Product: COSMOS 1000
Price £140, $199
THERE ARE TWO flavours of computer case we see in the labs these days. The first is by a known computer manufacturer where the design is very formulaic and made for only one, often bespoke, motherboard. Low cost is a significant factor within the mass production of these units, which is clearly evident when you open them up.
The other has more options for expandability, varied in design to suit multiple motherboards and has a greater aesthetically pleasing overall look. Coolermaster passed along one of their latest cases of the latter of late, along with the X-Craft 360 for us to browse over at The INQ.
Cooler Master COSMOS 1000
The COSMOS 1000 first caught our eye at CeBit this year, when coverage began to trickle out caused quite a stir. From then on we awaited its arrival with eager anticipation due to its silent-running features and stylish design, all of which intrigued us no end.
The first thing we noticed after unpacking was its heftiness, weighing in at a mighty 16.9kg. It's quite easily the heaviest empty case we've seen and we're frequently accustomed to lumping around vanilla server chassis. The weightiness is down to the COSMOS 1000 being mostly of a steel composition, with a touch of aluminium.
The dimensions are nothing to be sniffed at either. The height of this beast comes in at 598mm, depth 628mm and width at 266mm. There are aluminium runners along the top and the base, lifting it from the ground to ensure a clear air-intake and significantly lowering overall system vibrations. The latter gives it a much more lofty appearance than usually seen tower cases.
On the top of the COSMOS are the usually expected power buttons and LEDs on the front I/O panel. This is coupled with four USB 2.0 ports, a Firewire 400 and an unusually expected e-SATA connector. The last came as a pleasant surprise; it's expected at the rear but not always the front.
COSMOS 1000 - I/O Panel
Inside the case is an abundance of room, fulfilling the full-tower stamp and then some. It's one of the first cases we've seen with the PSU housed at the base of the unit. This effectively removes one of the nosiest components of the computer running to the furthermost part of the case. All of which adds to the overall noise reduction from the outset, which is really what the COSMOS 1000 is all about.
There's a similar design to a hard drive cage found in the front of the case. This provides all of the six HDD capacity of the system, in an easily accessible detachable aluminium caddies. Drives are added to the caddy, slid in to the cage with power and data cables added at the rear. Cooler Master have facilitated fairly adequate ventilation for the drives here, relying all on the case's air-flow and Stack Effect for cooling. On the side of the cage there's a space for an optional fan, which we believe should have been already built-in. We're not entirely convinced the COSMOS 1000 air-flow will be sufficient for a number of HDDs in a high-end performance PC.
COSMOS 1000 ? drive cage
Above the HDD cage-of-sorts are the drive bays. Provided here are five, 5?-inch bays or four and a 3? ? if ever used. If anything screams "I'm a tower, I'm a tower" is a large abundance of drive bays. Here the screaming was definitely loud and clear. Installing an optical drive was simple enough, especially with the patented Finger Press installation. After popping out the front-mesh protector, the drive just slides in and a catch-release mechanism, when pressed, pops holders into the drives screw-holes. It's as simple and easy as that, a very good innovation by Coolermaster.
COSMOS 1000 ? drive bays
Here's where the first interesting aspect of the case comes into play, surrounding its quietness. Built on to the tool-free removable aluminium side panels are low-density sound absorbing materials. These look rather akin to the foam found inside recording studios, within its egg-packing design. This goes to lessening the vibrations of lower frequencies, where the high-density steel casing effectively blocks higher frequencies ? creating a noise dampening symbiosis. Coolermaster has also added rubber rims for where the panels intersect the case. Creating not so much an airtight seal but going some way in creating a noise-tight one, if there was such a thing. We found all of this to be rather effective in noise reduction and a novel approach to building a quieter computing environment.
The 3.0mm aluminium door to the case has been manufactured to operate much like an acoustic tile for the unit. It's designed to cap-off the whole silent ethos of the COSMOS by providing further noise insulation when the computer’s running. When the door’s closed, it's almost a sealed unit. Just in case the foam padding and rubber-rimmed sealed side panels weren't really enough.
In terms of cooling, there’s an air-flow path built into the COSMOS 1000. On its base, dual air-intakes are present ? one under the PSU and one under the HDD cage. Both have removable dust filters, incredibly useful we found after a few weeks' usage. Still on the topic of the base, there’s a 120mm intake fan facilitating maximum air-flow and air-pressure inside the case. Built into the ceiling are two 120mm exhaust fans side by side, with another 120mm exhaust fan just at its rear. Cool air is pulled in from the base, outputted from the top then expelled away via the rear air-deflector. The whole pressure differential causing air circulation is all based around the "Negative Pressure Effect". There are some nice graphics on the COSMOS microsite that explains it much better that we can, but it does seem to work adequately as we found out.
COSMOS 1000 ? base
Included in the case is a detachable VGA air duct for extra cooling of the graphics card. As the COSMOS is really targeted at the higher end of the spectrum, it’s a great bonus for those running SLI/Crossfire setups. Also factored into the case's design at the rear are two retaining holes, for those nice liquid cooling kits ? which they have one specifically for the 1000 case.
COSMOS 1000 ? VGA air duct
The case has seven expansion slots on the rear backplane, plenty of growth there for most gamers and enthusiasts alike. It can house a good solid variety of motherboards too in the forms of ATX, extended ATX and Micro-ATX. Cooler Master ships the COSMOS 1000 with a paper template taped-down to its inside, showing all the relevant holes for the specific types of motherboard installations. That was a nice touch we thought, highly considerate of those good fellows at Cooler Master.
To put the case thoroughly through its paces we used the tried and tested method of putting it to good use. We built a complete system from scratch using an ASUS P5K3 Premium motherboard which we’re in the process of reviewing and an Intel Core 2 Extreme quad-core processor QX6850.
In building a system we find it's a good rule of thumb to gauge the quality of the build on the amount of lacerations received throughout the exercise. We came away completely un-severed, after installing the motherboard, processor, graphics card, optical drive and PSU. Not a drop of blood spilt, plus points already in favour of the COSMOS.
With the case open with all and sundry exposed the noise was evident in operation, especially with the processor fan running at around 1300/2500rpm. The four 17dBA systems fans ran very quietly already, even before the side panels were put back on for the full silent effect.
After the case was fully assembled, the noise reduction was ridiculously clear. The system running went from being very audible to barely a hum.
Using the ASUS motherboards monitoring software, we found the average running temp was only 34 degrees Celsius ? rising to 42 for intensive CPU operations. We encoded H.264 codec-based AVIs onto a DVD with the CPU priority manually set to real-time, to obtain this higher temp. This procedure was good enough to push the computer to the max, testing to see if the cases cooling were sufficient enough. 45 degrees is the danger threshold of the motherboard's sensor, as you can see we came fairly close to that.
Although not the most ideal result, it was still expected and acceptable in our opinion. Coolermaster is aiming the 1000 for higher high-end system users, where liquid-cooling is much more common place. A far better result in the case's overall cooling would be obtained here, so we're letting this slide.
Coolermaster's flagship case has highlighted the problem of component noise and found the appropriate solution ? gag it. All this within a stylish case for high-end users, enthusiasts and really just anyone.
Multiple effective noise dampening features, stylish case
Weight, possibly cooling
Missing HDD fan
9 beers out of ten
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