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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases
Written by David Ramsey   
Monday, 02 January 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
Cooler Master Cosmos II Computer Case
Closer Look: Exterior
Detailed Exterior Features
Closer Look: Interior
Detailed Interior Features
Building a System
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Cooler Master Cosmos II Computer Case Review

Manufacturer: Cooler Master
Product Name: Cosmos II Ultra Tower
Model Number: RC-1200-KKN1
Price As Tested: $349.95 MSRP

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article was provided by Cooler Master.

In computer cases, it's a constant battle between price, function, and style-- as the saying goes, "Pick any two". There are any number of very serviceable cases available at $100 or less; if you have $150 in your case budget, you can choose from some excellent full tower cases; and if you have $250 to spend on a case, you can get almost any combination of function and style you could ever want. Beyond that are the super-premium cases, and Cooler Master's latest entry in this field is so special the company calls it an "ultra tower". Benchmark Reviews takes a look to see if the Cooler Master Cosmos II case deserves this designation.

Cooler Master is very well known in the enthusiast community, and while they make a variety of computer peripherals, including power supplies, fans, and CPU coolers, they're best known for their cases. Benchmark Reviews has examined a number of Cooler Master cases over the years and we've generally given them high marks.

The original Cosmos 1000 case was introduced in 2007, and Cooler Master has continued to evolve the line with new releases such as the Cosmos S and Cosmos Black Label Limited Edition. The Cosmos II represents the latest (and most expensive) iteration of this case line yet.

cooler_master_cosmos_ii_front_left_34.jpg

Ultra Tower Features

Design

The exterior of the Cosmos II utilizes a high-grade aluminum for its primary construction and form. This is supplemented by steel and mesh to add to strength, stability, and overall appeal. It maintains its trademark Cosmos appeal while being further refined for today's advancements in air/water cooling, peripheral support, and styling.

Extreme Watercooling Potential

A stock Cosmos II supports a 360mm radiator in the top. Removal of the bottom hard drive cages results in space for a 240mm radiator placed on its side; having direct access to cold air from the exterior of the case. Mounting support will vary based on radiator manufacturer. Large single 120mm or 140mm All-in-one (AIO) watercooling units are supported on the rear exhaust fan port.

Hardware Support

The Cosmos II can hold up to 13 HDDs or SSDs (2 X-docks, mid-cage 5, bottom cages 6) and multiple watercooling radiators. The Cosmos II has 10+1 expansion slots that enable the installation of up to 4-way SLI / Crossfire builds. Support for 4-way GPU setups depends on the layout of your motherboard manufacturer, but should be available on most. The +1 expansion slot allows users to install add-on cards via PCI extensions, or install other function panels for CCFL / Cold Cathode lighting control and other uses. The motherboard tray will accommodate up to a XL-ATX motherboard.

Cable Management & Storage

A professional cable management look is possible with little effort. This is thanks to high quality grommets on the cable management holes and utilizing the many cable tie zones. Smarter and larger placements of these areas allow for efficiently routing cables. In an effort to reduce installation times, a great number of hardware can be mounted tool-free via the use of the included locking mechanisms or trays. A very large CPU heat sink retention hole has beenplaced in the motherboard tray to allow it to be compatible with most types of CPU and motherboard layouts (Current LGA2011 and AMD FM1 sockets are supported).

The included front panel connections and controls provide a user with the ability to make on-the- fly changes to fan speed and case LEDs while USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, and audio connections are also provided as an added means of convenience. This is topped off by two HDD/SSD X- docks in two 5.25" bays. These make mounting extra drives as easy as loading a Blu- ray/DVD/CD.

RC-1200-KKN1 Specifications

Material Appearance: Aluminum, mesh, plastic
Case body: Steel
Dimensions 344(W) x 704(H) x 664(D) mm
13.5(W) x 27.7(H) x 26.1(D) inch
Net Weight 21.5kg / 47.3lbs
MB Type Micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX, XL-ATX, SSI CEB, SSI EEB
5.25" Drive Bays 3
3.5" Drive Bays 13 (2 from X-docking, Mid.cage for 5 HDDs, Bottom cage for 6 HDDs)
2.5"/3.5" Drive Bays 11 (converted from 3.5" drive bay)
I/O Panel USB 3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x 4, E-SATA x 1, Audio In and Out
Expansion Slots 10 + 1
Cooling System Front: 200mm LED fan x 1 (converted from 120/140mm x 1)
Top: 120mm black fan x 1 (converted from 200mm fan x 1/ 140mm fan x2 / 120mm fan x 3)
Rear: 140mm fan x 1
Side: 120mm fan x 2 (optional)
HDD: 120mm fan x 3 (2 fans for bottom HDD / 1 fan for Mid. HDDs)
Power Supply

ATX PS2 / EPS 12V

Maximum Compatibility CPU cooler height: 190mm/ 7.48 inch
GPU card length: 385mm/ 15.10 inch

Features and specifications provided by Cooler Master.

Let's take a look at this dramatic case in the next section.



 

Comments 

 
# Should I upgrade....Denis 2012-01-03 00:59
I just wonder, should I stay on Cooler Master Haf X, which I've already built for 2011 socket platform, or should I upgrade for Cosmos II. Money is no problem. I'm just thinking how reasonable it would be?!
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# to upgrade or not - Waitnhks 2012-01-03 06:36
Denis, I feel u should wait until other case manufacturers have launched their new products in H1 2012. I would probably consider them all and then choose the best. 'CES' in Jan and 'CeBit' in March should see some launches or maybe even some previews of upcoming cases.
Cosmos 2 is a great case no doubt, but I feel it is a bit on the bulky side. HAF-X is a very good case itself. HAF-X to Cosmos-2 could be a good upgrade only if u plan to buy an XL-ATX board with 240/360 liquid rad cooling or use 3-4 graphics cards.
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# RE: to upgrade or not - WaitDenis 2012-01-03 07:37
Thanks for your reply. I think I'll wait. I love my HAF X too much but the only disappointment for me is dust filters. They don't work at all. That's why I've ordered dust filters kit for the HAF X from frozencpu.com.
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# RE: RE: to upgrade or not - WaitChris 2012-01-03 16:45
Look for some DECi filters. They make custom ones for the Haf-x.
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# DEMCiflexMergatroid 2012-01-04 16:56
Yes, the Frozen CPU site sells the DEMCiflex filters. That company is in South Africa and their filters are pretty good.
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# RE: DEMCiflexDoug Dallam 2012-01-04 18:00
Thanks. I have been looking for this exact product for a time now. :)
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# pliz helpOystein 2013-11-09 11:38
I do not understand how I mount the fans help
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# Love at first sightChris 2012-01-03 05:18
I LOVE this case! I think my 700D just got owned...
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# Like 700D betterMergatroid 2012-01-04 17:01
I like the 700D better myself.
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# To Pimp Or Not To PimpLuay 2012-01-03 09:41
You've just reviewed the two best cases I have seen and you've done an excellent job at that. Forget the size comparison with the Blackhawk Ultra! What I want to know is how they both compare to each other in cooling 4 graphics cards on air and how loud they are. I know the Blackhawk Ultra serves only to cool as quite as possible without looking good or costing much. On a performance basis only, which one is king?
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# RE: To Pimp Or Not To PimpDavid Ramsey 2012-01-03 10:04
A reasonable question, but one that's almost impossible to answer in real life (in any case, I don't have four identical graphics cards to set up in an SLI or XFire configuration). The problem is that in either case, you're going to want to add your own fans or water cooling setup, and your choices will determine both the cooling performance and noise levels.

Overall, though, I think the Blackhawk Ultra would win in the cooling department: it comes with many more (and larger) fans than does the Cosmos II, and there's enough room to mount a thicker 3x120mm radiator at the top (or bottom, if you mount the power supply at the top) than the Cosmos II can handle.

In stock form the Cosmos II would probably be quieter due to its thick plastic side panels.

Either case is a great choice for high-end rigs; the Blackhawk Ultra gives you a lot more bang for the buck at the expense of a very pedestrian appearance.
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# RE: RE: To Pimp Or Not To PimpLuay 2012-01-03 21:53
Thanks for the help!
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# RE: Cooler Master Cosmos II Computer CaseDoug Dallam 2012-01-03 15:54
Good review of a questionably usable case. I see there are already people loving this case, so there you go. For me, it reminds me of a 1965 Lincoln Continental with all of the stuff you don't need and then some. Of course, like the Lincoln, both have things that are nice to have, like retractable headlamp, and for the CM II, 1 million drive bays. (Really? How much space can you really use? And if you're flush enough to afford this case, why would you go with mechanical drives at all? It seems like they could have crammed even more drive bays in had they used 2.5" sized bays.). And like you said, only three external bays in a case this large? Strange.

"At the rear, things aren't as neat. The problem is the morass of fan wiring: with nine separate cables each for fan power and LED, plus a power connector, there are 19 fan-related cables to deal with."

That's another thing I'm at a loos to understand with such a huge case--why not bigger and less fans? This thing should have all 230mm fans in it, except perhaps for the CPU exhaust. Less fans also makes for a cleaner case, and a quieter case too.
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# Great reviewMergatroid 2012-01-03 17:03
I really like how you get to the nitty gritty on these cases. I agree with your review and especially your points on the drive bays.

I really like this case. Other than the Level 10 I think this is the best Cooler Master case I've seen yet. I would like to point out though that, although I really like the looks of this case, I don't particularly like the two large tubes running front to back on the top. I guess they're supposed to be handles, but I find they really look silly.

It's too bad they didn't put a window on the top half of the left side panel. I know some people don't like Windows, and I didn't used to like them either. However after spending so much money on my most recent build, and talking to some customers about it, I was swayed and purchased a window for my personal computer. I have changed my mind and can see why some people like windows so much.

Personally, I wish case manufacturers would get out of the fan controller business (or make them optional). I prefer a controller that has more data (like RPMs and temps) but I realize many people like built-in controllers and they cannot please everyone (also there may not be enough external bays in this case if one wanted an aftermarket fan controller). However, an expensive case with a poor fan controller does not look good on the manufacturer.

I also wish companies would start making a bay for slim DVD burners. With just a very small space in the PC for a slim drive, the front 5 1/4" bays could be used for more important things (especially considering there are so few of them in this particular case). I also don't understand why there is so much emphasis on hard drive bays these days. With drives being so big, I don't see many people with more than 4 drives. What is it, 13 drives? I think they may have given up a lot of other possible options for so many drive bays that most people wouldn't use anyway (options like more external bays, dedicated 2.5" bays and perhaps a space dedicated to mounting an internal res of some type since this is clearly aimed at the water cooling faction). I'm sure others could come up with more ideas.

However, this is a pretty sweet case and congrats to Cooler Master for putting so much effort into it.
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# RE: Great reviewDavid Ramsey 2012-01-03 17:13
Well, the Level 10's a Thermaltake case, not a Cooler Master case, but I'm glad you liked the review anyway!

A window in the side panel would require some work since the side panels are so thick, and comprised of multiple layers. But I'd like to see one too.

I wondered if the case would be better if all the upper 3.5" drive bays were removed and the space used for more 5.25" bays, leaving the lower 6 bays for 3.5" drives. Of course that would remove the option to use the lower bay area for a radiator. It's all about choices in configuration, and while I might not agree with all the decisions Cooler Master made for this case, at least you do have a lot of choices.
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# OopsMergatroid 2012-01-03 17:45
^ Pretty much says it all.
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# neat case but ...Sean 2012-01-12 20:31
neat case but why it doesn't have a handle that you can carry with one hand I don't know .... yeah lots of people are not going to want to lug this around but if you did the 2 handles on top really don't work as well as one solid handle
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# RE: neat case but ...David Ramsey 2012-01-12 20:57
If you want a case with a single, well-integrated handle, try this:

#benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=808&Itemid=61
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# Fantastic ReviewAndrew M 2012-02-19 20:12
Very inclusive look at the case.

For the rig I am running this case was perfect.

Able to fit the biggest dual proc motherboard and multiple video cards without any space problems.

Needed tons of drives (old Cosmos I case only had like 7 total) so this worked as a good upgrade.

Cooling was great even with a ton of stuff in the case (supplemented with additional 120mm and 140mm fans (except on the door - too annoying to service). Not 'quiet' but well within tolerable levels.

Thanks again for the review.
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# Cablesrick 2012-05-13 20:31
I encouraged my son to purchase this case.
Problems - you cannot use the bottom hard drive bays coz when you use them the cables from the power pack prevent to the door from closing.

I tried to put nearly every cable at the back, letting only 1 cable, the 24 pin cable, to infiltrate the area ( the top side of the motherboard )
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# RE: CablesDavid Ramsey 2012-05-13 22:07
I didn't have that problem; there was plenty of room for the cables behind the motherboard tray.

A modular power supply helps, too.
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# wooteigil 2012-05-15 01:56
you say its a plus that it fits an XL-ATX but its a con that the case is such big... doesn't make any sense
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# RE: wootDavid Ramsey 2012-05-15 07:16
Sure it makes sense. Being able to fit an XL-ATX motherboard is a plus if you're using or plan to use one; being very large and heavy is still a minus, especially if you're not using a large motherboard.

It's like the SUVs that so many people use as daily drivers: on one hand, it can hold 5 kids and their soccer equipment and a weeks' worth of groceries. On the other hand it's a # to park and gets terrible mileage.
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# noneBullseye 2012-06-06 18:33
about the filters I use true blue 4" x 12" there cheap a can be washed
I'm getting ready for a major build to and I have a cool master H.A.F.
full size tower witch i love they work great and if I need new one 6.00 for a bag of 12
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