Cooler Master gets galactic again with the newest version of the flagship Cosmos series. Do the new exotic exterior and redesigned interior leave performance gurus stone cold or craving a bit more?
Cooler Master didn’t become a top tier hardware manufacturer by mistake. With innovative case designs ala the WaveMaster and Aquagate cooling systems, this Taiwanese company is all about the chill. Our review of the original Cooler Master Cosmos caught a lot of people by surprise and the subsequent redesign in this newer, sportier version can only mean that Cooler Master heard the thermal complaints loud and clear.
Upon opening the packaging the Cosmos S is completely enveloped in a brown bag which makes removing the case from its packaging extremely simple. The black and gray exterior gives off a mean spirited look that truly mimics an auto exotic. The high caliber paint is apparent upon closer inspection, especially in the left side panel where the 200mm side fan resides. Unfortunately, the dual front bar system that opens up access to 5.25″ drives and the HDD bay shows misapplied paint where the indentations are. This is inexcusable at this price range and visible even in low lighting conditions.
Although the predominantly aluminum structure is light-weight when empty, fully loaded the total weight is still 50 pounds compared to nearly 60 with the same components in the original Cosmos. The large top handle bars feel secure and are essential to moving the Cosmos around with any ease. The additional two top 120mm fan bays for a total of three makes installing high-end radiators for liquid cooling systems even easier than before. A former complaint now rectified is the addition of the sleek new concealable I/O panel featuring a built-in touch sensor in place of a standard power button. This prevents dust from accumulating in these ports. Attractive as it may be, we found one of the two springs that helps the concealment plate slide back and forth loose inside the case.
Another issue is that the touch sensor ceases to function when a system crashes, therefore turning the power supply off/on or pulling the power plug is necessary to reboot the system. This can be quite a pain.
Because of the redesigned interior, the bottom dust filter underneath the front of the case is much harder to access. The entire front panel is designed to be porous and let air in easily, especially to the hard drives. Each 5.25″ drive bay plate is equipped with a dust filter. This is noticeable in the area in front of the HDD bay where the 120mm fan eventually accumulates a thin layer of dust. Because of the extremely simple access to these plates however, cleaning the dust off is a cinch.
The rear end of the Cosmos has no discernible differences from its predecessor and is still equipped with a single 120mm fan, dual top water cooling tubing holes, along with your standard I/O plate and expansion slots. One nice difference is that the filter for the bottom mounted power supply bay is no longer underneath the case in a hard to reach area. It is now removable by simply pulling it out via a neat handle from inside the case. Another small gesture is including a thumbscrew for easier removal of the top fan shroud for the triple 120mm fan bay.
Accessing the interior is done via pressing down on a rear latch that theoretically pops the side panel open. This is the same design that garnered much contention in the original Cosmos. This time, the side panels are much harder to open and you actually have to physically pry them open. This is an obvious defect since the original had no such issues and I would expect Cooler Master to rectify this issue in the near future. On the plus side it does make closing the right sided panel easier since the bottom end of each panel snaps into place before closing. This makes it easier for those with über cable management in mind to close the still-too-tight right side of the case.
As mentioned earlier the need for additional space in this area can be considered pointless now that the hard drive bay is now parallel to the side panels. The entire complaint centered on the fact that the original drive bay didn’t sufficiently cool hard drives but did look really nice. Now the opposite effect plagues the Cosmos S where the HDD bay now looks like your standard run-of-the-mill setup where cables are exposed in full view but the cooling for the hard drives is much better since there is a fan directly pushing air over them. Thus the need to route cables in this area is rendered moot. Sigh, c’est la vie.
Also something to note is that the Cosmos S can only house four hard drives versus six in the old Cosmos. It’s the tradeoff made if you want cooler hard drives, I guess. The design of the HDD bay is unique in that drives aren’t screwed directly into the case. Instead, the drives are directly screwed into a small cage which in turn is surrounded on either side by a vibration dampening plate. With the cage and both dampening plates held in place, you simply slide it all in and click the patented securing mechanism button. It’s a bit unwieldy at first, but the design is easy to figure out. If you plan on transporting the system, the option to permanently screw in the drive bay is available for your peace of mind.
Overall Craftsmanship Good
Easy to Access Front Bay
Lots of Dust Filters
Excellent Cooling Capability
Water Cooling Friendly
Concealed I/O Ports
Power Extender Handy
Redesigned Cable Management
Long Video Card Friendly
| Cons |
Not Painted Thoroughly Enough
Side Panels Hard to Open
Concealment Plate Springs Loose
Touch-Sensor Doesn’t Always Work
Still Heavy Even with Aluminum
Only 4 HDD Capable
HDD Bay Installation Finicky
Cooling Performance is Okay
Fewer Fans than Original
Overall the Cooler Master Cosmos S is a great case marred by several unfortunate imperfections that bring the score down. The steep price can only be justified if the chassis is devoid of glaring flaws, and in this case there’s too many things to ignore and warrant a higher score. In the coming months Cooler Master may or may not release an updated Cosmos that fixes some of these problems – we’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, check out the additional pics in the gallery.