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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

Ultra Tower Case Final Thoughts

You can tell the market demographic Cooler Master's aiming at with the Cosmos II case when they call it an "ultra tower". This is a large, very expensive case with enough features to keep anyone happy.

Very expensive cases must be judged to a different standard than less expensive cases. On a less expensive case, I'd praise the multi-speed integrated fan controller, with power and LED connections for nine fans; here, I must criticize the huge mass of separate fan cables, which will be one of your greatest obstacles to a neat build. At this price I'd expect there to be more than one LED fan, and I'd expect all the case fans to be pre-wired. The Thermaltake Level 10 GT case has all of its fans pre-wired to the fan speed and LED controllers (although you can't add any more fans to the controller). A small printed circuit board "header" for all the fan connections would have been a much cleaner solution.

There are other misses: only the two hot-swap bays have SATA backplanes, and their oddly-long data cables mean you'll have to tie the extra length out of the way for your build. The lack of a 3.5" mount for one of the 5.25" bays will limit your choices in card readers and similar accessories.

cooler_master_cosmos_ii_wings.jpg

The weight and size of the case will make moving it difficult for one person; and front-hinged design of the beautiful swing-out side panels, which open and shut with silky authority, mean that you'll need to remove the side panels if you need to get inside the case while it's on your desk or the floor. Rear-hinged panels would have been more convenient.

With three possible radiator mounting points (rear fan area, top fan area, and bottom of the case once the lower drive bays are removed), the Cosmos II is an excellent case for water coolers. The only potential downside is for those who prefer bay reservoirs: with only three 5.25" bays, space can be tight.

All that said, this is still a spectacular case, even with its flaws.

Cooler Master Cosmos II Conclusion

Although we strive for objectivity here at Benchmark Reviews, please remember that each author perceives these points differently, and our conclusions and recommendations will necessarily differ from others. Also, prices can fluctuate and designs change after publication, so that the product we review might not have the same price and specifications of a product that's available later. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested, which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary of each of the areas that we rate.

Although the case is very large, it uses most of its space well, with room for thirteen 3.5" drives, two of which may be hot-swapped. I'd like to see more than three 5.25" bays, though. Being able to gracefully handle XL-ATX motherboards puts this case in an elite group.

Although the case is has the standard solid black color scheme that's so common these days, its size and dramatic styling make it stand out without appearing garish. Rather than the faux-military/industrial look adopted by some (including, I must add, all of Cooler Master's "Storm" series cases), the Cosmos II has a stark elegance.

As you might expect at this price, the quality of the case was impeccable, comparable to Lian Li, although the latter's ascetic design philosophy was obviously not something Cooler Master was interested in! The doors fit perfectly, despite being a lift-off design, and the various buttons and sliding panels excude precision and quality.

Functionally, the Cooler Master Cosmos II is a mixed bag: for every cool feature like the swing-open doors, auto-ejecting hot swap bays, and quad-channel fan controller, there are offsetting misses like the lack of a SATA backplane, only three 5.25" bays, and the immense tangle of wires from the fan controller.

At a suggested retail price of $349.95, this is very expensive case. If your rig will be built on an E-ATX or XL-ATX platform and you have lots of drives, it might be right for you...but even then, from a value point of view, it's hard to justify over much less expensive cases such as Cooler Master's own Storm Trooper.

Pros:Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award

+ Styling makes "all black" look good
+ Accomodates XL-ATX motherboards and lots of 3.5" drives
+ Excellent cable management...except for the fan controller
+ Auto-ejecting, key-lockable hot swap drive bays
+ 2x120 and 3x120 radiator mounting points
+ Intgegrated quad-channel fan controller handles up to 9 LED-lit fans

Cons:

- Very large. Very heavy. Very expensive.
- Only three 5.25" bays
- Tangled mass of fan controller wiring difficult to deal with
- Front-hinged doors look dramatic but obstruct interior of case when working from the front
- Hey. Where's my SATA backplane?
- Will not lie flat on its side

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.5
  • Appearance: 9.0
  • Construction: 9.5
  • Functionality: 8.5
  • Value: 7.5

Final Score: 8.8 out of 10.

Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.

Benchmark Reviews invites you to leave constructive feedback below, or ask questions in our Discussion Forum.


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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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