Assembling the Cougar Challenger

While the Cougar Challenger may not be very exciting to look at, there's at least something comforting and familiar about assembling a build in a well established layout. The Challenger offered minimal hiccups in assembly and largely came through. Barring the oddly frustrating side panels, this is a fairly easy case to work with.

As I mentioned before, the motherboard tray includes a peg that makes lining up the motherboard a breeze, and if you're using a standard ATX board the extrusions in the tray should ensure that you won't have to install a single standoff. Our testbed board went in pretty easily, though it's worth mentioning that the Challenger's not one of the bigger enthusiast ATX cases. That means headroom over the motherboard is at a bit of a premium, and the AUX 12V line can be a little more difficult to connect.

Drives also go in fairly easily. The drive trays have holes for mounting 2.5" drives, and plastic extrusions built into them for snapping into 3.5" drives. This is a common solution and it gets the job done. Meanwhile, to install a 5.25" drive you'll have to remove the front fascia, but it snaps on and off fairly easily and taking out the shields is a breeze. The toolless mechanism used to secure 5.25" drives is also a pretty stable one and I probably wouldn't fret too much over having to use it.

Surprisingly, Cougar doesn't use thumbscrews for the expansion slots. This doesn't bother me that much; typically the thumbscrews are secured so tightly I have to use a screwdriver anyhow, but it's still odd. Installing the video card and power supply went fairly swimmingly, though.

Cabling was also actually a bit easier with the Challenger. The gap for routing the AUX 12V line is tight, but the routing holes in the motherboard tray do their job. Cougar's designers also allowed for a very healthy amount of space behind the tray for routing and stashing cables. The front fan includes both a molex lead and a 3-pin lead, and the USB 3.0 header cable actually includes an alternate USB 2.0 header built into it, both convenient features.

The Challenger's interior may be Case Design 101, but sometimes that's okay. This is for the most part a very easy case to work in, and the first time builder that decides it's the case for him or her shouldn't be too overwhelmed by it (as opposed to advanced level cases like most of what SilverStone produces). Cougar didn't try to reinvent the wheel here, so there are no curveballs to be concerned with.

In and Around the Cougar Challenger Testing Methodology
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  • C'DaleRider - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    From the article-- "...these smaller companies are often very hungry for your business and are typically willing to take risks. The result is that oftentimes you can find diamonds in the rough and bring to light a product that people might otherwise miss."

    I don't think this hideous monstrosity is anything close to a diamond, in the rough or not, and certainly wouldn't be missed by anyone.

    Hideous.
    Reply
  • j thomas - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    The mobo area and rear panel look like the exact same parts as a 300R. They should have copied the rest too. Reply
  • ajemm - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    This thing beyond hideous. Reply
  • Bonesdad - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    REALLY?

    How does a case like this even find it's way to getting a review on Anandtech? Someone needs to preview these reviews and just say "Ah, no....we aren't running with this."

    This thing is an embarrassment to Transformers everywhere.

    Just stop doing reviews on crap like this, you should know it when you see it by now.
    Reply
  • Wellsoul2 - Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - link

    I like this case. It looks different and retro. Reply
  • buzznut - Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - link

    I was actually waiting to see what the reviewer said about the aesthetics. There's being politically correct, and then there's simply stating the obvious. Most of us would not want this anywhere near our desk.

    I happen to like flashy gaming cases, I'm a modder and I really dig a unique look. I fail to see what they were going for here though, even the different parts don't really seem to go together.

    Its sorta like someone came along a stack of disparate parts and told his R&D team, "See if you can make something out of this stuff. You got two hours."
    Reply
  • WT - Thursday, November 01, 2012 - link

    And they said my Thermaltake Level 10 GT Snow was ugly ?? C'mon man, this redefines fugly. Reply
  • bauper - Thursday, March 14, 2013 - link

    1. Orange is my favorite color. This case looks cool. Like a hot Euro-Trash Babe. Almost full tower size this casi is BIG for a mid tower. Takes the new 280mm Liquid coolers in push pull and plenty of room. takes up to 400 mm video card and still hold hd drives and 5.25 bays. I love it. Comment. A. As the song says, "Make an ugly womean your wife". B- whats ugly to one is sexy to another. Reply
  • SKZdman - Saturday, April 26, 2014 - link

    I have this case, and I think it's fantastic. Yes, it's a little 'aggressive' shall we say(!), but it's quiet, cool and really easy to keep tidy.

    I also cannot believe that you've not mentioned the most salient point - The three possible configurations of the central drive bay to fit 3.5", 2.5" or no drives whatsoever (and thereby allow more space for a longer graphics card). This is a feature I cannot fault.
    Reply
  • SKZdman - Saturday, April 26, 2014 - link

    Like this:

    http://www.cougar-world.com/uploads/pics/case_deta...
    Reply

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