Cougar MX500 Review
There are a few more things that are different from the Challenger, aside from the looks. The external drive bay is gone, in its place is a rubber pad. I think the idea is that a lot of people use their cases to place things on, like their phone, keys, headphones, game controllers, etc. I know I do this, so the rubber pad is actually probably even more useful than a drive bay for me. The Cougar MX500 also has a pair of additional USB 2.0 ports to go along with the USB 3.0 ports. This extra connectivity is definitely appreciated, especially if you use it to charge phones, tablets, external batteries, etc.
Removing the fascia (and by the way, those thumbscrews on the front are for decoration only), we come across another major difference between the Cougar MX500 and Challenger – the front intake fan. The fan on the Cougar MX500 is a pretty big step down from the HUGE 200mm unit on the Challenger. Instead, you get a 120mm fan. This spot can actually accommodate a pair of 140mm fans, so at least it’s extremely upgradeable.
At the back, there is another 120mm fan. Unfortunately, neither of these are 4-pin PWM fans, so if you have one of those great motherboards with fine control on ever port, you won’t really get to use that feature with the stock fans. Below it you’ll find three ports that can be used to route external cooling tubes. Rubber grommets are included in the package to accommodate this. The venting above the expansion slots is another nice touch.
At the bottom of the Cougar MX500, there’s a magnetized dust filter which covers the power supply intake fan, and an additional 120 or 140mm bottom intake fan. The rubber feet are my biggest concern here – they are quite fragile. If you are the type who likes to tinker with your PC after it’s been installed, you will need to take great care while moving it around or tipping it over to work on it. I found this out the hard way after working on the Cougar Challenger, and these feet look like they’re the same.
Finally, here’s a wide look at the top of the Cougar MX500. Plenty of ventilation is provided, and you have the choice of either installing a pair of fans here (either 2x140mm or a single 180mm or 200mm) or you can install a large liquid cooling block instead.
Hardware-wise, you get three 2.5″ drive trays, which replace 3 of the 7 3.5″ bays inside. There’s also a magnetic dust filter for the side fan, and the mounting hardware and aforementioned grommets.
On the next page, we’ll open up the Cougar MX500 and see what features it has internally as we install a system into it.