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Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 280 Review


Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 280 Specifications:

Radiator dimensions
311 x 138 x 27 mm (12.24 x 5.43 x 1.06")
Fan dimensions:
140 x 140 x 25 mm (5.5 x 5.5 x 1")
Fan speeds (+/- 10%):
650 ~ 2200RPM (PWM) ± 10%
Fan airflow:
64.21 CFM (Max)
Fan dBA:
6 ~ 30 dBA (Max)
Fan air pressure:
3.15 mmH2O (Max)
490,000 Hours
Cold Plate Material
Fan Specification
140mm (x2) 4 pin
Socket Support
Intel LGA 2011 / 1366 / 1150 /1155 / 1156 / 775
AMD Socket FM2 / FM1 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2
Radiator Material
Noise Level
< 12 dBA (Max)
175,000 Hours


Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 280 Features:

  • Maximizing absorption-The water block, customized and packed densely with micro-fine plates, absorbs more heat from the CPU than traditional designs.
  • Zoning in on heat-Liquid is funneled directly at the hottest part of the CPU and carried away quickly through technology normally used in high-end DIY models.
  • Preserving parts-Liquid heated by the CPU is isolated from sensitive components using two chambers in the pump.
  • Recycling the cool -Heated liquid is pushed out and more efficiently cooled through a completely unique radiator fin design.
  • Getting it out -Heat in the radiator fins is expelled far out of the case by new MasterFanPro Air Balance fans.
  • Keeping it quiet-Silent drivers in the pump and MasterFanPros reduce decibel levels to nearly a whisper.
  • Installation made simple–Tool-free assemble makes installation hassle-free.

All information courtesy of Cooler Master. http://www.coolermaster.com/cooling/cpu-liquid-cooler/masterliquid-pro-280/


Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 280 Testing:

Testing involved recording temperatures for the CPU during idle and load phases. The load was simulated by running Prime95’s small FFTs for one hour. The maximum temperatures were recorded using HW Monitor 1.21.0. Please note that each cooler is tested from its factory setup, including location of fans, unless otherwise noted. We start out by loading the CPU at stock speeds (3900 MHz) and then overclocking to 4200 MHz.


Testing Setup:



Idle temps for stock and overclock are about where I expected them to be. When we crank up the overclock, we are at the low end of the pack for both stock and overclocked speeds. For a liquid cooler with a radiator this size, the numbers are very good, and again about what I would expect. Fan noise was not bad either. You can hear them spool up when the CPU is loaded up, but they are not obnoxious. And the pump was dead silent, even when the system was at idle with no load. I have noticed that some pumps have a high pitched whine to them - but not this one. I actually had to disconnect all the fans (case and cooler) and then stick my head in the case to hear anything from the pump, and even then the sound was hard to hear. So as far as I am concerned, it is dead silent.

Here is a shot with the radiator installed and the fans are below (on the bottom side), pushing air up through the radiator. The two MasterFan Pro 140 AP fans supplied with the cooler do a fine job of moving air. Depending on your case design, you may be able to add a second set of fans on top to have a push / pull configuration, but of all the systems I have tested with that sort of setup, there is not really much of a benefit. Don't get me wrong, it does certainly look cool to have two sets of fans if you have the room, but don't expect double the cooling. For the extra degree or so of temperature drop, you have the expense of two more fans and, of course, the extra noise. So don't worry - the supplied MasterFan Pro 140 AP fans have you covered. Regarding fan noise - Cooler Master does a nice job with these fans. During normal use they are quiet, and like I mentioned above, the pump is quiet, too. Don't the fans make some noise when they spool up to the maximum RPM? Of course they do, but that is to be expected, and they are within an acceptable range. I have heard some fans that sound like you are on the deck of an aircraft carrier launching F22's. These fans are nowhere near that level.


Now let's see what the cooler looks like in the infrared spectrum when we put a little heat to it. I used a FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared Radiometer) to see how the cooler looks at idle and under a load. When I first put power to the system (left hand picture) and it is essentially at idle, we see roughly 26 °C across the radiator surface and this is close to ambient. With an overclock of 4200MHz, we push to a little over 31 °C where the warm coolant enters the radiator at the top left where the bright orange / yellow colors are. The coolant then travels down the length of the cooler through the top half (left to right) and then hits the tank on the right side of the cooler, where it travels down and reverses direction. By the time it gets to the exit (from right to left) to return to the pump, it has dropped by approximately 4 °C.



Taking a look at the pump, it is obvious that the pump and coolant lines are staying cool relative to the VRM at the top and left, and the RAM modules, which are on the right.  For the right hand picture, there is a quick glance up at the fans and you can see where a little bit of heat is concentrated at the fan motors.


  1. Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 280: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 280: Specifications, Features, & Testing
  3. Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 280: Conclusion
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