With the arrival of powerful multi-core AMD processors on the market, the issue of using liquid cooling systems has disappeared by itself. If a top-end tower cooler on heat pipes can cope with a TDP of 150-250 watts, then there is no way with 300+ watts. And overclocking top-end “stones,” starting from about the second generation Ryzen and Intel 10-series, is somehow more interesting with a 360-mm radiator: both the temperatures under load are not so high, and the noise level is within comfort limits.
The first versions of maintenance-free liquid cooling systems appeared more than 10 years ago, and since then, have not fundamentally changed (minor upgrades do not count). But each company considers it its duty to release its own version of the LSS, with some differences from competitors. Now the MPG Core Liquid K360 from MSI has arrived for the test. Let’s see what a well-known manufacturer of motherboards and video cards has equipped the liquid cooler with.
- Supported platforms: Intel LGA 1150/1151/1155/1156/1200/1366/2011/2066, AMD AM2 (+) / AM3 (+) / AM4 / FM1 / FM2 (+) / TR4 / sTRX4 / SP3.
- Waterblock base material: copper.
- Radiator dimensions: 394 × 120 × 27 mm.
- Max. Processor TDP: 180 W.
- Hose length: 400 mm.
- Heatsink material: aluminum.
- Fan: 3 pcs, 120 × 120 × 25mm, 2500 RPM, 77.4 cfm, 0.28 A, ARGB backlight.
- Max. fan noise level (one): 40 dBA.
- Pump power: 4 W.
The price at the time of publication of the material is 23,000 rubles
The box is compact, made of thick cardboard, all components are arranged in their cells.
The prefabricated fastening system allows the water block to be fastened to all current sockets. The design of the mounts is simple. By attaching the frames to the water block, you immediately recognize Asetek (apparently, she developed this LSS for MSI). The only negative is the flimsy backplate. It has long been considered a good form rule to make it of thick steel to remove almost all mechanical loads from the motherboard PCB.
There are three fans, standard one hundred and twenty. Naturally, all are RGB backlit. Interestingly, the fans use double ball bearings and not the now fashionable hydrodynamic bearings (known for low noise levels). Ball bearings are used primarily in server solutions, where reliability is paramount, and noise performance is the tenth thing. Looking ahead, I will say that the fans do not emit such a characteristic “roar,” and there is no need to fear annoying sounds at low revs.
Here is the liquid circuit itself (a water block with a pump and a radiator). The radiator is designed for installation of three hundred twenty 27 mm thick. In my opinion, this is the most “correct” size, since LSS with 240-mm and even more so with 120-mm radiators are often on a par with air cooling systems and are more expensive. The thickness would be increased to 35-40 mm. It would be generally great.
The water block looks unusual. “Liquid part” (copper base, pump, L-shaped outlet pipes) are assembled into a compact unit. A small fan, a controller board, and an LCD screen were fixed above them. The entire jumble of wires is hidden under a plastic cover held in place by four magnets. Previously, such designs have not been seen.
The assembly and connection of all components of the system according to the instructions is quick. Problems can arise only with excessively rigid hoses in a beautiful fabric braid. Yes, it is almost impossible to bend them by accident, but you will have to conjure up the gasket in tight cases. When installing the water block, it is important to consider where the radiator will be fixed (in the upper part of the case or behind the front panel), accordingly orienting the outlet pipes.
The backlighting on the fans is pleasant. It doesn’t hurt your eyes. Looks best in twilight and darkness.
To test the performance, MSI MAG B560 TOMAHAWK WIFI motherboard and Intel Core i5-11600K processors were taken. We used a stress test built into the Prime95 utility (Small FFTs profile) with the AVX instructions to warm up. During the test, the fan speed was controlled manually.
As you can see, already at 1000 rpm, temperatures under load reach acceptable (safe) values. The noise level is shallow. It is completely inaudible at a distance of a meter. There is a good margin for overclocking the processor. The fans do not press the ears up to 1500-1750 rpm while perfectly blowing the heatsink.
To control the parameters of the cooling system, the CoreLiquid utility is downloaded from the MSI website. “Communication” with the controller (board above the water block) is carried out via the USB 2.0 bus. The first tab, LCD Display, allows you to select the information displayed on the LCD screen of the water block. This could be fan speed, clock, MSI logo, or dynamic image.
The display is not very bright, so the information on the screen will look best in a dark case.
The second tab – Fan Settings – allows you to configure the curves of the dependence of the speed on the temperature. Separately, you can set values for the fans on the radiator, above the water block, and the pump impeller.
The last tab – Fan ARGB – is responsible for controlling the backlight: you can choose a color scheme or turn it off if it interferes (for example, when the PC is working at night).
MSI MPG Core Liquid K360 is well suited for cooling powerful processors running at stock frequencies or in non-extreme overclocking. The comparatively high efficiency with a small thickness of the radiator was a pleasant surprise. The fans are quiet, despite the use of ball bearings, with pleasant lighting. The screen above the water block … The move is controversial, but this is a subjective opinion. But the built-in fan under the casing is an excellent solution. Purging the space around the socket will not be superfluous even on modern motherboards with huge heatsinks on the processor converter. Objective minuses can only be attributed to the excessive rigidity of the pipes of the cooling system.
- Quiet and beautiful fans;
- 360mm radiator;
- LCD screen above the water block;
- Universal mounting system.