Even with just a quick glance at the box the ML360 Atmos (as we are going to call it for brevity’s sake) comes in one can tell that Cooler Master wants to make it abundantly clear that their new ATMOS series is a new breed of AIO. Gone is the, some would argue overly, aggressive carboard box that previous ML models ‘boasted’ of using. Instead, you will be greeted with a lovely pale purple sleeve covering an thick all black box. To be blunt, this reminds us strongly of old, old school Cooler Master shipping containers. Back when they were not trying so hard to garner buyers attention… as they let their products do the talking. Just the way it should be.
Make no mistake, this is a ‘radical’ make over compared to the previous MasterLiquid boxes but that is not to say Cooler Master has cut corners during the changeover. First and foremost, it still is covered in all the data and details you could ask for. So much so you can easily make an informed decision based upon just what it tells you. Just the way it should be.
The same is true of the internal protection. All the components are housed in formfitting carboard that ensure that you can safely ship this AIO around the world with little fear of it being killed by Mr. Murphy and his loyal side-kick Mr. Warehouse worker. Color us impressed.
Turning our attention to the included accessories, things have also not changed all that much from previous ML models. That is to say all the bases are covered, and then some, but a few minor niggles still remain. For example, the bolts come replete with a ‘universal’ head (Philips & Robertson #2’s, slotted 5/32nd or 0.4mm) and while these bolts are the perfect size for working inside a compact case… Cooler Master only includes enough to mount three fans to this 3x120mm AIO device. Not six. Admittedly this is a bit nitpicky of us. However, it is an ongoing complaint we have had with all Cooler Master AIOs previously reviewed. Yes, this is a ‘thin’ radiator based AIO. Which in turn, means few will ever want to use a push-pull configuration. We simply dislike seeing a manufacture not include enough hardware to satisfy the needs of all their buyers. Not just the majority. Considering bolts are cheap we do not think this is asking too much.
Moving on. The included three way, 4-pin, fan header is really nicely done. A nice braid covering; a decent length (approx. 12 inches); even the controller header (that sends RPM signal to the motherboard) is color coded. This is pretty much everything one would want in a 3-way fan header. The only problem is.. once again Cooler Master includes only one of them. Not two. Yes, as previously stated, we doubt many will opt for push-pull fan configurations… but it would have been nice to have that option ‘out of the box’. Basically, this is good enough, but not the best way a new generation of AIOs should go about making a first impression.
The same is true of the inclusion of a five-way A-RGB adapter. Yes, we understand that this accessory stems from the fact that Cooler Master typically make dual not triple fan AIOs – and thus it can be used for push-pull configurations… but this is a 3-fan model with an LED equipped waterblock. Unless one is really into “common core” math, the last time we checked, three plus three plus one equals seven. Even three plus one equals four. Not five. Making this accessory both sub-optimal for default 3-way fan configurations, and 6-way push/pull fan configurations.
On the plus side, in a move that we rarely see in an accessory list, Cooler Master has taken the time to design, spec, and include four A-RGB securing clips. As all experienced builders know, and have had happen personally to them at some point in their career, RGB headers stink. The pins are fragile and prone to bending, they do not offer enough friction to stay put when dealing with multiple year timeframes, and generally speaking one has to either use electrical tape to secure them together… or 3D print off securing clips. So yes. Seeing Cooler Master go above and beyond to include them kinda makes up for whiffing the aRGB adapter cable. We just wish, once again, that Cooler Master included enough to properly secure six aRGB fans… not four.
This brings us to the star of the accessory list show: the aRGB controller. This hardware+software controller does make up for all the previous sins of omission. Easily. We have lost count of the number of times we have seen an aRGB header on a motherboard blow a string of LEDs, we have lost track of the number of times the timing between headers on a motherboard was off juuuuust enough to mess up the final “look” of a lightshow build. The included three headed aRGB controller neatly side steps these issues and then some.
Firstly, while it is ‘only’ a 3-way controller that is enough to power the waterblock’s LEDS, the included fans, and three more fans via splitters. Thus, even in proper push-pull configurations, all the LEDs will be in perfect sync. Furthermore, you are not at the mercy of the motherboard manufacture when it comes to color options. Cooler Master includes a nice, cohesive list of options and they all work.
Next, this bad boy is powered via a SATA to 2pin connector so worries about overloading it are pretty much moot. Next. It uses a USB Type-C header and while it comes with a Type-C to internal USB 2.0 header… its rather easy to source out a USB 3.0 adapter if one feels the need. As an added Quality of Life benefit, Cooler Master even went and made it magnetic. Thus, you can stick this beast anywhere you want inside the case and it will stay there. First time. Every time.
Overall, the accessory list is darn good and consists of some excellent examples of engineering. Just as expected from Cooler Master. We just wish that the few little stumbles and missteps were not carried over from previous generations of ML (and PL) AIOs.