Single page Print

Cooler Master's Cosmos II enclosure

Re-inventing an icon

Manufacturer Cooler Master
Model Cosmos II
Price (Street) $349.99
Availability Soon

Hot on the heels of our Antec P280 review, we've got another next-generation case in the lab with some mighty big shoes to fill. Today's object of techno-lust is none other than the Cooler Master Cosmos II—an "ultra-tower" chassis that seems a little bit ironic in a world filled with slender ultrabooks and watered-down light beer. The Cosmos II is anything but.

When the original hit the retail circuit, it inspired double-takes. The tubular aluminum handles protruding from its futuristic, sculpted body made the Cosmos look less like a computer case and more like something that should be warping around the galaxy launching photon torpedoes at Klingons. Internally, the original Cosmos was nothing to scoff at, either. It could accommodate six hard drives, five optical drives, and all but the largest dual-socket motherboards.

Now that the deuce has arrived on the scene, the original Cosmos is the least of the Klingons' worries. Everything about the second iteration has been scaled up. The Cosmos II is wider, taller, deeper, heavier, and pricier than its forebear—and it can house a lot more hard drives, too. The exterior styling has been updated with more ventilation, aggressive-looking panels, and buttons galore. Multiple water-cooling radiators can be squeezed inside, and there are more fan mounts than you have fingers, including a couple that'll accommodate 200-mm spinners.

At this point, the pulse of any enthusiast should be racing. When I tell you the Cosmos II is set to cost $349, you might feel your heart stall. Take a deep breath. Enthusiasts are no strangers to premium enclosures, and we've taken a closer look at the Cosmos II to see if it's worth the extra scratch.

The perils of plastic
Instead of introducing an exotic structural material to the mix, Cooler Master sticks with a tried-and-true blend of aluminum, plastics, and steel for the Cosmos II's hull plating and skeletal structure. Plastics have been liberally applied to the case's outer shell and comprise most anything that isn't a large, flat surface or a mesh insert.

While the P-word is often enough to get case connoisseurs up in arms, the Cosmos II pulls it off—aesthetically, anyway. The plastics and metals are melded together exceptionally well, and they complement each other nicely. However, it's harder to forgive plastics when they handle load-bearing tasks.

Such is the case with the Cosmos, which uses a spring-assisted sliding plastic cover to protect the front port cluster and control panel. On the underside of this cover are several plastic posts that protrude downward through two slots that guide the motion of the sliding cover. During shipping, the posts on our sample broke, and the cover arrived resting loosely atop the case. The plastic posts seemed unusually brittle as I worked on reattaching them with a general-purpose epoxy. In addition, the cover's location and design make it conducive to aggressive sliding and misuse as a hand grip—both bad things from an endurance standpoint.

Now, for the good news. After being made aware of the issue, Cooler Master informed us that it identified and corrected a quality defect with the original slider design. The thickness of the shipping materials has also been beefed up for added protection during transport. Both of these changes will purportedly be present in the final version of the case shipping to end users.