Cooler Master COSMOS SE Review

red454 - 2013-09-14 17:07:54 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: red454   
Reviewed on: September 23, 2013
Price: $230

Cooler Master COSMOS SE Introduction:

Cooler Master has been around since 1992 and are known for a wide variety of products such as power supplies, fans, CPU coolers, and gaming peripherals - but Cooler Master is certainly known for its wide range of cases. From the HAF and COSMOS series monster cases down to the LAN box, Cooler Master has a case for your needs. Recently I reviewed the N200 and the N600, and both are really nice cases packed with features. But today we have one of the big boys on the block, the all new, full tower COSMOS SE. I always enjoy reviewing cases, especially when it is a new release.

At the top of Cooler Master's case spectrum is the COSMOS series. These are precision engineered cases that are for the serious enthusiast. The materials, workmanship, and feature lists are amazing, and they typically command top dollar.

Cooler Master COSMOS SE Closer Look:

First, let's look at the box. Up front we have a nice graphic of the case and a little offset picture that shows that this case has the clear side window. And on the rear there are three illustrations that show the internal features of the COSMOS SE with a set of detailed feature descriptions in eight languages in the charts below the images. On one end we have a nice 3/4 view profile picture and  the other end show a full list of specifications. One thing you will notice is the support for a front radiator up to 360mm and a top radiator up to 280mm. And up to eight HDDs or 18 (yes 18!) SSDs. I am not sure who would be using 18 SSDs, but if it is you, now you have a place for them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The top is rather simple. Just the Cooler Master logo and the model - and of course, the usual shipping labels. Looking inside, the SE is begging to be unpacked. This is when I have to take a deep, calming breath so I don't destroy the Styrofoam end caps as I anxiously remove the case from the box. Maybe this time I will carefully tip the box over (open end down) and lift the box off. Hmmm...

 

 

The standard heavy Styrofoam end caps keep everything in pristine condition. A plastic bag does its job and protects the case  from the wear induced by the Styrofoam on the journey to your door. Remove the main packing and there is generous use of clear plastic film to cover the front trim and side window. The box was a little banged up in shipping, but so far everything seems well protected.

  

Coolermaster COSMOS SE Closer Look:

This case weighs 10.8 kg / 23.8 lbs empty, so when I pulled it out of the box, it fought back a little. But the handles make all the difference. And fully loaded, you are over 30 lbs. So for me, handles are a must have. In fact, I think there should be a law that all cases over 20 lbs. must have handles. The COSMOS SE is a bit smaller and lighter than the COSMOS II and doesn't have all the goodies that the COSMOS II has, but the SE lists for about a hundred dollars less.

The case measures 263.8 x 569.4 x 524.4 mm / 10.4 x 22.4 x 20.6 inch. The entire front face is inset about a half inch and the front fascia is a removable plastic frame with a metal mesh insert for air flow. There is a fine mesh filter incorporated behind the front mesh and since the entire panel is easy to remove, cleaning is easy. Up front we have the familiar Cooler Master logo. Behind the front fascia are two 120mm fans (included) with blue LEDs. The three optical drive covers are easily removed from the front with just one finger.

Looking at the rear (starting from the bottom) we have the power supply bay - and it actually has a removable metal frame that attaches to your PSU and then screws to the case chassis. This mounting causes the PSU to stick out about a half inch and allows for a longer power supply.  Above and to the left are the seven expansion slots. Above and to the right there is a double wide vertical expansion slot with a removable cover. These are often used as space saving places to mount fan controllers, or a USB expansion card that doesn't plug into the motherboard. Continuing up we have two 1" and one 1/2" rubber grommeted holes for external liquid cooling. Above the holes is the 120mm (included) rear exhaust fan. To the left is the opening for the rear I/O and at the very top is a small horizontal vent that runs the width of the chassis. The top cover is held on with one center screw just above the vent.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just look at those handles. I can't count the times I have nearly had a case slip out of my hands. Not anymore with the COSMOS SE. Small cases aren't so bad, but larger cases certainly benefit from handles. And Cooler Master did a super job at incorporating them into the design on the COSMOS series. They don't look out of place or bulky.

The top has a nice cover similar in construction to the front fascia and we will see what is underneath a little later. I really like the sculpted curves that transition from the front to the top of the case. There is a mesh filter attached from the inside. Looking at the bottom we have the filter for the PSU and a second identical filter at the opposite end. Both are easily removed for quick cleaning.

 

The sides of the case are easy to remove and I really like that. I am in and out of my computers all the time, and some cases have sides that just don't want to line up, which is very frustrating. I noticed early on how well the sides fit on the COSMOS SE. The clear side window lets you show off your hardware. The window side is flat, and the opposite side has a decent bump out that has three horizontal and one vertical indentation. It looks like there is plenty of space for cable management. Both side panels use removable thumb screws for retention. There are two models, one with a mesh side panel (COS-5000-KKN1), and one with a clear window (COS-5000-KWN1). Today we have the COS-5000-KWN1.

 

 

Here is a close up of the front I/O. From left to right you have two USB 2.0 ports, a microphone jack, a headphone jack, and then two USB 3.0 ports. The power switch is to the upper left, and on the upper right there is the fan LED control switch and the reset button. The fan LED switch only controls the fan LEDs. There are two clear trim sections next to the buttons that glow with blue LEDs and they are on when your system is powered up. The HDD activity light is a narrow bar across the front just below the I/O (not shown) and we will see it all lit up later. I love the USB ports that don't have your flash drives sticking straight out where they can be bent or damaged by someone walking by. However, I would like to see the reset button by itself. It is easy to reach over in the dark to turn the fan LEDs on or off and accidentally give yourself a nice unexpected reboot.

 

 

The filter on the bottom is for the PSU intake. It easily slides in and out for quick cleaning. You don't have to tip the case up for filter access and this is certainly welcome on a larger case like the COSMOS SE. There is roughly 1.5" of clearance under the case, so there is plenty of room for fresh air to be drawn in. And there is also a second filter that pulls out from the front of the case.

Cooler Master COSMOS SE Closer Look: Working Components:

One look inside the COSMOS SE and you see a lot of space. And a lot of hard drive trays. In fact, you can mount eight hard drives or up to 18 solid state drives if you have a need for major storage. Motherboard support includes ATX, microATX, and Mini-ITX. There is a nice cut out in the motherboard tray that provides easy access for your CPU cooler installation and a hefty 34mm of space for cable management behind the motherboard tray. The craftsmanship and construction quality are evident inside this case. All the corners are rounded smooth. All the chassis panels line up and flawlessly fit together.

There are four included fans: two 120mm (blue LED) fans up front, one 140mm fan at the top, and one 120mm at the rear. All the fans are 3-pin and come with Molex adapters that are easy to remove. The view from the back shows the four rubber grommeted cable routing holes. There is a place at the top and bottom of the hard drive cage frame to mount an SSD. If you are a fan of liquid cooling, you have a few options. There is space for the standard 120mm rear radiator, up top you can go up to a 280mm radiator, and up front you can go with up to a 360mm radiator.

Again I have to say how much I like the handles. They sort of ruin it for cases without handles now. And the lower supports carry the handle theme at the bottom. There are four rubber isolators mounted to the bottom of the supports to keep your case from scratching or sliding around on the floor. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behind the front fascia you can see the two 120mm blue LED fans. There are two brackets included that are for mounting a radiator up front. There is enough room for a 360mm radiator and three fans. At the bottom there is a hard drive cage and you can access two hard drives and two SSDs from the front. This cage can be removed if you like. It is secured from the bottom of the case by four screws.

There are three optical drive covers, but only the top two bays are functional. The bottom "bay" allows access to the top of the upper front fan. The optical drive covers are easily removable from the front by pulling on the locking tab. This is a nice feature. One thing I find a little odd is that these covers are so easily removable, yet the optical drive bays are not tool-free. The optical drives are retained with screws.

 

 

 

 

One screw holds the top cover on. Take the cover off and you can see there is the one 140mm fan (included) and room for one more. Or you can go with two 120mm fans. You can also mount the fans on top and up to a 280mm radiator below. And if you mount the fans on top, Cooler Master made sure to have a hole to fish the fan connectors into the case.

 

The drive cage is made up of three zones, and each zone holds two hard drive trays and has a left and right section. With the sections in place, you can mount two 120mm fans to help cool your hard drives. But if you use a long video card or a front radiator, you will need to remove some (or all) of the sections. For my build, I removed the middle and bottom sections so I could get the GPU in there. The bottom two hard drive trays in the lower cage can remain. This also allows more space for the USB 3.0 cable to motherboard connection and the SATA cables coming off the motherboard.

Looking up you can see the top 140mm fan and the rear 120mm fan.  There is space at the top for two fans. Also at the upper left there is a generous hole for the CPU power cables. There is enough space above the motherboard so you can get the CPU power cable plugs through the access hole even after the motherboard is set in place. 

 

 

 

Here is what the hard drive trays look like. These are not your average flimsy hard drive trays. On the left is a tray in the normal poisition. To install a standard hard drive, there is a little tab underneath you push that allows you to pull the tray apart about a quarter of an inch. You then place your hard drive inside, align the pins with the holes in the side of the hard drive, and snap it shut. Your hard drive is now secured to the tray.

 

 

 

And you do the same thing for your SSD, except it mounts to the bottom side of the tray. You can have both drives attached to the same tray. There are also screw holes so each drive can be even more securly held in position.

 

This is one of the modular sections shown above. These make up the mounts for your hard drive trays. There are six of these - three on each side. You will likely have to remove these if you use a discrete video card. There are four screws that hold each section in. And if you use a front radiator, then these sections will also have to be removed. But you still have at least two hard drive trays at the bottom cage.

 

The hardware is standard and includes zip ties, a speaker, security lock buckle, miscellaneous motherboard stand offs, and mounting screws. Also there are two brackets for mounting a radiator to the front of the case. The instruction manual is thorough and easy to follow. The graphics and illustrations are well designed and easy to understand.

 

 

Here we have the final assembly. Lots of space for a nice clean build and great cable management; the build could not have gone any smoother. On the right you can see all the LEDs in action. The front fan LEDs can be turned off. I really like the hard drive activity light, which is a narrow horizontal bar just above the top optical drive. Most cases have a small LED tucked away and they are hard to see unless you are on top of them. But Cooler Master did a nice job on this one - you can see it from any angle. Normally it has a steady blue glow until there is some HDD activitiy, then the blue intensifies. On top there are two blue trim sections that accent the top buttons. These are on whenever your system is powered up. It would be nice to have a switch to turn these off (like the fan LEDs) as they are rather bright, especially if you are in a dark room.     

 

Cooler Master COSMOS SE Specifications:

 

Available Color:
Midnight Black
Materials:
Polymer, steel, aluminum, mesh front bezel, rubber
Dimensions:
263.8 x 569.4 x 524.4 mm / 10.4 x 22.4 x 20.6 inch
Net Weight:
10.8 kg / 23.8 lbs
M/B Type:
ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX
5.25" Drive Bays:
3 (exposed)
3.5" Drive Bays:
8 (hidden)
2.5" Drive Bays:
18 (hidden; 16 converted from 3.5" bays)
I/O Panel:
USB 3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x 2, Audio In & Out
Expansion Slots:
7
Cooling System:
Top: 120/140mm fan x 2 (one 140mm black fan installed, 1200 RPM, 19 dBA)
Front: 120mm blue LED fan x 2 (installed; with LED on/off), or 140mm fan x 1 (optional)
Rear: 120mm fan x 1 (installed, 1200 RPM, 17 dBA)
Side: 120/140mm fan x 1 (optional)
HDD cage: 120mm fan x 2 (optional)
Power Supply:
Standard ATX PS2
Maximum Compatibility:
 
VGA card length:
with HDD bracket: 276mm / 10.9 inch
without HDD bracket: 395mm / 15.5 inch
CPU cooler height: 175mm / 6.9 inch

 

 

Cooler Master COSMOS SE Features:

 

 

Information provided by: "http://www.coolermaster.com/product/Detail/case/full-tower-cosmos-series/cosmos-se.html"

Cooler Master COSMOS SE Testing:

Testing involved recording temperatures for the CPU, GPU, and motherboard during idle and load phases. The load was simulated by running Prime95’s small FFTs and 3Dmark Vantage for one hour. The maximum temperatures were recorded using HW Monitor 1.21.0. Please note that each case is tested as delivered, including location of fans, unless otherwise noted.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The CPU and GPU idle temps were as expected, nothing remarkable. But under a load, we see the CPU temps on the Phanteks Enthoo Primo and the Corsair Air 540 were a little below the other cases. This tells me that the air flow through the cases, at least for the Noctua intake, is not all the same. There seems to be an advantage, however slight, for the Phanteks and Corsair cases. For the Corsair case, maybe it is the fact that there isn't a hard drive cage that the front fans have to push through. The air can go directly to the CPU cooler. And on the Phanteks, it is such a large case (internal volume) and the case fan at the bottom may give it an advantage.

The GPU temps were virtually identical for idle and load between all the cases. So it looks like the GPU is getting a consistent supply of intake air between all the cases.

Cooler Master COSMOS SE Conclusion:

This is an amazing case. Solid, well-built, and looks great from any angle. A true case for the enthusiast. It really has the "wow" factor and it is a nice compliment to the larger COSMOS II. To some, a computer case is a necessary evil. A cold, sterile place for your computer hardware. To others it is a statement. A bold line in the sand. And those people spend a lot of time examining each model, each brand - comparing features, options and prices (I am one of those people). Anytime a new model comes out I pour over the details. But it is just a case, right? Well, to me each case has a personality and selecting the right case is an essential part of the build. The COSMOS series has five models, each with a feature set and price point aimed at a specific group. The SE brings a lot to the table, and looks great doing it. It has space, expandability, and support for large top and front radiators. For the enthusiast or even the casual builder who is looking for a case with a lot of bang for the buck, the COSMOS SE hits that sweet spot of total functionality and style that won't disappoint.

As for the cons - there certainly aren't any show stoppers, but I think the reset button needs to be by itself. I haven't done it (yet) on this case, but on other cases that have the reset button located next to a fan or LED switch, I somehow manage to give myself a nice "surpirse" reboot. It only takes a time or two of doing that and you know darn well where the reset button is. And the optical drive bays not being tool-free - well, once they are installed you don't really fool with taking them in and out, so if it takes an extra minute during the build to install a couple of screws, is that a con? No, not really.

Pricing is comparable to other cases with similar features and the vented side version (COS-5000-KKN1) is available at Newegg on October 10, 2013, for $169.99 + shipping. The windowed version (COS-5000-KWN1), which is our review case, will likely cost a little more. Cooler Master has hit the ball out of the park with the COSMOS SE. A great looking, high quality case with a ton of features.

 

 

Pros:

 

Cons: