Cooler Master ML360 Sub-Zero | Review

Cooler Master ML360 Sub-Zero | Review

Peltier and thermoelectric (TEC) cooling systems have certainly been tempting the entire circle of overclockers over the years, with the promise of creating an increasingly cool operating environment with increasingly heavy workloads. But with these coolers, a dedicated power supply liquid cooling system is often required, which leaves them off the list of the best CPU coolers for most people. Thermoelectric cooling in recent years has certainly been part of the most interesting innovations and has also been used by some enthusiasts who hang out in overclocking and cooling systems forums.

Having said this necessary premise, to put all the pieces together Cooler Master has thought about it with the new ML360 Sub-Zero, an All In One (AIO) heatsink with a 360mm radiator, with a thermoelectric cooling plate inside it powered by a standard 8-pin auxiliary socket, now widely supported of the PSUs. The system, however, will have to be equipped with a tenth Intel CPU, therefore with LGA1200 socket. This is due to the fact that the Cooler Master Sub-Zero has limited compatibility to a specific hardware list, which will certainly be expanded later with the arrival of the new Rocket Lake-S CPUs.

Ironically, despite the cooling system is the result of the partnership between Intel and Cooler Master, which encourages the use of the Intel suite for overclocking, the latter does not recommend overclocking the most powerful processors, namely i7 and i9, and suggests to stick to single-core overclocking operations or keep the factory standard boost. Mind you, the performances demonstrated are very respectable, but it is not a product suitable for exaggerated overclocking, the dream of all lovers of Peltier cell heatsinks.


The Cooler Master ML360 Sub-Zero winks at the ultra high-end heatsink band and is equipped with a really particular and elegant design, in which it stands out on the body of dark color the large chrome Cooler Master logo placed on the front of the pump. The latter is equipped with an LED that indicates the operational status of the Peltier cell and illuminates the lower part of the housing.

Thickness 1.10 ″ / 27.9mm (2.25 ″ / 57.15mm with fans) Width 4.75 ″ / 120mm Depth 15.5 ″ / 394mm Pump Height 3.75 ″ / 95.3mm Fan Controller BIOS / Software Fan 120 x 25mm Connectors 4-Pin PWM

3-Pin tach

SATA Weight 2340g Socket Intel LGA1200 (only supported) Socket AMD N / A Warranty 5 years Price about 420 euros


The box containing the ML360 Sub-Zero contains only the adapters for the LGA1200 connection, which allow the Peltier cell positioned above the CPU socket to have the screws integrated into the housing. Obviously, the backplate to be mounted on the back of the motherboard is also included, along with threaded spacers and a SATA-type power cable, all essential elements for the operation of the system. The connection to the motherboard is done through a 9-pin micro USB connector. Intel Cryo Cooling technology software support is currently limited to the following processors only: i5-10600K, i5-10600KF, i7-10700K, i7-10700KF, i9-10850K, i9-10900K and i9-10900KF.

This dissipation system specifically makes use of an integrated Peltier cell, more commonly known as a thermoelectric heatsink (TEC), which is composed of a semiconductor that uses direct current to create a temperature difference between the two faces. In short, one face of the cell will be very cold, with the other that will heat up allowing for heat exchange. This new heatsink to maximize hot side cooling makes use of the AIO liquid system.

Just to name one example, this cooler can easily reduce CPU temperatures when not active to lower temperatures to zero, much below the ambient temperature which is obtained instead with standard air or liquid heat sinks that cannot go beyond that value for physical reasons.

The device also requires the use of a standard 8-pin auxiliary connector, of the same type used on more powerful video cards, which serves to supply power to the Peltier cell. To all this is added the fact that a power supply capable of supplying an adequate amount of current will be required, since at maximum power the thermoelectric cell will need a power supply of about 200w.

Basically the ML360 Sub -Zero comes with a pre-applied layer of thermal paste on top of a pyramid-shaped copper structure. The power cables of the cell controller are located on the lower part of the heatsink.

The external part of the pump has a protective rubber layer, specially designed to create a barrier around the socket on which the cooling system it is installed to prevent the hot ambient air inside the case from circulating, so as to avoid condensation caused by the high temperature differences that could be generated. Precisely for this reason the part that connects the CPU heatspreader to the heatsink is pyramid-shaped and therefore non-standard.

Cooler Master has also used a new pump design, located between the Peltier unit and the radiator and with some quite generous dimensions, both in terms of weight and dimensions, a sign of the fact that it is much more powerful than those used in traditional AIOs. Such a powerful pump also makes itself felt: during the tests vibrations and pulses were perceived, typical instead of custom systems. However, this data would require specific tests to be confirmed.

The radiator is made of aluminum and is equipped with 3 120mm PWM fans, without any RGB / aRGB lighting equipment. The surface on which the processor rests is specially shaped to perfectly cover the Intel CPUs on LGA1200 socket, which guarantees a uniform distribution of the thermal compund during installation operations.

* The operation of the device is relatively simple once the Intel Cryo Cooling Technology software has been installed and the entire system has been activated. To check the operating mode, select the service icon in the taskbar that allows you to select two operating modes: Cryo and Unregulated.

Cryo mode is the standard one, to be used in daily operations that do not require hence an exaggerated heat dissipation. With this setting, the Peltier unit will be managed to have an efficient and intelligent current consumption, both to avoid exaggerated consumption and to keep the system in safe conditions, avoiding the formation of condensation.

The Unregulated mode instead allows to push the dissipation system to its maximum power. The software, when enabled, warns us with a screen of the potential risks of using this mode, which could cause permanent damage to all our hardware. It is intended only for short periods of time in which a maximum dissipating power is required.

The installation of the 360mm radiator is more standard than the other components, while the pump, since it is separate, is used a few screws to fit into what would normally be a fan bay. Although USB connections are very common for AIO heatsinks, having additional cables on board this already complex system increases the confusion in the installation procedure.


For test this cooling system, the same hardware was used for each benchmark, with the same system configurations and overclocking to minimize the differences due to the environment of use that always affects all the tests carried out, allowing to obtain more or more results. less homogeneous able to be compared. The configuration used is the following:

Intel Core i9-10850K LGA1200 CPU (Comet Lake), 10 cores at 4.6Ghz @ 1.190v

(3.60Ghz stock frequency, single core boost @ 5.2 Ghz)

MSI Z490 MEG Godlike motherboard (bios vers. 7C70v12) Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB memory, 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3600 Storage Corsair MP600 m.2 2280 NVMe, 500GB Gigabyte GTX 1050Ti PSU be quiet! Dark Power Pro11 1200w Case Corsair Graphite 760T Monitoring systems CrystalFontz sensors CFA-633-TMI-KU and 4x Dallas One Wire WR-DOW-Y17 Corsair Commander Pro fan controller, 100% / 50% PWM Speed ​​profile (with pump always on @ 100% where possible) SO Windows 10 Pro 64bit Arctic MX-4 thermal paste Network connection N / A All comparisons are based on data collected from previous tests carried out with a system based on Intel Core i9-10850K.

The test on Prime95 v29.4b8 (without AVX) was carried out with use intervals of 2 hours each, of which one session was carried out with the fans fixed at 50% and another with the fans at maximum power, measuring the actual RPM every About 3 seconds. The omission from the test of the AVX instruction set is not accidental, since in this way the workloads are more precise and accurate, since otherwise with AVX enabled the CPU would take on unrealistic loads and therefore not indicative for the purposes of real daily use.

This also allows you to carry out all tests on a wider range of cooling devices, without the need to constantly change the configuration of the system to readjust it to more or less large dissipation systems, capable of handling the heat produced by the CPU in question differently.

Although the test platform is capable of handling an overclock that goes up to 5.0GHz on 10 cores with a voltage of 1.265V, during the measurements we witnessed a difficulty of the 360mm AIO in the management of temperatures, which struggles to keep under control with low fan speeds, a sign of the fact that to obtain a good overclocking on the i9 you need a really powerful cooling system.

For the monitoring instead of the temperatures in real time on the cores, of the thermal throttling warnings, of the CPU speed and of the consumptions we used instead of HWInfo64, while a CrystalFontz CFA-633-TMI-KU was used for temperature measurements inside the system and on the outside of the heatsink.


Immediately there we realize how Cooler Master's indication was more than adequate: the heatsink is suitable for an overclock on single core, while it is not for the multi core. It is especially interesting to note that the Unregulated mode is only suitable for short use, as the settings do not seem to handle prolonged loads well.

The three fans on the ML360 Sub-Zero radiator reach their maximum speed just below 2000RPM, while the EK AIO Elite 360 ​​and Corsair H150i Elite Cappelix reach higher rotational speeds. More relevant, however, is the data that emerged from the analysis of the pump speed (in the graph in blue and green), which demonstrates in comparison with rivals that it is able to move very important volumes of liquid. We hope to see this type of pump in other products in the range as soon as possible.

Although the hardware used is high-end, the noise levels of the Cooler Master heatsink remain relatively low and mostly come from the pump system .

The difference in performance with nominal fan speeds instead sees a wider gap between the Sub-Zero ML 360 and the traditional AIOs being compared.

With a price tag of around 420 euro, the Cooler Master ML360 Sub-Zero is placed in a market segment in which custom cooling kits that have a completely different level of performance dominate. However, this comparison can be made for traditional cooling systems, a category in which this ML360 Sub-Zero does not fall.

Fans: 50% Fans: 100% The images taken by the FLIR ONE Pro thermal imager show a difference in temperature of the liquid housed in the pipes of the system which remains more or less similar regardless of the fan setting speed.

With a 100% CPU load, using Prime95, there is a large difference in consumption between the 2 available modes, which is around 185 watts. Also noteworthy is the fact that in a test carried out with Cryo mode deactivated, the processor reached peaks of 100 ° C in a few seconds, a sign that the dissipating power depends exclusively on the heat conductor. In short, Cryo mode should be used whenever the CPU handles moderate to significant loads.

Credit: Cooler Master To confirm this, Cooler Master has made available an exploded view of the components on its website , in which you can see the Peltier cell (B) placed between the copper base (C) and an upper cover also in copper (lower part of A). this last component acts as a heat exchanger with the AIO coolant. When the TEC fails, it behaves like an insulator and not a conductor, thus explaining the high temperatures achieved with the current-less Peltier unit.

The Cooler Master ML360 Sub-Zero shows an ambitious attempt at innovate with a different solution in the world of All In One, trying a different path given the integration of a thermoelectric cooling device which until now has been a system reserved for specialized builds that used only dedicated and specially designed hardware.

Clearly this dissipation system is aimed at those who carry out single core and short-term operations rather than heavy and long-lasting workloads. What makes the product really attractive is certainly the possibility of reaching temperatures close to zero, a feature that improves electrical conductance, even if 420 euros represent a considerable amount. But history has so far taught us that fans will pay a lot of money even to get just one degree of difference, whether it's to beat a record or just to boast.

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