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MSI Coreliquid S360 AIO Liquid Cooler: Performance Review

Introduction :

MSI is not a new name when we think about motherboards or graphics cards. Although they have expanded their product portfolio quite a bit in the recent few years.

Right from Chassis to Power Supplies, gaming peripherals, and monitors, they have almost everything you need to build a complete PC except the CPU.

MSI sent us their latest MSI Coreliquid S360 AIO Liquid Cooler for testing and reviewing. This particular model is made by Asetek similar to quite a few other coolers available from various brands.

In this review, we shall be focusing purely on the cooling performance. We have tried to include as many different CPUs from both Intel and AMD as possible to make it easier to analyze how this cooler fares with a variety of CPUs.

Unboxing :
Black/Grey color scheme with bold golden lettering looks simple yet classy. This Cooler belongs to MSI’s top of the line MEG product.
The cooler is compatible with all possible platforms currently available and also some older ones. AM4/LGA 1700 are supported out of the box. LGA1700 compatible mounting kit is included and there is no need to buy one separately.
MSI has bundled these high-quality Silent Gale P12 fans which are solidly built and have a Hydro Dynamic bearing which ensures quiet operation and the fan blade shape ensures optimum static pressure which is essential for radiators. Sadly tough, these fans aren’t RGB/ARGB. Shouldn’t be too much of an issue for workstation builds or non RGB builds and builds that care more about performance rather than aesthetics.
The Pump/Block unit houses a nice 2.4” IPS LCD display which is customizable through software. You can choose what you wish to display on the LCD screen like CPU clock speed, temperature or even images or GIFs.
The actual pump/block and LCD screen is inside the plastic shroud.
The cold plate hasn’t changed at all for past 2-3 generations of cooler designed manufactured by Asetek. MSI says that this cooler is based on Asetek 7th generation solution. Let’s see if they have made any changes to the pump and internal jet plate or water channels that shall ensure in improved performance.
There is a fan sandwiched in between the LCD screen and the pump/block which is supposed to offer cooling for VRM heatsinks around the CPU socket area.
Asetek is still using 27mm thick radiator. Honestly, we would have liked to see a thicker radiator which would allow more mass and surface area to handle the increased heat load from modern high core count CPUs.
Thicker radiator would have been more appealing.
Fin density too looks similar to what we have seen in the past. Same old wine in a new bottle?
The Radiator outer frame has some clearance from the actual radiator core to allow screws to pass through the plate but not puncture the capillary of the radiator core.

Now that we have taken a close look at the actual cooler and fans, it is time to put this cooler to the test.

Test Systems
Intel System -
  • Intel 12th Gen. Core i3/i5/i7/i9 Processors

  • Asus TUF Z690 Plus Gaming WIFI D4 Motherboard

  • Kingston FURY Renegade 4400MHz 8GB x 2 DDR4 Kit

  • MSI Coreliquid S360 AIO Liquid Cooler

  • Open Test Bench

  • Asus ROG Strix 1000W 80+ Gold Full Modular PSU

  • Teamgroup CX2 1TB 2.5” SATA SSD

  • MSI Gaming X Trio Geforce RTX 3070 8GB Graphic Card

AMD System -
  • AMD Ryzen 5000 Series 5/7/9 Processors

  • Asus Pro WS-X570 Ace Motherboard

  • Kingston FURY Renegade 4400MHz 8GB x 2 DDR4 Kit

  • MSI Coreliquid S360 AIO Liquid Cooler

  • Open Test Bench

  • Asus ROG Strix 1000W 80+ Gold Full Modular PSU

  • Teamgroup CX2 1TB 2.5” SATA SSD

  • MSI Gaming X Trio Geforce RTX 3070 8GB Graphic Card

Software Specs -
  • Windows 10 X64 Pro – Latest updates installed

  • Intel/AMD Chipset drivers – Latest available installed

  • Cinebench R23

  • Hwinfo – latest available version

Results -
Intel 12th Gen CPUs -
AMD Ryzen 5000 Series CPUs -

Observations & Conclusions -

  1. The MSI Coreliquid S360 is based on the Asetek 7th Gen Design Solution.

  2. Since this cooler belongs to the top-of-the-line MEG series by MSI, it sports top-notch features like a 2.4” LCD display which is customizable through software.

  3. MSI’s latest Silent Gale P12 fans offer silent operation with very good static pressure albeit with the loss of RGB/ARGB lighting. These fans should appeal to those who crave silence and efficient cooling performance.

  4. Asetek is still using a 27mm thick aluminum radiator and from the looks, there doesn’t seem to have been much improvement on the cold plate and pump design front either. It more or less seems like it is the same old cooler with a new name.

  5. Although MSI tried to provide top-notch fans with this cooler, one cannot defy the laws of physics and this is proved by the stress test results across the board.

  6. Most efforts seem to have gone into polishing the LCD feature. Software control, flexibility to change what is visible on the screen, and so on.

  7. MSI software allows 0 RPM mode although we aren’t sure when exactly that would be useful.

  8. Asetek cold plate design was originally fine-tuned for the Intel core placement which is right in the center of the substrate. This is not the case with Ryzen 3000 series and 5000 series which have staggered core placement. This means Ryzen 3000 & 5000 series CPUs might run hotter than expected whereas Intel 12thGen CPUs should work pretty comfortably.

  9. The cooler is capable of handling Ryzen 5 CPUs and to some extent Ryzen 7 but it seems to be struggling to handle the Ryzen 9 parts. We did a test at fixed 4.4GHz @ 1.2V and 1.3V V-Core. At Stock Boost, the temps would be lower but so would the clock speeds at all core workloads.

  10. 5800X3D which was launched recently, it seems to run warmer than the 5800X which can be attributed to the additional L3 cache.

  11. Intel 12th Gen CPU results are a mixed bag. The entire i3, i5 & even the i7 series show decent thermals but i9 series is a different ball game altogether.

  12. It is evident from the above-mentioned numbers that the cooler is struggling to keep the i9 series CPUs temperatures in check. In the cooler’s defense, it is not the cooler’s fault at all. The 12th Gen i9 CPUs are difficult to cool for almost all coolers.

  13. We appreciate the direction MSI chose by going for performance-oriented fans but that won’t suffice to hide the flaws in Asetek’s aging design.

  14. With the cool LCD display and the superb flexibility offered by the software for customization, this cooler will for sure attract a lot of buyers. Similarly, the Silent Gale P12 fans will attract the Silence and performance aficionados.

  15. While one appreciates the cool features and the quiet fans, it is hard to ignore the fact that @almost Rs. 22,000/- this cooler isn’t exactly cheap. At that price tag, we expected much better thermal performance.

  16. The problem is not with adding bells and whistles like the LCD display and High-end fans. It is the lack of effort in trying to improve the core function of a product, in this case, cooling. It must be noted that it is Asetek that is more to blame here than MSI.

  17. We hope the average thermal performance numbers with both Intel and AMD current Gen CPUs prove to be a much-needed wake-up call for Asetek and we see remarkably improved products in the future.

Taking all the factors into consideration as stated above, we are giving this cooler the Bronze Award purely because there is vast scope for improvement.


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