterLiquid Lite 120 and are doing this mass cooler roundup it's probably time for another review!
The fan included with this cooler isn't the best, but that is kind of expected for a cooler in this price range, it is also pretty loud considering the pretty low 66.7 CFM.
The radiator used is made of Aluminium, with a copper CPU block which is the standard configuration for 95% of AIOs, only a few very premium options use both copper in the radiator and CPU block.
The price of this cooler is what is really impressive, the MSRP is £44.99 but we have seen it as low as £37.99 which puts it in the same price bracket as a mid-range air cooler.
- Radiator Size – 120mm
- Radiator Thickness - 27mm
- TDP –180W
- Weight – Not listed by CoolerMaster
- Socket Compatibility - Intel® LGA 2066 / 2011-v3 / 2011 / 1366 / 1151 / 1150 / 1156 / 1155 / 775 socket, AMD® AM4 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / AM2 / FM2+ / FM2 / FM1 socket
- Included Fan(s) – MasterFan Pro 120 Air Balance
What’s in the box?
- CoolerMaster MasterLiquid Lite 120 CPU Cooler
- MasterFan Pro 120 Air Balance 120mm fan
- Mounting installation instructions
- Warranty information leaflet
- Mounting hardware for all above sockets
- Generic CoolerMaster thermal paste
We found the mounting on the MasterLiquid Lite 120 very easy, it actually uses the exact same mounting mechanism as the CoolerMaster Hyper 103. You start by assembling the backplate with four bolts and four plastic caps to hold the bolts in place, this whole assembly them goes through the motherboard which the cooler can be screwed down onto using the included bolts.
The radiator placement is also very easy compared to other cheap AIOs such as the H45, this is because the pump is located in the CPU block itself and not on the side of the radiator, making the radiator considerably smaller therefore easier to fit! The bolts that come with the cooler are fantastic, they are a standard M4 bolt but one end has a thumb screw part that also has an M4 threaded hole, allowing you to screw something else into it, making almost any fan configuration imaginable possible. Yes that also means you can put many fans on both sides for the ultimate 120mm AIO, and it is absolutely something we want to do when we get enough of these bolts spare.
The aesthetics of the MasterLiquid Lite 120 aren't it's strong point, but to be fair it does do a pretty good job at looking decent. It sports a very understated design which I like, it would have been a shame if CoolerMaster put some cheap single colour LEDs like they did with the old Seidon AIOs. The radiator looks pretty good with it's fairly square design and the CPU block looks very basic with a simple CoolerMaster logo printed on the top of the round body.
The tubing is what really lets the MasterLiquid Lite 120 down, it uses some horrible anti-kink tubing that is thin and horrible, I'm guessing this is the cheapest tubing option available and something I really think should be different, even if it means the cooler is a few quid more expensive.
The performance is going to be the interesting part of this review, can an AIO that can be bought for sub £40 actually be good, and can it compare against other AIOs? Well, we've done the testing so you're about to find out!
Test System Specs
- Processor - Intel i7 8700k
- Case - CoolerMaster H500P
- RAM - Corsair Vengeance DDR4 16GB 3000Mhz (2x8)
- Motherboard - Asus Rog Strix Z370-F
- SSD - Samsung 860 EVO 250GB
- PSU - Corsair RM750x
- GPU - EVGA GTX 1050Ti
We performed a number of tests using different pieces of software, the software we used for stress testing were 3DMark Time Spy CPU Test, Priem95 with the Blend Preset and Aida64 CPU+FPU. We also logged the temperatures with Aida64's temperature logging function to record the results.
We ran the tests at both stock voltages and clock speeds, and with an overclock at 5.0GHz with 1.35V, in the results anything marked "OC" used these settings.
All of these tests were performed in out climate controlled test room at a constant 21°C. All fan speeds were set to normal in the BIOS, which worked fine and none of the coolers we tested had excessive noise levels.
The graph below shows the average temperature over a 20 minute stress test using Prime95's blend preset. We found this test to be the best at showing the performance of these air coolers visually due to the range being much higher than other tests.
For a cooler that you can get for under £40 when it goes on sale, this little thing is very good. It doesn't pack all the perks you see from some of the more premium AIOs but for the price that can't really be expected.
The MasterLiquid Lite 120 is definitely a very cheap entry into the AIO market and would be a great choice for someone who wants a closed loop liquid cooler on a budget, infact we liked it so much after we first saw it that we've been selling it for over a year now.
- It's very cheap but still reliable
- Good performance
- Doesn't look the greatest
- Fan can be loud at RPMs (didn't get to these RPM ranges during our testing)