REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS
Building a system into Cougar’s MX300 mid-tower enclosure turned out to be a surprisingly enjoyable build, and surprisingly quick and efficient. Tool-less mounting of the front fans and the optical drive (also HDD if we were not using an SSD instead) certainly simplified and sped up the process. A welcome abundance of cable management openings sped up the wiring process, while also giving us a clean-looking result. Lots of fan mounting positions gives us numerous enclosure cooling options. Again, a big thank you to Cougar for providing the review sample.
We only had a couple of issues with the MX300, none of which can be considered major, that we would consider to be “Cons” in our “Pro” vs. “Con” analysis. The opening for a CPU power lead in the motherboard tray could definitely be positioned better, and better coordinated to deal with the extremely tight clearance between motherboard, motherboard tray, and roof panel. Situate this lead prior to anchoring the motherboard down, or forget concealing it behind the board and tray.
The square holes in the PCI expansion slot covers are a bit large for my liking. More of a perforation or mesh-style ventilation for these covers would do a better job of preventing dust intrusion. Lastly, the position of the clear window in the left side panel rather limits the view of one’s build. What is predominantly visible is the drive cages. Other manufacturers are successfully using a larger window, with a portion being perforated. The side panel fan(s) mount directly to the clear window section’s perforated area.
- $49.99 MSRP!
- Mounting for up to 7 case fans
- Tool-less mounting for front fans, optical drive, HDDs
- Numerous cable management openings
- High-quality black interior paint
- 7 PCI expansion slots
- Supports graphics cards up to 310mm in length
- Supports 3 X 3.5″ HDD and 3 X 2.5″ HDD or SSD
- Removable air filters front, top, bottom
- Excellent fit and finish, though exterior surfaces may be fingerprint-prone
- Questionable placement of opening in motherboard tray for CPU power lead
- Holes in PCI expansion slot covers may allow dust intrusion
- Odd position of clear window in left side panel
Cougar’s MX300 has a tough row to hoe to be able to stand out in the very crowded mid-tower enclosure market segment. We enter a review of a budget-level enclosure with a markedly different set of expectations, hopefully grounded in the realities of a budget-level price point; the MX300 coming in at $49.99 MSRP. Features or quality, and sometimes both, are often compromised to achieve such a price point.
It is always a nice surprise for a reviewer to cover a product where both the features and quality level exceed our expectations. A sub-$50 mid-tower enclosure that will appeal to both gamers and everyday users should experience heightened demand. Cougar’s MX300 is the epitome of “value” in a mid-tower enclosure. We are proud to honor the MX300 with our “Top Value Award”.
Cougar’s product page for the MX300 mid-tower chassis can be viewed here.