It’s been a long road for the Cosmos II, but it’s finally here. The long-awaited successor to Cooler Master’s blockbuster Cosmos was supposed to ship in September—around the same time as our2011 Dream Machine, which used a prototype version of the Cosmos II as its chassis. Well, after some trips back to the drawing board, the Cosmos II is finally ready for prime time. It’s real. And it’s spectacular.
The Cosmos II, which Cooler Master bills as an “Ultra Tower,” is 20 percent larger than the original Cosmos—it’s more than 27 inches tall, 26 deep, and 13.5 inches at its widest; and it weighs a staggering 47 pounds empty. The chassis frame is steel, while the shell is plastic with aluminum cladding on the panels. The build quality is outstanding, with nary a sharp edge, uneven panel or flimsy component. The sliding doors on the top and front panel slide smoothly, the side hinges are solid and easy to use, and the handles won’t fall off. Our review unit is all black, but Cooler Master also offers a silver model.
Yes, it looks this good in real life.
The Cosmos lineage is strong with this one, from the hinged side panels to the top carrying handles, to the slide-out hard drive trays; but the Cosmos II is a thoroughly modern product, with massive cooling potential, strong cable-management chops, and wide-open spaces.
The Cosmos II has three toolless 5.25-inch drive bays, two front-panel 3.5-inch hot-swap SATA bays, and a whopping 11 internal hard drive trays: five in the main compartment and six in the case’s bottom section, which also contains the PSU and two 12cm fans that blow air directly across the lower hard drive cages. The two lower hard drive cages and the primary hard drive cage are all removable. Take out the lower two, add an included bracket, and you can install a 240mm radiator in their place. Or you can remove the upper hard drive cage to improve airflow to the main compartment.
You’ll never say, “Gosh, I wish the Cosmos II had more room inside.”
The main compartment has ten PCIe expansion slots, plus one on the side, and it supports motherboard form factors as large as XL-ATX. It can accommodate CPU coolers up to seven inches tall, and 12.2-inch GPUs with room to spare. The motherboard tray contains eight rubber-grommeted cable-routing cutouts to the right of the motherboard, two non-grommeted cutouts above it, and two grommeted cutouts in the divider between the PSU and main compartments, for PSU cables or water-cooling tubes. There’s more than an inch of space behind the motherboard tray for cable routing.
The case’s front panel includes two USB 3.0 ports (with an internal header), four USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA port, and two audio jacks. The case’s power and reset switches are above the front-panel connectors, along with a sleek fan controller that can power up to nine fans on four different channels.
The Cosmos II ships with five fans: a 20cm front intake fan, 14cm rear exhaust fan, 12cm top exhaust fan, and the previously mentioned two 12cm hard-drive bay fans in the lower compartment. The front-panel fan can be swapped for a 14cm fan, the rear fan can be swapped for a 12cm, and the top panel can accommodate a 20cm fan, two 14cm fans, three 12cm fans, or a 240mm radiator. All the intake fans have removable dust filters. The hard-drive tray in the main compartment can accommodate a 12cm fan for increased drive cooling, and two 12cm fans can be mounted to the left side panel for GPU cooling. Each fan, save the rear exhaust fan, are controlled by the front-panel fan controller.
The nine 3-pin connectors are color-coded and labeled, with three for the top fans, three for hard-drive fans, two for GPU fans, and one for the front fan. The fan controller also has nine two-pin LED controllers for Cooler Master’s LED fans, although only the 20cm front fan actually has has an LED. This all leads to a terrifying bundle of cables coming from the front panel. Thank goodness Cooler Master includes plenty of cable-routing options and tie-downs behind the motherboard tray.
Aside from the plethora of fan-control wires, building into the Cosmos II is a snap. The cavernous interior leaves plenty of room for all your high-powered components, and with plenty of support for both air- and water-cooling setups, you’ll be able to keep even the hottest rigs chilly. It doesn’t have the water-cooling potential of, say, Silverstone’s TJ11, but its price tag is $250 less.
Our gripes are minimal. First, the sheer size of the beast means you need a very tall desk (if you’re putting the Cosmos II under it) or a very sturdy desk (if you’re putting it on top). Second, we’ve seen cases with better fan-control wire routing. Lastly, we could do without the loud beep the fan controller produces each time you change the fan speed.
These minor quibbles aside, the production version of the Cosmos II is a great case, and we foresee it being very popular with those who need plenty of room for high-performance components, have the space in their office for the Cosmos II’s bulk, and don’t mind forking over $350. It’s an unabashedly prestige case, but sometimes that’s what we need.