Cougar Spike Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on April 10, 2013


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

The Spike from Cougar is a mini tower case supporting only microATX motherboards. Targeted to gamers who like to carry their PCs to LAN parties, it comes with the insanely low price tag of USD 40, although you can find it for as low as USD 35. Let’s see if it is worthwhile buying this bargain.

Cougar Spike case
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Figure 1: Cougar Spike case

Cougar Spike case
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Figure 2: Cougar Spike case

The left panel of the Cougar Spike is meshed, supporting the installation of two 120 mm fans.

Cougar Spike case
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Figure 3: Left panel

The Front Panel

We were impressed with the quality of the plastic used on the front panel of the Cougar Spike, as low-cost cases usually make use of inferior-quality plastics, which is not the case here. The reviewed case has two external 5.25” bays and one external 3.5” bay. There is a mesh that doubles as an air filter for the optional front fan. The case supports 80 mm, 92 mm, and 120 mm models.

Cougar Spike case
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Figure 4: Front panel

Cougar Spike case
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Figure 5: Front panel

The case comes with one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.0 port, and the traditional audio jacks. The USB 3.0 port uses an internal connector.

Cougar Spike case
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Figure 6: Buttons and connectors

The Bottom and Rear Panels

The top and bottom panels of the Cougar Spike are completely solid, with no extra features.

Cougar Spike case
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Figure 7: Bottom panel

The rear panel and the interior of the Cougar Spike are painted in black, which is unusual to be seen on a budget case.

On the Cougar Spike, the power supply is installed at the top of the case.

The product comes with a 120 mm fan installed on its rear panel (Cougar QH12025SE12M, which is manufactured by a company called Qihuida), using a three-pin fan connector. No technical specifications for this fan are provided.

This case has four expansion slots with disposable covers, which is the norm with low-cost cases.

Cougar Spike case
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Figure 8: Rear panel

The rear panel features a tab for installing a padlock or warranty seal in order to prevent unauthorized people from opening the computer.

Cougar Spike case
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Figure 9: Tab for a padlock or warranty seal

Let’s now take a look inside the Cougar Spike.

Inside the Cougar Spike

Both panels are attached to the chassis using black thumbscrews, which is great to see on a low-cost case. The motherboard tray of this case, however, doesn’t come with features that are virtually standard nowadays, such as a cutout for you to access the backplate of the CPU cooler, holes for you to route cables behind it, and clips for you to fasten cables using cable ties. In fact, you can’t store cables behind the motherboard tray, as there is not enough space between the motherboard tray and the side panel of the case.

Cougar Spike case
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Figure 10: Overall look

Cougar Spike case
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Figure 11: A view behind the motherboard tray

In Figure 12, we have another overall look inside the case. Expansion cards are fastened using regular silver screws. The Cougar Spike supports video cards up to 13” (330 mm) long.

Cougar Spike case
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Figure 12: Overall look

As previously mentioned, the power supply is installed at the top of the case, and the case doesn’t support fans on its bottom panel.

The Disk Drive Bays

The Cougar Spike has two external 5.25” bays, one external/internal 3.5” bay, two internal 3.5” bays, and one internal 2.5” bay. The installation of 5.25” and internal 3.5” devices can be done without the use of tools or screws. The external 3.5” bay supports the installation of a 3.5” hard disk drive, so this case actually supports a total of three 3.5” hard drives and one 2.5” SSD or laptop hard drive.

Cougar Spike case
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Figure 13: Disk drive bays

Cougar Spike case
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Figure 14: The individual 2.5” bay

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the Cougar Spike include:

Conclusions

The Cougar Spike provides an unprecedented cost/benefit ratio for the user who is looking for an inexpensive case for building a small gaming PC. It lacks a few features compared to more expensive models, but there is no way we can complain about these when we are talking about a case that can be found for less than USD 40.

Strong Points

Weak Points

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Cougar-Spike-Case-Review/1762


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