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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  • 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.

  • 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.
  • ajemm - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

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


    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.
  • Wellsoul2 - Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - link

    I like this case. It looks different and retro.
  • 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."
  • WT - Thursday, November 1, 2012 - link

    And they said my Thermaltake Level 10 GT Snow was ugly ?? C'mon man, this redefines fugly.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • SKZdman - Saturday, April 26, 2014 - link

    Like this:

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