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January 10, 2014

Unboxed & Reviewed: Cooler Master Cosmos SE


Cooler Master's Cosmos series chassis is no stranger to PC enthusiast & case modders, easily identified with its unique appearance - a colossal full tower chassis with curved metal bar serves as its handle and case feet. Over the years Cosmos series chassis has served much purposes to PC enthusiast & case modders, be it water cooling or air cooling, the colossal Cosmos series chassis has all you need.

Our review this time will be the latest member in the Cosmos series - Cosmos SE. Being smaller in size while retaining the appearance of its predecessor and possibly its expandability, the Cooler Master Cosmos SE will soon be available at the attractive price of 499 Malaysian Ringgit. Million thanks to Cooler Master for bringing us the Cosmose SE review unit, making this review possible. 



Features

Warranty2 Years from Cooler Master
Dimension263.8mm x 569.4mm  524.4mm
Motherboard Supportextended ATX, ATX, mATX, ITX 
Expansion Slots7
VGA card support:
276mm without removing HDD bracket
395mm with HDD bracket removed 
TypeFull Tower
MaterialSteel, Plastic, Aluminum
Drive Bays5.25" : 3
3.5" :  8
2.5": 18 (where 16 is converted from 3.5" bay)
Cooling Option
Top: 120mm/140mm x 2 (a 140mm fan is included) 
Front: 120mm x 2 ( a pair of blue LED fan is included)
Rear: 120mm x 1 (included) 
Side: 120mm 140mm (optional for mesh side panel version, not included)
Radiators: 120mm (rear), 240mm/280mm (top), possible 360mm (front, with drive bays removed)
Tower CPU Cooler: supports up to 175mm in height
Front I/OUSB 3.0 Ports
x USB 2.0 Ports
x Speaker/ headphone
x Microphone
Power SupplyNot included

*The Cosmos SE can be found in 2 different version - Windowed Side Panel and Mesh Side Panel

Overview


Starting off with the packaging, the picture displayed at the front pretty much shows what you're getting which in our case is the Cosmos SE Windowed Panel Edition. Part of the description that stated 'Support up to 280/360mm radiator' is quite did caught our interest at first glance.



The Cosmos SE is seen flanked by 2 pieces of thick polystyrene that act as a protection layer to absorbs shock and prevent the chassis from getting damaged if there's any improper handling during transport. It allows you to have things arrived in the best condition possible


What makes it a Cosmos - the iconic curved metal bar as handle and case feet used on every Cosmos ever produced. 


The Optical Drive bay cover can be removed from the front by giving the lever as shown in the picture above a gentle pull, much handy compared to the others that requires removal from the inside. This ingenious design from Cooler Master is pretty much one of a kind because this is the first time we've came encounter with such feature from a PC chassis. What's more, the Optical Drive bay cover will not be pushed out of place by accident thanks to this design.



The front mesh can be easily removed as well for cleaning without having to remove the entire front panel. Cooler Master also included two 120mm LED fan as front intake. The LED on these fans can be switched on & off with the switch located at the top panel.


So basically this is all you need to remove if there's any necessity for cleaning, mounting new fans, installing optical drive- anything you need to do at the front.


The front mesh comes with a fine layer of mesh filter that helps to keep the dust out of your system. Compared to using a layer of sponge as filter, the mesh filter is easier to clean, less prone to tear damage and dry faster if the cleaning is done using water (not recommended).


 The Cosmos SE front IO is located at the top of the front bezel, where it comes with 2 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0 and audio jacks.



And here's the switches for power on, on/off LED on the fans and reset. Once powered up, the side from of the switches will lit in blue, just as advertised:

Since it only comes with blue colored LED, a DIY on replacing the pre-installed LED is the only way to get it to match a different color theme of your desired mod.


The top panel is a raised mesh design as well for maximum airflow and of course, it's removable for fan installation, mounting radiators.



There's a piece of thumbscrew securing the top panel to the bottom chassis, by removing this thumbscrew you will gain access to the inner part of the top panel.



After removing the thumbscrew, gently slide the top panel to the back and ... 


There you have it, the extra slot for mounting fans and radiator. For slim type radiator like the ones on the Corsair H100, there'll be plenty space for it and you can even set it in a push pull configuration without any issue.


Even having a motherboard with thermal armor like the Sabertooth Z87 from Asus, there's no issue  mounting a H100 in the Cosmos SE.


Thick radiators will fit as well on the Cosmos SE, but make sure you're not using a motherboard with a low compatibility for top radiator, especially the Sabertooth Z87 from Asus. But if you do, no worries as the good news is that you still get to set things up in either push or pull configuration where the fans is installed at the top.

This is the place where your fan cable on the top can pass through and reaches power source below. 


Thumbscrews as usual, life these days is made easier by this little guy. You will need a screw driver to loosen it for the first time when its out of the box.


These rubber grommets kept the holes for external radiator covered for a clean and tidy appearance. If there's any necessary for mounting an external radiator, these rubber grommets can be removed and the tubing for your external radiator can be passed through these holes.



We're now looking at the bottom of the Cosmos SE, the Cosmos series iconic curved metal bars that act as the case feet with rubber pads mounted as a cushion and two pieces of removable filters that helps letting fresh air in while keeping the dust out of your system.


These filters can be easily removed for cleaning with a simple slide in and out design, as simple as one two three.


A closer look at the gap of the filters and see how small it is, you can already imagine the amount of dust is going to get trapped on the filter after a while.


The side panels is extremely sturdy, way much sturdier than any average chassis you can find out there as it doesn't flex easily even after an amount of force that could easily flex an average chassis side panel is applied onto it.

Other than that, the large and clear side panel window allows you to showcase your rig to your friends. The side panel for motherboard tray has an embossed structure specially designed to give some extra spaces to cater with excessive cables behind the motherboard tray that usually causes trouble in closing up the side panel, not to mention the over pressure might sometimes damage your power supply cables. 


The motherboard tray is nicely done, the location of each cable tie hole used for cable routing is placed at the most frequently used path, large motherboard tray cutout for the easy of mounting CPU coolers and a decent depth behind the motherboard tray to fit more cables.  



The motherboard tray cutout is often found on higher end PC chassis where it allows you to install a higher end CPU cooler after installing your motherboard in the first place, compared to lower end PC chassis without the cutout that requires you to install the cooler on the motherboard before installing it into the chassis.


As you can see, the depth of the motherboard tray is a no joke. With the additional space from the motherboard tray side panel, you could virtually fit all cables from a non-modular power supply without facing any issue in closing up the side panel.


Taking a good look at the interior, you can see that everything behind the  scene   motherboard tray is pretty much well hidden thanks to the large rubber grommet pieces and the HDD tray. 


engraved to the motherboard tray is the motherboard installation guide, a very useful guide which you won't be seeing on any low end PC chassis.


The power supply mounting comes with 2 large rubber pads to absorb vibration causes by moving parts on the power supply (fans mostly) that will generate noise.


Other than the LED fans included at the front panel, there's two more fans included - 120mm fan mounted on the rear fan mount and 140mm fan mounted on the top fan mount where both fan act as exhaust fan to draw heat out from the Cosmos SE.


Moving on to the hard drive caddy, it seems nothing special at first glace as it looks just like a plain caddy on the modern day high end PC chassis.


By taking a closer look, there's actually some hidden structure right below the caddy. The structure allows you to widen the width of the caddy for the ease of installation and less prone to breaking the caddy while mounting a hard drive on it.


There's also a specially designed mounting slot for 2.5" drives where you can mount your SSD or 2.5" hard drive at the bottom of the drive caddy.


At the side of the 2.5" drive mount, there's screw holes which you can fasten with the screws that comes with your SSD. Personally we don't think it's necessary as it already held everything nice and firm, but it's up to you to decide whether to secure it even more with the screws.



This design allow you to have both hard drive and SSD mounted on a single caddy. There's no issue with the clearance in between each drive caddy.


There's another hard drive bay which can be accessed from the front panel, right below the LED fans included. This act as a 'bunker' for your hard drives / SSD in case you need to remove all the other drive caddies for long graphics card support.  


As stated in the specification, these metal pieces that act as your hard drive cage can be removed for special purposes like mounting long graphics card or radiators.


You should know that certain sacrifice is necessary for removing these, less hard drives for your system. For each of these removed, 2 caddies will be taken out from the system.


 To support long cards like the Asus GTX 680 which takes up 3 expansion slot, you will have to remove 2 of the metal pieces which equals to removing 4 caddies out from your system. It won't hurt much if you planned to have only one hard drive with one SSD in the first place.


If you ought to install large, thick and bulky radiators at the front, you will have to remove the entire hard drive cage which including the LED fans.



The entire hard drive cage can removed easily from the chassis for special purposes such as case modding, mounting radiators for watercooling.  


The hard drive cage is all held in place by screws that can be easily removed instead of rivets used in low budget PC chassis which requires some tools to remove and has to be done carefully.




Testing Method



Up next with our testing methodology, the test is carried out in a room with ambient temperature of 30ÂșC  with the following setup:

Test Rig Configuration
CPUi7 4770K overclocked to 4.3GHz
MotherboardAsus Sabertooth Z87
MemoryCorsair Vengeance Pro 1600 MHz 4GB x 4
GraphicsAsus GTX680 DirectCU II OC - stock speed
Power SupplySilverstone ST60F-P 600W 80+ Bronze
DrivesWestern Digital Caviar Blue 500GB
Cooler
Cooler Master Nepton 140XL


The airflow for this setup consists two LED fans in front as intake, while the exhaust consists only the pair of 140mm fan mounted on the radiator. Our CPU stress test is done using Prime95 with the option 'In-place large FFTs' for maximum heat output from the CPU. On the other hand, FurMark is used on GPU with its infamous Furry Donut. The stress test is done 3 times separately where each test took an hour to get a stable temperature reading. The final result is calculated and plotted on the graph as below:




By having only two 120mm fans in the front as intake and only the radiator as exhaust, the temperature that we're getting from this test is quite acceptable. Other than being rather noisy on full load, these fans actually did a pretty good job in keeping the air in and out of the chassis. We're sure that the result would be even better if low noise fans with high static pressure is used in the test, giving your a better temperature and being pleasant to your ears at the same time.



Final Thoughts


Being both aesthetic looking and rock solid build, the Cosmos SE really piqued our interest. From almost tool free installation to its much potential for expansion such as external radiators etc, we can't really find much reason to pick holes on the Cosmos SE. 

Pros:
- Stunning appearance, the iconic curved metal bars of the Cosmos Series
- Pretty much tool free installation
- Easily removable optical drive covers, front panel for cleaning purposes
- Removable 
- Large window panel to show off your awesome looking system
- Extremely sturdy side panel, one of the best we've ever encountered
- Large space behind motherboard tray and the embossed side panel gives extra spaces for cable routing unlike any other
- Hard drive caddy that allow installation for both 3.5" and 2.5" drives on the same caddy
- Cable tie holes located at frequently used path for cable routing
- Cables can be well hidden without any much trouble
- A hidden hard drive bay at the most bottom of the entire hard drive cage as a spare place for your hard drive if the entire top hard drive bay is occupied by radiator for water cooling.

Cons:
- The on/off switch for the front LED fans will render useless if both LED fans is removed.
- Removing hard drive cage is required to support long cards, which is equivalent of losing some 2 hard drive for each hard drive cage.

With the cons being outnumbered by the pros, we'd say that the Cosmos SE is worth to invest for at the price of 499 Malaysian Ringgit and it truly deserves a highest award we could ever offer - the Gold Award with Recommended Award. 

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