As befitting a premium… err… as will become the overarching theme of the MasterLiquid 240L Core White edition (or for brevity’s sake in this review the “240L Core”) the shipping container Cooler Master is using is anything but basic. In fact, with the exception of the removal of the word ‘Flux’ and letters ‘P’ and “L” but the addition of the letter ‘L’ and the word ‘Core’ (and minor differences in the specifications and text… obviously) this is a dead ringer for the MasterLiquid PL240 FLUX series’ box, as it is the shipping container for the PL Flux series… and most of the rest of Cooler Masters latest edition AIOs (and very similar to their Air based cooling solutions). We really like this consistency across the product(s) stack(s) as this is still a hundred-dollar cooling solution. It deserves a touch of class and elegance. Too bad many other ‘budget’ models do not get the same level of respect their premium brethren get.
Needless to say, this consistency places the 240L Core head and shoulders above the typical value-oriented offerings. With that said, it is pretty much a given that telling the various Cooler Master series, and models, apart is a wee bit difficult. So much so it is easy to pick up the wrong make, model, or even series. Thankfully, if you pickup a ML 240L Core instead of a PL240 Flux the performance will really not be all that different (more on this later). Of course… if one does the opposite expect a nasty surprise at the checkout as there is a noticeable difference in price.
This premium, no corner cutting trend continues when you open up this shipping container and peek inside. As the inner protection is once again the same as you expect to see on any modern AIO at any price point. To be precise Cooler Master is using the industry standard molded carboard, with separate sections for the various components. This is a configuration that works and works well at both protecting the AIO from blunt force trauma and sharp ‘staby’ damage. To be candid, this is a shipping container you can trust to keep you newly purchased AIO safe and sound. No matter if it is being shipped across town in your own vehicle, across country by DHL/Fedex/UPS/etc… or even across the world via various stated-owned postal services… even Canada Post who are notorious for random curb stomping of boxes.
The included accessories also underscore Cooler Master’s commitment to value(s) with their new Core series. With the exception of 2011 & TR4, the included mounting hardware is all encompassing, effective, and consists of some rather well thought out components. As it should… as Cooler Master has essentially taken their PL Flux series hardware and paired it down for the more reasonable MSRP of the LC Core series.
What this means is one will not find the A-RGB controller nor its SATA power cable adapter, nor enough A-RGB adapter cables for Push-Pull goodness. Though, they also do not include enough double headed 4-pin power cable adapters, or even mounting bolts, for Push-Pull configurations. All of which is a shame as the amount you save by opting for a 240L Core can indeed net a smart system builder enough room in a build’s budget for 4 fan cooling.
On the positive side, in a move that rarely seen in a budget orientated AIO, Cooler Master included not only one of their premium 3-way A-RGB adapter cables but three of their color correct A-RGB header securing clips. We have zero idea why three are included on dual fan AIO… but we are impressed to see them on a value-oriented model.
The included fan mounting hardware is also top notch.
Consisting of nicely knurled bolts (for easy finger tightening) that boasts of a ‘universal’ head (Philips & Robertson #2’s, slotted 5/32nd or 0.4mm) these bolts are the perfect size for working with but at the same time are not so large as to standout in the final build (and thus blemish the completed builds overall aesthetics).
The included two-way, 4-pin, fan header is also 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 2-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 and covers all the core values nicely. Albeit we do wish they had not rounded this corner as hard as they did.
Also on the good side, is the inclusion of a 2gram tube of TIM. All $100 cooling devices should come with more than ‘one and done’ TIM. It is our personal opinion that all $50 and above coolers should come with it. Thus, seeing Cooler Master include a ‘full(ish) size’ tube of TIM is indeed impressive. Sadly, it is the standard/older CryoFuse variant and not the newer CryoFuse Violet. All things considered this highlights the budget restricted nature of the L Core series more clearly than many of the other ‘rounded corners’ (aka cost cutting) that Cooler Master had to do to make the 240L Core fit inside a $100 MSRP.