BENCHMARKS AND AIRFLOW
The benchmarks results are excellent. Thermals look better than normal, and the airflow keeps the entire system cool even on intense loads. The spacey design and large 200mm intake fan are certainly pulling their weight.
Furthermore, the entire system runs extremely quietly. It certainly is not the most silent build, but pretty darn close. Overall, it is simply solid performance from Cougars Challenger, which will undoubtedly put it on the radar for those looking for a unique chassis.
I remember during the first time building my rig, I decided to take a gander around Future Shop/Best Buy to see how much I saved. I ran into one of Acers premium gaming PCs called the Predator, and remembered scoffing at the sheer aesthetics of it. Oddly having the same visceral name, Cougar has somewhat recreated the Predator, but unlike with the Predator then, the Challenger has made me appreciate both chassis.
Fact is, a vast majority of people will blatantly write-off the Challenger in aesthetics alone, and much of this is due to the progression of cases (or more precisely, lack thereof)…and there is no problem with that. You want to make sure that a machine you look at everyday fits your ideals. Personally what throws me off from the Challenger is the stock neon orange theme. It tends to meld well with the black and dull-red, but it just does not look good outside of a gamer/LAN environment. Ultimately, I would much prefer either of the other two colours (silver/black).
With that said, the case has a ton of great features such as a hot-swap bay, optional internal configurations, magnetic air filters, extremely light and easy to carry/move, overall nice build quality, and my favourite latch power/reset button design.
That is not to say it is perfect though; it is still quite rough in some places. The side panels are a little too floppy and cheaply built, lack of filtration in certain areas makes it a dust magnet, drive trays are made of plastic instead of metal, the feet are not rubberized, and the expansion slots do not use a tool-less/thumbscrew system. The colour is definitely something that people will find fault with.
Hence, I wish Cougar had implemented and included magnetic faceplates to change colours. The flagship neon orange just looks too juvenile. It is just so innocently naive in its presentation though, that I cannot draw myself away from its allure. Without a doubt Cougar must have had a lot of fun designing the Challenger.
In conclusion, the Cougar Challenger surpassed my initial expectations. Colour me impressed by this bold chassis. For the price of $70-$80, you are getting a case that is a little rough in some areas, but overall a phenomenal value. If it falls into your sector of beauty look no further for a fantastic product with terrific value. Cougar has definitely implemented itself in the chassis market…but let us hope their next installment is a little less besieging.