Cooler Master introduced an updated version of its ML240 Mirror all-in-one CPU cooler sometime last year – the MasterLiquid ML240 Illusion. Both the ML240 Illusion and ML240 Mirror are quite similar, but the newer ML240 Illusion offers more RGB lighting and visual effects. If you’re in the market looking for a 240mm-sized AIO liquid CPU cooler and you like RGB lighting, stick around and continue reading our Cooler Master ML240 Illusion review below.
Cooler Master ML240 Illusion Review – Adds More Color To Your System
Packaging and Closer Look
Cooler Master’s current retail box theme is a black box with a purple accent. A photo of the ML240 Illusion can be seen on the front side of the box, meanwhile, some of its features are printed at the back. The specifications of the AIO cooler are printed on the side, while additional photos of what’s inside can be seen on the other side.
MasterFan MF120 Halo
The included fan on the MasterLiquid ML240 Illusion is Cooler Master’s MasterFan MF120 Halo. It features dual-loop addressable Gen2 ARGB lighting. There is an ARGB lighting in the middle of the fan and inside the outer rim. Interestingly, there are cutouts on the outer rim of the fan. You can see the diffuser on the outer rim, giving it some ring effect when lit.
There is rubber padding around the mounting holes. These rubber pads will help reduce vibration noise. The fan is rated to have a speed of 650 to 1800 RPM with a noise level from 6 dBA to 30 dBA. During my test, I find the fans to run reasonably silent even in full load.
Cooler Master includes an addressable Gen2 RGB controller that works with Cooler Master’s MasterPlus+ software. You can customize each individual LED’s color, effect, and properties using the software. I wasn’t able to test this one and you don’t need to use this if you want to sync the RGB lighting with your motherboard’s lighting profile.
The Water Block
It’s on the ML240’s water block where the “illusion” can be seen. It features a translucent dome with a smokey black finish that is aesthetically pleasing and quite mesmerizing to look at when the RGB lighting is lit. The base of the CPU water block is copper but the surface doesn’t have a super smooth or mirror-like finish.
Cooler Master is using a 3rd gen dual pump chamber for the ML240 that has an improved design on the internal impeller and housing. According to Cooler Master, expect quieter cooling performance while offering better cooling performance with its 3rd gen pump design. During my test, the pump on the water block was inaudible. I only heard bubbling sounds during the initial operation of the ML240, which is normal and expected.
Since this is not an Asetek-based water block, Cooler Master has its own mounting mechanism for the ML240 Illusion. The mounting mechanism is similar to the ML240 Mirror’s, but I am not a fan of the mounting mechanism. Not that it’s difficult to assemble and mount, but it does require more parts to assemble and screw.
There is room for improvement in the mounting mechanism. And so far, I find Asetek’s mounting mechanism is the easiest amongst all-in-one closed-loop CPU coolers. Meanwhile, for CPU air coolers, I find Noctua’s SecuFirm2 is the best one around.
The translucent dome or the water block’s cover is removable. It can be rotated so that the logo would be in the right orientation. But you’ll have to remove the cover and put it back at a different orientation.
Above you can see what it looks like underneath the translucent dome. There are 12 addressable RGB LEDs on the water block.
According to Cooler Master, the radiator used on the ML240 Illusion has 25% more surface area or 25% thicker. Although, I’m not sure if they meant 25% more from their older AIO cooler or they are comparing it to other 240mm-sized radiators from other brands. The thickness of the radiator is approximately 27mm for reference.
Cooler Master ML240 Illusion Specifications
For the latest pricing and availability: (#ad)
Cooler Master ML240 Illusion is available on Amazon.com here or Newegg.com here
ML240 Illusion In Action
Here are some photos of the ML240 Illusion’s dome and fans in action. I think they are aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, definitely a head-turner. That defused glow looks mesmerizing and personally I think the implementation of the effect or illusion on this one is better compared to other AIO coolers that I have seen, like the CoreLiquid C240.
Meanwhile, the RGB lighting on the MF120 Halo is a bit of a hit or miss depending on one’s preference. I think there are just too many “rings” going around with the fans. They do look nice though, but this is a matter of personal preference already and it also depends on the theme of your build.
But I think the most important thing here is its performance. How does the MasterLiquid ML240 Illusion perform? Let’s find out.
In testing the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240 Illusion AIO liquid CPU cooler, I am using MSI’s MEG Z490 Godlike motherboard powered by an Intel Core i7-10700K. I tested both stock speeds and overclocked settings. For the OC test, I overclocked the CPU to 5.1GHz all-core with a 1.35v applied to the CPU. Below are the rest of the system specs.
Cooler Master ML240 Illusion Benchmark Results
Idle Temperatures – Stock and OC
The Core i7-10700K’s temperature was hovering at around 35° Celsius during idle state. Overclocking the CPU to 5.1GHz with a 1.35v increased the temperature to around 42° Celsius. The idle temps on OC settings are more inconsistent compared to stock settings.
At this point, the fans run at around 700 RPM and the pump at around 2300 RPM for both the stock and OC settings.
Full Load Temperature – Stock and OC
There’s not much going on during idle to light load situations. But stressing the CPU for at least 15 minutes we can see that the temperature increased. At stock settings, the CPU’s temperature was hovering around 50° Celsius with a 45W load. The pump was constantly running at around 2300 RPM while the fans slightly increased to 900 RPM.
Meanwhile, using the overclock settings with an average of 125W load, the i7-10700K’s temps went up to ~74° Celsius. The fans’ speed also went up at around 1500 RPMs. It’s starting to get audible at the current speed, but it is still relatively silent. I doubt that fans will be audible, especially on a closed-case setup.
Here’s a summary of the results that I got. I compared the ML240 Illusion with its predecessor, the ML240, and other CPU coolers. The Noctua NH-D15 is the only air cooler in the chart and it is one of the best CPU air coolers in the market.
Performance-wise, the ML240 Illusion performed similarly with the ML240 Mirror. If I am not mistaken, they use the same water block design and pump generation. They are identical in cooling performance, but the ML240 Illusion looks aesthetically better than the Mirror, in my opinion.
Both the WaterForxe X240 and CoreLiquid C240 are slightly better than the ML240 series. On top of that, they are compatible with the latest LGA 1700 for the 12th gen Intel CPUs out of the box.
The ML240 Illusion was released before the Alder Lake CPUs were released in the market. So, all of the ML240 in the market doesn’t come with a bracket for the LGA 1700. You’ll have to buy the LGA 1700 bracket so that you can use the ML240 on an LGA 1700 socket.
However, I wouldn’t go down that route since these coolers were originally designed for socket LGA 1200, 115x and AM4, AM3, etc. Although they may be capable of cooling an entry to mid-range 12th gen CPU, I am more worried about the mounting pressure and the distribution of the pressure on the surface of the CPU.
Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240 Illusion Review Conclusion
As you have seen from the results above, the MasterLiquid ML240 performed quite well. I can easily recommend this to any entry to a higher-end CPU. Although, (high) overclocking is another story and you may need a 360mm-sized radiator for that.
Build-quality-wise, I think the components and parts are of good quality. But the real star of the show is its visual effects and RGB lighting. I think the ML240 Illusion was made for RGB aficionados or if your system’s theme is loaded with RGB lighting.
While the cooling performance is great and the fan noise is generally silent, the only thing that I couldn’t test here is its durability. According to Cooler Master, the pump’s life span is around 70,000 hours, that’s almost 8 years. The fans’ life is even longer, at 160,000 hours. Though, the warranty of the ML240 is only 2 years. So far, I haven’t heard anything disastrous about this CPU cooler and the feedback from users is mostly positive.
I don’t have anything to nitpick about the ML240 Illusion, except for its somewhat finicky mounting bracket/system. Also, it doesn’t come with an LGA 1700 bracket out of the box, even though retailers will mention it supports LGA 1700.
So, overall I think the MasterLiquid ML240 Illusion is a good all-in-one CPU cooler based on the results that I got. It’s also reasonably and competitively priced and its ARGB lighting, “Illusion”, looks remarkable.