Project: Skulltrail was conceived "way back" in March of 2008 at CeBit, where Cooler Master first asked if I’d mod its new flagship case - the Cosmos S. At the same time, the company was curious as to whether I could get more performance from its new Aquagate Max drive bay inserts.
So, given my mission, I came away from CeBit knowing that I would need to come up with something a bit special. Not only would it need to be good in the looks department (without robbing the CM Cosmos-S of its unique looks), but also performance. After a second, I thought, "What better than a new Skulltrail system to prove the capability of the heavily modded Aquagate?"
From that point forward, the project snowballed thanks to some major sponsors getting involved including Intel, Zotac, and HWLabs.
Once the hardware was finalised, it soon became apparent that it would need to be a dual loop system with the two Core 2 Extreme QX9775s and the northbridge on one loop, and the two Zotac GeForce 9800 GX2s and the RAM in the other (no southbridge watercooling as the GX2s completely obstruct access) so I set about modding two Aquagates.
The Front Panel (and a few hints)...
Paul kicked this mod into high gear by ripping right into the frame. However, there was only so much that he personally was planning to do with that - which means that he needed something to occupy his time until its return. Thankfully for him, the front panel would be a great place to start. After all, if you have a couple big sponsors, plenty of shiny real estate and some free time, why not make something a bit more memorable than a nod in the forums?
Click to enlarge.
The normal façade of the Cosmos is a little bleak and would clash with something he really wanted to show off, so he decided to re-dress the whole front in brushed aluminium panels.
Since he was covering up some fairly empty space, he decided that he'd make some use out of it. And so, he created his first major "thank you" to Zotac, which had surprised him with a couple of Nvidia GeForce 9800 GX2s for the project.
However, the next time you see these panels, they won't look quite the same...
Click to enlarge.
If you were curious as to just what the "other" items that could be required for the case's front, Cooler Master provided Paul with a couple Aquagate systems. You can see the tester here where he was nailing down the general look. But if you think he's leaving this standard, guess again - you'll just have to read on to find what he did with them.