Starting at the front of the Cosmos II we see that Cooler Master hides the front drive bays with a hydraulic-style door that slides up and down. The door locks in the top position but pushing it barely past the "breaking point" initiates a slow downward fall of the door. And when I say slow, that's exactly what I mean... if it drops at all. I've been using the Cosmos II for a few weeks now and even still, the door won't fall all the way down under its own power. This is likely to work itself loose over time as I recall the demo systems at CES falling under their own power. This isn't an issue really but note that you might have to assist it until it works itself in.
The door itself has the Cooler Master logo inset a bit near the bottom. It's advised to leave the door in the closed position as to not impede the cooling vents and 200mm LED fan behind said vents. But once you do slide the door down, you're greeted by three 5.25" drive bays and two 3.5" drive bays of the locking variety. The nice thing about these drive bay covers is that they are very easy to remove and you don't run the risk of snapping any small plastic tabs during removal that might otherwise prevent you from properly reinstalling the cover.
The "front" I/O panel can be found at the very top of the chassis and is partially hidden with yet another sliding door. With the panel pulled back we can see a headphone and microphone jack, an eSATA port, two USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2.0 ports. Further back is the advanced control panel which includes a full docket of fan controls, power button, reset button, power and HDD LEDs as well as a button that allows you to control fan LEDs independent of fan speed. This requires a special connector that must be built into your fan like the one on the front 200mm LED fan that comes installed in this case.
The fan control panel is split into four separate groups: front, top, HDD and GPU which should make it easier to keep track of which buttons control which fans. Fan speed is indicated by colored LEDs: red is high, purple is medium and blue is low.
On the very top of the case are two large handles as well as a vented area near the rear that's removable. We'll cover that in more detail as we work our way inside the case.
Here we see both side panels of the Cosmos II - the one with the extra vents is the left side panel. The reason for more vents is to of course help in cooling the video card and general motherboard area. Other than the vents there are no gawdy case windows cut into radical designs - very class and streamlined.
More just ahead...