Today at TestFreaks we will be looking at another PC case from Cougar called the Solution. This is a budget mid-tower case that can accommodate Micro-ATX and ATX sized motherboards. With the ability to house up to eight fans this case should keep any PC build nice and cool. One drawback is the Solution only comes with one 120 mm fan, otherwise you’ll need to supply the rest of the cooling which adds to the cost of your PC build.
Cougar uses a honeycomb and mesh hybrid intake design for improved air cooling. The case also has vented slot covers and holes for water cooling solutions. The inside of the Solution is large enough to accommodate a high end graphics card of up to 32 cm.
The Cougar Solution PC Case arrives in a brown cardboard box with black printing. This seems like an more environmentally friendly packaging but may make the case seem less exciting when displayed next to other artistically covered PC case boxes; but lets not judge a book by its cover. No one really remembers the package their PC case arrives in.
The front of the box has an image of the top face of the Cougar Solution while the back has additional images along with a list of features. On one of the sides is a list of case specs.
Opening the box we see the Solution held in place between two Styrofoam inserts and covered by a plastic bag.
Inside the package we find the Cougar Solution case, a bag of screws and parts, two water cooler vent covers and an instruction booklet.
The Cougar Solution is a black mid tower case composed of black steel and plastic. Cougar offers it with and without an included power supply. We received the one without the power supply for our review. The case measures 19.8cm x 42.5cm x 48.4cm. On the front, top and sides you will notice a honeycomb and mesh intakes to help keep the PC housed inside cool.
Looking at the front panel we see the Cougar name and logo in the center along with three 5.25” mesh drive bay covers above it. Beneath this logo is a removable mesh hybrid 3.5" shield. At the very top of the face are a hard drive LED, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 connectors, audio inputs and a power button. The lower section has a vented area for the storage drives.
On top of the case are two vents that can fit two 120 mm fans.
The left side door of the Solution has a honeycombed mesh vent opening and is composed of black steel. This vent can accommodate two 120 mm fans as well. The right side door is also solid black steel.
At the back of the Solution is an included 120 mm fan, opening for the PC’s mounting bracket, two rear water cooling holes, seven expansion slots, and an opening for a bottom positioned power supply.
Finally the underside of the Cougar Solution has two additional vents, one for the PSU fan and the other for an optional 120 mm fan. Four rubber feet keep the Solution off the floor to help improve the air flow in/out of the case.
Looking at the inside of the case we find a motherboard tray with elevated standoffs. This is a nice feature as most screw in standoffs have one gets stuck when trying to remove your motherboard. There are additional holes for standard screw in standoffs but if you use an ATX or micro ATX then you won’t need them. In the center of this tray is a raised standoff for centering the motherboard in place.
The internal drive cage has room for two 120 mm or one 140 mm fan along with vents.
The included rear 120 mm fan is black and orange. While the case is mostly black it does have orange accents mostly inside the case.
For installation of optical and hard drives there are locking mechanisms making the Cougar a screwless design in this respect.
-Unique honeycomb & mesh hybrid intake design with rugged strong appearance
-Support for 8 fans: front 120mm fan x2 or 140mm fan x1; rear 120mm fan x1; top 120mm fan x 2; bottom 120mm fan x1; left-side panel 120mm fan x2
-Support for longer high-end graphics cards (up to 320 mm)
-Screw-less mechanisms on 5.25", 3.5" & HDD device
-Support 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 power supply fan
Support 8 fans for strong cooling performance
-Top : 120mm fan x 2 (Optional)
-Front:120mm fan x 2 or 140mm fan x 1 (Optional)
-Bottom : 120mm fan x 1 (Optional)
-Left side:120mm fan x 2 (Optional)
-Rear:120mm fan x 1 (Included)
Case Type: Middle Tower
Motherboard Type: Micro ATX / ATX
Dimensions: 198(W) x 425(H) x 484(D)
Available Color: Black
External 5.25" Drive Bays: 3
External 3.5" Drive Bays:1
Internal 3.5" Drive Bays: 6
Internal 2.5" Drive Bays: 1
Expansion Slots: 7
I/O Panel: USB 3.0 x 1, USB 2.0 x 1
MIC x 1, Audio x 1
5.25" Screw-less Mechanism: 2
3.5" Screw-less Mechanism: 1
HDD Screw-less Mechanism: 2
Max installed: 8pcs fans
Front: 120mm Fan x 2 or 140mm Fan x 1
Top: 120mm Fan x 2
Rear: 120mm Fan x 1
Bottom: 120mm Fan x 1
Left side: 120mm Fan x 2
Bottom Fan Filter: 2
Rear Water Cooling Hole: 2
Maximum VGA Length: 320mm
For testing I installed the following system into the Cougar Solution:
ASUS F1A75-V PRO
AMD A4-3400 Llano 2.7GHz Socket FM 5-V PRO FM
Kingston Hyper X 8 GB DDR
Intel X25-M 80 GB
Samsung 320 GB
NZXT Hale 82 800 Watt
LG 20X DVD +/- RW
Installation of the motherboard, power supply and drives took approximately 45 minutes. Cougar built the case with plenty of cable routing options with the back of the motherboard tray having lots of open areas. My wire management skills are fair at best so I did not go crazy with running wires.
Cougar provides black screws to match the interior of the case but does not provide washers to prevent accidental shorts with the motherboard.
There is plenty of room for the motherboard and the CPU punch out on the back of the tray lined up nicely with the ASUS F1A75-V PRO used for testing.
The front face of the Solution pops off by pulling it from the bottom of the case. With this off you can remove any of the three 5.25" screens for installation of optical or other 5.25" sized drives.
Installation of the 3.5" and 5.25” optical drives was simple with the hands free connectors. Turning the orange knob perpendicular to the drive unlocks it, while moving it into a parallel position locks it.
The Solution can fit seven 3.5" drives and one 2.5" such as an SSD which rests at the bottom of the drive cage and is screwed in from the bottom of the case.
One feature that of the Solution that I initially found exciting was the inclusion of the USB 3.0 port on the front of the case. Sadly this port connects to a spare USB 3.0 connector off the back of one’s PC; it does not use an internal connector like the standard USB 2.0 front panel connector. This means you will need to feed this USB 3.0 out the back of your machine to take advantage of this front port. This was a bit of a disappointment.
Another problem was the audio cable was too short as the high definition audio header was just out of reach on my motherboard. The area for the top fans seems like it will be tight one fans are installed.
Once everything was installed the Solution housed computer was fired up and you can see the blue LEDs of the hard drive and power indicators. Since the inputs are at the front of the case; they were easy to access and use.
The included fan was very quiet while providing good airflow down onto the motherboard. Additional fans will add to the price of the case build.
The Solution is the budget PC case from Cougar with numerous features not found in similar cases. It is solidly built with plenty of options There is plenty of room to increase case airflow but since the Solution only includes one 120 mm fan, this means more fans will add additional expense to the PC build.
Currently the Solution retails for $59 but is sold at Newegg for around $49. If you hurry right now there is a $15 rebate making the final cost $35 making the Solution a fantastic deal at this price.
+Good Wire Management
+Plenty of room for expansion
+Quiet 120 mm fan
-Only one fan included
-USB 3.0 front panel solution not ideal
-Short audio cable
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