Cougar Spike Mini Tower Review
Have you heard of the Cougar Spike? If not, you’ll be forgiven because neither did we until an intrepid reader contacted us about it, requesting a review and claiming it was setting a new benchmark for budget friendly gaming cases. The term “budget friendly” is certainly the right mindset here since the Spike costs a mere $35, less than a third of what other self-respecting enclosures currently go for.
Normally 35 bucks would have would-be gamers running for the hills, thinking this is no more than a low rent chassis which compromises everything in order to attain such a ridiculously low price. In some ways this assumption is correct since there’s an abundance of plastic and some thin metal in some areas. However, against all odds, what we found was a surprisingly capable mini tower case that may not win any awards for bulletproof build quality but it checks all the right boxes in most other respects.
Cougar’s aim for the Spike is relatively straightforward: offer an accessible chassis which looks relatively good without asking for a premium. Part of this is accomplished through the fact that it is only compatible with M-ATX and smaller motherboards, thus making it smaller than many other cases we have looked at. Other case manufacturers have tried this approach before but never below the $50 mark.
So what makes the Spike unique? Absolutely nothing and believe it or not, that’s what makes Cougar’s latest entry so appealing. It offers up a straightforward exterior design with only a few flourishes, integrated USB 2.0 and (surprise!) USB 3.0 front panel connectors and while there may be a ton of plastic, build quality is still more than acceptable. There are even anti vibration feet, side panels built out of quite robust steel and additional fan mounts for some more airflow options.
In short, the Spike isn’t trying too hard to be something it’s not. The overall look does away with those tacky add-ons that other budget cases typically associate with the “gamer” class and it even manages to look pretty decent.
From an interior perspective, the Spike doesn’t look like a $35 case. Granted, it eschews the trendy bottom power supply mounting location but it still includes toolless drive mounting and SSD compatibility.
Unfortunately, you won’t find any spaces for radiators or other extreme cooling equipment here, nor are there any cable tie-downs or grommet holes. Rather, the interior is straightforward with a good amount of ventilation options and enough horizontal space for 14” graphics cards. Considering the Spike is an M-ATX chassis, just the fact that it is compatible with enthusiasts-level GPUs makes it somewhat unique in its pricing segment.
The Cougar Spike does make some trade-offs that we haven’t mentioned in this quick rundown but all in all, this is a great mini tower chassis that comes in at an amazing price. For our full review, check out the video above.
|Latest Reviews in Computer Cases|