Cooler Master is doing a remarkable job of updating and expanding their product lineup. This is especially true here in AiO land. With a very unique pump design and great fit and finish, the MasterLiquid Pro 280 is a really nice cooler that looks good too. While it wasn’t a top performer in our testing, it did do an acceptable job keeping our toasty 3770K under control. As for noise pollution expect the Pro 280 really delivers in a very little way in that it produces a very minimal amount of operational sound. Expect pricing to be right at $129.99 from most online retailers. This puts it right in line with the many other 280mm AiOs on the market at launch. Unfortunately many of those have since dropped in price and now offer a little more value.
While we genuinely do like the Pro 280 there are few things that we would be remiss if we did not mention. First, while the majority of the installation is a breeze, once you get to the part where you actually attach the pump to the CPU everything goes to hell. As I mentioned earlier, the backplate simply has no retention mechanism. Once you start pressing the pump onto the CPU the bracket typically starts to fall back out of the motherboard or at the very least the screws push back out of reach. If humans had a third hand this wouldn’t be an issue but sadly that is not the case. Be prepared for a struggle of epic proportions trying to get those first two thumbscrews started is all we suggest. Aside from that one portion of the installation, I was a little disappointed in the length of the tubing. It was enough to allow us to install the radiator in the direction that we did, but others may wish to install the radiator in the front of the case and that just isn’t going to happen. It would also have been nice to see some software control for the unit. It’s not something that breaks the functionality but most AiO offer it these days and this one does not. In that vein RGB LEDs wouldn’t have hurt either.
Overall ThinkComputers.org would like to award the Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 280 with an 8 out of 10 score!
– Great Fit and Finish
– Looks great especially with the sleeved tubing
– Very low noise pollution
– Adequate performance
– Installation is not fun without a backplate retention mechanism
– Short Tubing Length
– No Software
– Lighting is not RGB