PC Case Roundup: Spring 2008

Cooler Master Cosmos S

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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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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    Top Comments
  • Gravemind123
    Nothing from Lian-Li, Thermaltake or Antec? In that price range you could review a nice case from any of those companies.
  • Anonymous
    Yep is a very poor roundup allright !
    Where is Antec Nine Hundred or the new Twelve Hundred and the excelent P182 ???
    The Cosmos S seems to be out of place here.... its in another league: Armor+, Silverstone TJ07B, Stacker
  • Other Comments
  • geotech
    Nothing on the Thermaltake Armor?
    One of the best case designs and plenty of room and features.
  • bf2gameplaya
    Every one of those cases is butt ugly, unwieldy and depressing.
  • Gravemind123
    Nothing from Lian-Li, Thermaltake or Antec? In that price range you could review a nice case from any of those companies.
  • Anonymous
    Yep is a very poor roundup allright !
    Where is Antec Nine Hundred or the new Twelve Hundred and the excelent P182 ???
    The Cosmos S seems to be out of place here.... its in another league: Armor+, Silverstone TJ07B, Stacker
  • otheos
    Simple is an uknown word in the aesthetics of the east.
  • scherfistv
    Lazy review, the guys from TOM's couldn't find more attractive PC Cases? It's all made in "China"-like?
  • TiberiumSoldier
    poor Roundup.. no Enermax Chakra/uber Chakra no EZCool .....
  • SinisterCanuck
    All mid tower cases... not one Full Tower! I haven't purchased a mid tower case in nearly 8 years for any of my builds because they are too crammed for my liking. As stated by other commenters, where's the Thermaltake Armor? Where's the Antec Twelve Hundred? etc. These were nice looking cases, but they are all middle of the road as far as I am concerned. You need to do a cases revisited or an enthusiast case round up! ...please do that
  • Anonymous
    I have my doubts about your praise on 3R System case. I have similar model. Exactly the same inside structure but without the remote control, display and with different front side.

    First of all, it's not that well-built. Sides bend and that inside metal (Al?) is really soft. And if you want to remove the front there are like 6 almost unreachable screws to be unscrewed which is pain in the a**.

    Fans are really quiet though.
  • Anonymous
    only Cosmos S look good to me.
  • ilovebarny
    well its not bad information but they really could have done a better job picking out cases to review.
  • Dogsnake
    Funny how you keep referring to the Antec case(s)but do not include one in the review. Why buy an imitator when you can get the real thing?
  • HyperBladeST
    No need to add the good old 900 and P182. We all know they're good and it's not a coincidence that the NZXT and the Raidmax looks so much like the 900 ;)

    As for the 1200 : it's a bigger 900 so there's nothing much to say about it.

    But yeah it would have been more appropriate to use case from all company to make a round-up.
  • spaztic7
    It would be really cool if for another roundup they did all of the Maximum PC cases that won a "Kick Ass Award". Yeah you may be using info from a competitor, but it would make for one really interesting read to see who would be the best of the best!
  • retratserif
    I have the Cosmos S, its the best water cooling case out there next to the Mozart. You can easily get 2-3 Radiators in and installed with no mods what so ever. Plus the heat sensitive power button is very impressive. It may not get you laid, but it sure will fit into any modern or high tech lifestyle. The Nine Hundred is quite old in comparison to these cases. I have not seen a new stacker... I think the Cosmos is closest thing to them.

    I was skeptical of the Cosmos s at first. But after everything went in without a hitch, I had to really appreciate the work that had gone into this case. The thing I like the most is the rails. Its not that easy to move a 60+ lb case with 2 rads and at least a liter of water.

    Good job guys. I enjoyed the round up. I would like to see a more practical round up in the future for more budget PC's. To see more cases that have good practical usage and lower prices. They should all have 2 120mm fans minimum though. 40$-100$ cases.
  • Kurse
    No Antec 900 or P182? Certainly two of the best cases on the market.
  • Lumberboy
    Why do people love the Thermaltake Armour cases so much? It was the hottest case I ever owned. When I switched to my CM 690 my cpu temps dropped 10 degrees.
  • MU_Engineer
    I also find it funny that the Antec Nine Hundred was mentioned about five times (and the NXZT Tempest is a clone of it) but was not in the review. How about a Nine Hundred vs. Clones comparison?
  • byebye
    not toward this but everyone needs to start measuring the distance between the processor and the wall. because i want a IFX-14
  • xsamitt
    We really need a list of full tower cases.........High end if you wish............Pretty Please.

    Most of the cases you picked out I wouldn't consider at all.Mid tower is not where things are going....Some cases have 10 Expansion slots.......I belive we need a review thats with the current trend...as we live in the now ...not the past.