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Cooler Master Cosmos S

PC Case Roundup: Spring 2008
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COOLER MASTER COSMOS S SPECIFICATIONS
Case Type Size WxHxD Weight Cooling 5.25” Bays 3.5” Bays I/O panel Noise Approx. Price
CoolerMaster Cosmos S Mid Tower 266 x 598 x 628 mm 30 lbs 1x 230mm, 3x 120mm (opt. 2x 120mm) 7 4 4x USB, 1x 1394, 1x eSATA, HD or AC97 Audio (on top) 41.5 db $250

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Specifications

At 30 lbs, the Cosmos S was the heaviest case in our roundup, despite the use of lightweight materials. It’s also the largest, although some of the space it takes up can be attributed to the “handlebars” that surround it. Suitably, it’s also the most expensive case: at $250, it’s more than double the price of every other case in the roundup, except the Raidmax Iceberg which comes in at $150.

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The Cosmos S is the only case in our roundup that sported a massive 230mm fan, mounted on the side. It also has three 120mm fans included — one mounted in the front, rear and top — with two optional fan mounts available on the bottom and top, respectively. While this is admittedly a lot of fan power, we were a little disappointed at the Cosmos’ relatively high noise level.

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The Cosmos S also sported the most fully-featured I/O panel in our test group, with four USB ports, a Firewire port and an eSATA port. Of course, HD/AC97 audio ports are also included. The Cosmos’s I/O panel is hidden behind a sliding access door, and when the system is running, each outlet on the panel has an illuminated label — very cool.

The one specification where the Cosmos S comes up lacking is 3 ½” drive bays. With support for a single external 3 ½” drive, and only four internal 3 ½” drive bays, the huge Cosmos S curiously has the least support for hard drives of the cases in this roundup. While the four drive slots are cooled directly behind the intake fan, if a user has four drives they would all have to be stacked immediately on top of one another.

Unique Features

The Cosmos S is all about style. That’s easily it’s most unique feature, and it’s probably the number one reason someone will be interested in this case.

Other than that, the Cosmos has a couple of other tricks up its sleeve. One of the most unique features of the case is a unique “capacitive power button” — in layman’s terms, there’s no traditional button per se, just an indent in the shell of the case. Touch your finger in the indent, and the power turns on. Nifty!

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The power supply mount is fairly unique, with the PSU on the bottom of the case and the air intake facing downward to suck in cool air under the case and spit it out behind the case. In this arrangement, the airflow to the power supply is not first heated by the system, and neither is the PSU cooling the rest of the system by creating more airflow; this is an interesting tradeoff.

Aside from this, what you have is a very large case with acres of space and a lot of airflow. Good stuff to be sure, but nothing revolutionary. It’s the styling that really sets the Cosmos S apart from the crowd…

Appearance, Fit & Finish

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…and let’s face it, one of the Cosmos S’s best features is its intimidating and attractive appearance. It’s huge to the point of being monolithic, it sports giant curvaceous handlebars, and it has a red bar on the top front that makes it remotely resemble a Cylon Centurion from Battlestar Galactica.

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Actually, this red bar represented one of my biggest disappointments with the Cosmos S: it really should have been illuminated, preferably with a red LED that moved back and forth. I’m not sure if that’s a valid complaint, but at any rate, this is a very attractive case.

I should mention the lighting that is included, which is supplied by a red illuminated front intake fan. The capacitive power button also glows red when the system is running, as do the labels of the I/O panel as mentioned earlier.

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As for fit and finish, the Cosmos S is very sturdy and well-made. Removing the side panels – done without tools by depressing a lever as shown above — feels like you’ve just removed an access hatch on the Millennium Falcon — there’s really no flimsiness to speak of.

User Experience

The Cosmos S is the case for computer enthusiasts who would like to make a statement. I’m not exactly sure what that statement is, but what an awe-inspiring case!

This is a very large case, so large in fact that when you assemble your system you will assume you forgot to add something because there is so much room left over. There are lots of places to route your cables, but even if you ignore them entirely, your cables will still appear better managed than in a smaller case, due to the massive amount of space available.

The downside to being a full-sized ATX case is, of course, that the Cosmos S isn’t likely to fit under your desk. This case is going to be a feature of your office, beside your desk in its own space where everyone can see it. Of course, that’s probably the point: when you’ve spent two-and-a-half times the price of many decent cases on the market, you’d better be getting something special.

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Optical drive installation is done without tools, using a unique button system. Press the blue button and the drive locks into place: press it again and the drive is free.

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The only real nit-pick is the hard drive enclosure, which for some strange reason, does not utilize tool-less hard drive installation. The entire bay itself is attached with the same tool-less mechanism that the 5 ¼” drives use, but there are also screws involved. You can remove the screws permanently allowing the bay to be removed without tools, but it’s still a pain to remove, and scrapes along the sides of the enclosure on the way out, requiring way more force than it should.

Once out, hard disks can only be added by screwing them in. In a high-end case that so eloquently handles tool-less 5 ¼” drive installation and removal, it’s really hard to understand the rationale behind the decision to make 3 ½” hard drive installation such a convoluted and involved process, especially when cheaper cases out there make it a lot more user friendly.

Even after all this though, it’s hard not to be impressed with the Cosmos S. While we wish it was a little quieter and sported an easier hard disk install procedure, it’s still an exceptional case with a lot of room, great airflow and killer style.

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