Putting the side panel down shows an interior that isn't your normal everyday layout. But before we dig into the guts of this case, take a look at the interior facing of the side panel.
The eggshell pattern you saw before is actually a foam backing that acts as a soundproofing material for the COSMOS. While not incredibly thick, it still manages to dampen the noise coming from within the case. It isn't totally soundproof, but it does reduce the noise levels of the fans so that they are much less noticeable. The only complaint I had in this area was the fact that this foam is mounted to the panel using a thin two-sided tape. Given the porous nature of the foam material, I had a few issues with the material coming loose in one corner. Not a tough thing to fix, but you may want to have some sort of adhesive handy to do a little repair work here.
It should also be noted that this soundproofing material will make a side window something that you won't want to consider. The only way to add a window will be to remove the acoustic foam, making the concept of silent a moot point.
Moving to the actual interior shows some more innovative concepts that you may not be familiar with. The first thing that is noticed is the black plastic arm that sits nearly half way up on this side of the case. This works in conjunction with the natural case airflow to create a sort of wind tunnel that is designed to aid the movement of air throughout the enclosure. It also corresponds with the external venting that is located adjacent to the PCI slots, so the air being moved will help gather heat and then be expelled directly out the rear of the case.
Moving this arm out of the way shows off the massive interior work area. As noted earlier, this case is designed to hold a motherboard up to and including the Extended ATX sized boards, so is a good deal larger than most tower cases you may be accustomed to working with. For those unfamiliar with the proper positioning of the brass standoffs, there is a guide taped to the motherboard tray showing which holes should be set with standoffs for the three supported sized mainboards. Once you have the studs in place you can simply remove the guide sheet and dispose of it.
The fan shown above is mounted to the bottom of the case and also includes a filter on the bottom panel. This fan is an intake and is one of the primary reasons for raising the entire enclosure off the floor. It pulls cool air from the bottom of the unit and moves it upward and backward by default. The fins you see mounted on top of the fan shroud can be moved and give direction to the airflow that best suits your needs, so a little experimentation may be in order to get the most out of this cooling device. Like all of the fans mounted in this enclosure, this fan is a 120mm variety that spins at 1200 RPM and is rated at only 22 dBA of noise output.
On the other end of the base is a filtered vent for your power supply. No fan is included here as most high-end power supplies come with an intake fan already built into the bottom panel, so this will allow the PSU to get cool outside air and operate at a higher level of efficiency. Again, the raised base allows for the cooling method to work wonderfully.
The drive tower is our next stop on this tour of the new COSMOS enclosure. At the top of this tower are the bays for the optical devices. The top four bays are set up to handle standard 5.25" optical devices and the bottom one is set up to handle a 3.5" floppy drive or externally accessible media reader. IN a pinch you can remove the rail system for the 3.5" bay and use it as an additional optical drive bay.
From this angle, you can also see that behind the oval wiring cage that there is another piece of acoustic foam on the far panel. This helps keep everything as quiet as possible and shows that Cooler Master wasn't thinking of taking shortcuts by omitting the far panel in the noise protection area.
To keep with a design that is as tool-free as possible, your optical drives are secured within the enclosure by sliding it into the bay, lining it up properly and pushing in the button as noted in the middle bay shown above. It clicks itself into a locked position and extends small detent pins into the drive to hold it firmly in place. This method of retention is only required on one side and does not require the removal of the back panel. Even so, once I seated a drive in place and secured it, there was no movement of the device.
Moving down the tower brings us to a drive tower capable of holding six 3.5" hard drives. Alignment of the drive carriages require that the cabling be run out the back of the tower, helping to eliminate cable clutter and giving the finished system a much cleaner appearance. Excess cabling can be zip-tied behind the drive tower and out of the way of airflow. Each drive is installed into its own tray and held in place by a thumb screw, so again we see a good effort at a tool-free design.
I do have one concern here... this section of the drive tower is designed to hold a whopping six drives in a small confined space but there is no active cooling in place to keep fast spinning drives cool. Furthermore, there is no built in mounting bracket to add a fan on your own, so care should be used if you are running a lot of hard drives. Given the positioning of the intake and exhaust fans in this enclosure, normal airflow will not be moving within this portion of the drive tower.
Don't misunderstand, the drives will get a bit of airflow since there is more exhaust fans than intake and there is a ventilation hole under the drive bays. It is just that when it comes to hard drives, active cooling is never a bad idea.
When the trays are removed you can see that they are set up with rubber grommets at all four mounting hole positions. This is a feature that has been becoming popular but not nearly popular enough for my liking. The purpose of these grommets is to eliminate vibration of the drives when they are accessed and begin to spin the platters. This lack of vibration is another feature that keeps this case more silent than many of its competitors.
Hidden in front of the HDD tower is a little surprise, so let me pull it out and see what we have.
This color coordinated accessory kit is a nice way to keep track of all those little screws, standoffs and zip ties you need to get your system properly set up. It also includes a small screwdriver set that is simple to use and convenient as well.
When it comes to having a tool-free design, there are any number of ways to pull it off. I've seen many different methods of securing your peripheral cards, some work and others are nothing more than a concept gone terribly wrong. Cooler Master decided to go with a tried and true manner of retention of these cards, KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). Instead of having some fancy and breakable plastic harness that snaps everything into place, they went with thumb screws. Unlike the thumb screws securing the hard drive trays in place, these have a larger head that makes them easy to remove and install even in this awkward position.
Just above the expansion slots is the second of the four 120mm fans included with the COSMOS. Since this fan sits adjacent to where the processor is normally mounted, it will help get rid of a large quantity of hot air with a minimum of noise.
Finishing off our tour of the interior brings us to the two 120mm fans mounted on the roof of the case. Both are set as exhaust and will work in conjunction with heated air's natural inclination to rise. Top and rear are the proper place for exhaust fans and this unit has plenty of exhaust airflow working for it.
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