Installation & Wrap Up
For the purpose of reviewing the case and building a new test bed for in-house testing, we installed the following hardware inside the Cosmos II:
- Intel Core i7-3930K
- Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 Heatsink
- Gigabyte X79-UD3
- Kingston HyperX 8GB (4x 2GB) 2400MHz kit
- Kingston HyperX 120GB SSD
- Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti
- Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1300W PSU
- Noctua NF-F12 PWM Fans
I've been a fan of NZXT's Premium Cables for quite some time and when time came to put together this build (that I'm keeping for my personal use) I knew these would be the perfect complement. NZXT offers a multitude of cables in either black, white or red sleeving; we went with a combination of black and white cables for this build.
As for general hardware installation, there were no surprises with the Cosmos II. Everything fit as it should and the toolless 5.25" drive bay worked perfectly.
The only issue I ran into was with the Noctua NF-F12 PWM fans. I removed the stock rear 140mm fan and the top 120mm fan and swapped in three of the Noctua fans to match the ones on the heatsink. I planned to connect these to the integrated fan controller, but only after the fact did I realize that Noctua's fans use a 3-pin style header that actually has four pins. The 3-pin receiving end on the fan controller physically wouldn't accept this connector. I ultimately had to connect these fans to headers on the motherboard, thus bypassing the Cosmos II's fan controller.
Relevant to the discussion is something I noticed with the fan controller's LED control feature. To use it with an LED fan, this will require a separate LED control connector, something that I haven't seen on any third-party fans, just the ones that come stock with the Cosmos II. It's a neat feature to have, but note that your fans will need to support the extra control section for it to be of any use.
Here you can see the mass of extra cables that are completely out of sight on the other side of the motherboard tray. I didn't have any trouble closing the door either.
With some other cases that don't provide as much space for cables, I've run into issues trying to reinstall panels against a bulge of cables.
Starting with the exterior, the subtle side panel vents really fit this case. The bottom case feet and top handles complement the simple and modern design, while the front door hides the drive bays nicely. The same can be said for the top sliding door used to cover the fan controller and front I/O panel. Overall the design is smoother than my other favorite full tower, the Corsair 800D.
Inside there is more than enough room with accommodations for up to 13 hard drives (does anyone really use that many drives?). Cable management is handled by several pass-through holes on the motherboard tray complete with rubber grommets. There is plenty of room behind the tray to store a wealth of unused cables as well. The provisions here are almost as good as the 800D but not quite. I wish Cooler Master would have added a bank of pass-through holes across the bottom of the motherboard area as well. Otherwise, job well done.
As for ease of use, this case wins hands-down. I love the easy-open side panel doors, the toolless 5.25" drive bay works perfectly and everything feels solid overall.
Speaking of solid, this case is flat out heavy at 48.5 pounds empty. Once you install your hardware, you probably shouldn't plan on any LAN parties unless you're well-conditioned.
Cooling is well covered with several options for both air and water cooling enthusiasts. The stock air cooling should be plenty for the average build, but if you're more of a tinkerer or hardcore overclocker and plan to load the Cosmos II up with a ton of hardware, know that you do have cooling options.
If you're looking for a full tower system that's capable of holding a ridiculous amount of hardware, look no further than Cooler Master's Cosmos II. I've been using the competing and super capable Corsair 800D for over two years, but the torch has now been passed on - the Cosmos II is my new all-time favorite chassis.
All that said, be prepared to throw down the big bucks if you want to take one home. As of writing the Cosmos II retails for $349 and there's no way around the fact that $350 is a lot of money for a case. But as they say, you get what you pay for and if you're looking to invest in a great case for the long run, this could very well be it.
Pros: The Cosmos II lives up to the tremendous hype. Ample and solidly built. Well designed overall, lots of cooling options. You will be hard pressed to find a case that looks sleeker than this.
Cons: Very heavy and pricey.