This is not only a great day for Cooler Master, but it is also an anniversary of sorts for me working with them. The first chassis I ever had the opportunity to write about was the Cooler Master Cosmos S. It has been a while, some four years since actually, and that Cosmos S is as fresh in my mind for its innovations then as well as its faults by today's standards. I'm not going to get all misty eyed and over dramatic, but I can't say that I have ever really been disappointed with their products since either. I would just like to say thanks to Cooler Master and everyone involved for not only helping me out when no one else would take the chance, but for delivering a continuous stream of quality offerings that I really enjoy writing about! I hope we have many more years to come!
With that out of the way, I am just going to go ahead and spill the beans. Cooler Master sent me this case about a week or so ago, and said "keep this a secret until the beginning of January." Well, it has taken every restraint I can muster not to fill the forums of many sites with images of this beast. As you read in the title, Cooler Master has taken yet another crack and making the ultimate chassis to wear the Cosmos moniker. This time, as I see it, Cooler Master went back to step one and did a complete redesign of the original, just that this time it seems there is a no hold barred approach to delivering solutions to all of the past issues, adding a ton of features while re-engineering others, and delivering a new Cosmos that resembles the original, but definitely makes its own statement when in the room.
The Cosmos II from Cooler Master we are going to be looking at is designated as an "Ultra-Tower" chassis, and rightfully so. You are about to see that this chassis delivers in every sense of the word ultra. Not only is the Cosmos II immense and massive, it is sleek and sexy to look at and it offers everything you want in a chassis and then some. And then you even get every bit of hardware you could want if moving over to water cooling or adding fans. On top of that, everything is super easy to use with all of the tool-free mechanisms and hidden secrets. Suffice to say that Cooler Master has more than improved on the Cosmos name; they definitely deliver the complete package with the Cosmos II. Come have a look!
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
In Cooler Master's quest to bringing you the best of the best, they went with three main materials in the construction. Brushed aluminum was chosen for accent pieces and to cover the expanse of both sides of this chassis. Most of the structure, the handles and legs, drive assemblies, and the motherboard tray are all made of SECC Steel that is painted black on all surfaces. The last choice of materials is ABS plastic to help the Cosmos II take on its fully rounded persona. This chassis is round from every view. Not only does the face bend into the top and sides as the top does the same around the back and to the top of each side panel, the panels themselves are also bowed outward taking away any inclination of the square structure beneath it.
Externally the chassis offers great aesthetics that we just covered, but there are a lot of other things going on as well. There are the large bars at the top and bottom of the chassis that the Cosmos name is known for, but they changed the way everything else is laid out. The top has an easily removable panel that will allow for thick radiators, and this neat slide cover for the case buttons and fan controls. The front I/O is easily accessible and is in plain view, containing audio jacks, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 connectivity along with an e-SATA port. On the front there is a sliding panel covering the three 5.25" bays and the covers that remove from the outside. There is also a pair of X-drive bays covered by this panel that are hot swap drive bays. Below the sliding panel is an expanse of mesh to the bottom the pops right off to allow cleaning of the filter for the 200mm intake fan here.
On the inside the chassis offers thirteen locations for 2.5" and 3.5" drives with removable trays that slide into one of three different racks. The power supply shares area with a pair of hard drive bays that are removable so that you can install a dual 120mm radiator there if you want. Above the motherboard tray there is room to house a triple 120 radiator, but comes stock with a single 120mm fan installed there. The motherboard tray offers various grommets and tie points to keep any system clean and looking good. In the rear of the chassis you find a 140mm fan exhausting air just above the 10+1 expansion slot configuration. I almost forgot! Those removable hard drive bays at the bottom have a pair of 120mm fans cooling this area that are mounted into a plastic frame that swings out of the way for access to those drives.
So what does an elegant chassis that will make its presence known in any situation going to set you back? As I write this there is no availability until after the NDA lifts, but Cooler Master did send along the suggested MSRP. Cooler Master is projecting to sell the Cosmos II for $349.99 US. For what the chassis offers, I don't see this as anything unreasonable, but there is one major thing to take into account about this chassis. The sheer weight of it! This chassis empty is listed to weigh in at forty-seven pounds. The shipping sticker said sixty pounds with packaging! So while the initial cost may be alright, make sure you look for a deal with shipping included, because this isn't going to be cheap to ship anywhere. That in mind, let's get a look at this behemoth and its packaging as I introduce to you the Cosmos II from Cooler Master.
The Cosmos II comes in a box with an all black front that just gives you a sneak peek at the front and right side of the chassis. The bottom of this panel has the Cosmos II Ultra Tower name and three really good selling points.
This side of the box keeps the black wrapping going and again shows an image of the Cosmos II, but this time we see the left side of the chassis.
On the back of the box, and there is a lot of room for this, Cooler Master explains every little feature and inclusion with the Cosmos II. In English twelve features get covered, but only eight things get covered in the various eight languages at the bottom.
This last panel breaks up all of that black and is colored in Cooler Master Purple. Here they display a large specifications chart, so that you will be a very informed buyer looking at this packaging on the shelf.
Unpacking and lugging around fifty pounds of chassis is no easy task. My box looked fine, and I saw one much worse on Facebook, but Cooler Master chose Styrofoam for the end caps with a thick plastic liner. The manual is outside of the chassis so that you can figure out how to open and use the chassis before you accidentally break something trying to open it wrong. Usually I would say this packaging is good enough to get to my door, but the weight of this case must have been an issue. There is damage to my chassis as it seems to have taken a good drop on the top of the case in transit. It is minor damage to some trim, but damaged all the same.
The Cooler Master Cosmos II Ultra Tower Chassis
Our first look at the Cosmos II is of the front of the chassis. The top starts with a somewhat exposed front I/O panel and blends down into an aluminum panel with the Cooler Master logo on it. Below this you see a mesh panel between the ABS plastic sides that blend the panels together with gentle curves and styling lines.
The front I/O panel has the audio jacks and the e-SATA port on the left side. In the middle is a pair of USB 3.0 ports with the rest of the room taken by the other four USB 2.0 ports.
The aluminum panel that used to be here slides down slowly, but automatically, once the magnetism of the latch is overcome. It exposes the three removable 5.25" bays drive covers and the two lockable X-drive covers to protect your hard drives that go in there.
With the slide panel back up, you can now get access to fully remove the mesh at the bottom of the front bezel. This makes both fan installation and dust removal much easier.
Back to the top of the Cosmos II, just above the front I/O panel, there is another aluminum cover that will slide back to expose the controls for the chassis. These textured aluminum push button switches will control each section of fans speed individually as well as offering a large power button. There are the power and activity lights at the very front edge that will illuminate when the system is powered.
I did have to remove a thumbscrew to gain access here, but you can see there is plenty of room here to hide a thick radiator or fans. You also get a peek of the damage incurred where the top handle meets the plastic in the nearest corner.
This is just another angle so you could see what went wrong. Someone obviously dropped this and while this damage is depressing, the show must go on! For the purposes of this review, I will be lowering scores for the packaging, but there is still way more to see, so let's get on to it!
The Cooler Master Cosmos II Ultra Tower Chassis Continued
The Cooler Master Cosmos II - Continued
From the left you can see the steel bas at the top offer plenty of room to be used as handles, and they are bolted directly to the inner steel chassis. The panel is all aluminum and is inset into the frame of the chassis. To release or open these we must venture around the back to look for the hidden release. To elevate and support the chassis Cooler Master adds the same sized bars for this task.
At the top, behind the chassis, there is that thumbscrew I mentioned to release the top center section. The top half offers the rear I/O area next to the 140mm fan that is just below a trio of water cooling holes with grommets in them.
Below is the 10+1 expansion slot configuration that allows enough room for four GPUs and still has room for a fan controller, wire tending cover, or a light switch. At the bottom is where the PSU goes, but there is an extension added to add more room in front of the PSU for easier connectivity when long power supplies are used.
Just above that +1 slot on the right side is the hidden release for the left side panel of the chassis. To remove the other panel go straight across the back of the case and locate the other latch just like this one.
Even if this may sit against a wall or the side of a desk, Cooler Master still covers it with the aluminum door with a slightly different variation on the ventilation cut into this side panel versus the other side. Either way, the CM Cosmos II is elegant and attractive from the outside, that's for sure!
Looking at the bottom of the chassis you can see that even the sides of the chassis are well rounded, offering as much possible space inside of the chassis as anyone could ever need. While the steel bars and rubber pads are essentially the legs or feet of the chassis, the majority of the steel floor is sealed off, only offering ventilation and a dust cover under the power supply.
Inside the Cooler Master Cosmos II
Inside the Cooler Master Cosmos II
Once you release the door latch these plastic lined aluminum doors swing out as do car doors. The hinge it rides on is very sturdy and stays in place once opened or closed to that position to make removing and reinstalling the door panels a breeze to accomplish.
These hinges are universal so that they work with both sides, but you can see there are four pins that slide into grooves in the hinge. Simply lifting the door allows it to slide out of the grove and you can now set this door aside.
With the dual layered door out of the way we can now see clearly into the Cosmos II. The hardware box is strapped to the hard drive cages, while a huge bundle of wiring is neatly tied behind it.
The 5.25" bays are used by the trio of slots for the optical drives with the easy to use, click in, click out, tool-free clips. The bottom two bays here house the X-drive racks with the locks we seen from the front.
Just below those, you run into the first hard drive rack supporting up to five drives, and are cooled with the 200mm fan with blue LEDs strapped in front of them. At this point the running total of hard drive bays, we are at seven.
Below that rack of hard drives you run into a plastic shroud that houses a pair of 120mm fans. This cover will release from the right side and swing open for access behind it.
Behind the fans are two removable hard drive racks that can house three more drives each. So now the final total is thirteen hard drive spots in the Cosmos II! If you chose to remove these, CM sends a pair of radiator supports to be added here for water cooling.
In the roof of the case Cm ships this 120mm fan all by itself. You can also see there is quite a bit of room above the motherboard tray if you want to put a triple 120mm radiator here if you wanted.
Inside the Cooler Master Cosmos II Continued
The motherboard tray has a large cooler back plat hole so it can accommodate all six of the form factors supported. Around it you will find eight holes for wiring and the fourteen tie points across the bottom and up the right side.
Inside of the rear of the chassis you can see the 140mm fan that is mounted here, also that all eleven expansion slots have replaceable covers held in with thumbscrews.
From this angle you can see the pair of management holes just in front of the power supply. These holes can also very easily be used to pass tubing through the floor of the Cosmos II as well. Under those is where the power supply mounts on the rubber padded rack attached to the bottom of the chassis.
Just as the other door did, the right side panel opens the same and releases just as i explained the other side to you. On the bottom of both doors there is a removable panel to allow you to clean the filters here, but if you missed it, the other side allowed the mounting of two 120mm fans which this side does not.
Once the door is removed we have full access to the back of the chassis. At minimum you will get 25mm of room, but much more by the drive bays at the left and in the lower section. Don't forget the panel is bent where all of the wiring is, so there is more than enough room for everything here.
Something I haven't seen done before is these little tabs used with the grommets. In most cases, as you pass wires through these, they tend to come out as you do so. With these, you are certain this won't happen!
The amount of wiring in this case is almost overwhelming. You get all the standard front I/O connections including a native USB 3.0 connection. The other mess of wires is fan leads with tags noting what to power with it so that the switches in the front work properly. The longer mass of black wires is eight 2-pin leads for LED fans, but only one in the case uses these.
Accessories and Documentation
In the long brown box strapped inside of the Cosmos Ii you find all of the hardware included. In this group you get the radiator support rails that are used in the bottom section of the chassis. To aid your wire management Cooler Master sent fifteen wire ties and five stick on wire management clips to be used at your discretion.
As for the rest of the hardware, I got two sets of keys to use with the X-drive bays on the front of the Cosmos II. There is also an 8-pin EPS extension cable and a motherboard speaker sent along in this kit. The bag with all of the mounting accessories has everything all thrown together. Everything from risers and the socket to put them in, to long fan screws and a plethora of various other screws to get this chassis build and everything installed.
Each of the eleven internal bays will take wither a 3.5" drive using the rubber grommets and pins in the sides of each tray. To mount the 2.5" drives, you flip over the tray and use screws to secure them. Sorry to say, but the X-drive bays are for 3.5" drives only!
The manual is as dark and mysterious as the packaging was. While they do cover most of the chassis build with images, the use of so many translations of what is typed made them really shorten what is actually in that text. The images and highlighted components are enough for you to get a basic idea, and then you can play with it and figure out the nuances of each component as you continue with the build.
As you can see it's more about getting the idea from the images as you go along in here. One thing to point out is the bottom right corner where they show the radiator being installed in the bottom of the Cosmos II.
I did like that there is a full guide of how to operate the fan controls and what the color of the LEDs illuminating them means. Just in case you rip the tags off the wiring, there is also a full on guide of what colored wires are for what fans, and how many in each grouping.
The Build and Finished Product
I slid the front panel down so you can actually see I did add a drive to the chassis. I really like the silence of the operation of this panel and covering all of that mess without a door that gets in the way, while being Raven-like, is the best solution.
Inside the Cosmos II swallowed up my ATX system and made it look tiny. I can't really find fault with any of the components or how they function. Every piece is solid, does its job and leaves a very good looking finished result.
In the back, I need to address the PSU hole behind the adapter plate. I know snug is good, but I had to force the fan guard into the PSU a bit to allow this PSU to slide in as instructed. Just take your time here, as there isn't a lot of room to play with.
I took my time to go through all of the fan wires and connect what I could while rounding up the rest and keeping it out of my way next to the optical drives. Once I had that under control, I added all the lines from the PSU. I didn't do much tending at this point as the case offers the most room right where this bulk of my wiring runs.
With everything buttoned back up, the Cosmos II just needs some power so I can see what it sounds like and how well she keeps things cool inside as it's shipped.
Once the unit had power, I slid the top cover back to turn it on and play with the fan controls. Each section of fans is individually controlled and can be set to three speeds. The HDD is set to high and is shown as red. The GPU is set to medium and is shown with a purple LED. The top and front fans are on low speed and that is shown with a blue LED. You can also turn the front fans LEDs on or off.
When the Cosmos II is under power it is difficult to hear if it is actually on. From this angle the only way I could tell was the blue glow through the front grill and the lighting of the control panel in the previous image. All the way around, I don't think Cooler Master missed a thing when designing their new Ultra Tower chassis.
Cooler Master definitely took off the kid gloves with the new Cosmos design and is out to play with the big boys with this chassis. While it reminds me of everything I liked about the 800D, some of the options I like in my TJ11, and being rounded like my 600T, the Cosmos II is a case that is very distinguishable when sit it next to any of those I mentioned. This larger than life Cosmos II left me wanting nothing and delivers more than what I need or could imagine using. I am a sucker for huge cases that look sleek and elegant outside and can deliver a build inside that no one person should be ashamed to show off. Show it off and be proud with a build in the Cosmos II, as there is no other case on the market like it.
Cooler Master stays true to the original enough for this chassis to be easily recognized, if only for a few seconds, mistaken for the Cosmos S to the quick viewer, but then it will kick in that this is something completely different. Gone are the old wire management headaches of the original, and the airflow and compartmentalization of the interior keeps everything separated and in its own zone. The hot swap hard drives are a nice addition and being covered with that trick sliding panel is really nice to see. The heaviness of the chassis is overlooked once the build is completed, the chassis being moved into position, and then enjoying the silence of the dual layer construction of the Cosmos II. Even with the fans on high speed, cooling the components inside very well I might add, there was just the slightest "whir" of air to be heard emanating from inside this chassis!
This feature rich Ultra Tower chassis delivers in every area. If you have a server system and a ton of hard drives, this is the case for you. If you have a gaming rig similar to mine, again, this case is for you. Even if you have a Micro-ATX with ambitions to build a rockin' system in the near future, this case is for you! Do you see the trend I'm trying to lead to here? Cooler Master's gloves off approach to building the new "must have" case of 2012 has won me over. I know the breakage is bad, but I have dealt with Cooler Master before and I'm sure I can get a replacement piece, so I can overlook this on my chassis, as I really wanted to push forward so I could bring this to you as soon as possible and not wait on a part from China to arrive before doing so.
I hope the guy over at the other site didn't have worse luck than I did. I am spoiled when it comes to the pricing of cases, but even so, when I check around at cases of this price range I think this is much better solution than the PC-P80N or the Level 10 GT. With the MSRP set at $349.99 from Cooler Master, start saving those pennies; soon you will have access to buy one of these of your very own! We all know you want to!
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