Cougar Challenger Installation
The Cougar Challenger doesn’t come with a lot of extra components, which is to be expected at its price range.
The rubber grommets can be installed on the back of the case, for routing water tubing (in its default installation, these holes are blocked by metal popouts). You can also see the side panel fan grille, which is magnetic and quite a smart design. What I don’t like is having all the screws come in one single bag. This requires you to dump them all out, and sort through them as you install set up your system.
Also, if you are unfamiliar with the process of building a system, you will find the instruction manual to be essentially useless. Luckily the case only has basic features, so it isn’t too complicated to set up.
As mentioned, the top drive tray can be set up in two different configurations to house three 3.5″ or 2.5″ drives, or it can be removed completely (there are still four 3.5″ bays below it).
I believe the Cougar Challenger is the first case we’ve reviewed that takes 2.5″ drives into consideration, rather than just ‘hacking’ them in. This is smart, because the shift to SSDs is happening right now, and at the very least I think every system should have a small one as an SSD cache.
The drive trays are very well designed, and are completely tool-less. They simply snap into the mounting holes of the drive, and stay pretty secure. I didn’t notice an issue with rattling on the mechanical drives, as they snap into the case tightly.
Here’s how our system looks with everything installed, minus the power supply. The 5.25″ drive bays at the top are as easy as sliding the drive in and snapping the brackets down.
As you can see, the Challenger is quite roomy for a mid-ATX case, but this is without the power supply installed. Let’s see how it fares when we add that to the mix:
Not too bad actually! As you can see, the power supply we’re using was designed before bottom-mounted PSUs were popular, so the 8 pin power supply has to stay on this side of the motherboard.
I am probably the world’s messiest PC builder when it comes to routing cables, but you wouldn’t know based on this picture. That is because the Challenger is designed for all the cables to run behind the motherboard tray:
This is more like my usual builds! There is enough room behind the motherboard tray they you don’t really have to think about where the cables go – just leave them jumbled like this, and pop the side panel on. You can also see from this view that there is an ample cutout in the tray behind the CPU, allowing for mounting kit installation even when the motherboard is installed.