Cougar Conquer Essence Case Review: A Fanless Dust Trap?

Although the Cougar Conquer Essence is sleek, stylish and has very good thermal performance, there are just too many things wrong with this chassis to recommend it at this price. 

Looking for an open-air micro-ATX case that is stylish, easy to mod and stands out from the crowd right out of the box? 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 and the price tag.

This chassis is essentially a smaller version of the Cougar Conquer chassis. The design is similar, but not only is the Conquer Essence smaller, a number of features have been removed, retooled and / or completely redesigned from the Conquer. The overall look is much more spartan than the full-sized Conquer chassis.

Specifications

TypeMini-Tower ATX
Motherboard SupportMini-ITX, Micro-ATX
Dimensions (HxWxD)18.9 x 9.2 x 20.5 inches (480 x 233 x 522mm)
Space Above Motherboard3 inches (76mm)
Card Length13.8 inches (350mm)
CPU Cooler Height6.3 inches (160mm)
Power Supply Length7.9 inches (200mm)
Weight22lbs (10.0kg)
External Bays
Internal Bays2x 3.5 inches
6x 2.5 inches
Card Slots5x vertical
Ports/Jacks2x USB
1x audio jack
1x mic jack
OtherTempered glass side panels
Front Fans✗ (2x 120mm max)
Rear Fans✗ (2x 120mm max)
Top Fans✗ (2x 120mm max)
Bottom Fans
Side Fans
Dampening
WarrantyOne year, limited

Exterior

The entire chassis, aside from the tempered glass side panels, is constructed out of an aluminum alloy and is powder-coated black inside and out. The trapezoid-shaped chassis measures 480 x 233 x 522mm (HxWxD) and tips the scales at just over 22lbs. The frame of the chassis appears to be made of a single large sheet of aluminum that is laser-cut and folded into shape.

The top of the chassis is bare except for two open 120mm fan holes. The area between the top panel and the front panel is slanted at a 45-degree angle. This space is home to two USB 3.0 ports, headphone and microphone jacks and reset and power buttons

The removable front panel consists of a solid piece of aluminum that has large unfiltered ventilation holes lining both sides. There are large openings located at the top and bottom of the front panel as well. These air-intake holes provide a path for fresh air to be drawn into the chassis. Directly behind the front face are mounting locations for two 120mm fans. The front panel is held in place by four Philips head screws.

The full-coverage tinted tempered glass side panels are held in place by large thumbscrews that thread directly into metal rods, much the same as the side panels on the original Conquer and the Thermaltake Core P3 and P5 cases. Bear in mind that although rubber grommets line the holes in the tempered glass, there is nothing to hold the panel in place and prevent the glass against accidental drops. We highly recommend laying this case on its side when removing the tempered glass panels.

On a side note, there was a large amount of what seemed to be melted plastic all over both side panels on our unit. A razor blade and a bit of rubbing alcohol made short work of the mess, but was still disappointing that this wasn't caught at the factory.

While we are on the subject, we also noticed that the bracket for the five expansion cards was severely bent. Although we were able to bend it back in place, doing so caused a small tear in the aluminum alloy material at the base of the bracket.

Directly below the expansion card bracket is the mounting location for your power supply. The Conquer Essence does not feature a PSU tunnel.

Since this is an open-air chassis, there is no filtration system in place. In fact, even though the company includes a pair of fan grills, there is nothing at all preventing dust and debris from falling into your system or spilling directly onto your exposed hardware.

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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
    Quote:
    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.