The Cougar Evolution Chassis is a commendable design and we encountered no problems during the installation and testing procedure.
The Evolution offers a long list of features in a chassis that is the size of any other mid tower case. While I was initially dubious about the fan controller, it is unbelievably simple to use and has upgrade potential, especially if you were to fit some nice Scythe, Phanteks or Noctua fans.
The fan controller offers a large amount of control over the speed for intake and exhaust fans, but, unfortunately, you can’t turn either of the fan channels off completely. You also have no idea as to what speeds they are running at, and the corresponding temperature within the case.
From the outside the case looks reasonably attractive. It is certainly not stunning but does have a powerful presence within the room due to the large grill covering the case. The side window section also means that the user can showcase components and watercooling features, and it would look rather attractive with a large array of lighting or led fans.
The top of the case with the fan controller and hard drive mount is very streamlined and well designed. As the USB ports are on top it is easier to keep the cables tidy and you are less likely to trip over them as they aren’t lying in front of the case.
It isn’t a perfect design and there are some faults we need to mention. For instance, the 3.5″ tray design is simple, but it is a little flimsy. It is also extremely difficult to remove a tray once a large 3.5″ drive has been installed as it doesn’t allow the front clips to flex far enough to clear the chassis.
My other main issue is a lack of space behind the motherboard tray in the center, which is exactly where I want to have several large power supply cables running to power both the motherboard and other components. Unfortunately I had to get a little more inventive with my cable routing to allow the side of the case to close.
Turning to the ‘out of the box’ performance, we were pleasantly surprised that with only two fans installed we achieved good thermal results, even when running our hot AMD Phenom II Quad-Core 965 overclocked at 4.0 GHz.
It is testament to the case that the motherboard temperature held steady even when the processor and graphics were both under huge load. The case is basically a huge grill and as such delivers massive levels of airflow. If you add a further give fans then the cooling would cope with high end components, however we expect the acoustic performance to be compromised considerably.
While the acoustic performance is excellent ‘out of box’ this will rise quickly with a high powered graphics card or additional case fans installed, as the chassis design offers minimal sound proofing. That said, including the fan controller does mean that this is less of a worry, and you could quite easily install seven low noise fans for a more balanced approach. Cougar have given you the choice between performance and noise, and we can’t ask for much more than that.
Currently the price of this case is an impressive $89.99 which certainly makes it extremely good value for money. We have no UK retailers as yet.
- Dual-fan controller.
- Huge cooling potential with 7 fans.
- USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 on front of case.
- Very good value for money.
- Well built and sturdy.
- 3.5″ trays are thin and flimsy.
- Case is not the quietest.
- Limited space behind motherboard tray.
- Only space for 5*3.5/2.5″ drives.
Kitguru says: Plenty of features in a brilliantly designed case and it won’t break the bank.