Introducing the Cougar Challenger

It's fun to review the big enthusiast-class cases like the NZXT Phantom 820 and the Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX custom marvels like the BitFenix Prodigy and SilverStone SG09, but the fact is that cases like those aren't doing the grunt work on the market. That job is usually handled by standard ATX cases in the sub-$100 bracket, where bang for the buck matters most. Hovering around the $80 price point there are often good deals to be had, and that appears to be true again with the Cougar Challenger we have on hand today.

Selling for $86 on NewEgg, the Cougar Challenger is capable of offering a pretty healthy performance profile along with a couple of added perks like the hotswap SATA tray on the top of the case. But what was sacrificed to reach the sub-$100 price point, and might you still be better off spending up a bit on a different mainstream enclosure?

Cougar got in touch with us to see if we'd be interested in reviewing the Challenger; they're a fairly young company based out of Germany, and I have a very soft spot for underdogs and startups. I championed BitFenix pretty hardcore and still do, because 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.

Cougar Challenger Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Micro ATX, ATX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25”, 1x 3.5"
Internal 7x 2.5"/3.5"
Cooling Front 1x 200mm intake fan; supports 2x 120mm/140mm
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top 2x 120mm/140mm fan mounts (or 1x 180mm/200mm)
Side 1x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Bottom 1x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Expansion Slots 7
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic, SATA hotswap bay
Power Supply Size Standard ATX
Clearances HSF 170mm
PSU 220mm
GPU 16" / 410mm
Dimensions 10.6" x 20.2" x 20.6"
268mm x 514mm x 523mm
Special Features USB 3.0 connectivity via internal headers
Toolless 5.25" drive bays and 3.5" drive sleds
Integrated SATA hotswap tray
Removable drive cage
Price $86

Feature-wise the Cougar Challenger is fairly strong, particularly thanks to the SATA tray. Stock cooling is also healthy, with a 200mm red LED intake fan and a 120mm exhaust fan, allowing for a basic positive pressure design. For all intents and purposes, this is a modern ATX enclosure. So why am I feeling kind of underwhelmed by it?

In and Around the Cougar Challenger
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  • DanNeely - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    If noone bought these monstrosities the companies who designed them would've gone bust years ago?

    Perhaps the Cthulu cult is going hightech.
    Reply
  • bigfire - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    Hah, yeah. It's quiet ugly. Reply
  • mattgmann - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    Please review some cases that an adult might actually consider purchasing. This may be the ugliest thing I've ever seen. Reply
  • Kepe - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    http://www.anandtech.com/tag/casecoolingpsus Reply
  • Lucian2244 - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    This must have looked well on paper because i can't explain how a design like this was chosen.
    Will you review the 200R ?
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    That is the ugliest case I've ever seen. It's worse than your average 90s beige tower with bulbous plastic fronts. What the hell? Reply
  • jabber - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    ...dragons or girls holding big guns on it.

    Good Grud that's awful.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    "the USB 3.0 header cable actually includes an alternate USB 2.0 header built into it, both convenient features."

    Every case maker in the world needs to copy this feature ASAP instead of copping out with 2x3.0 and 2x2.0 ports on the front that are going to become a liability in a few years when even your USB Christmas tree us designed to use 3.0.
    Reply
  • Kiste - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    This case is ugly. In fact, it's so ugly that it's probably gonna give me nightmares. It's a horrible monstrosity and an abomination and it needs to die. Reply
  • Orvtrebor - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    An 8yr old would love this case.

    I'm not being sarcastic, throw on a healthy dose of led's and you've got a gaming case that a kid would truly be proud of.

    Not every case is meant to be used in a professional office environment or a tastefully done den/gaming room.
    Reply

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