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These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording
system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to
LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no
audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent
a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.
Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 10 second segments of product
at various states. For the most realistic results,
set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then
don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.
Given its price-tag we were expecting a heck of the case and that's exactly what we got. The Cosmos II's mix of aluminum, steel, mesh, and plastic has been molded to give it a completely solid feel and a unique look that errs on the classy side rather than the garish. Aside from the thin plastic skirt that curves into the bottom, the build quality simply can't be beat. The side panels alone are almost an inch thick at some points and have a bulletproof mounting system that can't be misaligned. The size and weight is a huge turnoff however despite the presence of handle bars. It's a beast to lug around when filled to the brim with gear, and even empty it's a bit of a pain.
The good thing about its size is it can fit just about any hardware configuration you can imagine as it supports up to 10 fans, 13 x 3.5" hard drives, 11 total expansion slots, and both a 240 mm and 360 mm radiator. It also has the usual features you'd expect in a premium case: front USB 3.0 and eSATA, tool-less installation for drives and expansion cards, removable fan filters, removable drive cages, excellent cable management, and a pair of external bays for hotswapping SATA hard drives. Cooler Master also went all out on the fan controller, an impressive piece of hardware that can adjust up to eight fans between three different speeds. It's more capable than any stock solution we've seen, though a dial-based model with full control and the ability to turn fans off altogether would've been nice.
Aside from the physical aspects of the case, we have but two major complaints. The first concerns the included 200 mm blue LED intake fan which creates an annoying ticking noise when powered by the fan controller. It's also the only included fan that has the 2-pin connector necessary to work with the fan controller's LED toggle switch the other seven 2-pin cables are completely useless, at least for the moment. It's likely that a future line of Cooler Master LED fans will take advantage of this otherwise gimmicky feature. Our other big peeve is the complete lack of SATA backplanes for the internal hard drive bays. We would've guessed that some would be included given the expense of the case and its ample hard drive support. The external hotswap bays mitigate this omission somewhat, but it's not a true substitute.
From a performance perspective, the Cosmos II did well, putting up similar numbers to the Antec P280 and other recently reviewed towers at a moderately lower noise level, but it didn't wow us. While it is enormous and has extensive fan support, the Cosmos II's cooling scheme is still rather conservative. This contrasts directly with the aggressive cooling strategy of the In Win Dragon Rider which remains the best performing tower we've tested (by a longshot). Some consider the Dragon Rider to be rather ridiculous looking but in our opinion, its aesthetics are at least as off-putting as the overall dimensions of the Cosmos II.
Of course we wouldn't recommend a US$349 case to our general audience and the Cooler Master Cosmos II obviously isn't being marketed as such. It's an ultra high-end, extremely well built case with an almost complete feature-set designed to house the best and most of everything a PC enthusiast would desire. The cost can hardly been seen as extravagant compared to the price of three or four top-notch graphics cards, a Sandy Bridge Extreme CPU/motherboard, a custom water cooling system, and 8+ hard drives. If you're planning a system without at least two of these four elements in mind, the Cosmos II simply isn't worth the price, neither the hit to your bank account or the strain on your back.
Our thanks to Cooler Master for the Cosmos II case sample.
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Articles of Related Interest
Raidmax Viper: A Modern Budget Tower
Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower
Antec P280: Performance One Refresh
Antec Solo II: The Legacy Lives On
SilverStone Temjin TJ08-E: MicroATX Evolved
Cooler Master Silencio 550 Quiet ATX Tower
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this article in the SPCR Forums.
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