Cooler Master Cosmos SE Case Review
I’m not going to lie, five years ago when Cooler Master originally launched the Cosmos 1000, I found myself scratching my head at its off the wall design! Needless to say despite its very bold and original approach I didn’t like it much. Roll on a few years and my tastes have changed, now we are on to the fifth case in the Cosmos series, the Cooler Master Cosmos SE. Of course a few things have changed, including support for a vast array of water cooling (120, 240, 280 and 360mm radiator support), in fact you can squeeze in three radiators at once (120+280 & 360mm) if you so wish. Support for up to 8 3.5 HDDs and 18 SSDs, removable dust filters (top, front and bottom), 8 fan mounts, USB 3.0 support, LED fans and an LED controller.
|‘Extreme Performance Starts Here – COSMOS SE! More aggressive, more furious – a sporty addition to the COSMOS series – the COSMOS SE. It features a classic supercar design with curved aluminum handles. Behind the front mesh panel are two 120mm blue LED fans with a LED on/off function. Liquid cooling is the name of the game. It supports up to 3 radiators at once – 120 & 280 & 360mm (rear/top/front). The expandability is supports up to 8 HDDs/18 SSDs.’|
But the ‘Supercar’ inspired design with aluminium curve handles still remains the same (although, I don’t recall seeing a ‘Supercar’ with a similar design or curved handles?!?).
On paper the Cooler Master Cosmos SE shows a lot of potential, with the unique Cosmos styling we could have a monster of a case on our hands; but will that really be the case (bad pun I know)?
I must admit to being a little surprised when the Cooler Master Cosmos SE arrived on my doorstep. Instead of the usual brown box that most items of this size arrive in, I was greeted by a rather nice (although slightly battered) predominantly black and purple box. On the front of which is a rendition of the Cosmos SE, the Cooler Master logo and a few key features.
- Supports up to 280/360mm radiators
- Supports up to 8 HDDs/18 SSDs
- Blue LED fans with LED on/off switch
The back of the box has front, back and side images of the Cosmos SE and highlights the various features and their locations (shown above in pic).
Encased within a two piece polystyrene block, we find a very well packed Cooler Master Cosmos SE in a protective bag, within which the accessories and Operators Manual are hidden. The external box may have arrived somewhat battered, but the contents have been packaged well and this has therefore prevented any damage.
Once we’ve removed all of the packaging, we can see how cool the Cosmos SE looks (although this is subjective, kinda like Marmite I guess).
Included in the box is a User Manual, warranty information, case buzzer, assorted screws and stand-offs, 360mm radiator mounting bracket, cable ties and a stand-off socket.
courtesy of Cooler Master
|Available Color||Midnight Black|
|Materials||Polymer, steel, aluminium, mesh front bezel, rubber|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||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|
|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 Type||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
On the front we have 3 x removable 5.25 bay covers and a rather large removable fan grill (behind this lives 2x120mm blue LED fans). What’s nice about the fan grill is the rather large dust filter that is built into it. Although the 5.25 bay covers do a perfectly serviceable job, I personally feel they spoil the overall look of the Cosmos SE a little.
Moving to the back shows the exhaust port, cut-out for the motherboard I/O, 7 x expansion slots, PSU cut-out and mounting bracket as well as various rubber grommeted ports for water cooling. Taking a closer look at the PSU cut-out, you’ll notice a removable cage. Cooler Master use this method in many of their cases to allow for over-sized PSU’s.
When viewed from above we see the Cosmos signature handles, another large removable grill (there is a thumbscrew at the back of the grill to release it). Behind this is another dust filter and enough space for 2 x 120mm or 2 x 140mm fans. Would this roof cavity have enough space to squeeze in a slim radiator for a custom loop? Sadly that’s debatable…
Underneath the Cosmos SE shows the legs with rubber grips (these should be enough to prevent the case sliding around on almost any surface) and two more removable dust filters (the front one can only be removed after the front grill has been taken off).
Starting on the less exciting (or less seen) right side, this shows a rather large and not too unpleasant looking hump (this should make my legendary cable mis-management a little easier to hide! ;)).
On the left side we have a rather large and unusually shaped, but likeable side window to show off all your hardware goodies inside the Cosmos SE.
From the outside the Cosmos SE looks deceptively small (263.8 x 569.4 x 524.4mm), but popping off the side panels reveals that Cooler Master have put a hell of a lot inside it (I’ve yet to find a kitchen sink though!).
Starting on the right; in the top and bottom left corners we have two hidden SSD mounts, the backs of all six drive sled’s, a cut-out in the motherboard tray for easy CPU mounting (this is probably the largest cut-out I’ve seen!), four well placed and rubber grommeted holes for easy cable management and plenty of cable-tie mounts to help keep them tidy (or not in my case ;)).
Back to the left side; we see running from top to bottom a massive drive cage. The entire cage itself is not removable, but there are three sets of mounts you can remove from this if your finding you need a little extra space. Each set of mounts holds two drive sled’s, so you’ve no need to panic if you do need to take out a few mounts (personally I’d have liked the option to remove the entire cage!).
As always Cooler Master has seen fit to stick on their rather nice and shiny aluminium badge on the front grill.
Not the most exciting photo granted (below), but in any case cable management is very important for not only a tidy build, but for air flow. Behind the Cooler Master Cosmos SE motherboard tray allows for 3cm working space (if you take into allowance the slight hump on the side panel this is approximately 3.4cm in some areas). Given the space and how well designed the back off the motherboard tray is, with a little time and effort you should be make an incredibly clean looking area.
So far so good. The Cooler Master Cosmos SE looks great and promises huge potential, but will it deliver it?
The first order of the day is to fit the motherboard stand-offs to the appropriate ATX mounts, this isn’t a particularly taxing job, but is made all the more easier with Cooler Master’s Stand-Off Socket. Next up PSU, the Corsair AX760i (160mm) fitted into the PSU cage easily, then slots straight into the back of the Cosmos SE and fixed. Given the available space, PSU’s of most sizes will fit in without any hassle.
The motherboard IO plate then slots into place and the MSI Z87-G45 GAMING motherboard is slipped into that and fixed to the stand-offs, the Intel I5-4670K is then mounted onto its socket, using the oversized motherboard tray cut-out. Next the Raijintek Themis CPU cooler is easily fitted, the Kingston HyperX Beast 8GB Kit (2x4GB) are slotted into place, then the wiring begins…
Unfortunately at this point things start to go a little south… It turns out the 24 pin PSU Molex really needs to be popped through the appropriate cut-out, before the mobo is installed (not a huge problem, more a minor inconvenience). Then there’s the USB 3.0 header on the motherboard. Coming straight off the side of the motherboard with a pretty stiff USB 3.0 front IO cable means one of the drive cages needs to come out (this also means losing two drive trays, again this isn’t a major issue as there are still plenty of drive bays still available).
Next up I install the storage devices. In this case I’m using Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5 HDD and a OCZ Vertex 3 120GB 2.5 SSD (I’ve still got to Game after all!). I choose to use one of the removable cage mounts to fit these, being tool-less the drive is simply pinned into the drive sled, all nice and easy.
Last but not least is the GPU. So by popping out a couple of PCI-E expansion covers out, I make some space for the MSI R9 290 GAMING 4GB. Not the biggest GPU in the world granted, but at 276mm it isn’t short either. Luckily a previously restrictive drive bay had already been removed to make the fitting that little bit easier.
So despite one or two small setbacks, the Cosmos SE build is pretty straightforward, then with with a little tidying up (cable management/jamming excess cables through the grommets never to be seen again ;)) it looks good too.
Now that the pcG Test Rig, is installed into the Cooler Master Cosmos SE and it all looks very pretty, but what do we do with it? I suppose a few benchmarks are in order…
At pcGameware we use Prime95 and CoreTemp to evaluate CPU temperatures and we use MSI Afterburner to evaluate the GPU temperatures. Of course Prime95 being a CPU stress test also helps to generate heat for us to check the case thermals, but what about GPU’s? Why we use UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0 of course!
CPU performance testing is carried out using Prime95 to stress the CPU. Each run is timed for 15 mins and the maximum temperature is recorded for all cores and then the average core heat is taken. Testing was carried out at both 3.4GHz (Stock) and at 4.0GHz (MSI OC Genie).
GPU performance testing is carried out by running UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0 for 15 minutes and then recording the maximum GPU temperature recorded.
|Case Fan Speed||CPU Cooler Fan Speed||Ambient Temperature||Max CPU Temperature (core average)||Delta Temperature||Noise Level|
|Case Fan Speed||CPU Cooler Fan Speed||Ambient Temperature||Max CPU Temperature (core average)||Delta Temperature||Noise Level|
|Case Fan Speed||Ambient Temperature||Max GPU Temperature||Delta Temperature||Noise Level|
As you can see from the above table, the Cooler Master Cosmos SE seems to have very little effect in helping to cool our MSI R9 290 Gaming OC 4G. Admittedly the R9 290 GPU’s do run a little on the warm side (ED: to say the least!), even the non-reference models, but I was expecting a slightly more positive effect, from such a large enclosure.
Now for a little performance comparison between our Test Rig case, the Cooler Master HAF XB and the Cooler Master Cosmos SE. Both cases have been tested with all case fans set at 100%, so although a little noisier than probably necessary, at least we get to see the maximum performance values.
|Case||Case Fan Speed||CPU Cooler Fan Speed||Ambient Temperature||Max CPU Temperature (core average)||Delta Temperature||Noise Level|
|Cooler Master Cosmos SE||100%||25%||21.00||67.25||46.25||49db|
|Cooler Master Cosmos SE||100%||100%||19.50||63.00||43.50||54db|
|Cooler Master HAF XB||100%||25%||20.00||70.75||50.75||38db|
|Cooler Master HAF XB||100%||100%||19.50||68.00||48.50||47db|
Rather unsurprisingly, the Cosmos SE has the slight edge over the HAF XB in terms of CPU cooling. Of course the additional airflow provided by the 140mm roof fan is the most likely reason for this. At the lower 25% CPU fan speed, the Raijintek Themis showed a difference of 3.5 degrees (67.25 vs 70.75) and at 100% a difference of 5 degrees (63.00 vs 68.00). This may only be a small difference, but we all know how big that can be when trying to chase higher and more stable overclocks.
Given the overall setup the loudest component in this build is clearly the Raijintek Themis (not that it’s especially loud). The Cooler Master Cosmos SE itself has a pretty sound acoustic performance. Sure it won’t win any awards for silence, but the SE is not marketed as a ‘silent’ case. Given it’s styling I’d say this is more a Gamers case, any Gamers headset or speaker setup will easily hide the background noise.
When the Cooler Master Cosmos SE arrived on my doorstep, I admit I was more than a little excited. The box was sadly a little ruffled from transit, but this didn’t really detract from a rather pleasant unboxing experience.
The case itself is very well built with a variety of quality materials (Polymer, steel, aluminium, mesh front bezel and rubber) and it was certainly not as big as I was expecting (263.8 x 569.4 x 524.4 mm), which no doubt helped to conceal it’s weight from me (at 10.8kg it’s probably the heaviest case of this size I’ve used!). I personally believe it to be one of the best looking cases on the market, of course this is rather subjective (if Marmite made cases?!).
The Cosmos SE has more than adequate airflow courtesy of the four included fans (front: 2x120mm blue LED fans, rear: 1x120mm, roof: 1x140mm) and offers space for up to seven 120mm fans in total. The case also caters for a vast array of water cooling (how many other cases of this size offer support for a loop of 120+280 & 360mm at the same time straight out of the box!?) and with support for up to 18 SSDs and 8 HDDs you could potentially use the Cosmos SE as a case for a high-end server.
But, overall I’m left with mixed feelings for the Cooler Master Cosmos SE. It very much wants to be a jack of all trades, but remains the master of none. It has the looks that some will love, yet others will loathe. The space dedicated to storage is too high and comes at the expense of the Cosmos SE’s other features, I very much doubt that anyone would buy the SE and use it for a server; stranger still, why are none of these hot-swappable? The water cooling support out of the box is a great addition, but if you want to use that to it’s full capacity you lose the majority of the storage bays (if you put a 360mm rad in the front, you will essentially lose all bar the two hidden SSD bays). Of course if your motherboard has a horizontal USB 3.0 header o the edge of the board (see hardware installation above) you’ll most likely lose storage space anyway! Despite all the variety of choice for expandability inside the case, you can’y help feel that the Cosmos SE doesn’t really know what it want’s to be and I can’t help but wonder how much better the case would be if it were only slightly bigger.
I really wanted to love the Cooler Master Cosmos SE and on paper I do, but in practice I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. For what the case offers and to have ‘that’ Cosmos look the £140.00 (approx) price tag is not unreasonable at all, it’s a good case after all. Perhaps I just expected a little too much…
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Many thanks to Cooler Master for providing this sample for review