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Review: COUGAR MX300 Gaming Case

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The MX300 is a new budget gaming case from COUGAR that I've had the privilege of trying out. It's affordable and will give you years of good service.

Design

The MX300 comes as an all black case with a nice honeycomb mesh on the front panel that is easily removable to get to the two front mounted fans and dust filter. The front panel also contains the Power button, reset switch/hard drive activity led, USB 2 and 3 connectors and headphone connectors. There is also an easily removable top panel for accessing the dust filter for the two fans mounted at the top of the case. The main side panel also comes with space to mount another two fans and a plexi-glass side window

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Build Quality

For a R500 case I have no complaints on the build quality as I didn't get a single nick on my hands while building hardware over into the MX300. All the edges are rolled to avoid cuts which is a big bonus. Even though the case is made of plastic and thin metal it still has a very sturdy feel to it, which can't be said for all R500 cases.

Hardware

The MX300 can handle 3 3.5" hard drives in the standard drive bays, 3 2.5" SSD drives and 2 5.25". Optical drives with an extra 5.25" drive bay being usable for a 3.5" drive courtesy of the adapter that is included with the case. All these drives get mounted with no screws needed as the case uses a nice screw-less design. The case also sports the ability to handle graphics cards up to 310mm in length

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Cooling

As you might have noticed the MX300 takes a lot of fans, 7 120mm fans to be exact, which means your hardware should remain nice and cool if you use air cooling. It also has space in the case for routing pipes out of, so liquid cooling shouldn't be too much of a problem either.

Cable management

The crux of any case is where cables get routed, as bad cable management leads to poor cooling performance as air gets obstructed by cables. The MX300 has a nice idea to fix this by having a raised "tunnel" that cables can be fed into and then routed to where they need to go. This solves quite a bit of the cabling problems that normally exist and I wish more case manufacturers would follow this example

Can COUGAR improve on the MX300?

So now that I have mentioned all the nice things it is time to mention the things that I feel can do with changes.

  1. With seven case fans (only one is included) running, I would have expected a fan controller to be part of the case, the front panel would be suitable. Even a simple one would have done the job as no motherboard I know of comes with seven system fan connectors to manage the fans and to power them.
  2. I would also have liked it if the optical drive bays were hidden behind flip down panels or attached to the drive panels. Instead you have to remove the panels in the front panel there by breaking the very nicely designed honeycomb mesh on the front.
  3. On the side panel I would have gone with no window as the position it is in does not grant a nice viewing angle into the PC. You end up looking at the back end of the graphics card and the hard drives.
  4. On the topic of hard drives, I would have preferred if there was more space for 3.5" drives with the option to downscale to 2.5" drives. We all know you can make small things fit in big spaces but not the other way around. I can only fit four of the six hard drives that I normally use into the case. You are also forced to put the hard drives in connectors first, which might not sound like a problem. It is for me as I am limited to four of my six hard drives. If I want to get something off a hard drive that isn't in the PC I have to take both side panels off just to get a hard drive out so I can put another one in. The cables all being on the one side of the case is a bonus for cable management, but it also means I have to bend power and SATA cables just so I can close the side panel.
  5. The tunnel created for cable management can be a bit bigger as running multiple cables through it makes it fill up quite fast. Once again making the closing of the side panel a mission.

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Conclusion

For the R500 spent on the case I have no complaints when comparing it to other R500 cases, It's a sturdy case with a very nice design and layout for the general gaming user that doesn't have thousands to spend on a case alone. It does everything a budget case should do and more.

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd

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