The Cooler Master GD160 ARGB gaming desk brings more than just the RGB bling

TechRadar Verdict

The Cooler Master GD160 ARGB may be in splurge territory, but it’s more than worth the price. It’s a solidly built standing desk that can swiftly lift even the most expansive computer setups without breaking a sweat. It’s also one of the few gaming desks – not to mention one of the few desks in general – to offer built-in ARGB.

Pros

  • +

    ARGB lighting is an immersive treat

  • +

    Smooth and quick operation

  • +

    Solid height range for most people

Cons

  • Cable management could be better

  • On the expensive side

  • Anti-collision could be more sensitive

Jump to:

Cooler Master GD160 ARGB: One-minute review

The Cooler Master GD160 ARGB may be expensive, but there’s a reason. This sizable gaming desk offers something you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else: ARGB. While you can get RGB add-ons to spruce up any desk, few have it built into the desk itself. That means you can fine-tune its brilliant lighting without investing in and installing extra add-ons.

Since this desk will set you back quite a bit, it needs to do more than just provide some colorful lighting. It should offer features we’ve come to expect in gaming desks of this caliber, such as excellent cable management. And, since it’s a standing desk, it needs to be capable of handling your rig, especially during height adjustments. 

It does a great job of the latter, and while it could have done better with the former, it still did a decent job. The only question is, will that, along with its customizable RGB, be enough to justify the price? That’s what we’re here to find out.

Cooler Master GD160 ARGB: Price and availability

  • How much does it cost? $899 / £699 / AU$1,399
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, the UK, and Australia

Cooler Master GD160 ARGB: SPECS

Weight: 141lbs (64kg)
Dimensions: 63 x 29.5 x 25.6 to 51.2 in (160 x 75 x 65 to 130 cm) (L x W x H)
Max load capacity:
220.5lbs (100kg)
Cable management tray: Yes
Ports: USB 2.0 x1

The Cooler Master GD160 ARGB is available in the US, UK, and Australia, and it will set you back quite a bit more than most of the competition. At $899 / £699 / AU$1,399, this desk sits in the upper price range for gaming desks. And, it won’t be great value if you won’t have much use for the standing functionality or the built-in ARGB.

There are already quite a few great gaming desks out there for much less, such as the Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk. It may not have that standing functionality but it has excellent cable management, as well as an assortment of modular add-ons for a cleaner, more organized setup. Those add-ons will cost extra, but the base desk will only set you back $499 / £399 / AU$679.

Of course, Secretlab does have its own sit-to-stand gaming desk, the Secretlab Magnus Pro XL Metal Desk, and that costs a similar $949 / £829 / AU$1,229. And, that’s without any RGB lighting included in the box.

  • Value: 3 / 5

computing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Cooler Master GD160 ARGB: Assembly

  • The desk comes in two heavy boxes
  • Assembly is straightforward despite its many parts
  • Instructions are clear 

We’re grateful that the Cooler Master GD160 ARGB ships in two boxes as they have a combined weight of about 150lbs (68kg). We’ve moved and assembled our share of gaming desks, and having to move heavy boxes is never easy. 

Thankfully, assembly is fairly straightforward. While it comes in many individual parts – quite a few more than we’ve seen before in a self-assembly gaming desk – the instructions are clear and easy to follow. They could have been printed a little bigger, though, considering how detailed some of the illustrations are.

Not only does the desk need power, but so do your computer and monitor. So, when setting up the desk, make sure you’re near an outlet. And make sure that those cords have enough slack to stay plugged in no matter what height adjustments you make.

  • Assembly: 3.5 / 5

computing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Cooler Master GD160 ARGB: Design

  • Its large size can accommodate a lot of devices
  • Cable management tray is a little cramped
  • ARGB is the star of the show here

With a tabletop measuring 63 x 29.5 inches (160 x 75 cm), the Cooler Master GD160 ARGB has more than enough desk space for most people. Have a two- or three-monitor setup? There’s plenty of room here. And, since it’s made of sturdier materials, you don’t have to worry about overloading the desk.

The legs, frame, and trim are made of aluminum and steel. Though the one-inch-thick tabletop is chipboard, it’s coated with a lightly textured laminate finish that’s resistant to fingerprints and scratches – but not quite as resistant to pooling from drink moisture. Those marks eventually disappear, but they do stay for a while, even when you try to vigorously rub them off.

Like most gaming desks, it’s mostly black with gray trim. However, being a Cooler Master product, the trim on the sides of the desk comes in that particular shade of purple found on many of its products.

computing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

There is cable management, of course. A rubber-lined slit 20 inches wide sits near the back of the tabletop so you can feed all the various cables from your rig to an aluminum cable management tray underneath it. This vent is big enough for cables, but the tray is a bit cramped. At 23.6 inches wide and 7.9 inches deep (60 x 20 cm), it’s not quite big enough to house a surge protector or more than one power block. So, while you won’t have trouble keeping that tabletop nice and clean, you’ll have to do some creative organizing to get all the cables in order in the tray.

On the plus side, Cooler Master includes an extra-large water-repellent mousepad with the desk. It measures 900 x 300 mm. Its densely knit surface allows gaming mice to glide effortlessly, while its large size gives a little extra cushion for hands and wrists and a little extra protection for the desk surface.

The digital controller, situated under the lip of the tabletop, is very easy to use. There’s a small screen showing its current height and seven buttons (Up, Down, 1, 2, 3, M, and A), as well as a charging-capable USB port on the side. Up and Down control the current desk height while the numbered buttons correlate to custom presets. The M button stands for height memory function and is what you’ll use to create a preset. Finally, the A button lets you cycle through ARGB effects, including five presets and a customized configuration, without needing to pull up the software.

computing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Of course, the star of the show here is the smart Dual ARGB lighting. For a quick definition, ARGB, or addressable RGB, allows you to customize each individual LED, something that can only really be experienced with smaller peripherals, such as backlit gaming keyboards. 

With this desk, you have 192 individual zones to play with – 96 along the front lip of the table top and 96 in the back. As the front edge is angled down, you’ll get plenty of brilliant lighting without being blinded by it. To complete the immersion the back edge is angled upward so that the ARGB reflects off a back wall. You can set it up to mirror the colors of your screen in real-time or sync it with your other Cooler Master peripherals to display matching lighting modes.

If you have a USB port available on your PC, however, you should take advantage as you’ll be able to fine-tune those presets, especially since most of them are set to a light sort of purple – so light it almost looks white – by default. You can also customize each of those 192 lighting zones for that custom lighting configuration, though it will still be a static color.

  • Design: 4 / 5

computing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Cooler Master GD160 ARGB: Performance

  • Smooth and quick, though not quiet, operation
  • It comes with some solid safety features
  • The height range is great for most people

You’re not just paying extra for the ARGB. As a standing desk, the Cooler Master GD160 ARGB moves quickly and smoothly, with its current height displayed in real-time on the control screen. Since it uses dual motors for operation, it’s not the quietest desk, but it’s not obnoxiously loud, either. Considering it can easily handle a load of up to 220lbs (100kg) the sound of both motors is certainly easy to forgive. So if you want to put a couple of monitors and a PC on here, the desk will be able to raise and lower your setup all day without issue.

Just as importantly, the Cooler Master GD160 ARGB comes with some crucial safety features built-in. It has a failsafe that will lock in the height when the power is suddenly cut off, whether you’re experiencing an outage or you’ve accidentally unplugged the desk. 

Meanwhile, the anti-collision feature will keep the desk from knocking into objects. As soon as it collides with you, your PC, or anything else, it will immediately stop moving, then adjust a hair in the other direction to prevent any additional damage. The sensitivity of the desk’s collision detection can be adjusted as well as turned off.

We had an issue with the anti-collision feature’s sensitivity. We found that it will only detect if the tabletop is feeling an opposing force that’s equal or heavier. Anything in its path that it can overpower, it does when it’s moving. It also isn’t that quick to react. We placed a large box full of stuff underneath it, and the box actually lifted the desk on one side before the desk reacted and readjusted. Take care of your limbs when making height adjustments!

Just as important as the sitting-to-standing motion is the actual height range. The height range on this desk goes from 65cm to 130cm. Even if you don’t plan on doing a lot of sitting to standing, you can sit much more comfortably at this desk than most. 

  • Performance: 4 / 5

Should I buy the Cooler Master GD160 ARGB?

computing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Buy it if…

You want ARGB lighting and standing functionality in a gaming desk
There are just a few gaming desks that come with ARGB, such as Cooler Master’s smaller GD120 ARGB. However, only the GD160 ARGB also incorporates standing desk functionality.

Don’t buy it if…

Cable management is a top priority
If you want to have all your cables out of the way with just a cable or two going to an outlet, you should look elsewhere.

Also consider

Cooler Master GD160 ARGB: Report card

Value It’s among the more expensive gaming desks out there but the only one to come with both standing functionality and ARGB lighting 3 / 5
Design Though its cable management tray could be bigger, it makes up for it with premium build and immersive lighting. 4 / 5
Performance It comes with some solid safety features, operates quickly and smoothly, and has an adjustable height range ideal for most people. 4 / 5
Total Though it has a few shortcomings, this is a solid desk that works as advertised, not to mention it comes with a unique feature gamers won’t find elsewhere. 4 / 5
  • First reviewed September 2022

How we test

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained – regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it’s on our radar.

Michelle Rae Uy

Buying Guides Editor

Michelle Rae Uy is the Buying Guides Editor here at TechRadar. She’s a Los Angeles-based tech, travel and lifestyle writer covering a wide range of topics, from computing to the latest in green commutes to the best hiking trails. She’s an ambivert who enjoys communing with nature and traveling for months at a time just as much as watching movies and playing sim games at home. That also means that she has a lot more avenues to explore in terms of understanding how tech can improve the different aspects of our lives. 

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