The Cougar MX500 is a feature-packed mid-tower PC case which really delivers great bang for your buck! The MX500 features all the elements you would expect from a high-end case, but retails at a very reasonable price. Read on for our review of this impressive offering from the relatively new company!

FEATURES:
– Sleek modernistic look with hair-lined surface front panel design
– Superior capacity for longer high-end graphics cards up to 300mm, 330mm & 410mm. (depending on varies graphics cards requirement to change position with HDD bracket)
– Best ventilation solution and support for 7 fans:
front 120mm fans x 2 / 140mm fans x 2
top 120mm fans x 2 / 140mm fans x 2 / 180mm fan x 1 / 200mm fan x 1
bottom 120mm fan x 1 / 140mm fan x 1
rear 120mm fan x 1
side 120mm fan x 1 / 140mm fan x 1
– Lots of room for cable feedthrough on the MB tray for easy routing and hiding cables, and provide a better airflow and neatness of system building
– Advanced dual USB3.0 for maximum data transfer speed
– 7 PCI slots provide flexibility for multiple graphics cards solutions
– Screw-less mechanisms on 5.25’’devices
– 3.5’’HDD trays x 7 (compatible for installing 2.5’’HDDs/SSDs x 7)
– Provide 2.5’’HDD trays x 3 (depending on the graphics cards length)
– Installation opening in the MB tray for easy upgrade CPU cooler
– Vented slot bezels for better cooling performance
– Removable air filters on the bottom cover & side cover to prevent dust from entering the enclosure. (magnet filters are easy to remove and clean)
– High quality and game-style interior black coating

SPECIFICATIONS:
Case Type: Middle Tower
Motherboard Type: Micro ATX / ATX
Dimensions: 210(W)x 475(H)x 480(D)
5.25″ Drive Bays: 3 (Exposed)
3.5″ Drive Bays: 7 (Hidden)
2.5″ Drive Bays: 3 + 4 (converted from 3.5”drive bays)
I/O Panel: USB3.0 x 2 ( int )/USB2.0 x 2, Mic x 1, Audio x 1

Cooling system:
Max Installed: 7pcs Fans
Front: 140mm Fans x 2 / 120mm Fans x 2 (120mm fan x 1 pre-installed)
Top: 120mm Fans x 2/140mm Fans x 2 / 180mm Fan x 1/200mm Fan x 1
Rear: 120mm Fan x 1 (pre-installed)
Bottom: 120mm Fan x 1 / 140mm Fan x 1
Left side: 120mm Fan x 1 / 140mm Fan x 1

Expansion Slots: 7
Maximum Graphics Cards Length: 410mm
Power Supply: Standard ATX PS2 (optional)

EXTERIOR CASE DESIGN:
The case is constructed with a stylish, simplistic brushed aluminium design. The IO panel features a nicely laid-out set of two USB3.0 ports, two USB2.0 ports, the standard audio jacks and the power and reset buttons. Just north of the IO panel is a large rubber panel, presumably so one can leave their phone on this to charge without any risk of it slipping. This is a nice addition to the case which shows how Cougar were thinking of the best way to give customers the functionality they desire. The topside of the case also has space for two 120mm or 140mm fans, however, there is not enough clearance space for a watercooler inside the case.

On the front of the case, you can install up to three 5.25″ devices, plus there is space below for two fans, either 120mm or 140mm in size. A stylish metal mesh covers the fan area and adds an extra touch of class to a very premium looking product. A shiny Cougar badge is attached to this front mesh. I am currently using this case for my primary PC build and it looks fantastic with some red LED lighting. If you are looking for style and class, combined with plenty of functionality, this is certainly the case for you!

One negative I will mention about this case is that it unfortunately does not have a window. So, for gamers who wish to show off their rigs, you will not be able to do so with this case. However, the lack of a window pays off in the overall premium feel of the case, so, deciding which approach is better is a matter of personal preference. The simple side panel features space for a single fan (with a magnetic fan filter), again, either 120mm or 140mm.

Travelling to the rear of the case, there is all the functionality you would expect for a good-quality case. There is space for a 120mm fan to the left of the motherboard IO area, with three holes for a watercooling loop being featured just below this. The case also has 7 PCI slots with easy thumbscrews for attaching PCI devices. Finally, there is space for the power supply at the bottom of the rear panel. The underside of the case also includes a fan filter for the PSU fan, and an additional optional 120mm fan. Four rubber feet raise the case high off the ground. Overall, the case has fantastic options for ventilation and your components will run extremely cool if you install most of the fan options available.

Watercooling is difficult in this case, unfortunately. None of the areas in the case provide enough space to install a watercooler and fans inside the case, however, I did come to a solution when installing my own watercooling radiator and fans. On the topside of the case, I installed a radiator with no fans on the inside of the system, just above the motherboard. Then, I also installed two 120mm fans OUTSIDE the PC, on the top of the unit. This solution turned out to be ideal, and the system runs nice and cool as a result. For added effect, I used two red LED fans outside the case, which looks very cool when the PC is turned on. If you are looking to install a 240mm watercooling radiator, I believe this may be the only option available.

INTERIOR CASE DESIGN:
The case has the same interior colour and design as the exterior, again, adding to the quality appearance of the case. The PSU bay includes plenty of mounting options for almost any length of power supply. It is very unlikely that you will not be able to fit your PSU in this case, regardless of what brand or size it is.

The 5.25″ drive bay features screwless drive slots, with a very sturdy and useful design. Below the 5.25″ bay area, we have a 3.5″ drive cage, which can be adjusted (to a 2.5″ SSD bay) or removed entirely to accommodate a variety of graphics card lengths. Finally, there is a 3.5″ drive cage below this, featuring screwless mounting, with optional screws for security.

There is a large motherboard cutout from the case, so, almost any watercooling system that you can find should be accommodated by this case. Versatility is one of the recurring features in this case, as it caters for almost any type of PC build. The front panel of the case can be removed to clean the fan filters. The front IO area is separate to this front panel, so, it remains intact when the panel is removed.

BUILD INSTALLATION:
As I mentioned earlier, the watercooling options are limited in the case without custom modification, but it is still possible to install a 120mm or 240mm closed loop watercooling system in the case without modification, albeit with the fan(s) being outside the case itself.

The case is perfect for installing a gaming rig. Everything fits inside the case just nicely and the build feels sturdy and safe. There is also still space available for expansion, even with a packed rig like mine. I installed a GTX 770, a gaming motherboard, a 1000W power supply, a closed loop watercooler, six fans, a Blu-Ray drive, a card reader, three SSDs, two hard drives and a variety of other small accessories and lights. I am confident that this case will remain the home of my current build for its lifetime.

Behind the case there is ample room for cable management; I was able to run all the cables required for my build (including 5 SATA power and data cables) behind the case – with a squeeze! There are many points along the rear of the case where you will be able to zip-tie your cables to the case also. Overall, I felt the cable management options were more than sufficient.

CONCLUSION
While the case currently retails for around $70, I feel this is a very fair price for the MX500 due to the versatility and number of features available. It is one of the most stylish and sturdy mid-tower cases I have experienced and is great for any type of build. If you want something that is almost guaranteed to work with whatever components you have, with many options for future expansion; the MX500 is for you!