Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few months, you've no doubt seen the Cooler Master Cosmos II online, or maybe at your local hardware dealer, or at a LAN party (though I regret the person in charge of this, this one Heavyweight hauling somewhere) her house). Cooler Master presented the so-called "Ultra Tower" at this year's CES and we have been striving ever since to put it to the test to see if it lives up to the hype.
With support for up to 13 hard drives and weighing almost 50 pounds total with no hardware installed, this is probably the largest case I've ever worked with in over 10 years of reviewing computer hardware.
Starting from the front, we see that Cooler Master hides the front drive bays with a hydraulic door that slides up and down. The door locks in the upper position, but when it is barely pushed past the "break point" the door slowly falls down. And when I say slow, that's exactly what I mean … if it falls at all. I've been using the Cosmos II for a few weeks now and even then the door won't fall down on its own. This will likely resolve itself over time as I remember that the demo systems at CES don't need any assistance.
It is recommended to keep the door closed so as not to obstruct the air vents and the 200mm LED fan. When the door is open, you are greeted by three 5.25-inch drive bays and two 3.5-inch lock-type drive bays. These manhole covers are very easy to remove and well designed as there is no risk of plastic tabs snapping or breaking when you remove or replace them.
The front I / O cover is located at the very top of the housing and is partially covered by another sliding door. With the control panel pulled back, we see a headphone and microphone port, an eSATA port, two USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2.0 ports. Farther back is the advanced control panel, which contains a full list of fan controls, power button, reset button, power and hard drive LEDs, and a button that lets you control the fan LEDs regardless of fan speed. This requires a special connector to be built into your fan, like the one on the front 200mm LED fan that is installed in this case.
The fan control panel is divided into four groups: Front, Top, HDD and GPU. This is to make it easier to keep track of which buttons control such fans. The fan speed is indicated by colored LEDs: red is high, purple is medium and blue is low.
There are two large handles on the top of the case and a vented area near the back that is removable. We'll cover this in more detail as we work our way into the suitcase.
Here we can see both side walls of the Cosmos II – the one with the additional ventilation slots is the left side wall. There are no rickety windows or radical cuts here, but a sleeker look.
A look at the back of the Cosmos II shows how big this case is. 10 expansion slots, a 140mm exhaust fan, water cooling devices that three pipes can pass through, and a floor mounted power supply.
The power supply bracket is removable for easier installation, while the top grill can also be removed to install a cooler or fan. Also note that the PSU mounting area has been expanded to accommodate extra long units. A removable air filter is located directly under the power supply, which enables easy cleaning.
Cooler Master uses the same handles from the top of the case to act as feet to lift the chassis off the floor.
One of the coolest things about this case is how the sidewalls work. Instead of unscrewing and lifting off like most full tower systems, Cooler Master implemented a neat hinge system that allows the door to open backwards (think suicide doors on a car). Although the function is very practical, I would like the doors to be hinged at the back and opened in the other direction. Having the door open to you when the system is on a table is pretty strange. But hey it works and also the panels can be lifted and removed for 100% access.