INTRODUCTION:

It’s not every day that we review cases here in our blog, notwithstanding the fact that we felt very distant from enclosures for the past few months. That said, we literally jumped with joy when COUGAR gladly gave us the opportunity to test and review their flagship full tower case; the COUGAR Evolution.

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Back in the days, COUGAR is just a series of gaming and enthusiast grade power supplies from their parent company, HEC/COMPUCASE. With much success, COUGAR as we know them today, now has their own R&D department based on Germany, and are now developing PSUs, Cases, and other gaming oriented products.

The COUGAR Evolution is a full tower case, and is a symbol of COUGAR’s passion for innovation. Designed with ruggedness, and flexibility in mind, the Evolution should sate the appetite of most gamers and enthusiasts. Well then, let’s check it out, and see if it’ll pass with flying colors.

FEATURES/SPECIFICATIONS: LINK

Case Type
Full Tower
Motherboard Type
Micro ATX / ATX
Dimensions
223(W) x 514(H) x 523(D)
Available Color
Black
External  5.25″ Drive Bays
6
External  3.5″ Drive Bays
1(Converted from 5.25” bay)
Internal 3.5″ HDD Trays
4
Internal 2.5″ HDD/SDD Trays
4(Installed from 3.5” HDD tray)
External 3.5”&2.5” Hotswap Device
1
Expansion Slots
8
I/O Panel
USB 3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x 2
MIC x 1, Audio x 1
5.25″  Screw-less Mechanism
6
Fan Speed Control System
Dual-way (Total control:6pcs fans)
Cooling
System
 
Max installed : 7pcs fans
Front
120mm Fan x 2
Top
120mm Fan x 2
Rear
120mm Fan x 1
Bottom
120/140mm Fan x 1
Left side
140mm Fan x 1
Bottom Fan Filter
1
Rear Water Cooling Hole
2
Maximum VGA Length
305mm

PACKAGING/CONTENTS:

COUGAR had the Evolution packed inside a simple yet eco-friendly packaging. Up front, there is an image of the case, along with some branding.

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The back of the packaging shows the features of the case, along with its layout. The side houses the specifications in case you’re fond of reading those things.

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The case is wrapped in a soft fabric, while two polystyrene foams kept the case safe from bumps and bruises. The soft fabric could double up as a dust cover when the system is not in use. I like it.

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Like most cases, the accessories of the Evolution are packed inside a small carton box located inside the case. The bundled accessories includes a 5.25” to 3.5” bay adapter, a magnetic 140mm fan filter for the side panel, some zip-ties, a plastic bag with stand-offs, screws, a manual, and 2x 3-way fan power splitter.

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CLOSER LOOK (EXTERIOR):

Out of the box, I’m surprised that the COUGAR Evolution looked better personally than on the pictures. I mean, when manufacturers displays their products on their websites, it’s usually a CGI counterpart or a retouch of the real thing. That said, our personal encounter with the Evolution has been a pleasant one, as we truly enjoy its sleek yet rugged form. This side also features a recessed-perplex window with a cut-out for a single 140mm fan. We already installed the magnetic fan cover for your viewing convenience. Looks quite nice, isn’t it?

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The other side of the case features a recessed panel just like the windowed side. This should help your back panel cables to gain proper clearance behind the motherboard tray. At this angle, we could also see two water-cooling holes, the single 120mm COUGAR Vortex fan, and 8x ventilated PCI slot covers. The PSU mount is at the bottom as well. A standard nowadays for cases.

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The top panel of the COUGAR Evolution features abundant amount of connectivity, and fan control options. We’ve also got a ventilated panel here for the optional 2x 120mm fans that could be installed inside the case, as well as a rubberized flappy docking station for your 3.5” and 2.5” drives. You could pretty much put anything there including your smartphone if you wish.

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Connectivity includes 2x audio ports, 2x USB2.0, and 2x USB3.0 ports. We’ve also got an HDD activity led here, along with a small reset button below it. Probably what sets this case apart from the competition, is the implementation of a fan control knob at the middle of the panel. It’s easy to use, works with two fan groups, and lits up in Blue when powered on. Two huge switches at the side of the knob are used to select the fan group, BTW.

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The front fascia of the case features a stylish meshed area similar to the top ventilation panel. There are 6x 5.25” bays here that could be easily removed inside the case.

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Looking a bit closer at the back, we could see the ventilated PCI slot covers, and the side panel locking mechanism of the case. Quite a useful feature if you want to lock your system and secure all the hardwares inside.

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The bottom part of the case features four grippy rubber feet for maximum stability. We also liked the fact that COUGAR implemented a 240mm dust filter at the bottom, and it is easily one of the best filters I have seen to date.

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CLOSER LOOK (INTERIOR):

Well look at that. Seems like the COUGAR Evolution is not just sleek outside, but is also pretty spacious on the inside. First thing we noticed are the amount of drive bays, the angled and removable HDD/SSD bay, and the failrly large motherboard tray cut-out for the CPU. We also noticed that the side panels swivels out instead of the usual slide-and-scratch approach, and… It’s hardly a full tower case based on the height of the case, and its motherboard are clearance.

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Heading towards the lower area of the case, we can see that there’s a dampening pad for the PSU, along with a fair amount of clearance. There is also an option to install a 140/120mm fan on this side of the case. Some holes too for the PSU cables.

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As said earlier, the Evolution supports a total of 6 drive bays. All of them conform to COUGAR’s tool-less design. Also, just below the 5.25″ drive bays is the 3.5″ drive cage which is completely removable for better GPU compatibility, and airflow. The cage supports 4x 3.5″ and 2.5″ drives. The bays are easy to snap, and easy to remove too. To top things off on this side of the case, COUGAR also provided a 120mm Vortex front intake fan with its own dust filter.

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The COUGAR Evolution, being a case with ample amount of connectivity, has lots and lots of cables. We have front panel audio header, USB2.0 header, USB3.0 header, front panel headers, SATA cable and 4-pin molex for the docking station, 2x 3-pin fan header, and another 4-pin molex for the fan controller. Overall, the cables are great; with a nice feel, and length. I just wished COUGAR opted for an all-Black approach instead.

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Compared to the older model, this particular COUGAR Evolution features tool less fan brackets. These brackets are found at the front, and at the top of the case. They support 120mm fans with a standard width.

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The back doesn’t have much space as you would expect, since COUGAR opted to provide more width at the other-side of the case. That said, there’s only around half an inch of space here for your cables, but it’s not a biggie if you’re going to run your cables along the motherboard tray’s detrusion. The side panel also adds space for cable clearance so you don’t have to worry a lot when it comes to cable management.

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INSTALLATION/FINISH BUILD:

Installing hardwares inside the Evolution is no sweat. Thanks to its easy to understand installation manual, spacious interior, and the embedded motherboard mounting stand-offs.

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The COUGAR Evolution doesn’t support 240mm radiators at the top due to the lack of motherboard area space, but we managed to install one. Not bad considering the fact that the case shouldn’t really support an internal 240mm radiator. Do note that it’s still not advisable, since you cannot install a fan underneath it. This case is more of a mid to full tower hybrid, I guess.

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Removing the top panel is an easy feat, although you have to be very careful not to bend the plastic clips that runs along the top panel of the case. If you’re wondering why we disassembled it, we removed the SATA+Power cable of the docking station because we do not need it for our particular build, and it should help to tidy those cables.

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After an hour of installing our RIG’s bits and pieces, we were impressed by what we accomplished so far since the case still looks clean even with tons of hardwares inside. The windowed panel is a nice touch. I like it.

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The back of the case is clean enough to receive an approval from our cable management “freak” friends. The multi-colored front panel, and fan cables would look better if they’re Black though. Hardly a complaint.

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VALUE/CONCLUSION:
The COUGAR Evolution is a case that brought its promises to the table without over doing it. It’s a rugged looking case, with rugged features fit for almost everyone who want a refreshing case to base your build, and show off to the world what’s inside. Perfect for LAN Parties, or if you just want to appreciate your price’y PC hardwares.

The only thing that I do not like about this case is that it feels somewhat a hybrid between the mid-tower and the full-tower class. Sure, the front bay area features what you would mostly see from a full tower, but the motherboard tray area lacks the capabilities of a real full tower case. Hence, the inability to officially support 240mm radiators at the top.

With an SRP of around 4, 000 Pesos, this case isn’t really that bad. Weighing in the pros and cons, it’s still a winner. I mean for the price, it has a docking station, loads of connectivity features, and it’s easy to maintain too, courtesy of its tool-less design. You just have to consider its minor flaws which is hardly a problem for most of us. Consider this case. It’s a good investment for its features, and price.

PROS:
  • Looks great
  • Build quality
  • Connectivity
  • Tool-less setup
  • Price
CONS:
  • Support for internal 240mm radiators
  • Hardly a full tower case

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PRODUCT PAGE: SEE THE LINK