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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