The box the PL360 FLUX AE (as we are going to call it for brevity’s sake) comes shipped in is classic Cooler Master. That is another way of saying that no matter if you find it too over the top or just right, no one can argue with its effectiveness at being both attention getting and informative. We personally like the purple and black color combination it is rocking – as it is one of the few combos beyond white + white we use when a client demands RGB lighting in one of our builds… so we may be a touch biased. Either way, we like this box. It may be a touch too aggressive in grabbing one’s attention, but it is a box we would have no problems holding on to “just in case” we ever had to RMA the PL360 FLUX AE.
Moving on. By today’s standards the included accessories underline both Cooler Master’s commitment to customer satisfaction and live up to the whole “Special Edition” vibe this model is rocking. That is to say, it is all encompassing (even TR4 mounting equipment is included), effective, and contains some rather well thought out components.
With that said, the shear quantity and QoL improvements it offers does highlight a few little niggles. Niggles that in most accessory lists would skate by with no one noticing.
For example, the included bolts for mounting the fans are basically perfect. They have a nicely knurled top for easy finger tightening, yet any Philips screwdriver can tighten them down, and the heads of them are not so large as to standout. The only issue is Cooler Master only includes enough to mount three fans to this unit. Not six. This is a bit nitpicky as the PL360 FLUX AE is a thin radiator equipped AIO, but we would love to have seen enough of these best in class bolts included to fully kit out this Special Edition AIO.
The included three way, 4-pin, fan header is also really nicely done. A nice braid, enough not braided to make fanning out the ends so to be able to properly use it is downright easy, a decent length (approx. 10.5 inches), even the controller header (that sends RPM signal to the motherboard) is color coded. It pretty much is everything one would want in a 3-way fan header. The only problem is once again Cooler Master includes only one of them. Once again, 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 in a Special Edition model we expect a tad more than ‘good enough.
The inclusion of a five-way A-RGB adapter is just plain puzzling. 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. 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. 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 needs to. These days USB 2.0 headers are starting to be… reduced in number and we have seen boards with only one included, with two being the most typically come with. Worse still, they are now basically afterthoughts on most
motherboards, and usually are in rather poorly located spots on the motherboard. As such, the PL360 FLUX AE neatly sidesteps any potential future build issues where it will come down to using this controller or controlling your PSU (think CorsairLink and using it to turn a multi-rail PSU into a ‘single’ rail PSU) while also powering your case’s front USB 2.0 ports.
As an added Quality of Life benefit… Cooler Master even went and made it magnetic. Thus, you can stick this beast from the (true) East 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. We just wish that the few little stumbles and missteps were not also included.