When talking about the history of PC enclosures, it would be very difficult to talk about outstanding or revolutionary models in this segment without mentioning one incredibly avant-garde creation by Cooler Master, namely Cosmos 1000. It’s unlikely that even the folks at Cooler Master had expected this enclosure to constantly be named one of the best-designed enclosures ever as much as five years after its appearance, and not only that, but it remains a sought-after item for building new systems to this day. Time has taken its toll, definitely, and discounting the mildly redesigned models Cosmos S and Cosmos Pure, the Cosmos series has slowly started to fade away, with the company orienting towards their latest HAF enclosure series.
Yet to what can freely be deemed public joy and content, we’re finally presented with a proper heir to the legend in question, one that seems very keen on achieving and overshadowing the success of its predecessor, setting some new standards that everyone will strive to attain in the years to come. Cosmos II is doubtlessly an imposing piece in every aspect: design, dimensions and functionality. You have to face its brilliance in every field. Fair enough, tastes differ from one man to another, and performance can’t be directly measured for this sort of hardware, but regardless, most individuals will simply feel this enclosure to be the best in its class. However, for the few who won’t instantly start saving up (or cashing out) for this enclosure after a casual glance at its glorious appearance, here’s a proper, objective review.
The sealed cardboard box, worthy of containing a modern fridge, weighs at over 22 kg, which instantly gives away what you’re dealing with. When all the protective covers, foils, containers, brochures and bags containing cables, keys and various other additions are removed, the black giant is displayed in all its splendour.
Cosmos II is entirely black, both on the outside and on the inside, composed of various materials that give a very specific touch to the textures of each individual part they compose. The basic skeleton is made of steel, while the outer surfaces are covered in a combination of stylised ground aluminium, plastic and metal nets. The overall design is easily characterised as a cosmic (you don’t say?) armoured unit, with several moving elements which hide particular surfaces. The visuals haven’t been radically changed compared to the predecessor, and all the recognisable elements have been kept, such as the aluminium holders on the top and bottom, which really give the entire series a unique styling.
The front piece is basically split in two sections, where the lower half is covered by a metal net hiding another netty plastic insert with larger cut-outs, making the visuals that much cooler. The upper half is initially hidden behind an aluminium panel carrying the Cooler Master logo.
This panel is installed onto a set of sliding rails, so that it can be easily pulled down to reveal three 5.25” slots for optical devices and two hot-swap 3.5” lockable slots. The bottom part also contains the large 20 cm LED fan, spinning at 700 RPM, in charge of maintaining a constant supply of fresh air for the enclosure. The ledge between the front of the case and its upper surface has an I/O panel with all necessary controls for the numerous fans and their LEDs, covered by a sliding door yet again, this time bearing the name “Cosmos”. The buttons have a very short travel distance and are of an extremely high quality, being made of ground aluminium with a big central Power button. The latter controls all internal fans in the front, back, HDD and graphics zones, all of which can be set to three values, with appropriate visual and sonic feedback. The buttons have a blue, purple or red colour when set to slow, medium or fast, respectively, and each change is also signalised by a slightly annoying, overly trebly tweet. As for connections, there are one eSATA, two USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0 ports, as well as audio jacks.
The upper piece of the enclosure is rather uniform, consisting largely of a huge netty surface whose bottom can house up to three 120 mm fans (initially only one). The net itself is easily removable, making way for a sizeable water cooling radiator. The sides are a story of their own, with a symmetric and convex shape, additionally increasing the total volume of the enclosure. Most of all, the sides aren’t just panels of tin, most commonly seen on enclosures regardless of their price range; they are proper doors with internal isolation hanged by a set of hinges each.
Pulling the appropriate levers on the back releases the sides automatically, just like any other door, but keeps them well-tied to the base. This isn’t to say that they can’t be entirely removed, though – you can simply lift them up from the hinges, making the interior fully accessible. The bottom of the enclosure is pretty standard-fare, with several slits for the PSU fan and a corresponding dust filter, while the entire construction lies on the surface via the aforementioned two aluminium pipes firmly tied to the enclosure’s steel frame.
The back consists of a 140 mm exhaust fan, then the standard I/O back panel slot, 10+1 opening for PCI cards, and finally an opening containing the extension holder for extremely long PSUs.
The interior is spacious enough by anyone’s standards, regardless of the components you intend to use. The witty ones would propose that it can even serve as extra storage space for unrelated objects.
Cosmos II has an extremely big adjustable motherboard holder, supporting every format in existence, including the largest, extended/XL ATX ones. There are rubber-coated slits all over the enclosure, in order to provide perfectly neat cabling, and screws have been avoided wherever possible, replacing them with more clever mounting systems.
In short, Cooler Master has done everything possible to offer the user full freedom in component installation and layout, cables included. Up to 13 HDDs or SSDs can be installed, as well as numerous water-cooling radiators, or even 4-way SLI or CrossFireX graphics cards.
Cable management is pretty robust, with an entire seven slits on the motherboard holder alone, with two additional ones in the tin panel above the PSU, which almost entirely evades the forest of cables in the central section. The interior on the whole is separated into two heat-zones, in order to keep the heat generated by the PSU and hard disks away from the upper layers, containing the vital components.
As already mentioned, Cosmos II has three external 5.25” slots, with two HDD/SSD X-dock slots immediately below for additional storage units (the entire system is easily removable from the outside if needed). The lower cage can house up to six disks, and has its own cooling system consisting of two 120 mm fans. The cage is easily removable, providing space for a 240 mm water-cooling radiator. All eleven internal disk units are mounted via special elastic plastic brackets, taking in a 2.5” SSD or 3.5” HDD, and the installation itself is done by simply pushing against the elastic plastic.
The CPU opening on the tin holder with a diagonal of an entire 24 cm deserves a particular commendation, as it provides compatibility with absolutely any motherboard currently available on the market, which implies unhindered installation of any CPU cooler too.
After a “spacious” experience of this sort, it’s difficult to reach any reserved conclusion – you simply have to shower Cosmos II in commendations and exaltations, as all of them are fully deserved.
Cosmos II brings everything that can be asked of a modern high-end PC enclosure, and more. Everything’s there, from the perfect design of even the tiniest parts, over production quality, room provided for even the largest motherboards and graphics cards on the market, robust cable management, to a fantastic cooling system to keep even the warmest components in check.
The product price is hardly a surprise, then, and the single make-or-break factor there is for such an uncompromisingly high-quality model. If your pockets are deep enough, there isn’t a single reason not to recommend Cosmos II.
|COOLER MASTER cosmos II|
|SIZE||344 x 704 x 664 mm|
|SUPPORTED MOTHERBOARD FORM FACTORS||ATX, micro ATX, XL-ATX, SSI CEB, SSI EEB|
|5.25" / 3.5" SOCKETS||3 / 13|
|FANS||1 x 200 mm, 5 x 120 mm, 1 x 140mm|
|I/O PANEL||4 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x eSATA, 1 x Mic, 1 x Headphones|