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Article: Cooler Master Cosmos II: Large and in Charge

Cooler Master’s original Cosmos case was one of my favorites – alongside the Antec 900. It has great cooling, looks, it’s quiet, and durable – the problem is the price.  Still, if it fits in your budget, I say go for it.

Cooler Master Cosmos II: Large and in Charge
http://www.anandtech.com/show/5451/cooler-master-cosmos-ii-large-and-in-charge

The Cooler Master Cosmos is more or less legendary among top-of-the-line enclosures. It’s not hard to see why, either: it’s big, it has loads of expansion, and it looks like a giant refrigerator…for your computer. That said, some time has passed since the Cosmos originally landed with very little in the way of updates. Today, Cooler Master brings us the long-awaited update, the Cosmos II. With a $349 MSRP and a shipping weight of nearly fifty pounds, this enclosure is oversized in every way. Will it retain the cachet of its predecessors, though, or have advances in the computing market since the era of the original Cosmos left the Cosmos II a shiny relic of a bygone era?

 

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The Vast Array of Gaming PC Cases

Choosing among the vast array of gaming pc cases is a very personal decision – it is quite easy to find one which has excellent cooling and sound ratings, which is liked by many people. However this is something that you will live with for quite awhile – which will adorn your desk (or floor) and thus should be something you really feel excited about having. I was originally going to avoid making recommendations on gaming cases, but I have since realized that this website is a complete representation of my feelings towards building computers – so I should just throw it all out there.

Remember: The case is one of the least important in terms of performance, there are just a few overall points to keep in mind.

Things to consider:

1) Unless you are going for liquid cooling, airflow is important. Having a case that allows good cable management is key.

2) Cases made out of aluminum are AWESOME. Very light and Very strong. Cases are commonly made out of a combination of steel and plastic. The more plastic a case is made out of, the less sturdy the case will be overall. Most cases will have the front/outside panels made of solid plastic, so disregard the visual architecture (the plastic molding).

3) Some cases also come with interior lights. IF this computer is going to be in the same room that you sleep – you may not appreciate the interior lighting. Don’t let that dissuade you from buying a case you like though, as you can always disconnect the LEDs if it becomes a problem.

4) Accessibility: This is the overall word I use to describe the ease of accessing sections of the case while being able to fit all your ‘stuff’ (cards, drives etc).

I like Antec because their cases are extremely solid, usually with excellent airflow and easy accessibility. Antec will be on my list a lot. Second behind Antec, I tend to like NZXT – they rate well and look good. Following that there are a couple cases from Thermaltake and Cooler Master which I like. One of my favorite off-character cases that I like is the Cooler Master Cosmos (the original) – mainly for its tremendously sturdy design (it is really heavy) and it’s negative airflow (at least in the first version). I like it mainly as a liquid cooling case. That particular case is rather expensive for what you get, so I haven’t found it worth going for myself – I just kind of…like it.

My Personal choice for Mid Tower is the Antec 900, although I am interested in the Antec Lanboy – which isn’t for everybody. If I was on a budget I would go with the Antec 300. I used the Sonata series for a long time – it is very compact and well built.

One thing you will note is that I did not list cases that include a power supply. As I previously noted, the power supply is one of the most critical components and not to be taken lightly – so I always prefer to purchase separately and from a very small list. See my article ON POWER SUPPLYS IASERKNA

 

MID TOWER:

Antec Three Hundred Two The Vast Array of Gaming PC Cases

Antec Nine Hundred Two V3 The Vast Array of Gaming PC Cases

Antec Eleven Hundred The Vast Array of Gaming PC Cases

NZXT Apollo  The Vast Array of Gaming PC Cases << Comes in multiple colors

(Honorable Mention) Antec Sonata Elite The Vast Array of Gaming PC Cases<< This is a good alternative to the 900 if you absolutely hate the blue lighting and don’t want to deal with it.

(Honorable Mention) Antec LanBoy Air Modular Case The Vast Array of Gaming PC Cases << I love the concept, I just haven’t had the opportunity to form more than a visceral opinion.

 

Changes 1-25-12: I’ve added the Antec Eleven Hundred here – this is now my preferred case.  It is about the same price as the 900 V2, has amazing performance, looks awesome – and includes great built in wire management capabilities.  Here is an excellent review at Overclockers.  I’ve also replaced the Antec Three Hundred with the Antec Three Hundred Two – a recent update.  Read more about the Three Hundred Two at Anandtech.

 

I usually don’t go with a full tower system. When would you need this? Typically when you plan on having a large number of extra stuff in your system. If you plan to go SLI, then you may want to look here – though most Mid Towers (such as the 900) can take 2 video cards, if you want to expand to 3 or 4 then you will need a larger case. Also, if you have an inordinate amount of hard drives (I actually have 3 in my system currently, as I tend to reuse old ones), then you need more hard drive space – ditto for optical drives (multiple blue ray burners, card inputs etc).

As you can see, Full Tower is usually not necessary – if you are going by my mid range build suggestions, then you won’t need this.

If, however, I was going to get a Full Tower case – I would go with the Antec 1200. The Silverstone I included because it tested so darn well – if I was going purely on numbers alone, I would probably go with the Silverstone – but I love Antec’s Cases too much for that.

FULL TOWER:

Thermaltake Element V The Vast Array of Gaming PC Cases

Antec Twelve Hundred V3 (Black) The Vast Array of Gaming PC Cases

Silverstone Raven 2 The Vast Array of Gaming PC Cases

Cooler Master Cosmos II The Vast Array of Gaming PC Cases

 

You will have noticed throughout this article that I constantly used words like ‘feels’ ‘love’ and ‘like’ to describe my decision for choosing one case over another. That’s simply because it is a completely personal decision.  While it is naturally important to make sure you have a case that will fit your components (mid tower at least for a standard motherboard) There are too many good gaming pc cases (in terms of treating the components right – airflow and accessibility) to say that certain cases are ‘the correct choice.’ The ones listed above are what I would chose from, and that is that.

Changes 1-25-12:  I’ve added the Coolermaster Cosmos II to the list – the original Cosmos was one of my favorite cases, and this new version carries with it some of the things which I loved about the original.  It also has one of the things I don’t like – a ridiculous price tag of $350.  If you don’t have a limited budget, you would love this case.  Check out the review at Kitguru.

 

Also, if you aren’t a member of my Build a Gaming PC Facebook Page, you should check it out – I publish industry news and reviews on a daily basis.  Every now and then I come across cool new case reviews and share them there.

 

 

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