COUGAR Challenger Case ReviewWaco - November 8, 2012
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The Challenger is revealed! Starting with the left side of the case you can see that I have attached the integrated fan filter to cover the hole seen on the previous page. This filter actually attaches via small magnets embedded in the filter which make it exceedingly easy to remove and clean. Anything that makes cleaning easier is always a great feature in my book. All too often cases have fan filters that are just too hard to remove for cleaning so they stay attached forever once initially installed. You can also see the large window to show off your components… or your bad wiring job. Moving around to the other side of the case reveals a featureless side panel. Hopefully this does not mean there will be an issue with clearance behind the motherboard. Spinning back around to the front of the case reveals the "love it or hate it" feature I was talking about earlier. This styling is loud to say the least. It reminds me of the velociraptor from Jurassic Park just before it spits acid goo. In the lower mesh section it sports a gold and black COUGAR logo which looks surprisingly good even though I tend to hate gold on anything. My review sample is clearly decked out in orange but there are also white and black versions available (all internal components are orange on both of them as well). Taking a look at the backside of the case reveals that this isn't an overly skinny case and there should be no problems hiding cables behind the motherboard tray. The rear 120mm exhaust fan is decked out in the usual orange color that COUGAR cases seem to always be adorned with.
Here you can see the power button "flap" thing that is referred to by the poorly translated line on the first page. The red door actually covers up both the power button and reset button to keep you from accidentally pressing them in the heat of the moment. I can't imagine why you'd be poking random buttons on the front of your case while gaming, but it still looks neat and protects your unsaved work. Flipping up the transparent red plastic reveals a large power button and a very slim reset button. Both are easy to press and hard to mix up. What is hard to see is that the HDD activity light is hidden back behind the reset button. When running, the hidden LED lights up a good portion of the red cover without spotlighting your ceiling every time you access your HDDs. Also seen here are the two power indicators flanking the power button on each side, the dual USB 3.0 ports, and the microphone and headphones jacks. Looking down from the top I/O panel gives you a better view of the contours of the front panel itself. The 3.5" bay sits recessed by quite a bit and may make it difficult to use fan controllers that have recessed controls themselves.
As you may have noticed in the previous pictures there is a docking bay at the top of the case to house your 3.5" or 2.5" SATA drives. There are no guides here or rubber dampening so I wouldn't suggest mounting a WD Velociraptor or other similarly loud drives here unless you don't mind a lot of noise. That said, this is an inexpensive case and you can't expect all the accoutrements at lower price points. Looking a bit further back you can see the fairly substantial number of mounting points for exhaust fans on the top of the case. There are mounting points for dual 120mm, dual 140mm, 180mm, and 200mm fans. Moving a bit further back reveals a fairly standard rear panel. There are three cutouts to runwater cooling tubes out the rear of the case if you want to mount radiators externally.
Since I skipped over it earlier, here you can see the magnetic side panel dust filter. It pops off with a quick pull and attaches quickly as well thanks to the built-in alignment pins. The magnets are fairly strong and will keep the filter in place no matter how roughly you handle your rig. If you make this filter fall off then you've probably damaged something else in your case too!
Finally you can see the overall view of the COUGAR Challenger. Does this case challenge your tastes or appeal to them? Personally I like the color choice, but the overall styling is a bit over the top for me as I tend to prefer cases with much more understated styling. Nevertheless, the aesthetics do appeal to some and it certainly does scream "look at me!" Keep reading to find out if the internal components can back up the aggressive appearance that the outside projects.