The Cougar Spike looks like what you’d expect a small gaming case could be. It’s a metal box painted black both inside and out with a fairly aggressive looking front panel on it. The fit and finish it great for a $25 case and Cougar did a great job getting the color on the metal chassis and plastic front bezel to be very similar.
On the front of the Spike you have two 5.25″ external drive bays and a single 3.5″ external drive bay. Not too many people use floppy drives these days, but a 3.5″ bay is nice to have for media card readers! The front panel has your power and reset buttons, a High-Speed USB 2.0 port, a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port and headphone audio out along with a microphone input. This is pretty much all an average gamer would need, so Cougar did a good job of covering the basics for a case that is being launched in 2013.
At the very bottom of the front panel there is a honeycomb pattern covering the a mesh panel for the fresh air intake. The Cougar badge and branding on the bottom lip of the case are subtle, which is nice as many companies go overboard with their branding.
The plastic front bezel is held on by six plastic clips, so you just need to slowly pull it off to remove it. The power and reset buttons are hot glued into place and the circuit board for the audio and USB 2.0 port is basic, but gets the job done. One of the other reasons that the front panel was removed was to show you that the optional front fan can support an 80, 90 or 120mm case fan if you wanted to put one there. The metal mesh on the front bezel is held on by a screw, so it can be removed to be blown or rinsed off.
The left side of the Cougar Spike Micro-ATX chassis doesn’t feature a window, but it does have spots for two optional 120mm case fans for improved airflow.
The right side panel is solid with no ventilation holes or features to talk about. Cougar doesn’t mention the thickness of the SECC steel used on this case, but after asking them it turns out to be 0.5mm thick.
The back of the Cougar Spike is what you’d expect and we are happy to see the back of the case was painted black and that black fan screws were used. We’ve seen some companies not paint the back of the case and use silver fan screws to save on production costs, so it is nice to see the entire case is blacked out! As you can see the power supply mounts on top, which was very common a decade ago, but not often seen today.
On the bottom of the Cougar Spike you’ll find four rubber pads that are held on with adhesive. These rubber feet aren’t screwed down, so as time passes and the glue dries out they will likely fall off and need to be replaced. In this image you can also see where the 2.5″ internal hard drive or solid-state drive (SSD) mounts on the bottom of the case. You would actually screw the storage drive down from the bottom of the case, which is a little different. One last thing to point out is the two large gaps in the bottom of the front panel. Air can come in there and through the front fan location, which really negates the front mesh from actually helping keep out any real dust. It would be nice to see some fan filters since this is a gaming case, but for $24.99 shipped you don’t get them.