Cougar Conquer Case Review

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Benchmark Results & Final Analysis

Are we getting tired of superlatives yet? It seems like every third or fourth review we’re finding a case or cooler that’s the worst or best we’ve ever tested. Over the past year, CLCs have gradually been getting better, while cases got substantially worse following the adoption of glass. The problem has been that most manufacturers didn’t understand that glass is both a poor conductor and a good collector of heat, that designing a properly-functioning glass-paneled case was more complicated than simply replacing the mesh of an old design with a solid glass sheet, or that putting a fan extremely close to a glass panel would restrict its airflow. One such manufacturer figured out the problem and its solution on the fly. Yet here we are again with another superlative: The Cougar Conquer is the coolest running case we’ve tested with this platform, period.

It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out why the Conquer runs so cool, as it’s basically an open bench with fans blowing towards the CPU cooler. That’s also certain to hurt it in the noise test, where load results are significantly impacted by how much of the graphics card noise is allowed to escape.

Fortunately, the Conquer’s fans contribute insignificantly to the system’s idle noise level. Even at full load, cases with noisy fans have garnered greater dishonor.

As bad a job as the Conquer did at deflecting graphics card noise away from our meter, it’s great thermal results have a far more impressive impact in our cooling-to-noise calculations. It has 11.9% to 18.8% better acoustic efficiency than the average of all six results.

We wouldn’t call any premium case high-value, but Cougar’s $300 Conquer easily wins a value comparison when stacked against lesser performing $250 to $300 cases.

Handing out an award based on all these wins isn’t so easy though. Things that make a traditional case premium, such as sound damping and easy-access dust filters, weren’t even a consideration in the Conquer’s design. Indeed, by the end of this test the case was covered in dust, paper fibers, and anything else that could somehow end up floating even for a few seconds through the air. It would still make a stunning-looking showcase PC, at least for the duration of most shows.

There’s the problem of one misaligned hole on the right side panel. I’m going to assume this is a one-off defect since it’s too far off to be a normal manufacturing variance, yet it should have been caught by even the least qualified quality control system. I will thus suppress my urge to give it our editor’s choice award, and suggest instead that most readers will first want to look at the customer reviews of large-volume sellers.

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Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • rtrski
    Could you please clarify about the 'could fit EATX motherboard but no support'? (Paraphrasing). I've seriously considered re-housing my current build into this case with the one exception being I have the MSI X-power AC EATX motherboard, and all the specs for the case promise only ATX compatibility. A couple missing standoffs alone wouldn't be enough to stop me...just have to support the backside when plugging in things like CPU, RAM, etc. But if it physically interferes with getting the case built, that's another story of course.
    Reply
  • rtrski
    Sorry, I should have been more specific. MSI X99S X-power AC from Haswell-E/Broadwell-E days, dimensions are 12"x10.7".
    Reply
  • Crashman
    20695485 said:
    Could you please clarify about the 'could fit EATX motherboard but no support'? (Paraphrasing). I've seriously considered re-housing my current build into this case with the one exception being I have the MSI X-power AC EATX motherboard, and all the specs for the case promise only ATX compatibility. A couple missing standoffs alone wouldn't be enough to stop me...just have to support the backside when plugging in things like CPU, RAM, etc. But if it physically interferes with getting the case built, that's another story of course.
    To be clear, your board will fit this chassis, and the chassis has all the standoffs for your board. Likewise, your board isn't actually EATX, it's a prioprietary depth in between ATX and EATX. It's only about an inch deeper than ATX, and far less than the 13"-deep EATX specification. Take a look:
    You can clearly see that there's around 3" of extra space in front of the board, at the closest corner

    Here is an EATX board, with the extra standoffs:

    The reason for these lengthy discussions is that a case must support the above board to be labeled fully EATX compliant, and must have standoffs 12.7" forward of the rear edge. Since a 10.7"-deep board doesn't cover those extra standoffs, it doesn't need those extra standoffs.
    Reply
  • BaRoMeTrIc
    300 bucks and they couldnt throw in a usb type c in the front?
    Reply
  • antishill
    What is with all these oversized giant cases. Price too high, too big, and generally pointless.
    Reply
  • rtrski
    Thanks very much, Crashman!

    Now I just have to figure out if I can mod in an optical disk easily, since I'm a Luddite that still wants one. (Yes, misuse of Luddite. ;-P ) If nothing else just use an external and place it underneath that center gap between the case legs with the tray turned sideways.
    Reply
  • milkod2001
    Looke very sexy yes but in a few months time dust will kill it inside, who is going to clean it all the time?
    Reply
  • modusoperandi00
    Pah! Back in my day, we liked our cases like we liked our women; closed-off and rectangular!
    Reply
  • JamesSneed
    You know what they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this eye thinks this case looks like junk. Course the terrible noise levels and no dust filters just add to the no thank you column from me. Thanks for reviewing it i'm sure some people will like a case geared 100% to cooling that has this funky look to it.
    Reply