This case has ultimately left us with a bit of an odd impression. It seems like for everything that was done exceptionally well, there is something else that just felt off the entire time. It is meant to be a gaming case, but it feels very much like a silence optimized case, not unlike the Nanoxia DS2 only without any sound deadening foam. The look of the case screams Arc Midi, yet lacks the same accommodations. You have plenty of fan features, but no native internal water cooling support and the side panel fan can only be used apparently with a low profile CPU heat sink. You are supplied with lovely cable grommets for the external water cooling holes, yet no such grommets exist for the motherboard cutout. You have ample room for cable management behind the motherboard tray, but only four cable tie points to take advantage of that space which makes it more crowded than it could be. The front panel is probably the one section where we have nothing but praise. It really highlights what we think the real point of this case is: it is well built and easily modifiable. All you would need is a few inexpensive things here and there and this case goes from decent to superb and one-of-a-kind.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t come like that out-of-the-box, and so we were constantly left wanting just a bit more from it. It feels like this is very much a work in progress, though one whose story tells tales of epic build quality and Cougar DNA flowing through its veins. It’s not a bad case, but it could and should be so much more than it is. At $75 it is also up against some surprisingly steep competition, meaning that for this case to remain relevant moving forward, future revisions will have to take notice of what is possible in a constrained budget. The rest of Cougar’s lineup is great, and we really think that this could be even better in the future, but right now it needs some TLC.
Still, for the gamer who needs a lower priced mid tower that has plenty of decent features and tons of potential to be greater than the sum of its parts, it admittedly can become quite appealing. For that, we’re glad to give the Cougar MX500 the PureOverclock Good Hardware award.
Thank you to Cougar for sending us the MX500 mid tower for review, and as always feel free to discuss this and other PC related topics in the forums.
(Featured Image property of Cougar)