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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

The Challenger is the latest mid-tower case from Cougar, featuring an external docking bay and an unbeatable price. Let’s see what the Challenger has to offer.

The reviewed case is black with three color options for the trim around the front panel, the fans, and the internal 3.5”/2.5” bays: white, black or orange. We reviewed the model with these parts in orange.

Cougar ChallengerFigure 1: Cougar Challenger case

Cougar ChallengerFigure 2: Cougar Challenger case

The case has a transparent window on its left panel. The left panel also has a magnetic plastic mesh that features an air filter. You can install a 120 mm or 140 mm fan on the left panel of this case.

Cougar ChallengerFigure 3: Left panel

[nextpage title=”The Front Panel”]

The Cougar Challenger has three external 5.25” bays and one external 3.5” bay, all protected by meshed covers with air filters. The front panel comes with a 200 mm fan installed. This fan has a three-pin standard fan power connector and a standard peripheral power connector, and glows in red when turned on. No technical specifications for this fan are provided. You can remove the front 200 mm fan and install two 120 mm or two 140 mm fans instead.

Cougar ChallengerFigure 4: Front panel

Cougar ChallengerFigure 5: Front panel

On the front part of the top panel you will find two USB 3.0 ports and the traditional audio jacks. The USB 3.0 ports use an internal connector.

Cougar ChallengerFigure 6: Buttons and connectors

[nextpage title=”The Top, Bottom, and Rear Panels”]

The top panel of the Cougar Challenger case is meshed, supporting the installation of two 120 mm fans, two 140 mm fans, one 180 mm fan or one 200 mm fan. One of the highlights of this case is the presence of an external docking bay for SATA devices on its top panel. See Figure 8.

Cougar ChallengerFigure 7: Top panel

Cougar ChallengerFigure 8: Docking bay

The bottom panel has a big air filter, which covers the power supply fan and the optional bottom fan.

Cougar ChallengerFigure 9: Bottom panel

The rear panel and the interior of the Cougar Challenger case are painted in black.

The case has seven expansion slots, using vented covers.

The rear panel comes with a 120 mm fan, which uses a standard three-pin fan power connector. No technical specifications for this fan are provided.

On the Cougar Challenger case, the power supply goes on the bottom part of the case.

There are three holes for hoses of liquid cooling solutions, which come closed with metallic lids. If you want to use these holes, you will need to break the lids and throw them away. However, the case comes with three rubber covers for these holes. These holes are 1.2” (30 mm) in diameter.

Cougar ChallengerFigure 10: Rear panel

Let’s now take a look inside the Cougar Challenger case.[nextpage title=”Inside the Cougar Challenger Case”]

Both panels are attached to the chassis using black thumbscrews. The motherboard tray has a huge hole for you to access the backplate of the CPU cooler without having to remove the motherboard from the case, several holes for you to route cables behind it, and several metallic clips for you to fasten cables behind the motherboard tray using cable ties.

Cougar ChallengerFigure 11: Overall look

Cougar ChallengerFigure 12: A view behind the motherboard tray

Figure 13 gives you another overall look inside the case. Expansion cards are fastened using regular screws, but at least they are black. On its default configuration, the Cougar Challenger case supports video cards up to 11.4” (290 mm) long. You can, however, convert the top hard drive cage from 3.5” to 2.5” (more on this on the next page), allowing you to keep the top hard drive cage while supporting video cards up to 12.6” (320 mm) long. Or you can completely remove the top hard drive cage to fit video cards up to 16.1” (410 mm) long.

Cougar ChallengerFigure 13: Overall look

As already explained, the power supply is installed at the bottom of the case. Note that it can be installed with either its bottom fan facing up or facing down, so you can decide if you want the fan of your power supply pulling air from inside the case or from outside of it. As already shown, there is an air filter for the power supply fan.

Cougar ChallengerFigure 14: Power supply compartment

The case supports the installation of one 120 mm or 140 mm fan on its bottom panel. When no fan is installed, you can install a power supply up to 11.8” (300 mm) deep. When a 120 mm fan is installed, you can install a power supply up to 7.1” (180 mm) deep. Finally, when a 140 mm fan is installed, you can install a power supply up to 6.3” (160 mm) deep.[nextpage title=”The Disk Drive Bays”]

The Cougar Challenger case has three 5.25” external bays, one external 3.5” bay, seven 3.5”/2.5” internal bays, and one 3.5”/2.5” external docking bay. Except for the external 3.5” bay and internal 2.5” bays located inside the internal 3.5” bays, all devices can be installed without the use of tools or screws.

Cougar ChallengerFigure 15: Disk drive bays

The case has two hard drive cages. The upper one has three 3.5”/2.5” bays, and the bottom one has four 3.5”/2.5” bays. This case provides a very flexible configuration for its top hard drive cage. You can remove it if you want to improve airflow and/or install very long video cards. However, if you want to install video cards between 11.4” (290 mm) and 12.6” (320 mm), you have the option to convert the top hard drive cage from 3.5” to 2.5.” (The case comes with three 2.5” drawers to make this possible.)

Cougar ChallengerFigure 16: Top hard drive cage converted into 2.5”

Cougar ChallengerFigure 17: Case without the top hard drive cage

Each 3.5”/2.5” bay is a small drawer. See Figure 18.

Cougar ChallengerFigure 18: One of the 3.5”/2.5” bays and one of the 2.5” bays

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

The main specifications for the Cougar Challenger case include:

  • Style: Mid-tower
  • Application: ATX and smaller form factors
  • Material: Zinc-coated steel (SECC) body
  • Power supply: Doesn’t come with the product
  • Available colors: Black with black, white or orange trim
  • Side panel: Transparent
  • Dimensions: 20.2 x 10.5 x 20.6 inches (514 x 268 x 523 mm) (H x W x D)
  • Net weight: 15.5 Lbs (7 kg)
  • Gross weight: 19 Lbs (8.6 kg)
  • Bays: Three external 5.25” bays, one external 3.5” bay, seven internal 3.5”/2.5” bays, and one external 3.5”/2.5” docking bay
  • Expansion slots: Seven
  • Maximum video card length: 11.4” (290 mm) or 12.6” (320 mm) if the top hard drive cage is converted to 2.5” or 16.1” (410 mm) if the top hard drive cage is removed
  • Maximum CPU cooler height: NA
  • Fans: One 200 mm fan on the front panel (red LEDs) and one 120 mm fan on the rear panel
  • Optional fans: Two 120 mm, two 140 mm, one 180 mm or one 200 mm fans on the top panel; one 120 mm or 140 mm fan on the bottom panel; and one 120 mm or 140 mm fan on the left panel
  • Extra Features: None
  • More Information: https://www.cougar-world.com
  • Average Price in the U.S.*: Between USD 66.00 and USD 86.00

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

The Cougar Challenger case provides a terrific value for the users who are looking for an affordable mid-tower case with features usually found only on more expensive models. The plastic parts and the metallic sheets are thinner than those used on more expensive cases, but at this price range we can’t complain at all.

Strong Points

  • Terrific cost/benefit ratio
  • Vented covers with air filters for the external 5.25” and 3.5” bays
  • Air filters for the front, left, bottom and power supply fans
  • Vented slot covers
  • Supports a total of eight 3.5”/2.5” storage devices
  • Flexible configuration for the top hard drive cage
  • A huge hole in the motherboard tray for accessing the backplate of the CPU cooler
  • Holes for routing cables behind the motherboard tray
  • Clips for fastening cables behind the motherboard tray

Weak Points

  • No anti-vibration rings for 3.5” hard drives
  • Could have thumbscrews for fastening expansion cards