The Cougar PowerX 550W power supply obviously is a product designed to entice users into upgrading from a cheap unit of unknown (and, usually, extremely poor) quality to one of acceptable quality and performance standards. Considering that the MSRP of the power supply is just $69.99 and that the actual retail price usually is quite lower than the MSRP, the PowerX 550W might actually be a very good deal for casual users and gamers on a very tight budget. On the other hand however, the saying “you get what you pay for” fits perfectly in this case. Cougar designed the PowerX 550W unit to be a quality product for those on a tight budget and a quality product it is; well designed and made, with proper protection circuitry and backed up with a 3 year warranty. But that is where the magic ends, as the only overall performance of the PowerX 550W power supply is nothing more than acceptable.
We believe that the greatest shortcoming of the PowerX 550W was its middling electrical performance, as advanced users will primarily aim for high performance over anything else, even if they are strongly limited by their monetary budgets. The PowerX 550W meets its 80Plus Bronze efficiency certification but the voltage regulation is middling and the ripple suppression is rather poor. We realize that this power supply likely costs less than the keyboard of an advanced gamer and thus we expected no miracles from it; however, we honestly believe that Cougar could have done more than a little better on the electrical performance, which would make the PowerX 550W power supply a very competitive product. Thankfully, at least the acoustics performance of the PowerX 550W is very good, therefore it should greatly appeal to users who primarily aim towards quiet computing.
Aesthetically, this is no modular power supply but Cougar certainly placed some effort into making it visually attractive. The company sleeved all of the cables down to the last connector, embossed the chassis and installed a bronze-colored cover. These are usually more than enough for a power supply of this price range. We can only argue that the bronze-colored cover might not be such a good idea, not everybody likes fancy colors and colorful combinations.
Legit bottom line: The Cougar PowerX 550W power supply is a reliable, well-made product for advanced users and gamers on a tight budget. Its middling performance however does not make it particularly competitive, unless the actual retail price ends up significantly lower than the $69.99 MSRP that we have been informed of by Cougar.