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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  • CCrunnernb - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    Who would put this on a desk and let others see it?
  • Chaitanya - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    not me.
  • cknobman - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    Agreed, this case is one of the ugliest cases I have ever seen.

    I don't even think I would hide this under my desk for fear of visitors accidentally looking under it and seeing this thing.
  • deject - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    Yeah, this is one of the ugliest cases I've seen in a long while.
  • Grok42 - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    We keep saying this every new case review. Are we just a vocal minority? Are there lurkers who really like these cases? Is there some bet with the reviewer that they can't possibly find an even uglier case to review. I'm hoping we have finally hit bottom.
  • BrianDustin - Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - link

    like Margaret answered I'm stunned that people able to earn $7483 in 1 month on the internet. did you read this(Click on menu Home more information)
  • MxxCon - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    Is there really a market for cases that look like Transformers' abortions? :/
  • deneb - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    There is, for people with a lack of eyesight. Really, this is one of the ugliest cases I've seen as well.
  • OCN's_3930k - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

  • geniekid - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    I was going to say...that thing better ACTUALLY transform.

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