Cooler Master Cosmos SE Full Tower Introduction
Cooler Master has been known for making some great computer hardware, and cases are no exception. Back in 2007, Cooler Master came out with the first iteration of the Cosmos case, named the Cosmos 1000. This case was well received by enthusiasts, and even I myself purchased one because I loved the design, features, and size. Over time, Cooler Master came out with different versions to add new features or even just minor updates to the original Cosmos 1000 case under the Cosmos 1010 name. Today we’re going to take a look at another version of the Cosmos, the freshly available Cosmos SE. The Cosmos SE is significantly smaller than its siblings, so let’s take a look and see what the Cosmos SE has to offer inside a smaller package!
Shown off earlier this year at Computex and announced a few weeks ago at Gamescon, the Cosmos SE is again the smaller sibling to the original Cosmos cases. This case comes in at 263.8 x 569.4 x 524.4mm, compared to the Cosmos 1000’s 266 x 598 x 628mm; width, height, depth, respectively. With that said, this tighter package does indeed have a lot to offer, and you’ll catch that by the specifications below.
Cooler Master has taken note by the sleek curves and design of supercars to design this case, while still featuring the signature aluminum handles found on the other Cosmos cases. Sporting a flat black finish inside and out, this case surely should go along with the rest of your gear. Inside, there is a ton of room for air or water cooling support, as well as plenty of room for a full sized ATX motherboard with multiple video cards! If you want to go the water cooling route, this case supports up to three coolers at once, these being 120, 240/280, and 360mm (back, top, front respectively) in size.
What’s even more interesting is the ability to have up to EIGHTEEN (18) SSDs installed in this beast! Talk about insane! Of course if you want to have that many SSDs installed you lose the ability to install any standard hard disks. On the other side, you can have up to eight (8) standard 3.5” HDDs placed in here, so this case has a ton of storage potential.
Dust filters throughout the system will help ensure that your hardware stays clean and operates optimally; Well, if you clean the filters off every once in a while, anyway. (I’m guilty!!)
The Cooler Master Cosmos comes in two models, one with a window and one without. The one that we’re going to review today is the windowed version (Model: COS-5000-KWN1), which has a retail of $169.99 and will be available October 9th! Should you not care to have a window, the non-window – mesh side – version (Model: COS-5000-KKN1), but we aren't sure what the price will be on that version just yet. Both products have a warranty of 2 years should you have a problem with your Cosmos SE.
Cooler Master Cosmos SE Technical Specifications:
- Model Number: COS-5000-KKN1 / COS-5000-KWN1
- Available Color: Midnight Black
- Materials: Polymer, steel, aluminum, 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
- 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 Type: Standard ATX PS2
- Maximum Compatibility VGA card length:
- with HDD bracket: 276mm / 10.9 inch
- without HDD bracket: 395mm / 15.5 inch
- Maximum CPU cooler height: 175mm / 6.9 inch
This case does include four fans in total, with the front fans having blue LEDs and measuring 120mm, while the rear and top mount measure 120mm and 140mm respectively. I know some people really dislike blue LEDs, since they can be overly bright, so Cooler Master allows you to turn these off if you wish. Let’s just say, they were thinking like the consumer, here! I personally like the blue LEDs featured on many systems, so I probably would keep them on.
Let’s move on and check out how Cooler Master packed this case up and accounted for abuse during transit.
Cooler Master Cosmos SE Packaging & Unboxing
We all hope that manufacturers pack the contents of our purchase inside something very protective, to help ensure shippers don’t damage the goods during transit, when purchasing online.
Starting off looking at the front of the box, you can tell that Cooler Master took some time on this box to make it look neat and very presentable. The front shows a glamour show of the Cosmos SE with the mesh side panel, as well as a small section that tells you what you actually purchased. As mentioned earlier, we received the Windowed version. There are a couple little features listed here, too.
On the right hand side, we see nothing more than a nice product shot of the Cosmos SE from another angle.
On the back side is where all you’ll find all kinds of features of the case, as well as a bulleted list of more features in multiple languages.
Finally on the left side if where all of the technical specifications are listed.
There is nothing of importance on the top or bottom.
Cracking open the top of the box we see how Cooler Master packed the Cosmos SE inside.
Pulling the case out, you can see how thick the Styrofoam blocks actually are.
Placed inside the case was a small box containing the standoffs, front mount radiator brackets, zip ties, a speaker, and instructions for getting the Cosmos SE setup.
Well, that’s about all there is to the unboxing, so let’s rip these Styrofoam blocks and plastic bag off and see what this beast really looks like.
Cosmos SE Exterior Impressions
I originally picked up the first Cosmos 1000 case due to its slick design, features such as air filters, tons of room for internal storage, and silence. Let’s take a look and see how Cooler Master designed the Cosmos SE with these same factors in mind, starting with the exterior of the case.
Pulling all of the packing materials off, we can definitely see the Cosmos look, and it’s a good one!
One more clean look at the Cosmos SE front.
Up top are the 5.25” bays, three in total. The 5.25” bays have a cover that’s super easy to remove. You simply pop it off by putting your finger under the latch on the cover and pull. It will unlock and pull out. If you take note, you will see that the bottom 5.25” bay is covered by a fan. The cover that is in place here will actually restrict airflow from this fan a bit. This bottom bay can be used, but at the expense of removing HDD trays and removing the top fan.
Below the 5.25” bays is a mesh grille that can be easily removed. Simply tug on the bottom of this grille and pull forward. I have tucked the front cover under the case slightly in the below picture. Pulling this cover off will expose two 120mm intake fans. Again, these fans will have a blue LED on them when fired up and can be turned on and off via the button next to the reset button.
Looking closely at the mesh grille, you will actually notice that it is actually a filter to keep all of the nastiness out of your case.
At the very bottom of the face is an easy access to two 3.5” bays. These have tool-less trays and simply slide out by pinching the ends. Look closely at the below picture, and you will notice some L-shaped hooks hanging on the bottom of the tray. This is how Cooler Master made these trays accept a 2.5” drive, which is pretty neat. Seeing these is where you begin to understand how Cooler Master says you can install up to 18 SSDs into this baby! This entire cage can be removed should you want to install a 360mm radiator up front.
Alright, moving over to the left side of the Cosmos SE, Cooler Master has covered the Plexiglas window with a protective plastic on both sides.
Ripping the plastic off we catch a glimpse of the inside. There isn’t really much to see on this side of the case without opening it up, but the window looks like it definitely will showcase your hardware quite nice.
Spinning to the rear of the case and starting up top is where a 120mm exhaust fan is located. This fan does not light up like the front fans do, so if you’re looking for more of a colorful punch inside your case, you will have to supply your own LED lit fans.
Below the fans are a few holes for water cooling hoses, which have grommets placed nicely in the holes. Stepping down from there are the seven expansion slots.
Finally, the PSU location is on the bottom of the Cosmos SE, which is actually bumped out a little bit.
One last thing to take note of on the rear are the four thumb screws that hold on the side panels. Obviously these make getting into your case that much easier. There is one additional screw on the very top, which is going to be used to remove the top panel that I will get into in a moment.
Spinning over to the right hand side of the case we find a nice design on the side panel. This design is actually bumped out a good amount and will help you with routing wires behind the motherboard tray.
Here’s one more look showing the right side panel bumped out.
Jumping to the top of the case is where you’ll find the I/O panel and a mesh grille. The handles up top here will also make moving the case around very easy, but they will also make your case look stylish.
On the I/O panel, working left to right, are 2x USB 2.0 ports, mic in, audio out, and 2x USB 3.0 ports. The USB 3.0 ports are not backwards compatible and will not plug into a USB 2.0 header. There is also a power, reset, and the LED on/off button in this section, too.
Removing the mesh grille on the top of the case isn’t as easy as the front one is, but it’s still easy none-the-less. A thumb screw holds it in on the rear and then you simply pull back and up. Behind the mesh grille is a single 140mm exhaust fan, that's actually inside the case, and room for another 140mm fan. This grille is also filtered like the front, which is something you don’t find on every case.
Last but not least, the bottom. The bottom has the same style “handles” that the top has, but these actually have four rubber feet screwed into them.
There are also two filters on the bottom. I swear that you can never have enough filters on computer cases since they do a wonderful job if kept clean. The one on the rear slides to the rear, and the one on the front slides to the front. Unfortunately to remove the filter on the front, you have to pull the front mesh grille out. It’s not something that will add an extra 10 minutes to your cleaning routine, but it is an inconvenience.
In all of its glory, I am actually pretty happy with the exterior design of this case. It’s simple enough and has plenty of nice curves to go along with it.
Finally, being an owner of the Cosmos 1000, I wanted to include a couple shots comparing the two on the outside. You will have to take note that I modified my Cosmos 1000 to accept a 360mm radiator and pulled off the door to install a fan controller.
Side profile shot:
… and finally one more:
Alright, that does it for the exterior impressions, so let’s rip these side panels off and take a look at what the interior has to offer
Cosmos SE Interior Impressions
Full tower cases generally provide the benefit of a lot of room to work with inside, as well as a lot of room for alternative cooling options. We already know that the Cosmos SE is a smaller sibling in the Cosmos series, so let’s see what it has to offer on the inside!
Popping the side panel off, I noticed that is was very light weight. I did expect this to an extent with the Plexiglas window, but I noticed right away that the steel is very thin in comparison to the original Cosmos 1000.
On the right hand side, I couldn’t help but notice the large amount of hard disk storage space. That was one thing that attracted me to the original Cosmos 1000, and I’m happy to see the Cosmos SE carried that quality over. There are six perpendicular slots here, and don’t forget about the two below that which ride parallel to the depth of the case. This is also where Cooler Master says you can install up to 16 of 18 SSDs. You can reconfigure the orientation of these slots by simply unscrewing them and turning the bracket 90 degrees.
Pulling one of these trays out to see how drives mount, I have to say that I think Cooler Master did a good job with these. It may look like you have to bend the trays to fit a drive in, but actually you just simply push a tab in and pull the sides. These trays just simply expand to allow you to slip a drive in and then clip back in place. In the below picture, the square tab in question is on the top center.
Now should you want to install a longer video card, up to 395mm long, you can just simply remove several of the HDD trays. Also, to install that extra long 360mm radiator up front, all of the trays will need to be removed. This does look slightly tedious due to having to remove several screws.
On the subject of cooling, this particular case has room for 120mm+280mm+360mm radiators all installed at the same time, and even supports CPU coolers up to 175mm tall. That should help this case be an enthusiast’s dream!
To mount any 5.25” devices, Cooler Master only included a standard screw; no tool-less option here.
There are four quite large grommet holes visible here to route wires behind the motherboard tray. They look to be fairly well thought out, though overly close to the motherboard, but they should still help make wire routing easier. The only concern hole is the one on the bottom left, as that will end up being covered by your PSU. There are a couple other small holes below where the motherboard sits to help you install cables to places like the bottom USB headers, etc.
On the motherboard tray, Cooler Master made a nice large cutout behind the CPU socket to assist with back plate installation for larger CPU coolers. Oddly enough, there are only two standoffs mounted and I’m not quite sure how they came up with that. If you look above the cutout, up here is where another pass-through is located for wire routing, but this one doesn’t have a rubber grommet in place.
Who needs instruction manuals when Cooler Master was kind enough to stamp the standoff locations on the motherboard tray? This guide will assist you with installing standoffs for both ATX and mATX boards.
On the bottom of the case is where the power supply is mounted. To reduce vibration, Cooler Master put rubber where the PSU will rest.
Moving up the backside is where you’ll find the seven expansion slots that can be utilized with thumb screws.
Just above the expansion slots are the two exhaust fans preinstalled in the case. The one on the rear is a 120mm fan, while the one mounted on the top is a 140mm fan.
Flipping to the backside of the motherboard tray is where you’ll find 34mm of space to work with. Even the side panel itself has a bump out which should help you with cable/power connectors that are stubborn and want to stick out.
Here's a full side profile shot of the right side of the case.
The one thing that I noticed on this case, is it isn’t exactly geared towards silence like the Cosmos 1000. These panels also don’t use a quick release system, but rather they utilize thumb screws. Installing and removing the panels were still super easy and I’m happy about that.
You might be asking yourself, what about the other two SSD mounting locations? Well, on the bottom left is where the 17th location is…
… and the top left is the 18th.
That’s about all there is to the interior. There is a lot going on inside in terms of cooling potential and HDD/SSD storage compartments. The side panels were cheaper feeling compared to the original Cosmos, but they actually functioned quite well. It looks like there should be plenty of room to work with when installing hardware, but we can only find that out when we actually get a system built inside.
Let’s move on and see how easy it is to install components inside this case!
Hardware Installation Inside The Cosmos SE
When installing hardware inside a case, I always appreciate a lot of room to work with. Some cases feel like you could fit everything up to the kitchen sink inside, while others you can hardly fit the essentials. The Cosmos SE is a Full Tower case, but it is physically smaller than the original Cosmos 1000, so let’s take a look and see how easy it was to get everything installed.
Mounting the standoffs was plenty easy. Cooler Master included a cap that you can drop over the standoff and screw in with a screw driver.
Should you be uncertain where to mount a standoff, each hole is stamped with a letter and Cooler Master has a guide stamped right there on the case.
Installing the motherboard and CPU were plenty easy, but it’s when I went to install the video card that it became an issue. I am using an older video card, the 8800 GTX in this setup, and there wasn’t much room. This card is right in the ballpark of a common enthusiast card length and measures right around 275mm, which is why this card is a great comparison. For your reference, the Nvidia GTX 780, 770, and 760 all measure only a few millimeters shorter, at 267mm, while AMD's 7970 and 7950 come in at 280mm. If I wanted to make installation easier, I could have removed a couple of the HDD trays, but I wanted to avoid doing that.
Here’s what these components looked like installed.
One thing that you need to take note of here is how much the motherboard now covers the grommet holes. This is going to make routing wires behind the motherboard tray quite a bit more difficult.
HDD mounting was very easy thanks to the completely tool-less mounting system. SSDs will need to be screwed to the bracket, but that’s not a big deal.
Cooler Master recommends that you take off the PSU bracket and then slide your PSU into place, per the instruction manual, but I found that completely unnecessary. My PSU just slid right into place and fits nice and snug.
Hooking everything up to power was somewhat easy, but at the same time difficult. Trying to get the ATX power connector behind the motherboard tray and hooked up to my motherboard involved twisting the ATX connector severely. My GPU power connectors and the motherboard 8-pin are a PSU fault where the wires are a bit short for cases like this. Also, trying to get my standard SATA connectors in place on the motherboard was a nightmare. There was absolutely no room to work with, but I made it work. I like the cables with a 90-degree bend at the end, but didn’t have any handy at this time; I would have to strongly recommend them here, though.
The bump out on right side panel definitely proved to be useful with all of the fan power connectors. These are all 4-pin Molex connectors, unless you choose to remove that extension and hook them all up to the motherboard.
After firing everything up, I noticed the fans are very quiet. The blue LEDs on the fans were a rather nice touch and having the ability to turn them off was even nicer yet.
Here's a shot with the front cover off, exposing the fans.
The window on the side of this version definitely helped showcase the hardware inside nicely. I can only imagine how much nicer this would look with some LEDs to illuminate the interior.
This wraps up the hardware installation section, so I am going to wrap up this review with a few final thoughts.
Cooler Master Cosmos SE Final Thoughts and Conclusion
The Cosmos SE is another case in the Cosmos line, which Cooler Master made some significant changes since the first version. Just for the record, Cooler Master had the Cosmos 1000, 1010, S, and II.
This case looks fantastic on the outside. Cooler Master designed this case by taking note of the sleek curves and design of supercars to design this case and I really do enjoy the curves that this case has. I do really like the aluminum handles, too, as they just add that extra eye candy and also provide an easy way to move the case around. The blue LEDs do add a nice touch of flare and I’m happy that a button to turn these off was designed in. We all know that blue LEDs can be obnoxiously bright!
The windowed side panel on this case adds a nice touch of flare if you want to show off your system.
The Cosmos SE is a very solid feeling case. The side panels seem a bit cheaper than the original Cosmos 1000 case, but they were not so cheap that they flexed all over the place like a sheet of tin. Reattaching the side panels was actually nice and easy and I never had an issue getting them to go where they should.
Overall I must say the interior of this case was very tight to work with. Cooler Master markets this case as a full tower design, but it certainly didn't feel like a full tower case. Cooler Master chopped off over 100mm to the depth of the case in comparison to the other Cosmos cases, and that is absolutely significant! I ended up being quite displeased with the grommet holes as they were mostly covered up by the motherboard. Sure they were functional yet, but having to bend the ATX power connector 180 degrees is not ideal at all. Even connecting SATA cables to the motherboard was tricky and tight.
On the positive side, this case has a ton of room for internal storage, accommodating up to eight 3.5" HDDs or eighteen (18) SSDs. That's some crazy storage options!
With this case being designed towards enthusiasts, you can almost bet that you’ll lose two HDD bays off the bat. My 8800 GTX used in this build measures 275mm long and I only had a few millimeters left to work with, without removing the HDD bays next to it.
One other thing that I really like about this case is the water cooling potential. My Cosmos 1000 wasn’t really designed with water cooling in mind, so I had to modify it. With the Cosmos SE, no modification is necessary, as you can fit 120, 280, and 360mm (back, top, front) radiators inside this case.
Both versions of the Cooler Master’s Cosmos SE are available as of today and will set you back with an MSRP of $169.99 for the Windowed version that we reviewed today, or hopefully a little less for the version with a mesh side panel. Both cases include a 2 year warranty if you happen to have an issue with your case. This updated Cosmos ends up being not only smaller, but a fair amount less expensive, which definitely helps direct the Cosmos SE towards a bigger audience.
With the tightness of the Cosmos SE aside, I really did enjoy working with this case. The potential, sleek design, and air filtration system are all huge positives that you don’t get with every case.
Legit Bottom Line: Cooler Master’s Cosmos SE is very pleasing to the eye, but comes in a more compact package compared to its older siblings. The storage and cooling potential inside this case are nothing short of awesome, which helps make this case a winner!