Cougar Spike Mini Gaming Case Review

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Cougar is back with another new case that reminds us a lot of the Challenger but even more delightful. The new Spike is shorter, cleaner and darker than the black and orange Challenger case we reviewed for Cougar. The one fact about the Spike that will amaze many is that with its many features the case will only set you back about forty one dollar bills.

Cougar Spike Mini Gaming Case Review

Introduction

If you are a regular reader of Pro-C, you will know what I personally I’m not a huge fan of all-out gaming chassis. I am more of a big fan of the more simplistic styles that we see from the various companies. When I review them we focus more on functionality and allow the reader to make up there on mind on the styling of the outside of the case. And to be on the up and up this is the route most sites take. But, I do have to safe I did the styling of the Cougar Challenger. It was somewhat out there is a way but it appeal to my senses as it clean still and not really over-the-top.

Cougar is back with another new case that reminds us a lot of the Challenger but even more delightful. The new Spike is shorter, cleaner and darker than the black and orange Challenger case we reviewed for Cougar. The one fact about the Spike that will amaze many is that with its many features the case will only set you back about forty one dollar bills.

Cougar’s take on the Spike

The COUGAR SPIKE case is a mini tower but is designed to accept longer high-end gaming graphics cards thanks to the 330mm of clearance. Indeed, the list of functionality of micro ATX motherboards is growing and becoming more complete. Many system builders feel that ATX motherboards can be replaced by micro ATX motherboards nowadays.

As such, COUGAR thinks that the mini gaming tower is a future trend for space-saving PC gaming stations.

The SPIKE mini tower sports a gaming themed style with interior black paint to give it a professional and sleek look.  Drive installation is quick and easy with the SPIKE due to COUGAR’s screwless design technology for convenient on-the-fly data access of 3.5” and 2.5” HDDs/SSDs. The case also supports the installing of 2.5” HDD/SSD at the bottom cover.

With any PC case ventilation is crucial and COUGAR’s SPIKE case handles it smartly. Conveniently, the COUGAR SPIKE case comes with one rear 120mm fan pre-installed. In total, there is support for 4 fans: one 80/90/120mm fan for the front (optional); one 80/120mm fan for the rear (pre-installed); and two side 120mm fans (optional).

Lastly, the COUGAR SPIKE Mini Gaming Tower PC Case supports the lasts, advanced USB3.0 port for maximum data transfer speeds.


Specifications

Case Type

Mini Gaming Tower

Motherboard Type

Micro ATX

Dimension(mm)

180(W)x370(H)x425(D)

External 5.25" Drive Bays

2

External 3.5" Drive Bay

1

Internal 3.5" Drive Bays

2

Internal 2.5" Drive Bay

1 (at bottom cover)

I/O Panel

USB3.0 x1 & USB2.0 x1, Mic x1, Audio x1

Cooling System

Front 80/90/120mm Fan x1pcs (optional)
Rear 80/120mm Fan x1pcs (optional)
Left Side 120mm Fans x2pcs (optional)

COUGAR 120mm Fan (rear)

1 (pre-install)

Expansion Slots

4

Maximum Graphics Card Length

330mm

Power Supply

Standard ATX PS2 (optional)

Features

  • The SPIKE delivers availability and expansion capability in a space-saving design to fully complete the gaming mission!
  • Interior black painting.
  • Advanced USB3.0 port for maximum data transfer speed.
  • Support for 4 fans: front 80/90/120mm fan x 1; rear 80/120mm fan x 1 ; side 120mm fans x 2.
  • Rear COUGAR 120mm fan x 1 is pre-installed.
  • Support for longer high-end graphics card up to 330mm.
  • Screw-less mechanisms on 5.25” & HDD devices.
  • Support installing 2.5” HDD/SSD at bottom cover.

Closer look at the exterior

The thing with the new Spike is that Cougar wanted to give the builder many of the advantages of a mid-tower in a much smaller form factor. And most of this was accomplished as the case can support multi-GPU setups, large coolers and have better than decent drive support. The only thing you really miss out on is the support of standard ATX motherboard and larger.

It is clear that Cougar is trying to appeal to the budget gamer with the introduction of the Spike. As the not so subtle style is made of SECC metal and some harden plastic. The front of the case seems too made of two different style cases with them blending really well in the middle. The top half is simpler and the bottom is more in your face.

The upper portion consists of two 5.25” optical drive bays with a single external 3.5” just underneath.

The front panel connectors are located directly in the middle of the enclosure. And them come in the form of two USB ports, one 2.0 and the other 3.0. There are also dual HD audio jacks. On the outside of these is the power and reset switches.

The Spike supports up to four fans and one of the supported areas is behind the vented spot of the front fascia. This area can support one 80, 92 and 120mm fans.

The left side panel has two spaces for additional 120mm fans. Neither this space nor the one just mentioned comes with any fans installed.

The right side panel is just simple and straight. There is no bulge in the panel, so this is an early sign that spacing behind the motherboard may be limited. We will see soon.

The rear of the case is about as simple as you can get. For the first time in a long time we are looking at a tower case with a top-mounted power supply location. The lone fan installed in the Spike is the 120mm blower located in the rear. The four expansion slots are perfect evidence this is a mATX case.

There isn’t much going on here at the bottom of the case except for four small holes for mounting a 2.5” drive.


Closer look at the interior

Looking at the interior of the case, we see that even a sub $40 case can have a matching black coating. Would you put a $400 GPU into a $40 case? Someone may. But it is nice to know that these pretty long cards like the Radeon HD 7970 and GTX 680 are supported with the 13” allowance by the interior of the Spike.

The forward most portion of the case is where the drive would be installed. There is enough cages for two 5.25” optical drives, one external 3.5” device and two internal 3.5” drives. Both of the optical drive bays and the two lower 3.5” are tool-less.

The motherboard tray lacks a cut-out for the CPU cooler. This is something that we have come to look for in a case as it makes changing out coolers much easier. Along with the lack of the cut-out is a lack of openings for routing cables to the rear of the tray.

In the rear is the 120mm fan we mentioned before. Cougar does not give any specifications for the fan. The expansion slot covers are one piece with the rest of the back panel, so once removed they cannot be replaced.

If you want to install solid state drives you have two options. The default option would be installing one in the bottom panel. The other would be using convertors for the 3.5” bays which would have to be purchased.

Looking at the back of the motherboard tray we see there is not spacing for excessive cables from the power supply. So, all extra cabling will need to be stored under the HDD cage.


Build Images


Conclusion

The new Spike from Cougar is the definition of style on a budget. We love the looks of the case as it does speak to the gamer side of us. Being all black inside and out adds to the goodness this case has visually. In the front there are only two USB ports with one being of 3.0 standards.

The inside is simple and straightforward. Actually the interior is a throwback of cases past. The reason I say this is because of the top-mount PSU location. It has been quite a while since I last seen one. I did not see an issue with this mainly due to the size of the case.

The Spike does lack a few things we have taken for granted over the years such as cut-outs for the CPU cooler and cable management, vented and reusable expansion slot covers and multiple USB 3.0 ports. We figured that some features would have to be eliminated for a case in order to price it at $40 or less.

Overall, the Cougar Spike is a decent case for a decent gaming builds. My ideal solution for a case like this for a LAN box as it small and can house just about any high performance gaming GPU.