Cooler Master Cosmos II Ultra Tower Gaming Case Review

CosmosII

The original Cosmos lineup from Coolermaster was highly popular, and its size made it a top-notch choice for watercooling options.  Many Coolermaster fans have been calling for revamped versions of Coolermaster's most popular discontinued models, and they'll have a big one in the Cosmos II just before CES.  The Cosmos II is a form factor Coolermaster calls an "Ultra-Tower," and this is an accurate assessment.  It is a behemoth, and a beautiful beast at that.  Adorned in copious amounts of brushed aluminum and an edgy supercar-inspired design, the Cosmos II turns heads, and forced us to take special care in capturing the design details Coolermaster put into what should be considered their new flagship case.

Overview

The Cosmos II is the first ultra tower to market. It represents the ultimate in size, styling, and available configuration options for internal setup. Cosmos II maintains its namesake styling while giving it a more refined and elegant super car appeal. It is the pinnacle of case development in terms of aesthetics, function, and available features. This is shown in its full dust filter coverage, a fan controller, two external drive hot-swap X-docks, modular hard drive cages, watercooling support, access to the best cable management techniques, and system configuration support. These features give Cosmos II the ability to support any system setup with ease. It is positioned to appeal to the high-end enthusiast computer builder market as the ultimate solution for the best system setups.

Features

• Rich I/O support (USB 3.0 x2 , USB 2.0 x 4, e-SATA); Intelligent LED fan speed control panel on the top
• Supports high-end hardware such as XL-ATX motherboards, 4-Way SLI or Crossfire (10+1 expansion slots)
• Room for future upgrades with support for up to 13 HDD or SSD
• Dust filters on every intake are removable to allow easy cleaning
• Support for a mix of 360mm or 240mm radiator(s)
• Easy transport with handles
• Easy cable management and routing
• Individual airflow chambers for system components; improving thermal management
• Supports large 140mm case exhaust fan
• Aluminum sliding front door protects 5.25” bay drives and devices
• Majority of the construction is aluminum with steel and mesh used for style and strength

 

Specifications

 


Packaging

The Cosmos II demands attention.  It turns heads.  From the first time I saw it when the UPS man lugged it to the door and dropped off an enormous box wrapped in industrial static wrap in a towering box with structural cardboard lining the edges.  It's even more impressive when it's sitting before you and you slowly pull the plastic bag from the chassis, revealing a gorgeous slate of brushed aluminum on the side panels, and geometry inspired by supercars.  We've got alot to say about the highly anticipated Cosmos II case, so we'll save the details for the following pages!  We'll be heavy on the pictures to do it justice, and provide a gallery after each section.

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Special considerations must be made when shipping a chassis of aluminum and steel which weighs in at nearly 50 lbs.  The box is packed with standard molded styrofoam, but the box is beefed up with structural cardboard to protect it from drops and other handling mishaps which may be more prone from people losing grasp of a 50lb box.  It also came wrapped in industrial static wrap (saran wrap) to further protect the precious package inside.

 


Exterior

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The Cosmos II was designed with inspiration from super cars, and nowhere on the case is this quite as prominent as the front panel, which has a "V" shape and a pseudo-honeycomb grill structure like the front of a Lamborghini.  Many cases have doors which open via a hinge, but Coolermaster has chosen to go with a very elegant sliding door design, and also made it out of aluminum.  The door is separated from the drive bays enough where airflow isn't impeded when it's "retracted" to expose the drive bay.  The front door has a clean hexagon-shaped Coolermaster logo, and when retracted reveals the drive bay covers which are adorned in the same honeycomb shape as the front grill.  The front intake is fully filtered, and is easily cleaned by removing the front cover.  Every other intake on the Cosmos II is also filtered, and we'll touch on those as we get there.

A great little surprise (the first of many) is found underneath in that there are two lockable hot-swap drive bays in the bottom two slots of the 5.25" drive bay.  These covers are subtly vented to allow airflow over the hot-swap drives ,a detail which could easily be overlooked.  The front panel looks very clean, and the sliding mechanism is a very elegant solution in both form and function to the more traditional hinged front door.  The details in the panel and the design really looks as though it came out of a supercar design shop, and Coolermaster has hit a sweet spot in terms of simplicity in its styling that still catches the eye.

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Another surprise was how the Cosmos II's front input panel was executed by Coolermaster.  The top portion of the front of the case has the I/O panel which includes 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks, and e-SATA port, two USB 3.0 ports, and four USB 2.0 ports.  You'll see that much of what the Cosmos II succeeds at is in the details, and the top panel cover and the primary control panel.  The top cover, which has an edgy shape similar to the front panel, again reminds us of a Lambo.  The top cover has a dual-action spring you might have used on a sliding phone, so a small push springs the door open, revealing the control panel underneath, and a nudge in the opposite direction springs it closed again.  The sliding mechanism is smooth and well thought out.

The front panel also houses more of those details we'll be talking alot about.  The buttons have a feel and texture which is exactly like the original Droid RAZR of fame.  They have a soft push, not a mechanical switch like most cases.  The control panel also has a built-in fan controller which allows three speed settings, and the speed settings are indicated by a different LED color.  The LEDs may also be toggled on or off as you please.

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The doors swing open as though the Cosmos II has butterfly doors, and one of the first things we'd like to do to this case is to fabricate a dual-actuating hinge to accomplish the butterfly-door motion (with the help of hydraulics) for a full-on supercar appeal.

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The top panel also has a honeycomb mesh supported by the same pseudo-honeycomb grills as the front panel.  The entire case flows together very well, and its themed design sacrifices nowhere, and the top panel follows suit.  The top also has two swooping aluminum tubes extending above and a bit to the side of the chassis.  These are handles which provide two very key functions, one is to actually be able to carry the case (like we said, nearly 50 lbs empty), and second is to allow it to sit on its side (or top, for that matter) and prevent its weight from damaging the case, or producing scratches.  So when the case sits, it actually rests on these handles.  And I'd like to extend props to Coolermaster for being able to pull of these handles and having them not stick out like a sore thumb, they really work with the rest of the design, which, I'm sure, was no easy task.

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The top cover is also easily removable by removing one thumbscrew to expose the upper portion of the chassis.  The I/O panel is easily removable with two additional thumbscrews, which reveals a large amount of cabling to support all of the control and input panel's functionality.  Each cable is individually removable from the circuit board if it's not in use, which is fantastic when cable management comes into play.  Luckily, there's plenty of room for cable management if all cables are in use.

The top panel also shows support for 360 or 240 mm radiators or three 120 mm, two 140 mm, or one 200 mm fans, which leaves you with many cooling options, especially for fully integrated watercooling setups.  The top of the case isn't the only location where radiators will fit, as we'll show later.


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The doors of the Cosmos II are likely my favorite design features of the case, both aesthetically and functionally.  They're made of large panels of brushed aluminum, one of my favorite materials.  Ontop of that, Coolermaster has worked a clean curve into the panel, and added some edgy geometry, creating an exposed grill-like pattern which is complimented by some fine plastic inserts.  It really looks fantastic, and once again doesn't deviate from the overall theme of the case.

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The rear panel of the Cosmos II may be the most standard areas in its design, but then again there's only so much you can do when you're designing for a highly-standardized set of design rules, but Coolermaster still does everything it can here.  It's equipped with a 140mm fan, where 120mm fans are the norm.  Another difference is in the protrusion where the power supply sits, in that it actually sticks out from the rear of the case a bit.  Coolermaster has again surprised us with creative design that really works.  The bracket is removed by taking out the thumb screws, attaching the bracket onto the power supply, then sliding the whole assembly into the case.  It appears at first as though this only leads to added steps and more work, but since the bracket fits in cleanly, and it fits over the power supply nicely, the annoying alignment issues are essentially eliminated.  The latches for the doors are also located on the back; simply push down on the tabs and the door pops cleanly open.  It works great, is very smooth, and has felt quite durable through our tests.

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The bottom of the case has handles similar to the top which raise the bottom of the case off the floor (or desk), which helps prevent uptake of dust and also improves airflow from the bottom.  The rails have fairly large rubber pads which provide nice grip, even on hardwood floors, and prevent scratching of both the surface it's sitting on, as well as the case itself.  The bottom PSU fan intake is also filtered, and slides out easily with the pull of the tab seen on the right for quick and easy cleaning.


The gallery below shows all the pictures we've shown so far of the exterior of the Cosmos II (plus quite a few more).

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Interior

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The large doors on the Cosmos two swing open smoothly at the push of the latch on the back, and are easily removable due to a slotted hinge which enables the door to be lifted out the hinge mechanism.  This is great when building, as the door doesn't continuously get in the way when the case is laying on its side.  The entire vent on the door, which is capable of accommodating two 120mm fans, is fully filtered to keep dust out of your case.  This is easily the largest filter I've seen on a case, and Coolermaster's willingness to cover half of a large door in filters to ensure the prevention of dust buildup is encouraging.  The filter is also removable for quick and easy cleaning.  The locations of the vents are also not an accident, as the lower one is for the two drive bay fans, and the upper vent may fit the 120mm fans for cooling the graphics cards.

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Diving right into the case, one of the most apparent aspects is the segmented interior.  We see a rather standard section with a motherboard tray, a 3.5" drive bay, and a 5.25" drive bay.  However, the bottom is sectioned off, with the bottom enclosing the power supply and up to six hard drives or SSDs.  The great aspect of this bottom bay is the thermal isolation of various components.  The power supply draws cool air from the bottom and immediately exhausts it from the back of the case, while the side fans take in cool air from the side, cool the drive, and then exhausts through the rear side panel.

The bottom drive bays are also removable, once again opening up a large amount of flexibility for the addition of fully-integrated water cooling.  The hard drive mounting is very simple, and the drive bay doors click shut to keep your hard drive stack looking as clean as the rest of your build.  The hard drives are rear mounted, so those messy cable will come out the back, where the Cosmos II allows easy cable management.  The main and lower compartments are connected by two large routing holes with high quality grommets, which may be used for water cooling tubing or for select power cables, such as PCI-E, as needed.  There's plenty of room to run the cables through the rear of the case, out of sight and out of mind.

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The main compartment of the case is spacious, and will accommodate XL-ATX motherboards, quad-SLI setups of even the largest graphics cards, and an additional seven hard drives (two in the "X-dock" hot-swap bays).  There are two rows of cable management holes for further routing flexibility, and the quality of the rubber grommets is top notch.  As you can see, with everything that comes out of the box on the Cosmos II, a large number of cables are required.  The large number of ways you could run the cables, and the ability to remove unused cables really makes working with cable management a breeze with the Cosmos II.

There is also a very large CPU retention bracket hole, to ensure the best compatibility with current and future motherboard layouts.  This is a dream for anyone who swaps out or works on their CPU cooling system often.  The holes near the upper portion of the case, which are often used for the CPU power cables, are also extra large, enabling further flexibility.  The size of Coolermaster's market-first Ultra-tower really enables flexibility, and Coolermaster took advantage of that wherever they could, as they should have.  The interior looks clean in a completely all-black color scheme which is sure to please the eye of many.


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A glance at the rear side of the case reveals an enormous amount of room to work with your cabling.  An aspect which the picture doesn't immediately convey is how much depth there is to work with.  I've grown accustomed to the 24-pin motherboard power cable squeezing in as I attempt to slide the side panels back on.  In addition to having plenty of clearance for bundles of cables, the doors on the Cosmos II also have an advantage because they swing shut, instead of sliding, enabling even a tight fit to latch securely in place.

This image of the rear portion of the case reveals the raised power supply mount, which allows it added airflow from the cool air at the bottom of the case, and foam padding reduces vibrations, and the noise generated by those vibrations.

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Evan Coolermaster's insignia is clean, calm, and composed in the Cosmos II.  It's tasteful, and maybe even adds a bit to the appearance.  The 5.25" drive bays have a simply "click-down" tool-less drive bay, which is as well-built as I've used.


The gallery below shows all the pictures we've shown so far of the interior of the Cosmos II (plus quite a few more).

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There is no doubt about it, the Cosmos II is enormous.  They don't call it an Ultra-tower for nothing.  It makes a full tower, shown here as the CM Storm Trooper, look as though it's a mid tower.  All that size though comes at the cost of quite a bit of weight, as we've mentioned, it weighs in at nearly 50lbs empty, and luckily Coolermaster used aluminum on many parts of the case, saving the added weight of steel.


Installation

Installation is an absolute breeze.  Coolermaster took advantage of the large amount of room in the case without wasting any of it.  The result is the most effortless cable management you've done, we can almost guarantee it.  There are other large cases out there, but the Cosmos II simply takes the cake in terms of room and cabling flexibility.  Throw a modular power supply in this beast, and you might wonder for a second if the components have gone wireless.

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The Cosmos II's main panel, which is where the button and built-in fan controller buttons are located, has three-color LEDs for the fan function, and blue LEDs otherwise.  The fan control LEDs will change color depending upon speed, from red, to purple (red+blue), and then blue.  It's nice to have a visual indication of the fan setting when most built-in fan controllers have simple beeps which signal the current setting.  The front 200mm fan also has blue LEDs which diffuse nicely through the front filter and mesh, and adds a bit of lift to the grill design when your computer is turned off.  A feature nighttime computer users will love is the ability to toggle all of the LEDs on the case on or off with a single button push.


Final Thoughts

Even though it's about as early in the year as it can be, I'm comfortable saying that the Cosmos II will likely be a top-pick for cases in the high-end enthusiast market.  It brings impressive size, the ultimate in flexibility, fantastic aesthetic design, and as much functionality as you could reasonably throw into a chassis.  The supercar geometries and the copious use of brushed aluminum catches the eye in a subtle way, and it really is a case you have no choice but to look over.  The sliding door is a great way to conceal the front drive bays, and all of the details really become the glue that brings this case together.  The interior has a fantastic layout, with cable management grommets aplenty, a thermally-isolated PSU and lower drive bay, capability for radiators on the top vent and the lower drive bay, lock-equipped front hot-swap drive bays, an all-black paint scheme, and the capability for up to 13 hard drives.  The little details really do bring it home for the Cosmos II, such as the unique power supply mounting bracket (which was surprisingly useful), a dual-actuating sliding cover for the main control panel, soft control buttons, a built-in fan controller, plenty of I/O ports, removable dust filters on every intake, and the aluminum/honeycomb accents.

The Cosmos II is a hit, and should please those who've long awaited a refresh of the game-changing case from days past, and it pays fantastic homage to the original Cosmos, while incorporating a large number of features and a supercar-inspired design.  Coolermaster really pulled it off.

At an MSRP of $349.00, the Cosmos II is clearly a high-end case, but one that will surely be hard to beat in terms of features for quite some time, and for those into water cooling, there's not substitute for the room and flexibility the Cosmos II offers.

 

Here's a little teaser video we made, for your viewing pleasure.

 

The Good

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The Bad

  • Fantastic cable management
  • Built-in fan controller
  • Wonderful aesthetics
  • Removable I/O panel wires
  • Thermally-isolated lower compartment
  • Tool-less features
  • Fully filtered intakes which are removable for cleaning
  • Watercooling accommodations
  • Weight (nearly 50lbs empty)
  • Cost (MSRP $349.99)

 

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