Cougar MX300 Reviewhornybluecow -
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Cougar MX300: Conclusion
Let us recap my reasoning and scoring method before diving into my final words. First I look at what the company is saying it offers. For example, say the company states the case supports large / long graphic cards or ten quiet fans. In this example, I examine what is advertised versus what is actually offered. Most of this becomes uncovered as I take pictures to document the product. If the company does not stay true to its word, then it loses points because no one ever wants to be sold on false advertisement. Next I look at what the product is marketed for and put it into perspective. An example of this could be trying to overclock a CPU in a Mini-ITX case and expecting a low temperature. This would contradict its target market and something I try to catch so it does not affect the score. The last bit is my own interjection. What could the case offer in its price range, and what do other companies offer. This category may include an extra fan, cable management, different color paint, or support for larger video cards. This list is endless so let's move on to the conclusion.
Cougar has taking me on a mini roller coaster of ups and downs. I was enthusiastic to finally be able to review a Cougar chassis that I've read so much about, but as I took photos for the review, I noticed some potential flaws creeping up. While assembling the computer, a lot of those smalls thing became less of an issue and more just a fact of being a compact mid-tower.
Following suit of my previous reviews, I like to start with the negative things about the chassis and leave on a good note. There is no easy way to say this but Cougar with its great brand of fans has made a chassis with poor air flow. The single rear fan maxes out at around 1100 RPM and while dead silent, it doesn't move any air to be really called a fan. This chassis would benefit greatly from a font or top fan to get the air moving, even if it is a low RPM fan. A solution for the customer, who is looking to maximize savings, could invest in an AIO Cooler (All-In-One) like a Corsair H60 and use the now spare fan either in the front or top. In either case, if the goal is to have a lot of air movement, this isn't it, unless you add some more fans yourself.
Next is something I was on the fence about. It is technically okay to not have any space behind the tray when it comes to smaller, compact chassis. It is almost expected as the chassis is meant to save space and sometimes it's not possible to have everything. In this example, Cougar had little space (10mm) to allow small things like SATA or I/O cables to run behind the tray. If you happen to have a power supply with flat cables, you still have to squeeze them in as well. That being said, I'm more of an all or nothing type when it comes to chassis, either bump it out a bit more to allow more cables, or squeeze it down to really make it compact. Cougar left it in the middle and I think it was a missed opportunity to be able to hide or use the extra space behind the tray because it wasn't wide enough.
To follow up, the compact design really is utilized inside as where other companies would leave the space adjective to the video card empty, Cougar decided it was the perfect place for the 2.5" bays. The extruded side panel allows for either a CPU cooler up to 160mm to fit or something else and two fans on the side panel. Finally, the silent fan is a double edge sword; while being great for the quiet part, it does have poor air flow so take it whichever way you like.
To conclude, I think Cougar has a decent mid-tower that fits in a niche of compact chassis. Being priced around $60, it puts up a good fight for the price, and what it lacks, makes it up for in customization and layout of the fans. Cougar has landed in at the middle and to get the most out of it, you will have to invest a few more dollars in fans.
- Compact design
- Support for large video cards (310mm)
- Support for large CPU coolers (160mm)
- Silent fan
- Limited space behind motherboard tray
- Poor stock airflow