Cougar MX300 Reviewhornybluecow - April 7, 2014
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Cougar MX300 Closer Look:
Removing the side panels just requires two thumb screws to be removed before the panel comes off. Once the panel comes off, you can see the black interior. Inside the chassis, you can see two separate non-removable hard drive cages; one for 3.25" drives and another for 2.5" drives. Finally, above that, are two exposed 5.25" bays and even though three bays are present, the top is used solely for the front I/O wires.
The chassis itself is very compact for a mid-tower, allowing just enough space for a 160mm cooler to clear, thanks to the extruded side panel. Even though the hard drive cage is not removable, installation of up to 310mm video cards is possible, which covers nearly all video cards currently on the market, but you may want to check if the card is over 11" (280mm) as not all cards have the power connectors on the side of the cards.
The tool-less design Cougar implemented here was very intuitive....I would say that if Cougar used a tool-less setup for both the hard drive cages, because the 3.25" bays do, but the 2.5" still use screws. It's not a big deal, but what I don't understand is, since it is already made out of plastic, how hard is it to add a few pins? In any case, people who read my reviews know I don't care about tool-less setups since I always have a screw driver handy. The 5.25" bays do, however, supports the tool-less setup with a simple locking system. When the notch up is open, the holder can come out, while in the down position allows it to be locked in place. Once a bay was used, I did not have much of an issue getting it to lock and generally you have to wiggle it a little to get it to fall into place.
Behind the motherboard tray is only about 10mm of space, including the extruded space from the side panel. Basically, there is no space unless you have flat cables, even then, it was hard to run anything behind. Is it bad? No, not really, since you can't expect a lot of space in this size chassis. Although I would have liked space to run the 8-Pin EPS cable.
Once the computer is assembled, you can see the the limited interior space. The CPU cooler just barely fit and there is no option to install a top mounted radiator as it would hit the VRM heatsinks. If you have a smaller CPU cooler, installing an extra fan would help airflow out a lot, as in its current state, it's a little claustrophobic. I also had to run the 8-Pin EPS cable around the motherboard as there is no cut-out behind the tray and even if there was, space is limited and it may not fit anyways for some power supplies with large round cables.