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Cooler Master Cosmos II Review

Rating: 9.5.

Today Cooler Master are launching their successor to the ever popular Cosmos computer case, an enthusiast favourite now for many years. The Cosmos II is an updated version, brought screaming and kicking into 2012 with a radical new design. The Cosmos II is classed as an ‘Ultra Tower’ measuring a staggering 344 x 704 x 664 mm, able to handle the biggest graphics cards, CPU coolers and watercooling kits. We loved the Cooler Master Storm Trooper case when we reviewed it in November, so we have high hopes that Cooler Master will start 2012 on a very high note.

The Storm Trooper case is a huge design, but it is literally dwarfed by the Cosmos II. The Cosmos II has to be one of the biggest, heaviest cases ever made, weighing 22kg … the Storm Trooper by comparison weighs 13.7kg.

The Cosmos II is crafted around a heavy duty steel cage, with aluminum, mesh and plastic components around it. It supports the full gamut of motherboards, including Micro ATX/ ATX/ E-ATX/ XL-ATX/ SSI CEB and SSI EEB standards and is supplied out of the box with a total of five case fans for the ultimate cooling experience.

If you yearn for a system chassis with the ultimate storage capabilities, then rest assured we don’t think there is another mainstream case on the market to compete. Yes, the Cosmos II can accommodate up to 13 x 3.5 inch drives.

Specifications:

I/O Panel USB 3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x 4, e-SATA x 1, Audio In and Out (supports HD Audio)
Material Aluminum, Mesh, Plastic. Case Body: Steel
Dimensions (W x H x D) 344 x 704 x 664 mm / 13.5 x 27.7 x 26.1 inch
Net Weight 22 kg / 47.4 lbs
M/B Type ATX/ ATX/ E-ATX/ XL-ATX/ SSI CEB and SSI EEB
5.25″ Drive Bay 3
3.5” Drive Bay 13 (2 from X-Docking, Mid, cage for 5 HDD’s, Bottom cage for 6 HDDs
2.5” Drive Bay 11 (converted from 3.5 inch bay)
Cooling System
Front: 200mm LED fan x 1, 700 rpm, 19 dBa
Top: 120mm black fan x 1, 1200 rpm, 17 dBa (converted from 200 mm fan x 1 /140mm fan x 2 / 120mm x 3)
Rear: 140 mm fan x1 (1200 RPM, 19 dBA)
(converted from 120mm fan x1)
Side: 120 mm fan x 2 (optional)
HDD: Mid HDD (120x25mm) fan x 1 (optional) Bottom HDD: 120 mm fan x 2: 1200 rpm, 17 dBa
Expansion Slots 10+1
Power Supply Type Standard ATX PS2 / EPS 12V (optional)
Maximum Compatibility CPU cooler height: 190 mm / 7.48 in
GPU card length: 385 mm / 15.5 in

The Cosmos II box is gargantuan, and proved very difficult to move around, due to the sheer size and weight. It did remind me however that I need to get back into the gym this year.

Inside, the Cosmos II is protected between heavy duty styrofoam blocks and is covered in clear plastic wrap.

Cooler Master supply a well written user manual, which details the build procedure nicely. There is also a CPU 8 pin power cable extender, cable tidies and all the mounting screws necessary for the build phase. They also supply 2 radiator brackets and two sets of security keys.

‘Phew!’. I lost track of how many times I said this during the photography phase as I struggled to move this monster around the studio. I really can’t stress enough just how heavy this case is … the only people taking the Cosmos II to lan events will be WWE wrestlers. The case ships with some protective strips on the top and bottom handles and the front fascia. Be careful removing these as careless use of scissors could mark the handles.

We love the styling of the Cosmos II case. The flowing lines are accentuated by the angular top panel and alienesque mesh panel work. The front I/O panel is fully loaded with 4x USB 2.0 ports, 2x USB 3.0 ports, an eSATA port with headphone and microphone jacks closeby. The lower section at the front can be removed completely for access to the fan(s) underneath.

The front panel of the Cosmos II can slide down, revealing the drive bays underneath. The mechanism deserves mention as it is very smooth and certainly feels built to last.

The top panel is also hidden under a sliding cover. When pushed back, we can see that Cooler Master have supplied a multi function fan controller, with various options for GPU, HDD and case fan control, including system reset and power buttons. The top/rear section is designed around the same attractive mesh panel work with underlying metal grills.

The side panel is intricately designed with several rows of cooling fins cut into the side panel. Cooler Master are using honeycomb style patterning to enhance the appearance.

The other side panel has a similar pattern cut into the panel to help improve airflow across the drive bay areas.

The bottom of the case has is a dust filtered fan intake section, right underneath the power supply.

The rear of the case is fully loaded, with 10+1 expansion slots available. There is a 140mm fan at the rear, and this position can also accept 120mm fans, useful for all in one liquid coolers. Above this are three rubber mounted holes for watercooling kits. The power supply is mounted at the bottom of the case. The door locking mechanism is fantastic – no annoying screws to worry about, just a lever system which unlocks the door on a hinge mechanism. More details on the following page.

As we explained on the last page, each side door opens via a little lever system, which is painless to use – simply push down to open. The door can then be pushed open for easy access to the internals.

We can see that the door panel is dust filtered and beautifully designed from the inside. It may seem like a small point, but sometimes manufacturers skimp on the side panels.

The tool less side panel mechanism really does deserve a little extra attention because after it is opened past a certain point (35 degrees) the whole door can be lifted off the catch rails and removed. This means the user can detach the door when initially building the system, then it can be attached for general, everyday use. The door brackets are made from heavy duty metal and will clearly withstand a lot of abuse. I don’t normally like these elaborate door mechanisms as they aren’t often well made and fiddly, but this Cooler Master system really is exceptionally well designed. Two sets of holes on the brackets ‘lock’ into matching bolts on the side of the door.

When the door is removed the insides are laid bare. This is a huge case inside with the power supply compartment kept separate from the main section above. All internals are painted black, and I couldn’t find any unfinished, or uneven sections. Kudos to Cooler Master for the painstaking attention to detail.

The bottom compartment contains two sections. The rear area is for the power supply, which rests on a padded raised platform. This is dust filtered with airflow from the underside. The front section is the lower cage area for 2.5 inch and 3.5 inch drives. There are two 120mm fans included here (Cooler Master A12025-12CB-3BN-F1), mounted on a removable support platform. This locks from the front via a simple button mechanism. Additionally, this whole section can be removed to fit a watercooling kit if needed.

2.5 inch and 3.5 inch drives can be mounted sideways in the middle rack section. We will delve into this shortly. At the top are three 5.25 inch drive bays, accessible from the front, with the panel slid down. The side buttons, visible above are pushed in to lock the optical drives.

Below the 5.25 inch drive bays are two caddies, which are fitted with sata cables and molex headers. The Cosmos II is outfitted with a 10+1 expansion system to cater to a huge array of motherboard configurations. The cards and devices are locked in place with simple screws – not quite as elegant as the Lian Li lever locking mechanism, but built to very high standards.

At the top of the case (from back) is a single 120mm fan (rated 17dBa), set in an exhaust position. There are three slots here for a triple fan watercooling kit. At the rear of the case is a 140mm fan (rated 19 dBa), also set in an exhaust position. In front of the fan positions is a little fan controller card, marked ‘Cosmos II, S1061 Rev 4.0’ – this is fed directly into the front panel on the outside of the case, controlling banks of fans and the system reset and power buttons. We received one of the first Cosmos II cases from the factory for this review today and the fan controller wasn’t operational. Final retail versions of the Cosmos II obviously won’t have this problem.

Removing the other side panel works in the same principle as before and everything is painted black, exquisitely finished. We are pleased to see a huge back plate hole to accommodate the largest motherboards on the market today.

Cooler Master have certainly not skimped on the routing holes, as there are two individual rows to cater for a complex system build. There are a plethora of cables emerging from the front/top of the case, including fan controller and LED power headers. At the front is a 200mm intake fan, which is an LED design. This can be removed completely to accommodate multiple 140mm or 120mm configurations, if desired.

To fit the power supply, first remove the protruding section at the bottom of the case. The power supply is then bolted into this panel and slid in from the back.

The ADATA 1200W unit had no problems fitting into the rear of the case, with the cables fed up through the rubber mounted holes into the compartment above. Obviously SATA and MOLEX cables can be fed through the side panel and around the rear of the motherboard tray, to keep visible clutter to a minimum.

The Cosmos II case can handle a staggering amount of hard drives, and we used the middle section to mount our 2.5 inch SSD drive. Each of these trays support both size of drives, without the need for additional adapters.

The drive can then be slid and locked into place, as shown above.

Thankfully there is a massive amount of routing room in the Cosmos II case because with so many fan control and LED power cables, the situation can quickly turn very messy, as shown above.

We want to install a dual width radiator in the top of the Cosmos II. Gaining access to the top section of the case is easy enough. Simply remove a single screw and pull the top panel off, from the rear.

With the Cooler Master fan out of the way, we can install our radiator, which we did from the inside as shown above left. Two Corsair fans were then attached from the outside of the case, set in an exhaust position. There are handy little holes close to each fan section for feeding in the power cables. The outer protective mesh cover can then be reattached to hide the fans from view.

The Cooler Master Cosmos II is an absolute joy for a system builder, thanks to the copious space around the motherboard tray. We didn’t experience a single problem when building this system, which is a point I don’t often make. Everything is well laid out, with room in all sections of the case for fitting components, routing and hiding cables.

On this page we present some super high resolution images of the product taken with the 24.5MP Nikon D3X camera and 24-70mm ED lens. These will take much longer to open due to the dimensions, especially on slower connections. If you use these pictures on another site or publication, please credit Kitguru.net as the owner/source.

Today we have built a high end system based around the Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition processor overclocked to 4.6ghz, with two Nvidia GTX590’s running in Quad SLI formation. If the Cosmos II can keep this system in check then you can be sure that it will handle anything you can throw at it.

Processor: Intel Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition @ 4.6ghz (1.46v).
Motherboard: ASRock X79 Extreme 9 (full review forthcoming)
Cooler: Corsair H100 Liquid Cooler.
Memory: Corsair 8GB GTX8 DDR3 @ 2400mhz.
Graphics Cards: Nvidia GTX 590 in Quad SLI.
Power Supply: ADATA 1200W.
Boot Drive: Patriot 240GB Pyro SE SSD.

Windows 7 Enterprise Edition 64bit

Thermal Diodes
Raytek Laser Temp Gun 3i LSRC/MT4 Mini Temp
Digital Sound Level Noise Decibel Meter Style 2

Firstly let us have a look at the chassis design and airflow, as it comes ‘out of the box’. We received one of the first Cosmos II cases from the factory for this review today and the fan controller wasn’t operational. We are therefore using the ASrock X79 motherboard to directly control all the case fans in the Cosmos II. Retail versions of the case will obviously not have this problem.

The front mounted 200mm fan pulls in a lot of cool from the front of the case, which is passed over the motherboard and components. The Corsair H100 exhausts hot air out the top of the case, with support from the 140mm rear mounted fan.

We have placed thermal diodes into 5 case positions. 1: at the top of the case, beside the optical drive bay. 2: beside the CPU cooler, next to the exhaust fans. 3: Next to the drive bay rack. 4: In the very center of the chassis, next to the graphics card. 5: close to the power supply, underneath the lower section of the motherboard.

Ambient room temperatures were maintained at 23c throughout.

The Intel Core i7 3960X EE was overclocked to 4.6ghz with 1.46voltage.

No performance related concerns with the processor holding well within the specifications we would expect. Diode temperatures were impressive throughout, especially as this ultra high end overclocked system radiates a lot of heat internally.

We take the issue of noise very seriously at KitGuru and this is why we have built a special home brew system as a reference point when we test noise levels of various components. Why do this? Well this means we can eliminate secondary noise pollution in the test room and concentrate on components we are testing. It also brings us slightly closer to industry standards, such as DIN 45635.

Today to test the chassis we have taken it into our acoustics room environment and have set our Digital Sound Level Noise Decibel Meter Style 2 one meter away from the case. The room rates as 21dBa before powering on the system (air conditioning unit in the far corner of the room causes this).

As this can be a little confusing for people, here are various dBa ratings in with real world situations to help describe the various levels.

KitGuru noise guide
10dBA – Normal Breathing/Rustling Leaves
20-25dBA – Whisper
30dBA – High Quality Computer fan
40dBA – A Bubbling Brook, or a Refrigerator
50dBA – Normal Conversation
60dBA – Laughter
70dBA – Vacuum Cleaner or Hairdryer
80dBA – City Traffic or a Garbage Disposal
90dBA – Motorcycle or Lawnmower
100dBA – MP3 player at maximum output
110dBA – Orchestra
120dBA – Front row rock concert/Jet Engine
130dBA – Threshold of Pain
140dBA – Military Jet takeoff/Gunshot (close range)
160dBA – Instant Perforation of eardrum

We have replaced the graphics card with a Sapphire HD5670 Ultimate edition.

A very quiet set of case fans indeed, although we were unfortunately unable to measure variances offered by the built in fan controller, as our early test sample didn’t have operational circuitry.

I was extremely impressed with the Cooler Master Storm Trooper case, which I reviewed in November last year. It is a great looking case, and is well designed, inside and out. It also has formidable presence which suit an audience who yearn for something a little different from a surplus of generically styled cases available on the market today. I didn’t think it could get much better than that to be honest … well until today.

The Cosmos II is without question one of the finest, most beautifully designed cases on the market, and has replaced the stunning Lian Li X2000 as my top choice high end enthusiast chassis.

The first thing you will notice when receiving the Cosmos II are the dimensions of the box. As I watched the courier struggle with the case from the van to the door I realized this is a without question a no compromises design. The photography for the review was the equivalent to a full work out in the gym as I had to move the case around the studio for several hours to get all the right angles for the gallery section. Using aluminum would have made the Cosmos II much more portable, but the cost of manufacturing would be significantly higher.

I have a feeling the construction density and subsequent weight will take a lot of people by surprise, because when I had finished the system build, the Cosmos II topped the scales at around 30 kg. Sure, it is built like a M1a2 Abrams tank, but it is assuredly not an ideal solution if you frequent lan events.

The more time you spend with the Cosmos II, the more rewarding the experience. There are deft, intuitive touches which enhance daily use. The side panel door locking system for instance might seem frivolous on first glance, but in practical terms it really works well. Yet again, the metal bracketing and attention to detail deserves a mention because you are under no impression that something may break after a few months use.

Internally we have no qualms with any area of the design. The lower compartment keeps the power supply isolated from the main system build and the front drive bay area is both practical, while offering plenty of space for complex system configurations. If you demand a profusion of hard drive storage then the Cosmos II is the case for you. With 385mm width support for graphics cards, there is plenty of future proofing for the years ahead.

In regards to cooling proficiency, the Cosmos II can handle the highest end components as our review today has highlighted. Even with an Intel Core i7 3960X EE @ 4.6ghz and dual GTX590’s in Quad SLI the ambient case temperatures were class leading.

At time of publication we have not received confirmed United Kingdom pricing, but I would assume it will cost more than the £150 Storm Trooper chassis. We will update this page when we have more information.

Pros:

  • Built to withstand nuclear fallout.
  • Accommodates the highest specification systems.
  • huge physical space inside.
  • plenty of room for cable routing.
  • side door mechanism is brilliant.
  • integrated fan controller.
  • proficient cooling capabilities.
  • watercooling options at both top and bottom of the case.

Cons:

  • Very very heavy.

Kitguru says: The finest case Cooler Master have made. If they can maintain this quality of construction in 2012, great things lie ahead.

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