Review of Cougar Evolution Full Tower PC Case

Up for review today I’ve got another PC case called the Evolution and it’s from a company called Cougar. This case is not exactly what I would call expensive coming in at around $100, but it’s got plenty of features that even enthusiast users can appreciate like room for large video cards, and SATA dock built-in and a removable hard drive cage. The case is all black, inside and out and it features a built-in fan controller for up to six fans to keep your system cool and quiet.

So the Cougar Evolution comes in a box as one might expect.

coug1 coug2

Inside you’ll find the case protected with stryofoam and a cloth bag over it so it’s packaged very well.

coug3 coug4

The case has one window and it’s covered with a piece of plastic for protection during transport. The word Evolution is in blue below the window.

coug5 coug6

Here’s the left side of the case without the plastic on the window. The window is an inverted and backwards L shape around a vent with a space for a fan.

coug7

The right side of the case is plain black as is most of the case really, except for the word Evolution and the fans with have orange blades. The side panel does have a section that extends outwards a bit, this give you room to run wires behind the motherboard tray.

coug14

The front of the case is all mesh and there are three bays that are available to use. There are six bays in total but behind the lower three is an empty fan bracket that can be removed if need be. There’s one fan already installed for you on the bottom of the case where the hard drive cage is.

coug8

Here’s the view with the front bezel off and I should note it’s very easy to remove as it’s held on by metal spring style clips.

coug16

Then here’s a close up of the fan bracket and the bottom fan which has a removable air filter.

coug18 coug17

The top of the case does have spots for two optional fans. On the top is also an SATA dock that can fit 2.5” or 3.5” drives.

coug9 coug11

The dock looks like the Cougar logo and it’s spring loaded, just push down and the SATA connections will appear.

coug13 coug12

Then moving around the back you have you standard stuff here along with punch outs for liquid cooling at the top. The PSU gets installed at the bottom of the case like most these days.

coug19

coug22 coug21

 coug20 

Under the power supply is a removable air filter that extends a little more than half of the case bottom.

coug24

…and here’s the bottom of the case:

 coug23

Ok, taking the right panel off first you’ll notice a nice sized cut out where the CPU would be located, this makes life easier when installing or changing CPU coolers. The tray also has several cutouts for routing the wires through. The inside of the case is painted black just like the outside.

coug25

Then here’s the view with the left side off:

coug26

The optical bays use a tool-less locking system with levers.

coug27

Then here’s the view from inside of the optical bays:

coug35

Hanging around inside you’ll find several connections for audio, USB, USB 3.0, power for the fans, and the motherboard headers along with power and data for the SATA dock.

coug33 coug34

There’s a white box inside with the accessories which include user manual, zip ties, rings for liquid cooling holes, assorted screws and 3-1 fan connectors.

coug38

You’ll only find two actual fan connectors  in the bunch of cables, the included adapters allow you to connect and control three fans per connection.

coug41 coug42

The hard drive cage can be removed if need be and it holds hard drives securely.

coug28 coug36

coug37

The hard drive racks are a semi-flexible plastic with silicone inside to keep the drives quiet while in use.

coug39 coug40

At the top of the inside of the case you’ll find two brackets for two more fans.

coug32

On the bottom of the case you’ll see basically all ventilation and a spot for another fan. The power supply rests on rubber blocks to help keep the vibrations down and the system more quiet.

coug29

Here’s a couple views of the back of the case, you can see the fan and PCI slots here.

coug30 coug31

Specifications:

Evolution

Cougar Evolution full tower, the latest enthusiast-geared rugged chassis with its spacious interior offering enough room for 8 PCI cards, providing sufficient flexibility for multiple graphics solutions and up to 7 fans equipped with a unique dual-fan-set management system, the Cougar Evolution sports excellent cooling and ventilation characteristics that are the ideal foundation for a professional gaming system packed with high-end hardware.

Features:
-Innovative & Integrated UI for user friendly design
-Advanced two USB 3.0 ports for maximum data transfer speed
-Unique honeycomb & mesh hybrid intake design with rugged strong appearance
-Top access external 3.5" & 2.5" HDD/SSD for easy mobile data transfer
-Integrated fan speed controller for dual-way fan control
-Support for 7 fans : front 120mm fan x2 ; rear 120mm fan x1 ; top 120mm fan x2 ; bottom 120/140mm fan x1 ; left-side panel 140mm fan x1
-Support for longer high-end graphics cards (up to 305 mm)
-8 PCI slots provides flexibility for multiple graphics cards solutions
-Screw-less mechanisms on 5.25" device
-Shockproof HDD tray design for 3.5" HDD and compatible for 2.5" HDD/SSD
-Holes on the rear panel for water cooling solutions
-Retaining holes in the motherboard tray for easy accessing the backplate of the CPU cooler
-Cable routing holes on the motherboard tray for easy routing and hiding cables behind the MB tray
-Vented slot covers for better cooling performance
-Air filter for the front panel fan & power supply fan

Specs:
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 5.25”&3.5” 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

Price: $94.99 (from NewEgg at time of review)


The system I’m putting in here was actually my HTPC/Gaming system that was hooked up with my Vizio 47” HDTV. It basically consists of a DFI X48 T3RS Lanparty Motherboard, Intel Quad Core 9650 CPU along with 8gigs of ram. The system is now going to my kids as I upgraded to a Corei5 system for my HTPC/Gaming computer. I’m using an ATI 4870 video card with it and a Noctua NH-U12P cooler with are both large in size. The 4870 is large and it fits with plenty of room in the Cougar Evolution case. There’s also plenty of room for large coolers in there.

coug45

I got the system installed without any issues, I found there’s plenty of room to work inside of the Evolution case to get everything installed easily.

 coug47 coug48 

To install the hard drives you need to put them in the bracket which just involves bending the bracket and fitting the hard drive in place. Once the drive is in the bracket it can slide into the HDD rack which holds it tightly. The hard drive connection face towards the back or right side of the case so that’s where you’ll run the wires to for the power and data connections. I personally like this position as it makes for cleaner looking case.

coug49 coug50

There is room on the back of the Evolution motherboard tray for running your wires back there. The side panel isn’t flat it’s rounded out to make room for your wires.

coug51 coug52

As you can see from these pictures there’s not much room at the top of the case at all. If you install the optional top fans you’ll even have less room. I had a very hard time getting the power connector connected to the motherboard, I actually ended up removing the fan brackets as they were just in the way making it impossible to get it connected. Removing the fan brackets was quite involved and fairly difficult as you need to remove screws and then pull the entire top section off which was very hard to do as it’s held on by clips which are unlocked by pushing them and they’re located in places that are hard to reach.

coug44 coug43

Here’s the view with the brackets removed, there’s plenty of room now:

coug46

On the top of the case is of course the SATA dock, it can fit either 3.5” or 2.5” drives with ease. The panel just slides down and the drive slips into the connectors. The dock comes in handy and having a direct SATA connection is faster than using a USB style dock.

coug53

The fans are controlled with a knob that surrounds the power button. When you power up the computer and when you’re not adjusting the fans the LED is blue. There are two groups of fans than you can control, A and B. There are buttons labeled this on each side of control knob, press the button for what you want to control and it will change to green letting you know it’s ready to be adjusted. To the right of the knob is a singly blue LED that will blink for hard drive activity.

coug54

 coug55

Speaking of fans, the two included seem to do a decent job of keeping things cool. When on low or almost medium they are barely audible, but if you turn them up to high they get extremely loud. To me they’re just too loud for comfort.


coug1 coug5 coug8 coug14

Conclusion:
The Cougar Evolution case is certainly one that can appreciate as it’s got plenty of room to work and fit large sized video cards. The inclusion of the SATA dock comes in handy for quick and easy file transfers from any drives you’ve got floating around. The fan controller is a nice addition and it’s simple to use. The Evolution case allows you to install up to six fans and control them with the controller for when you need more cooling or for when you want a quieter system. The case is very well made, it’s sturdy and designed well and I think it looks great personally.

The included fans can be very loud on high speed, so loud that it’s annoying. For the most part there’s plenty of room in the case but I ran into a problem at the top with the fan brackets being in the way of connecting up the second motherboard power connection.

9 recommended5

 

Pros:
+Lots of room
+Great design
+Decent cooling ability

Cons:
-Fans can be very loud on high
-Not much room at top of case at all

Grades:  
Overall score-9-10
Design score-9-10
Performance score-9-10

To learn more about our review policy please visit this page HERE.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1373115202 Carl Venzon De Vera

    nice review nice rig

  • Graham

    Good review, thanks. I’m going to be getting one of these, and I hadn’t got a chance to look in the case at different angles, such as the ones you show.

  • ogiebjl

    The top fans overlap the motherboard area. Certain boards will not fit because of RAM slots or northbridge cooling. It needs to be 2 inches taller so the fans aren’t in the way.

Black Friday: Deals from Acer

Black Friday: Deals from Acer

Kristofer Brozio
Acer has several things on special for Black Friday at Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Costco and even t…
Read More
3 days agoBlack Friday: Deals from Acer
OCZ Launches Sabre 1000 Series SSDs

OCZ Launches Sabre 1000 Series SSDs

Kristofer Brozio
OCZ announced this morning the launch of the Sabre 1000 series of SSDs which are enterprise class wh…
Read More
4 days agoOCZ Launches Sabre 1000 Series SSDs
Cyber Monday: Walmart Running Deals all Week up to 50% Off

Cyber Monday: Walmart Running Deals all Week up to…

Kristofer Brozio
So Walmart has decided that Cyber  Monday, or Cyber Week as  they’re calling it, will sta…
Read More
45 mins agoCyber Monday: Walmart Running Deals all Week up to…
Black Friday: At Tiger Direct Black Friday Starts Wednesday

Black Friday: At Tiger Direct Black Friday Starts…

Kristofer Brozio
Yes Tiger Direct is starting their Black Friday celebration on Wednesday but, to their credit, they…
Read More
49 mins agoBlack Friday: At Tiger Direct Black Friday Starts…
Review of Jabra Move Bluetooth Wireless Headset

Review of Jabra Move Bluetooth Wireless Headset

Tomas Ratas
The first Bluetooth headset review I did was several years ago. It is amazing how things have change…
Read More
3 days agoReview of Jabra Move Bluetooth Wireless Headset