Cougar Conquer Essence Case Review: A Fanless Dust Trap?

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Benchmark Results & Conclusion

We tested the Cougar Conquer Essence with our new Intel i9-7900X test platform. For comparison, we brought in the Cougar Panzer EVO RGB, the NZXT H700i, the be quiet! Silent Base 601 and be quiet! Dark Base 700 to give you a solid idea of where this case stands against other cases that are of similar size and feature sets.

The lack of airflow in this chassis is due to the fact that it ships with no fans. Although we are fully aware that enthusiasts prefer to add their own fans, we still think Cougar should have included one or two 120mm fans to cover the ugly empty holes in the top and to provide some airflow into the chassis. 

Temperatures were good because, let's face it, this chassis is one step away from being an open-air test bench. Our beastly overclocked Intel i9-7900X processor running at 4.0GHz peaked at 58 degrees Celsius over the ambient temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. GPU temperatures were also impressive at 48 degrees Celsius over the ambient room temperature. The addition of fans to this chassis would mean even better temperatures, but at the cost of elevated noise levels.

Speaking of noise levels, we recorded sound level readings with two off-the-shelf dB meters from two different angles. Normally, one of the benefits of a side panel made of tempered glass is its ability to reflect sound back into the chassis. Unfortunately, the open layout of this chassis allows almost all the noise your system's components make to escape the case. At idle, the system was fairly quiet at just 29.6dBA. Our test results under load were a totally different story. The fan noise from our GPU and all-in-one cooler hit an annoyingly high 38.8dBA, making it far and away one of the loudest cases we've ever tested.

Our Performance Value results here can be a bit misleading. This is due to the fact that those of you buying this chassis will have to add cooling fans and/or fans attached to radiators and all-in-one cooling solutions. Installing fans would add to the overall cost of the case, and that in turn would affect the Performance Value rating. Also, even though fans would improve overall thermal performance, it would certainly introduce more system noise and negatively impact our acoustic-efficiency rating.

Even if you carry over fans from a previous build to the Cougar Conquer Essence, there is still the over-$200 asking price to contend with. We don't have a problem with expensive cases, especially when they bring something completely new to the table or a host of new features. But the Conquer Essence, as unique and interesting as it may be, makes it extremely difficult to justify its asking price given that it lacks basics, such as fans, filters and USB 3.1 Type-C.

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  • Co BIY
    Would using thermal pads to heat sink the case motherboard frame to the motherboard help to cool VRMs ?

    It seems like that might be extremely effective with a one piece aluminum frame like this case has.

    All cases designed with an open top for radiators seem like they are going to be prone to serious dust settling problems. But that may be a minor issue compared to the amount of dust drawn into the cases by aggressive fans.
  • modusoperandi00
    My favorite part about this case is how nothing about it makes any sense at all.
  • mrmez
    That's because you're not 12 years old.
  • cryoburner
    Cougar's Conquer Essence might be right up your alley, if you can stomach all the dirt, dust and pet hair that will likely fall into the case...
    Given the large openings, you might even end up with a few pets in there.